Monroe Hasidic school an enigma
Teen boys study in home despite citations
By Chris Mckenna • Times Herald-Record
MONROE — The big house set back in the woods at the end of Cliff Court has been a source of mystery and irritation for neighbors on the quiet cul de sac in recent months.
Vehicles come and go at all hours, and several times, whole groups of them have sped up the driveway with emergency lights flashing.
And perhaps the oddest: Neighbors have watched drivers pass black, plastic garbage bags from one vehicle to another at night at the end of the driveway.
What's going on at 21 Cliff Court?
At the moment, it's clear that a school is operating there, although neither the owner of the house nor the men running the school will discuss it.
The Town of Monroe building inspector concluded as much on Aug. 3, when he counted four boys outside and spied 11 black hats inside by peering through a garage window.
He wound up citing the owner for converting the three-car garage and basement into classrooms without building permits, along with six other code violations.
That hasn't stopped classes. On Wednesday morning, despite the violations and a foreclosure cloud over the property, teenage boys could be seen studying inside the garage. One was sent outside to report that no adults wanted to answer questions.
Isidor Landau, the Spring Valley man who bought the newly built house for $800,000 in 2004, later referred questions to his attorney, whom he wouldn't identify.
The property remains in the hands of a limited-liability corporation Landau transferred it to, although the mortgage company that lent him and his wife $640,000 for the house foreclosed on it in June, claiming that payments stopped last year.
It's unclear what town approvals, aside from building permits, were needed to create a school in the house, which the town classifies as a single-family home with an accessory apartment and taxes accordingly. Property-tax bills totaled nearly $29,000 last year.
Neighbors say the house — one of eight on the block — initially was used to board some of the Eastern European women who clean homes in neighboring Kiryas Joel.
[Hat Tip: Seymour.]