The tiny Village of Bloomingburg, New York issued the stop-work orders. But controversial Modern Orthodox developer Shalom Lamm’s company ignored them and continued to work on the building in question, a former hardware store on the corner of Main Street and Winterton Road. Lamm has also allowed people, presumably Satmar hasidim, to use the upper floors of the building as a gathering place, despite there being no certificate of occupancy and despite there being only one exit.
Scandal-Plagued Modern Orthodox Developer Ignores Stop-Work Orders, Allows Property To Be Occupied Without Permit
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
The tiny Village of Bloomingburg, New York issued the stop-work orders.
But controversial Modern Orthodox developer Shalom Lamm’s company ignored them and continued to work on the building in question, a former hardware store on the corner of Main Street and Winterton Road. Lamm has also allowed people, presumably Satmar hasidim, to use the building as a gathering place, despite there being no certificate of occupancy.
A stop-work order dated July 9 is still posted on the building’s window, the Times Herald-Record reported.
“Building may not be occupied until planning board approval and/or any required permits or certificates of occupancy are obtained,” the order reportedly reads.
“Basically, they did not follow the stop-work order,” Mayor Frank Gerardi reportedly said at Thursday’s Village Board meeting, held one day after the latest stop-work order was issued. Gerardi noted that the building also hasn’t been inspected.
The mayor said his biggest fear related to the building was safety related, and focused on the upstairs area of the building which has been illegally used as a gathering place.
“My biggest fear is that there is only one entrance and exit from upstairs,” said Gerardi, said.
Geradi’s claims were echoed by several village residents at meeting, as well.
The Village of Bloomingburg reportedly sent its first letter to Lamm ordering Lamm to stop work in June. When the work continued despite that letter, the stop-work order was posted on the building’s window by the village.
Lamm declined the Times Herald-Record’s request for comment.
Lamm is building a 396-unit Satmar hasidic development in the village. He and his associates allegedly tried to mask the true nature of that development by using a front man to pose as the developer and by originally presenting the project as low density vacation and retirement homes, complete with a golf course.
The development was advertised late last year in the Satmar Zalman faction’s Yiddish language newspaper Der Yid in a 16-page special advertising insert and with front page coverage in the same edition touting a new Satmar-only “shtetl” called Kiryas Yated Lev.
The ad and the paper’s coverage of the development both broke US Fair Housing law according to experts.
Lamm, his family and dozens of hasidim improperly tried to vote in the tiny village’s March election in what election officials and observers saw as an attempt at election fraud. Among those who tried to vote was Lamm’s daughter and son-in-law, who both live and work in Israel, and Lamm himself, who had claimed a New Hempsted, New York address as his residence in a court filing made in December.
About 100 votes, including those of Lamm and his family, were rejected by elections officials.
Bloomingburg’s total legal population at the time of the election was only about 420 people, including children.
Lamm owns several other older buildings on Main Street in the village that are reportedly already occupied by hasidim.
Some of those buildings have also reportedly been issued stop-work orders.
Bloomingburg does not currently have a code enforcement officer who could enforce occupancy laws. The village is reportedly in the process of interviewing candidates for that position.
Police were called and told about the illegal work and illegal and unsafe occupancy, but reportedly have not responded.
The FBI raided Lamm’s Bloomingburg office and many of his properties in the village several months ago, and Lamm is believed to be under criminal investigation.