Remember the Monsey rabbi who illegally claimed his house as a synagogue to avoid taxes? The one who had his married children living in apartments within the dwelling? He's gone to court to regain his tax exempt status. The Journal News reports:
… Ryan Karben, the attorney representing the congregation, said he expected it to come before the zoning board no earlier than April.
"I don't believe there will be any tenants," beyond the rabbi's residence, Karben said. "The apartments are being removed."
The changes sought would remove the violations against the property, and again make it eligible for tax-exempt status.
It had a 100 percent religious exemption from property taxes in 2002, but that was reduced to a 67 percent exemption in 2004 when the town couldn't confirm the occupancy of one of the apartments.
Ramapo Assessor Scott Shedler petitioned the Assessment Review Board last year to make the property fully taxable after town inspectors discovered the illegal apartment.
The inspectors were also unable to find a synagogue on the site.
Violations filed against the property last year are still pending in Town Court. The next court date is April 19 before Justice Arnold Etelson.
In a description of the planned local house of worship - that implies that congregants will walk from the immediate area - Karben told the town that Rabbi Gedalia Oberlander will convert one of the apartments "into a small worship area."
Karben stated in the document filed with the Building Department that "the congregation is exceedingly small, comprised of approximately 20 congregants who are primarily Rabbi Oberlander's relatives."
The 5,127-square-foot house has a taxable value of $109,000, according to the Assessor's Office.
If the property gets the 100 percent exemption, it will be freed of tax bills totaling about $15,000 annually.…
UPDATE: Yes, the attorney is that Ryan Karben.