Two representatives of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo are allegedly meeting today with the Williamsburg Satmar Rebbe, Rabbi Zalman Leib Teitelbaum, to pressure him to agree to a deal for the sale of the massive Williamsburg Armory.
Satmar sources tell me that two representatives of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (one of them the governor's Jewish liaison Abraham Eisner) are meeting today with Williamsburg Satmar Rebbe Zalman Leib Teitelbaum to pressure him to agree to a deal regarding the purchase of the massive Williamsburg Armory.
Zalman's Satmar faction has allegedly so far refused to go along with the deal (which apparently is seen by Zalman to give too much benefit the rival Satmar faction headed by his brother, the Kiryas Joel Satmar Rebbe Rabbi Aharon Teitelbaum).
The state Is allegedly "holding hostage" the occupancy permits for four Satmar camps in Ulster County, using them as leverage to get Zalman to sign on to the deal. (How this could be seems more than unclear because these permits are controlled by local authorities, not the state. However, the state's Department of Health could be blocking occupancy, and that could be what is really happening – if anything is really happening at all.)
The armory deal – first reported by FailedMessiah.com on March 28 – would see the armory sold to a Satmar organization at well below its fair market value.
Update 7:14 pm CDT – One of the Satmar sources explains the proposed deals and the fighting over them like this.
Aharon’s faction will get the armory on condition they drop all court cases against Zalman’s faction. Zalman’s faction will get the big synagogue on Wilson Street and the upstate camps, as well.
But Zalman’s faction is insisting that the Kiryas Joel cemetery is theirs. Aharon’s faction refused to agree to that, so the deal is stalled.
The second option allegedly presented by Cuomo’s aides sees the two factions split armory. Zalman’s faction would get the bigger part on Marcy Avenue and Aharon’s faction would get the smaller part on other side, while the two factions divide the upstate camps equally, two for Zalman’s faction and two for Aharon’s faction. Both sides allegedly rejected this option outright.