FROM RAMAPO WHAT THEY DON’T WANT YOU TO KNOW:
Community Outreach Center’s Hersh Horowitz Presides Over “ESCSD Funeral”
*Vote NO on the bond*
*Vote NO on the bond*
Residents in the Rockland County town of Ramapo claim town officials are allowing single-family homes on small residential lots to be turned into religious schools with little or no public notice.
Suffern resident Annette Doerr said she has been battling the conversion of a home next door into an ultra-Orthodox school for several years. Doerr told the I-Team she believes there are more than 200 students in the four-bedroom house but has been unable to get specific information.
“It’s six days a week,” she said. “Whenever they’re on recess, we can’t be outside.”
“It’s too dangerous, it’s too dense,” she added. “The home was meant for a family.”
The property manager declined to tell the I-Team how many students attend the school.
Minna Greenbaum, another Suffern resident, said there are areas where almost every property on a block is a school or religious institution.
“The town turns a blind eye,” she said. “Everything is allowed.”
Residents said they are not opposed to schools if there is sufficient property to accommodate the students and buses safely.
Resident Peter Katz recently filed a lawsuit over a school that’s being developed on a nearby lot.
“A friend of mine owned this house, sold it to someone, and the very next thing, I discovered by accident it’s being converted to a school,” Katz said. “There was no public notice.”
Members of the Spring Valley Fire Department, which responds to emergency calls in the town of Ramapo, said they are especially concerned about modular trailers being moved onto residential lots as classrooms to accommodate students.
“We don’t even get the fire plans, and that’s the biggest thing,” said Captain Justin Schwartz. “It gets approved without us saying so. It’s a crime.”
The town of Ramapo passed a law limiting the use of “temporary” trailers to a maximum of two years. Democratic Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski said town officials have allowed the proliferation of “permanent” trailers to be used without proper enforcement.
He said he believes the New York Department of State should take over Ramapo’s building department.
“This is a willful, systemic ignoring of the law by those that are in charge, and when you have that, the State needs to step in,” he said.
Michael Klein, attorney for the town of Ramapo, told the I-Team that schools with permits are safe.
“The town of Ramapo will not issue a permission of occupancy permitting property to be used as a school unless it meets all fire and building codes,” he said.
“Whether people like the growing size of the community and the need to address the growing population, that’s a quality of life issue and people have different views of that,” he added.
Census figures for 2015 to 2016 showed there are 24,000 non-public school students in the East Ramapo school district and 8,500 public school students.
Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee’s Interview Above
The New York Department of State’s Division of Licensing Services held a public meeting at Rockland Community College Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016. They are considering a “cease and desist zone” to prohibit blockbusting tactics – Peter Carr/The Journal News
“Chestnut Ridge is going full Orthodox, like Monsey,” Claudia Gollub said she was told by an unnamed home buyer. “We will make our community aware not to buy your house until you have no choice (but) to sell for the lower-than-market price.”
Gollub’s story was one of many voiced by dozens of residents. The hearing displayed the growing tensions between homeowners and home buyers in the county.
Representatives from the Department of State listened for three hours as residents recounted their experiences of pushy home buyers knocking on their doors, calling their homes and leaving unwanted flyers.
Residents can submit further testimony and evidence by mailing it to:
The New York Department of State
99 Washington Ave
One Commerce Plaza
Albany, NY 12231
c/o Whitney A. Clark
Here are links to YouTube videos of statements made at this meeting you may like to watch watch.
Michael Miller’s statement:
Senator Carlucci’s statement:
Assemblyman Zebrowski’s statement:
County Executive Day’s statement:
Assemblywoman Jaffee’s statement:
Part II of Carlucci Interview: http://www.fios1news.com/lowerhudsonvalley/newsbreakers-interview-DavidCarlucci-part2#.V-vktaL67Md
For many people living in Rockland County, the great tragedy of Provident Park, home of the Rockland Boulders, is not only the alleged misappropriation of funds by Christopher St. Lawrence, assisted by Aaron Troodler (https://www.google.com/search?q=chrisopher+st.+lawrence&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8), which fostered the building of that stadium. Both St. Lawrence and Troodler were charged with upwards of 22 counts of fraud, wire fraud and other charges.
