On the Lamm – Voter Fraud and Recent Arrests

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The Monte Scoop – Interesting, interesting! They didn’t… | Facebook

Interesting, interesting! They didn’t think the FBI would catch them!

This is a summary of previously published information, it is a bit lengthy, but this narrative is worth your time.

Shalom Lamm and his partner Ken Nakdimen who is from Monsey, NY, developers of the controversial high density development project called “The Villages at Chestnut Ridge”, chose the Village of Bloomingburg in Sullivan County, NY not just for it’s bucolic setting – but because they realized the “small town” village government could easily be taken over by newcomers voting in an organized bloc.

The plan was to control the local government and in doing so, create Village zoning and ordinances that would turn Bloomingburg into a new and massive Hasidic community.

In early 2014, in advance of the March Village election, well over 100 “new” Hasidic people registered to vote in Sullivan County, claiming addresses in Bloomingburg connected to properties owned by Lamm.

Informed local residents brought formal challenges to these registrations before the Sullivan County Board of Elections, claiming that these “new” voters were not legal residents for voting purposes at all, but in fact, had been brought in and assigned bogus addresses by the developers to blatantly rig the election in their favor and to take over the Village. (In fact in the December 2016 indictment the accused used deceptive tactics like placing toothpaste and other props in vacant apartments.)

Based on their reading of the challenges and a subsequent investigation which included demands for proof of residency and the Sullivan County Sheriff’s onsite review of the buildings involved, the Sullivan County Board of Elections agreed with the challenges and issued three Notices of Determinations. (Read the Board of Elections’ determinations based on challenges made by residents James Cracolici, John Kahrs, and Anita Hoppe. They make for a very interesting read!)

On March 13, two days after these challenges were submitted, the FBI rolled into Bloomingburg for a massive raid. The Feds raided Shalom Lamm’s buildings (where people claimed to live) – including his offices.

FBI raids Developers Shalom Lamm’s properties in Bloomingburg
http://www.recordonline.com/article/20140314/NEWS/403140348

UPDATED: FBI Raids Bloomingburg Properties Owned By Developer Shalom Lamm In Ongoing Public Corruption Investigation
http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/…/fbi-raids-bloomingburg-p…

According to court testimony from a Sullivan County election commissioner — she heard at the polls during the March 2014 Village election, some new Hasidic voters in Bloomingburg state they didn’t know what street they lived on or what county they were in.

Two more elections followed the March 2014 election and they were both clouded by ongoing challenges to registrations claiming voter fraud. (These two elections determined 1. that the Village would not be dissolved into the Town of Mamakating and 2, put pro-Lamm elected officials into office).

Finally, and to the great relief and satisfaction of the citizens of Mamakating, Bloomingburg and Sullivan County, on December 15, 2016, federal agents arrested Shalom Lamm; his business partner, Kenneth Nakdimen, and a young Satmar man named Volvy “Zev” Smilowitz.

Prosecutors with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York indicted the men on charges of conspiring to corrupt the electoral process. (See below for the press release issued by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.)

Three Real Estate Developers Charged In White Plains Federal Court With Conspiracy To Corrupt The Electoral Process In Bloomingburg, New York
https://www.justice.gov/…/three-real-estate-developers-char…

It also should be noted, that after having reported on the “cultural clash” between the residents of Bloomingburg and the Hasidic newcomers, with little or no interest in the allegations of ongoing corruption and voter fraud, the New York Times pulled out of Bloomingburg and never even reported on the 2014 FBI raid. Never mind that the raid and ongoing saga was reported nationally by many other news outlets. The Times simply refused to cover the story. Now why is that?

It seems Shalom Lamm didn’t think his plan could fail – or maybe as suggested by the three citizen challengers, he wouldn’t have assigned multiple individuals and families to the same addresses and not even bother to assign them apartment or room numbers! Or he wouldn’t have asked people to claim an address in a building he didn’t even own yet! Or he would not have had his own children who were living and working in Israel at the time, register to vote in Bloomingburg.

And as Preet Bharara says: “stay tuned” for possibly more details on the voter fraud from 2014 and more indictments in Bloomingburg, a tiny, tiny village in New York State!

THE PLOT THICKENS
The jump from 396 to 5,000 houses planned for the Bloomingburg Hasidic community: What Lamm’s private emails and documents revealed about his secret development plans despite what he was saying publicly

In secret documents released as part of a lawsuit brought by Shalom Lamm, the developers were exposed in stunning fashion as, among other things, having two sets of plans — one set for the Planning Board to win approval and the other, the real plans, referred to by Nakdimen as the “Yiddishe” plans – for what they intended to actually build.

Additionally, in the emails, those in Mamakating and Bloomingburg opposed to the development, are referred to as the “goyishe enemy.”

See link below for an article and also the attached jpgs of the emails. These are A MUST READ!

5,000 homes planned for Bloomingburg Hasidic community
http://www.recordonline.com/…/5000-homes-planned-for-bloomi…

What’s next? Do the people of Bloomingburg and Mamakating get their Village back? What does the developer’s arrest mean for the future of Hasidic Bloomingburg?

Editorial: Lots to do and re-do in Bloomingburg mess
http://www.recordonline.com/…/editorial-lots-to-do-and-re-d…

What Does Developer’s Arrest Mean for the Future of Hasidic Bloomingburg?
http://forward.com/…/what-does-developers-arrest-mean-for-…/

Editorial: Bloomingburg secrecy needs state attention
http://www.recordonline.com/article/20160427/NEWS/160429415

Stay tuned!

Shalom Lamm and Voter Fraud – What Will He Not do to Make Money?

shalom lamm
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 15, 2016

Three Real Estate Developers Charged In White Plains Federal Court With Conspiracy To Corrupt The Electoral Process In Bloomingburg, New York

Shalom Lamm and Others Charged in Voter Fraud Scheme in Connection with a March 2014 Bloomingburg Election

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), today announced the unsealing of an Indictment charging SHALOM LAMM, KENNETH NAKDIMEN, and VOLVY SMILOWITZ, a/k/a “Zev Smilowitz,” with conspiracy to corrupt the electoral process, in connection with an election in Bloomingburg, New York.   Bharara also today announced the guilty plea of HAROLD BAIRD, a former Town Supervisor of Mamakating, New York, to conspiracy to submit false voter registrations, charged in a one-count Information unsealed today.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated:  “In pursuit of millions of dollars in profits from a real estate development project, the defendants allegedly hatched a cynical ploy to corrupt the electoral process in Bloomingburg.  As alleged, to get public officials supportive of their development project elected to local government, the defendants concocted a scheme to falsely register voters who did not live in Bloomingburg, including some who had never even set foot there.  And to cover up their voter fraud scheme, the defendants allegedly back-dated fake leases and even placed toothpaste and toothbrushes in empty apartments to make them appear occupied by the falsely registered voters.  Profit-driven corruption of democracy cannot be allowed to stand no matter who does it or where it happens.”

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. stated:  “Today’s charges allege the defendants corruptly advanced their own personal real estate projects in Bloomingburg, New York, at the expense of honest citizens who expect and deserve a fair election system.  In their scheme to promote their own real estate development projects, the defendants violated federal law as they schemed to put themselves first.  This type of behavior simply won’t be tolerated.”

As alleged in the Indictment unsealed today in White Plains federal court[1]:

SHALOM LAMM, KENNETH NAKDIMEN, and VOLVY SMILOWITZ, a/k/a “Zev Smilowitz,” the defendants, were real estate developers who, starting in or about 2006, sought to build and sell real estate in Bloomingburg, New York.  From these real estate development projects, the defendants hoped for and anticipated making hundreds of millions of dollars.  But by late 2013, the first of their real estate developments had met local opposition, and still remained under construction and uninhabitable.  When met with resistance, rather than seek to advance their real estate development project through legitimate means, the defendants instead decided to corrupt the democratic electoral process in Bloomingburg by falsely registering voters and paying bribes for voters who would help elect public officials favorable to their project.

Specifically, in advance of an election in March 2014 for Mayor of Bloomingburg and other local officials, LAMM, NAKDIMEN, and SMILOWITZ, the defendants, and others working on their behalf, developed and worked on a plan to falsely register numerous people who were not entitled to register and vote in Bloomingburg, because they actually lived elsewhere.  People the defendants falsely sought to register to vote in Bloomingburg included those who never intended to live in Bloomingburg, those who had never kept a home in Bloomingburg, and indeed, some who had never even set foot in Bloomingburg in their lives.  The defendants took steps to cover up their scheme to register voters who did not actually live in Bloomingburg by, among other things, creating and back-dating false leases and placing items like toothbrushes and toothpaste in unoccupied apartments to make it seem as if the falsely registered voters lived there.

LAMM, NAKDIMEN, and SMILOWITZ, the defendants, also bribed potential voters by offering payments, subsidies, and other items of value to get non-residents of Bloomingburg to unlawfully register and vote there.  LAMM, for example, agreed to pay an individual $500 for every voter that the individual procured, and LAMM and NAKDIMEN’s real estate company ultimately paid the individual more than $30,000 per month for his efforts.

As alleged in a separate Information unsealed today in White Plains federal court:

From in or about January 2014 through in or about March 2014, BAIRD conspired with others to submit false voter registrations so that he could run for political office and vote in Bloomingburg.  In fact, however, BAIRD did not live in Bloomingburg, and his voter registrations were false.

*                      *                     *

LAMM, NAKDIMEN, and SMILOWITZ were arrested this morning and will be arraigned today on the charges in the Indictment before United States Magistrate Judge Judith C. McCarthy in the White Plains federal courthouse.

LAMM, 57, of Bloomingburg, NAKDIMEN, 64, of Monsey, New York, and SMILOWITZ, 28, of Monroe, New York, are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, in particular to corrupt the electoral process by submitting false voter registrations, buying voter registrations, and offering bribes for voter registrations and votes.  The offense carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

BAIRD, 60, of Sullivan County, New York, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to submit false voter registrations, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  The defendant will be sentenced at a future date.  The case is assigned to United States District Judge Cathy Seibel.

The statutory maximum penalties are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencings of the defendants would be determined by the judge.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI-Hudson Valley White Collar Crime Task Force, the Sullivan County District Attorney’s Office, the Sullivan County Sherriff’s Office, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, the Internal Revenue Service, and the United States Postal Inspection Service.  Mr. Bharara also thanked the Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section, Election Crimes Branch, for its assistance in the case.

This case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division.  Assistant United States Attorneys Kathryn Martin, Benjamin Allee, and Perry Carbone are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

“Shalom Lamm Lied, Bloomburg Died”

 

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Will the Manamaking Victory be Short Lived?

Sullivan Farm’s [Shalom Lamm & Co.] attorneys, not present for the Planning Board vote that rescinded the Chestnut Ridge permits, promised swift legal action against the town were the permits to be rescinded. At stake was not the permits for the homes already built but for the unfinished expansion projects.

Apparently, the fact that Lamm and his partners lied on documents, had plans for creation of the occupied territories of Manamaking, is of little concern. We believe that Lamm & Co.’s lies should be first and foremost in the validity of any lawsuit and certain in the defense of one by the town. A court victory would be tantamount to a windfall, setting a precedent for future developers.  From a public policy standpoint, this would validate the use of lies and misleading statements, something any court should be obliged to consider.

Should we as a community, a county, a state, or as a country really allow for this result?

We hope that the town will stand its ground, that townspeople will continue to come together and that this victory will not be short-lived. Lamm & Co lied. They should not be rewarded for raping a community of land through lies and deceit.

Mamakating Planning Board rescinds Chestnut Ridge permits

http://www.recordonline.com/news/20160713/mamakating-planning-board-rescinds-chestnut-ridge-permits#ReaderReaction

MAMAKATING — To thunderous applause from town residents, the Mamakating Planning Board on Wednesday night voted unanimously to rescind permits for the Chestnut Ridge townhouse development in Bloomingburg.

At its third attempt at a due process hearing on the matter since June 16, the board retreated immediately into executive session to consult with Town Attorney Ben Gailey, emerging an hour and 15 minutes later to greet a crowd on edge.

“Give us the news,” one man shouted.

At stake was not just the approvals granted for the contentious 396-unit Hasidic development six years ago by the now-dissolved Bloomingburg Planning Board; at stake was the very future of this tiny, eastern Sullivan County village.

The due process hearing had been called to consider rescission of site plan approval after documents were published that showed the developers of Chestnut Ridge had bigger plans for the project than the 396 units approved in 2009.

The previously secret developers’ documents described a long-term plan for a Hasidic Jewish community of up to 5,000 homes, and the ability of the new residents to outnumber Bloomingburg’s population of 400 and take over the local government.

Summarizing the board’s 20-page resolution to rescind the permits, Gailey said:

“Based on the new evidence received by the Planning Board in the documents that were disclosed by the federal court, based on the material change in facts that the board is now aware of, and based on the materially false statements and misrepresentations made by the developer during the project review process, that warrants and requires the rescission of development approvals.”

