The tiny Village of Bloomingburg in eastern Sullivan County, New York will vote tomorrow on a referendum to dissolve and merge the 420-person village with the adjoining Town of Mamakating, allegedly to prevent a Satmar hasidic takeover.
Tense Vote Scheduled For Tuesday In Bloomingburg
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
The tiny Village of Bloomingburg in eastern Sullivan County, New York will vote tomorrow on a referendum to dissolve and merge the 420-person village with the adjoining Town of Mamakating.
The vote is in line with initiatives taken by New York State that encourage small and often redundant governments to combine to increase efficiency and eliminate waste.
But what prompted Bloomingburg’s move wasn’t likely waste-cutting – it was the sudden influx of Satmar hasidim meant to take over the tiny upstate New York village in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains and take it for their own.
The migration of hasidim to Bloomingburg centers around a 396-unit high density town home development being built on the edge of the village by Modern Orthodox developer Shalom Lamm. Lamm used a frontman to pitch the development to the village as a low-density retirement and vacation home development complete with a golf course. But instead, through a series of deceptive (and, many opponents claim, illegal) moves, the bucolic development morphed into a Satmar hasidic development advertised by its Satmar backers as a new Satmar hasidic village.
Lamm, his family and about 100 hasidim tried to claim Bloomingburg residency and vote in the village’s elections this past March. The votes were thrown out and a local county judge chastised Lamm and the hasidim for their apparent attempt at voter fraud. Lamm’s daughter and son-in-law, who live and work full time in Israel, came to New York to try to vote in that election. In a court filing in December, Lamm himself claimed a legal residence in West Hempstead, many miles away from Bloomingburg.
Also in March, the FBI raided Lamm’s Bloomingburg office and some of his local properties, and Lamm is believed to be under an open criminal investigation.
Lamm and his spokesman have repeatedly claimed anti-Semitism is behind the locals’ opposition, even though some of those local opponents of Lamm are themselves Jewish.
Tomorrow’s vote will be held from noon until 9 p.m. at Bloomingburg Village Hall. At least on paper, only the 362 registered voters of Bloomingburg are eligible to vote.
According to the Times Herald-Record, there have already been more than 200 challenges to those voter registrations from both sides of the conflict.
Lamm recently filed suit against the village, the Town of Mamakating, and several local officials, in part to stop tomorrow's referendum from being held.