It is also the tragic loss of Matterhorn Nurseries which is now partially developed into housing, most ultra-Orthodox and Orthodox communities.
Christopher St. Lawrence, according to Rockland County residents is, has been and will always be in the pockets of the ultra-Orthodox community. He cares little about the public schools, the over-development and the ramifications for an entire community because he has been well compensated. The fact that the ultra-Orthodox intent upon over-development, siphoning funds from public education to private yeshivas and utilizing taxpayer money to fund their very existence, is of little relevance when they vote in droves to support him as Town Supervisor. From our view, Lawrence, Troodler, and others belong behind bars.
From the opinion of some living in Rockland County, it is difficult to believe that the owners of the Boulders knew nothing about the unsavory way in which the stadium was funded, the misappropriation of funds out of the pockets of taxpayers and the destruction of the Horn family’s iconic nursery. It is hard to tell whether they, like St. Lawrence were in the pockets of the ultra-Orthodox community and whether the building of the stadium was their share of the pie.
The opinion piece posted below, comments to the contention that mega-development in Rockland County is not Orthodox-only. He compares a Route 59 development plan to the “Provident Park debacle.” If the owners of the Boulders knew of the misappropriation of funds and participated in some form or another, then the comparison is correct but the conclusion is wrong. It would not be “Orthodox-only.”
We leave you to ponder….
Re “Monsey mega-developer: Don’t assume it’s Orthodox-only,” Aug. 11 article:
I can’t believe such a project would be considered for the proposed site. Then I remembered, it’s Ramapo and history shows that anything the community’s wealthy developers want, they get, regardless of costs and consequences to town residents.
The article includes photos of nice drawings of a large, New York City-style urban development with trees and landscaping, and even a few cars. Not surprisingly, they don’t show Route 59.
The drawings and the details of the plan are pure fantasy and a public deception. Six days a week, that location is already a dangerous traffic choke-point on Route 59.
The plan boasts more than 600 parking spaces and, like all such plans proposed in Ramapo, it will undoubtedly fall far short of the actual need in favor of money-making apartment space.
Regardless, the spots represent at least that many additional vehicles in the area. Shoppers visiting the ground-level stores will bring even more vehicles.
The hundreds of housing units represent thousands of children (if not now, in the near future). That requires more than 100 school buses each transporting children back and forth several times each day.
Additionally, there will be the taxis, delivery vehicles, sanitation vehicles, service vehicles, medical transport vehicles, etc. trying to move through the impossibly congested area. It will be interesting to see a fire truck or ambulance navigate the area in response to a call for help.
How can this possibly work? To begin to even try to make such a plan work will require incredibly expensive and massive capital improvements to the area’s infrastructure, including water, sewers, utilities and roads.
What about the environmental costs? What about public and park spaces for the many, many people who would reside there?
What portion of the astronomical financial cost will the wealthy developers be required to pay?
I think that the taxpayers of Ramapo and Rockland are looking at another Provident Stadium debacle. I’m still paying for a stadium I didn’t want, and I don’t want to pay for a nonsensical project that will further enrich the community’s already wealthy and politically powerful developers.
As for the title of the article, “Builder: It’s not orthodox-only,” I don’t believe it for a minute.
to read this article and similar ones click here.
In 2011, the Ramapo Local Development Corp (think Christopher St. Lawrence and Aaron Troodler, et.al. SEC complaint) began selling units in a housing project referred to in social circles as the “Rockland Affordable Housing” project. The development was allegedly intended to be purchased by people who wanted homes but could not afford them and by design the target buyer was ultra-Orthodox. What in public was billed as affordable housing in private was nothing more than below market investment properties which would eventually yield buyers profits in the millions when they decided to sell.
The homes were purchased in large part by numerous LLC’s, many of which were and continue to be untraceable non-profits and tax-exempt entities. The homes were not purchased by the downtrodden.
