We have written about predatory lenders many times. They are one of several pet peeves of ours. Most are merciless, without any compassion and a mantra: “it’s all about money not mizvas [good deeds].” We hope to see the entire business get tanked. In our opinion, the merchant cash advance business is nothing more than vultures eating the carcasses of poor and unsuspecting victims, sometimes threatening their families and often destroying their lives and others. It is a scheme of epic proportions, with intertwined credit card swiping businesses, investment businesses, brokers, lawyers and collection agents.
There is nothing worse than the financial havoc they wreak, all under the guise of quick and easy loans. They destroy small businesses but make a huge fortune in the process.
And, behind the scenes, the investors in many of the MCA loan companies are interrelated groups of people who hire the same attorneys, use the same brokers, have access to the same personal information of the Borrowers, have a network of go-to persons and politicians, judges and jurists, it is big business. The entire structure is not for the financially faint of heart.
Let’s start by taking you back on a walk down memory lane, our explanation of how the whole scam works.
First, the merchant banks convince a company (Company A) to use their credit card swiping system (thereby giving the merchant bank access to Company A’s receipts and invoices). Then, they share your information with potential “funding groups” all hidden under the same umbrella. Next, Company A has a bad month or two, Covid-19 strikes, who knows? Those behind the scenes at the merchant cash advance company notice that Company A is getting charge backs or business has slowed. In other words, the merchant cash advance company sees that their credit card swiping client is becoming vulnerable to liquidity problems.
So, the merchant cash advance company sends a broker in to offer assistance, not effectively a loan but a purchase of invoices. In other words, the broker suggests that Company A borrow money against the receipts, selling it as quick and easy cash. It is characterized not as a loan, but as a purchase of receipts, thereby avoiding any and all usury laws, banking laws, regulators and the list goes one. Company A is desperate.
Cash-poor Company A needs the money and a conventional bank loan will not work. The merchant cash advance company offers “low interest” rates (not actually low interest but Merchant A is too cash-strapped to chart the numbers). The merchant cash advance company promises quick money, no credit reports, a few days from application to cash, all fees get tagged to the Loan (increasing the principal amount) but the draw of few out-of-pocket fees are weighed against desperation. So, Company A takes the bait.
What poor Company A does not know is that the fees tagged (or capitalized) to the principal amount increase the loan by about 20% (another 20% for interest purposes). There is a daily or even a weekly draw and there are fees each time a draw is made, directly from the merchant company, increasing payments.
What Other Schemes are These Puppeteers Orchestrating and Who is Being Manipulated? Some thoughts…
At what point does the activity in the Haredi community of Rockland County, New York and those who control the East Ramapo Central School District cross the line from what is now a civil litigation into the acts, conduct or omissions that engender criminal behavior? And when does that get prosecuted? Perjury is only the beginning.
This question is not being asked because the bad actors involved are Haredi Jews. To the contrary, a response is demanded in spite of a religion which does not espouse to this contemptible behavior. The Haredi men who have run the school board for the last fifteen or so years, who place non-Haredim on strings to be puppeteered at their will, are not behaving like Jews. They are behaving like liars and criminals. They are engaging in conduct unbecoming the garb that they wear or the religious beliefs to which they claim to adhere.
Because they are Jewish, they are making every Jew look bad. Because they wear the cloak of religious observance, they are giving those people unable to understand the unique nuances of Judaism a reason, founded in behavior, to hate Jews.
Finally, they have perpetrated a fraud. They have, by way of school bonds, borrowed money, sold school buildings for pennies on the dollar (to their own Yeshivas). They have defunded a school system, disenfranchised children, and manipulated others acting in good faith to do the same. That is by its very nature criminal and if not, perhaps there are laws that could be deemed to have been broken (like the encumbering of assets to obtain bonds) the violation of which paves the way for criminal prosecution.
We ask Letisha James to look to this case and to our commentary from your election and use it as a basis to not only rethink your position as a pawn for the aims and goals of the Haredi community, but also to look yourself in the mirror and ask whether you really want to be mastered by a puppeteer.
You are smart. You are a woman. You are a woman of color. Is it not time that you set aside what those who funded your campaign would want in favor of what those within your own community need, namely justice.
We then ask that you take on issues, like lying in court, orchestrating what might otherwise be deemed a fraud on an entire community and so many others and find ways to prosecute the perpetrators.
“All I’m saying is don’t trust the man 100% when you know he’s lying,” U.S. District Court Judge Cathy Seibel told David Butler, an attorney for the East Ramapo Central School District.
MS. JAMES INVOLVEMENT IN DEVELOPMENT LAWSUITS IS MISGUIDED. THE ISSUE IS THE APPLICATION OF BUILDING CODES, NOT WHETHER OR NOT A POPULATION CAN OR CANNOT LIVE THERE.
The Forward in an article entitled “Is it Anti-Semitism, or NIMBYism? Lawsuits Multiply with Growing Orthodox Population” are quick to excoriate criticism of the law abiding population against over-development. The article is quick to ignore the the lax building code enforcement and building inspections in Monsey, New York, Ramapo, New York, Rockland County, New York, Lakewood, New Jersey, Jackson Township, New Jersey, people are breaking laws. This is not about anti-Semitisim. This is about accountability.
While people like our New York State Attorney General Tish James are jumping on the bandwagon of RLUIPA and claiming that any review of development in the above-referenced areas is actually anti-Semitism, few are out there defending the law abiding citizens of the respective counties. Ms. James, isn’t defending against lawlessness actually in your job description?
The lawsuits, as noted by the Forward are filed on claims that RLUIPA which one might think exempts developers from following the laws of the land where they are trying to build. Our elected officials seem to be buying into this argument. I wonder if those same elected officials would be taking an equally zealous position if the developers were black, Hispanic or Muslim and trying to build for black tenants, Hispanic tenants or Muslim tenants. We think not.
As quoted by the Forward:
The lawsuit the developers filed last year was among a spate of similar cases in which Orthodox groups claim cities and towns in the New York area are being anti-Semitic in thwarting their plans for housing, schools and synagogues large and small. The suits are based on the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, a law known as RLUIPA that since its enactment in 2000 has helped religious groups including small Buddhist temples and evangelical mega-churches combat opposition to development projects
On Thursday, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a motion to intervene in a long-running suit in which Hasidic developers have accused a town in Orange County of anti-Semitic intent in blocking their attempts to build hundreds of homes. The developers have filed suits at both a state court and in federal court.
“Blocking the construction of homes to prevent a religious group from living in a community is flat out discriminatory,” James said in a press release.
Housing intended solely for one particular community, while that community builds without obtaining permits and then greases the palms of code enforcers, is accepted as “protected by RLUIPA” but in reality, any building of any structures has certain codes that must be enforced. Law abiding citizens are saying, “The codes are not being enforced, corners are being cut and everyone is in danger and we want no part of it.”
Falling back on religious land use and the anti-Semitism moniker is an excuse to allow lawlessness. Ms. James, your comments above are a tacit approval of the brazen abuse of process that is occurring as those developers are trying to build. This is not about development, it is about planning, enforcement and responsibility. We hope you, Ms. James, will accept responsibility when 15 children are living in an illegal basement, rented by a second family and are killed in a fire because fire codes were not adhered to. Similar tragedies have happened in the past and will undoubtedly happen again, particularly when no planning is in place for fire hydrants, appropriately supplied fire departments and no one is properly inspecting the buildings.
1 Maple Avenue in Monsey, New York is one such example. At that location, a house was converted into a shul (synagogue) with no filing or approval of permits in an area zoned residential. Complaints to the building department went wholly unanswered. Calls to inspectors were not returned. And, when finally a stop order was placed on the location, the stop order was brazenly violated.
Ms. James, do you view this as acceptable?
To Ms. James, to Governor Cuomo, to Governor Phil Murphy we implore upon you to set aside the mantra that every effort at stopping lawless development by any community is anti-Semitism. There should be no one group that is above the law. And, the expectation of law-abiding citizens is that you will protect us all, from whatever the threat to the laws of our land.
As one commentator to this post observed: “If no one is following rules I’m afraid soon vigilantes will appear in that neighborhood.”
That is the great danger all citizens face in ANY community regardless of race or religion where the government refuses to enforce law and order and one group does not follow accepted norms of legal behavior. Anarchy will follow accompanied by vigilantism.
That is too terrible a danger to be cavalierly ignored!
Attention Ramapo Township Building Inspectors/Code Enforcement:
Over the weekend, while you were not working, we were. That STOP WORK ORDER that you put on 101 West Maple Avenue in Monsey was violated both Saturday and Sunday. This is the house turned synagogue, without a change of use or building permits, that was building a mikvah in the basement, without permits…in case you needed a refresher. Kindly take a few minutes and visit again today.
NYC’s Top Elected Officials Grace Sukkoth Celebration
NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer
NYC Public Advocate Tish James
Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson
Assemblyman Dov Hikind
City Councilman Brad Lander
Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte
Assemblyman David Weprin
have in common?
They all gathered in the Sukkoh of Ezra Friedlander, CEO of The Friedlander Group to wish prominent members of the Jewish community a “Chag Sameach”.
In attendance was also: Rabbi David Zwiebel, Executive VP Agudath Israel of America
Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Executive VP, NY Board of Rabbis
Rabbi Steve Burg, East Coast Director, Simon Wiesenthal Center and Rabbi Michael Miller, executive VP of the Jewish Community Relations Council who delivered greetings to the assembled.
IS THERE INTEGRITY TO THE VOTING LAWS, THE ELECTORAL PROCESS AND THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS IN ROCKLAND COUNTY?
Note to readers:
We received this from a concerned citizen and it is being re-printed from a post on Facebook. There was additional information posted on the Facebook Post that we chose to leave off of this post due to names and signatures, though we do believe we could have posted it under the http://rocklandgov.com/departments/law/freedom-of-information-law-foil/.
The Facebook post can be accessed by clicking here.
Part 6: How can I, as a citizen, have faith or confidence in our Boards of Elections and electoral process?
Wake up Orangetown? Wake up Rockland!
Potential Voter Fraud in Our Own Backyard…
No matter what your political party affiliation is, you should be VERY concerned.
FOR THE RECORD: WHATEVER I WRITE OR HAVE WRITTEN CONCERNING THIS ISSUE IS BASED UPON INFORMATION FROM A DIRECT AND PRIMARY SOURCE. I DO NOT RELY ON HEARSAY WHEN PRESENTING FACTS.
38 invalid petitions for Conservative Party Committee Members have been subsequently validated by the Rockland County Board of Elections (BOE) resulting in the election of 40 ineligible candidates and another 35 ineligible candidates being placed on the September 13 Primary ballot.
This has occurred even though a thorough investigation was conducted by yours truly providing irrefutable evidence that all 38 petitions were invalid.
THE THOROUGH INVESTIGATION AND IRREFUTABLE EVIDENCE WAS PROVIDED TO THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS. IN THE TIME THAT IT TOOK COMMISSIONER STAVISKY TO “CONSULT WITH”, PREPARE AND WRITE HER NUMEROUS LENGTHY RESPONSES TO ME, SHE AND THE BOE COULD HAVE EASILY REVIEWED THE EVIDENCE AND SUBSEQUENTLY SUBSTANTIATED THE INVALIDATION OF ALL 38 PETITIONS.
1. In her many email responses to me, BOE Commissioner Stavisky has repeatedly stated that the BOE does not perform investigations. This was also stated to me by a BOE attorney. Ms. Stavisky has also indicated that the BOE does not have enough personnel to perform investigations. They both have reiterated that all petitions are considered valid unless objected to by registered voters. Election Law Section 6-154 states this. Yet there are exceptions. The BOE could very well have invalidated petitions for election districts 49, 55 and 85 because they each did not have the required number of signatures. The NYS Board of Elections Law Update (page 15) clearly states that a BOE can invalidate a petition without the necessary number of signatures even without objections. THE BOE SHOULD HAVE INVALIDATED THE ABOVE 3 PETITIONS.
2. All 8 petitions filed for 8 Orangetown election districts are invalid because all petition signers clearly do not reside within the district that the candidate is running for, as prescribed by election law. All petition signers clearly live in Ramapo. THERE WAS NO NEED FOR AN INVESTIGATION HERE; THE BOE COULD HAVE EASILY NOTED THE INVALID ADDRESSES BY VISUAL SCAN IN LESS THAN ONE MINUTE. THE BOE SHOULD HAVE INVALIDATED ALL 8 PETITIONS.
3. 29 petitions for 29 Ramapo election districts are invalid because all petition signers do not reside within the district that the candidate is running for, again as prescribed by election law. THE BOE SHOULD HAVE INVALIDATED ALL 29 PETITIONS.
4. Election districts 7, 100 and 104 have no registered Conservative Party voters therefore all 3 petitions should have been invalidated.
5. THE SYSTEM IS BROKEN. How can effective decisions be made when there exists a dual power-sharing model which has 2 equal election commissioners (one democratic, one republican) in charge? This method was enacted in 1974. Our state legislators need to take a hard look at the Board of Elections hierarchies. No ONE individual is in charge.
I mention this because “I have been told” (hearsay) that the Rockland County republican commissioner, Ms. Giblin, had asked for an investigation of several or all of the 38 petitions. Since mid-July, I have written to both election commissioners and have repeatedly received responses from Ms. Stavisky, the democratic commissioner. The only response I received from Ms. Gibln was a confirmation concerning my inquiry regarding the elected/primary statuses of the 75 ineligible candidates. I am unsure of the BOE protocol regarding responses to the public.
IT SHOUD BE NOTED THAT COMMISSIONER STAVISKY IS ALSO THE CHAIRWOMAN OF THE ROCKLAND COUNTY DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE.
6. Both election commissioners took an oath of office, in part, to defend the Constitution of the State of New York. I fully understand and appreciate the obvious problems that can be inherent with the existing dual power-sharing model that exists within the Rockland County Board of Elections. This absolutely should not excuse the BOE officials from not doing everything professionally possible to prevent ineligible candidates from being considered for election. This is why I believe our Rockland County Board of Elections has failed the citizens of Rockland County.
7. I have either emailed and/or faxed an updated letter to the NYS Board of Elections (attached), Rockland County District Attorney, NYS Attorney General, Senator Carlucci, Assemblywoman Jaffee, Assemblyman Zebrowski, each of the 17 Rockland County Legislators, Congresswoman Lowey, Governor Cuomo and multiple media outlets.
Cuomo dodges questions about endorsement deal with Satmar Rebbe
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday did not refute reports that he assured a prominent rabbi he would keep his hands off yeshivas in exchange for an endorsement — instead pointing to his lack of control over the state Education Department.
The department is currently reviewing a long-delayed city Department of Education probe of whether 30 yeshivas have been meeting minimum requirements for secular education, a 3-year effort in whichofficials were blocked from visiting half the schools.
Asked about reports that he had essentially told Satmar Rebbe Zalman Tietelbaum not to worry about the matter last week, Cuomo wouldn’t address the question head on.
“The State Education Department will enforce the law, but it’s not the governor’s responsibility. I have no control of the state Education Department,” he told reporters following a press conference at the Tappan Zee Bridge, which has been renamed for the governor’s father, Mario Cuomo.
City officials punted their probe to the state because the state Education Department has ultimate oversight over what’s taught in non-public schools.
Advocates had complained in 2015 that many yeshivas were violating the state requirement that they provide a secular education equivalent to what students get in public schools.