Gailey further said those misrepresentations would have extreme adverse effects on the “fiscal impacts, water supply and traffic that are significantly at variance with the project review.”

The rescission does not affect the 51 lots and dwellings already built, but applies to the remainder of the unfinished project, Gailey said.

No further building permits or certificates of occupancy are to be issued until the developer complies with state fire code and submits an amended plan. That compliance must be satisfied with the Department of State.

The developer may submit a new application if those requirements are met, Gailey said.

No representatives of the developer, Sullivan Farms, nor its attorneys, John Henry and Terresa Bakner, attended Wednesday’s due process hearing. Bakner had previously promised a swift and punishing lawsuit against the town if the approvals were rescinded.

While the crowd was overwhelmingly ecstatic over the board’s vote, some, like Bloomingburg resident Lesleigh Weinstein, remained cautiously optimistic.

To read the complete article click, here.

The Push and Pull of the Separation of Church and State

 

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The Curious Case of Kiryas Joel and the Lessons to Be Learned – An Interview

The following is taken from a post on LinkedIn.

We are sharing it with our readers because Kiryas Joel became a blueprint for the many battles that have followed and that continue today. Perhaps history should have told us something. Just down the Thruway into Ramapo, the same battles are being fought and similar battle lines drawn. 

Following the 287/87 Corridor into Lakewood and Toms River is another similar battle, both to some extent following the same pattern as Kiryas Joel had years earlier. In both cases, the ones hurt the most are the public school or non-religious children, which in the case of Ramapo are comprised in large part of African American and Hispanic children.

Is it not about time that we as a country decide if we want to remain a Constitutional Democracy or a Theocracy?

Thanks to our contributor on this one. – Lost Messiah June 13, 2016

 

Chicago Review Press Post about Kiryas Joel Book
Mar 23, 2016
March 21, 2016 • Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes: Louis Grumet and John Caher, authors of The Curious Case of Kiryas Joel

By Meaghan Miller

Louis Grumet and John Caher are the authors of The Curious Case of Kiryas Joel: The Rise of a Village Theocracy and the Battle to Defend the Separation of Church and State. Here, they talk with us about their book—which reveals a true story that took place over 20 years ago—and why the case remains significant today.

The Supreme Court case regarding the small town of Kiryas Joel became a landmark account that threatened the First Amendment. Can you tell us briefly the history of the town, and what exactly they were requesting of the New York State government?

The Village of Kiryas Joel was established in the 1970s as something of a refuge by members of the Satmar Hasidic sect who sought, in essence, a religious and cultural oasis where their children would not have to mix with or be influenced by the outside world or the public schools. They bought up vacant farmland, slowly subdivided the land, and populated it solely with members of the group. Once they had the requisite 600 inhabitants, they invoked a little-known state law and declared the community a village–Kiryas Joel, or “village of Joel,” after the founder. They kept to themselves and, at first, simply wanted to be left alone to raise their families and educate their children, on their terms and in private schools, in this little enclave. A crisis arose because of the large number of disabled children in the village, and the villagers’ inability to provide expensive educational services. In 1989, they used their considerable political clout to persuade the New York State legislature and then Governor Mario Cuomo to give the sect a “public” school for special education, marking the first time in American history that a government unit was established for a religious organization. This school would be used only by the children of a theocratic village, and it would be funded primarily by state and federal tax dollars.

Can you explain why a group like the Satmar holds such significant political leverage?

Although the community is small, the residents almost uniformly vote as they are directed by the rabbi. Consequently, the rabbi is in a position to promise—and deliver—thousands of votes. They also contribute significantly to political candidates who fulfill their requests and, when so motivated, can spark a most effective phone bank. They have no allegiance to either party and will deliver their votes and money to, basically, the highest bidder.

How do the Satmar differ from other groups that choose to separate themselves from the rest of society, like the Amish, for example?

There is a huge difference. The Amish simply want to be left alone in their self-sufficiency and do not expect, or even want, government aid. Kiryas Joel likes to have its cake and eat it, too. It wants total isolation to the extent possible, but they also want every penny of taxpayer money they can get for education, health services, water treatment, housing, and bus transportation, you name it. To be clear, I do not object to their acceptance of government aid, any more than I object to any other citizen or community receiving aid. But when they demand taxpayer money to advance religious interests, that is a problem.

Lou Grumet Credit: Megan Groppe

Lou, you had a close relationship with Governor Mario Cuomo at the time these initial events occurred. Please share with us the backstory of how you found yourself in the middle of this breach of ethics in the first place, and why you went on to become the plaintiff in the court case.

I worked for Mario Cuomo several years before these events occurred. At the time of their occurrence, I was the executive director of the New York State School Boards Association. I considered the governor a friend, mentor, and constitutional scholar, so I went to see him when I heard about the bill and asked him to veto it as a blatantly unconstitutional assault on the Establishment Clause. Governor Cuomo was dismissive with me and shrugged, “Who is going to sue me?” I told him I would, then convinced my association to take on, bravely, the most powerful man in the state. Then, I turned it over to our bright young lawyer, Jay Worona, who would live the case—and defeat the legal Goliaths sent to oppose him—for years to come.

This case took place in 1994—22 years ago. Why is now the time to be telling this story?

For one thing, church-state tension is a constant in American law and American politics, and this was a definitive Supreme Court case that set the boundaries of church-state relationships under the First Amendment. For another, just up the road from Kiryas Joel a similar sect is doing the same sort of thing in East Ramapo. There, the Hasidic community expanded to the point where it could and did take over the local school board, and proceeded to close schools and eliminate programs used largely by black and Hispanic families. It is a boiling cauldron, and in many ways Kiryas Joel was the blueprint. And finally, in recent years the Supreme Court has been rolling back the protections my case preserved, culminating in the 5–4 Hobby Lobby decision that effectively said corporations can impose religious restrictions on their employees. The architect of that backsliding was largely the recently deceased Justice Scalia, who wrote a scathing (and bombastic, I might add) dissent in the Kiryas Joel case. The political battle over Scalia’s successor comes at a crucial crossroad.

John Caher Credit: Robert D. Mayberger

These days, hardly a month goes by without religious freedom being called into question in the news or in a courtroom—from companies that refuse to provide healthcare they object to, to businesses refusing to serve certain people, all based on so-called religious grounds. Do you see your case against Kiryas Joel acting as an important cautionary tale in these ongoing debates on what constitutes religious freedom?

Very much so! If we had lost the case, there would be no reason a group of religious extremists could not buy up vacant land, declare themselves a village, and then demand that the government give them a public school to indoctrinate their children. I firmly believe that if we had not pursued this case, the “wall of separation” that Thomas Jefferson urged between church and state would have begun crumbling. And we have ample evidence throughout history (both ancient and very recent) of what occurs when that happens–chaos, bloodshed and, ultimately, the end of liberty. The natural tension between freedom of religion and freedom from religion is perpetual, and those of us who believe in both rights—the right to worship (or not) as one sees fit and the right to be free from government-sanctioned religious interference—must be eternally vigilant. In the end, our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are at stake.

-compiled by Caitlin Eck

The Curious Case of Kiryas Joel officially publishes on April 1, 2016. It is available wherever books (and e-books) are sold.

“[A] readable look at the nitty-gritty of New York’s political machine.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Grumet passionately lets the reader know where he stands.”—Booklist

Fragin… Chestnut Ridge, MATERIALLY FALSE STATEMENTS

Materially False Statements = anti-Semitism??? What?

http://www.recordonline.com/news/20160525/mamakating-may-rescind-chestnut-ridge-approval

Based on those documents, it appears that “materially false” statements were made to get Chestnut Ridge’s approval, the board said, and the project may cause significantly adverse impacts to the water supply, wastewater treatment, traffic, government services and schools.

The new Bloomingburg village board is seeking candidates for a reconstituted village planning board, but until it is formed, the town has jurisdiction.

The developers had not received notice of the hearing by Wednesday evening, but spokesman Michael Fragin said the town appears to “have once again chosen the path of confrontation and litigation in a discriminatory effort to target Bloomingburg’s Hasidic community.”

Shalom Lamm’s Lies May Be Coming Back to Haunt Him

 

*** BREAKING NEWS *** Approvals for Bloomingburg development may be rescinded

http://www.riverreporter.com/news/14/2016/05/26/approvals-bloomingburg-development-may-be-rescinded

May 26, 2016

The Mamakating planning board, which at least for now still has jurisdiction over Bloomingburg planning decisions, unanimously adopted a resolution on May 24 calling for developer Shalom Lamm to explain why the approvals granted for his controversial development Villages at Chestnut Ridge should not be rescinded. The resolution explains that the planning board will consider rescinding the approvals.

The approvals were granted based on the information contained in environmental documents, which are required by the state for such developments. The resolution says the information provided to the planning board as part of the environmental review process seems to be false. That assertion is based on documents unsealed by a federal court in April in which Lamm reveals that the intent of the development was ultimately to house thousands of Hasidic families, which would put the population well beyond what was foreseen in the environmental documents.

The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) dates to June 2009 and according to the resolution said “that the anticipated number of occupants of the 396-dwelling unit project will not exceed 810 and that the number of school-age children will not exceed 110.” But the documents unsealed by the court last month, according to the resolution, “appear to demonstrate the developer’s plan to develop the lands contiguous to and in the area of the Chestnut Ridge project for the construction of 5,000 dwelling units over a 10-15 year development period, lands already acquired or optioned by the developer.”

The resolution says it appears that the size of the community that was laid out in the unsealed documents, would have environmental impacts, which had not been taken into account, on water, sewer, traffic, government services, schools and other areas. The planning board scheduled a “due process hearing for the applicant/developer to be held on June 16, 2016, at 7:00 PM, at the Town Hall.”

It’s not entirely clear how this will play out. The last election in was in March and was held in the wake of Sullivan County making a deal with a number of challenged Hasidic voters who were registered in Bloominburg, which made it difficult if not impossible for any voters to be challenged again. In that vote, the Village of Bloomingburg Board changed from having a majority of members who were seen to be opposed to Lamm’s development to one with a majority that is seen to be in favor of Lamm’s development. The new village board is seeking candidates for a new Bloomingburg planning board, which would undo the current arrangement with the Town of Mamakating planning board, but that has not yet taken place.

The court that ordered the documents unsealed did so as part of the lawsuit brought by Lamm against the Town of Mamakating and the Village of Bloominburg because Lamm was denied a permit to build a girl’s school. But another case (which was thrown out, but that decision is being appealed) is a RICO lawsuit against Lamm brought by the town and the village. Observers had expected that, because a majority of new board is understood to be in favor of Lamm’s development, the village would have withdrawn from the RICO lawsuit, but to this point that has not happened.

To read the remainder of the article and the Resolution click here.

BLOOMINGBURG, NEW YORK – Shalom Lamm

 

Protest – Call to Action, May 16th

Contributors May 9, 2016

Residents are calling on themselves, their neighbors, law enforcement, politicians and the media to find a way to use those documents to bring criminal charges of fraud against those involved in approving and constructing the high-density housing project Chestnut Ridge.

From the Herald Times:

MAMAKATING — Residents of the Village of Bloomingburg and the surrounding Town of Mamakating are calling for action — from everyone.

Two weeks after developer documents describing a secret long-term plan for Bloomingburg were published, residents are calling on themselves, their neighbors, law enforcement, politicians and the media to find a way to use those documents to bring criminal charges of fraud against those involved in approving and constructing the high-density housing project Chestnut Ridge.
About 70 people gathered at Mamakating town hall Thursday night for a Rural Community Coalition meeting, where they discussed the recently published documents and what further actions can be taken to get justice for what they believe were crimes committed against their community.
RCC President Holly Roche said the documents, which described a long-term plan to build 5,000 homes for Hasidic families in Bloomingburg and take control of the village government, don’t help the RCC build a new civil case against developers Shalom Lamm and Kenneth Nakdimen and the former government officials who approved Chestnut Ridge.

But she said she hopes the documents will be a tipping point for a criminal investigation.
The FBI raided Lamm’s Bloomingburg offices in 2014 and has interviewed local residents as recently as last month. Sullivan County District Attorney Jim Farrell has also stated he is looking into the allegations of fraud and corruption in the village, but no charges have been brought and several civil lawsuits against the developers have been dismissed.
At Thursday’s meeting, residents signed letters addressed to Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther and state Senators John Bonacic and Bill Larkin asking the representatives to make public requests of the state comptroller’s office to open an investigation into the Bloomingburg situation.
A protest was scheduled for Monday, May 16, from noon-4 p.m. at the Sullivan County Courthouse. Residents want to call out law enforcement for their lack of action, and again ask their local politicians to help bring attention to the issues.

“There really should be a public shaming,” Roche said.
Roche reminded the community to be vigilant, and pay close attention to any land deals or business partnerships that could pave the way for fraud. The community is in a better position now to stop any fraud before it occurs, Roche said.

“We are here, and we’re watching,” Roche said.

aloviza-vickery@th-record.com