One of the names among the owners is the family of Yossi Gestetner who lives in one of the Elm Street properties. He is one of the founders of OJPAC, a Political Action Committee heavily involved in endorsing the same corruption that makes up the fabric of Rockland County’s ultra-Orthodox Jewry, particularly as it connects to the Borough Park community. His ties to Dov Hiking and Boro Park’s elite Shomrim are no secret.
It also comes as no surprise that David and Naomi Bodner were among the first “buyers” of the property when the LDC started selling it. You know. The same Bodners who are involved with Marty Huberfeld and Platinum Parnters. The same Bodners who have more money than they could spend in a century of generations of lifetimes, much of it we surmise was amassed in less than savory transactions.
For your review we have included the SEC Complaint against Christopher St. Lawrence and his accomplices naming the Elm Street properties voraciously. We have also included articles picked up by Failed Messiah and a number of others.
This Elm Street properties are one family of the CSL LDC properties among many that heavily tie Rockland County’s Hasidic and ultra-Orthodox community (and its leaders) to Boro Park, and to some of New York’s dirtier politics. They also tie Rockland County to family Bodner and many of its family foundations. We expect there are more treasures to be found beyond what has been named over the years.
Feds Uncover Alleged Ramapo Haredi Housing Scam – FailedMessiah.com
THE JOURNAL NEWS REPORTED:
D.A.’s ultra-Orthodox liaison surrenders badge
Zugibe praises Beck
Zugibe initially defended Beck when asked whether his badge would be revoked.
“His efforts during the past eight years have enabled my prosecutors to build trust within these highly insular communities, resulting in greater reporting of criminal conduct by residents, including incidents of sexual abuse,” Zugibe said.
Rabbi Zalman Beck and state Sen. Malcolm Smith outside L’chaim Manor in Monsey on April 26, 2012. They would be joined by FBI cooperator Moses Stern. Zugibe declined to provide Beck’s job description, any qualifications he possessed or any permissible uses of the badge.
“Rabbi Beck has also made great strides in educating the communities to ensure compliance with our laws. He has proven to be a respected and effective asset to law enforcement in Rockland County.”
Beck is said to work behind-the-scenes, helping political campaigns. For instance, he helped state Sen. David Carlucci gain support in the ultra-Orthodox community.
Beck and Moses Stern
It remains unclear why Beck helped Moses Stern, an FBI criminal cooperator, in the Smith sting.
Beck introduced Stern to Smith and Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin, who was convicted of selling her vote on a proposed community center and catering hall. Stern had defrauded Citigroup out of $126 million and was working with the government, hoping to shave time off a potential 455-year prison sentence.
Beck also vouched for Stern the night before Stern met with state Sen. David Carlucci in 2013, attempting to gain funding for a project during the sting. Carlucci, instead, referred Stern to the regional economic development committee, according to Politico, which covered Carlucci’s testimony in January 2015.
Federal court records show Stern provided Smith $27,000 in straw donor checks in 2012, including checks from Joseph and Esther Markowtiz of Monsey and one from an FBI account. Beck obtained at least some of the checks, prosecutors said at Smith’s sentencing.
“Rabbi Beck is the guy who got the straw donor checks,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Bloom at the sentencing. “He’s the guy who went out and got them. That’s on tape.”
Sen. Carlucci’s testimony
Carlucci testified during Smith’s trial that Beck called him the night before he met with Stern in February 2013 to vouch for Stern.
“I don’t remember the specifics, but in general, it was that he was a good person, a stand-up character, and if there was any way that I could be helpful to him, I should be,” Carlucci testified.
Beck assisted Carlucci’s 2010 campaign, helping him get out the vote in the Orthodox Jewish community and put up lawn signs, Carlucci testified.
The Journal News/lohud.com learned of the allegations against Beck while investigating the New York Jewish Communications Channel, an Orthodox Jewish radio show and communications network through which the U.S. Attorney’s Office and FBI targeted politicians seeking the ultra-Orthodox bloc vote.
