“There have been people in there. There was garbage and food. We believe they [the congregation] are in contempt of the judge’s order and we will be filing additional documents with the judge. We will be asking for fines or jail time."
Town To Take Hasidic Yeshiva To Court Over Repeated Fire, Safety, Building And Other Code Violations
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Earlier today, Clarkstown, New York town officials accused a haredi yeshiva operated by the hasidic Congregation Lizensk of violating a state judge’s order and using the violation-ridden former Singer’s catering hall as a school, the Journal News reported. The building has numerous fire, safety and building code violations and Clarkstown has issued multiple citations. The town eventually took Congregation Lizensk to local court, which levied several thousands dollars in fines. But the violations continued prompting Clarkstown to ask a New York State Supreme Court to shut down the school, which the court did.
But months after the school was supposed to be shuttered, firefighters have now found evidence the building was still being used when responding a false alarm.
“There have been people in there. There was garbage and food. We believe they [the congregation] are in contempt of the judge’s order and we will be filing additional documents with the judge. We will be asking for fines or jail time,” Town Supervisor Alexander Gromack reportedly told the Journal News today, adding that the judge told the Congregation Lizensk and town officials during an October court hearing that “the life and safety of people comes before personal gain and anything else.”
Both Fire Inspector Vincent Narciso and Gromack reportedly claimed the garbage was not left by workers making needed repairs to the building because, Gromack said, “nothing’s been fixed.…We take this very serious. God forbid something happens and there’s a fire.”
Congregation Lizensk – which is based in Ramapo, New York – is also accused there of operating schools and dormitories over several years without proper permits in violation of local laws. After Congregation Lizensk ignored years of violations, Ramapo’s Town Board recently decided to take the hasidic congregation to New York State Supreme Court.
The Clarkstown school reportedly teaches as many as 180 students and its 50 dormitory rooms house about 150 students in nearby Nanuet, which abuts Spring Valley.
Court records reportedly show that Clarkstown fire inspectors found the congregation did repair and remodeling work inside the building, including removing and moving doors and walls, without proper permits. Congregation Lizensk also does not have a valid certificate of occupancy for parts of the school building.