Stern used the show and its literature to gain credibility with FBI targets, at least some of whom were given straw donations by Joseph Markowitz, who is listed as registering the corporation with the state, and his wife Esther.
The NYJCC claimed to be a major force in the 2010 elections, representing a bloc of over 100,000 Jewish voters and acting as a channel for elected officials to communicate with the Jewish community.
It’s unclear how the Markowitzes are involved in the Smith sting and whether they were knowingly assisting the government.
Along with Smith, they are listed as donating to ex-New York City Councilman Dan Halloran, Rockland Family Court Judge Sherri Eisenpress’ 2011 campaign and to Eric Schneiderman, both before and after Schneiderman, a former state senator, was elected state attorney general. All four were radio guests. Halloran was also convicted in the sting. Like Smith, he received a donation from an FBI account, court records show.
Earlier this month, The Journal News reported that Stern testified he helped elect Eisenpress by using her money to bankroll an illegal campaign finance scheme and by bribing a public official.
Her campaign has denied any wrongdoing and Zugibe has said an investigation found no evidence of criminality. Beck was a supporter of Eisenpress’ campaign.
A court order still bars the media and public from seeing much of the material prosecutors turned over to the defense regarding the Smith sting operation. U.S. District Judge Kenneth Karas issued the protective order at prosecutors’ request in 2013, prohibiting the release of records, including many conversations between Stern and Beck that weren’t entered into evidence. Stern has helped the FBI investigate more than 30 other targets.
Releasing the material could jeopardize “ongoing investigations into potentially serious criminal conduct,” he wrote.
The campaign finance disclosures, however, of current Rockland County Family Court Judge, Sherri Eisenpress, Friends of Sherri Eisenpress, and the transactions connected to her 2011 campaign for that office is by far the most intriguing. Between July and December of 2011, Friends of Sherri Eisenpress received two $5,000.00 donations, twenty-five $4,000.00 donations, one for $3,500.00 and one for $3,000.00; a total of $116,500.00. Eighteen of those donations came from seventeen individuals totaling $70,500.00 and eleven came from ten business entities for $46,000.00.”
An FBI informant at the center of a political corruption probe that brought down the former state Senate majority leader says he helped elect Rockland Family Court Judge Sherri Eisenpress by using her money to bankroll an illegal campaign finance scheme and by bribing a public official, an investigation by The Journal News found.
The cooperator, Orthodox Jewish developer Moses Stern, never mentioned Eisenpress by name when he testified about the scheme at the 2014 corruption trial of ex-New York City Councilman Dan Halloran. But, in recent weeks, two independent sources confirmed to The Journal News/lohud that Stern was referring to her.
WHO’S WHO: Those involved in the Eisenpress case
ON THE AIR: Orthodox Jewish radio show used in FBI sting
INVESTIGATE: Rockland legislator wants Eisenpress donations probed
GUILTY: Ex-Spring Valley mayor gets 4-year sentence
Stern claimed the key to the scheme was creating fake donors to give the appearance that Eisenpress, a virtual unknown seeking her first term on the bench, had broader community support than she actually did. To create the bogus donors, Stern gave her money to individuals who funneled it back into the campaign, he testified.
Through others, the judge has denied any knowledge of Stern’s scheme and no one has ever been charged with a crime stemming from the allegations.
“The matter was investigated and we found no evidence of criminality,” said Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe.
Howard Reiss, who was Eisenpress’ campaign treasurer and former law partner, dismissed the allegations, saying her ethics are “above reproach.” To his knowledge, he said, all campaign finance reports were filed truthfully and accurately.
“He (Stern) didn’t set up anything using Sherri’s money. That’s nonsense,” Reiss said. “How would we know what Mark Stern did? I have no idea what you’re talking about, nor does that make any sense to me.”
When a reporter read Stern’s testimony and told Reiss the scheme was detailed in Stern’s cooperation agreement, Reiss said, “I don’t care what Mr. Stern may have said or what you may be reading from a transcript, but I don’t believe it.”
Please read the Lohud article from its original source: