A network of limited liability companies tied to a Kiryas Joel developer has given Governor Andrew Cuomo $250,000 in 2015, more than any other source. These donations were made less than a week after the governor vetoed a bill leaders of the hasidic village described as restricting its development.
Capital New York reports:
A network of limited liability companies tied to a Kiryas Joel developer has given Governor Andrew Cuomo $250,000 in 2015, more than any other source. These donations were made less than a week after the governor vetoed a bill leaders of the Hasidic village described as restricting its development.
The legislation would have required the approval of annexation attempts by local governments within their borders. It was prompted by Kiryas Joel’s attempt to annex 507 acres, which would “make the village up to 70 percent larger.”
A spokesman for the governor pointed to his veto message, which described the bill as unconstitutional. While disapproving of the legislation on July 8, the governor said it ran afoul of Article IX of the New York State Constitution by giving “counties control over local annexation petitions that would not impact a county’s boundaries.”
On July 13 and 14, a series of nine checks from vaguely-titled L.L.C.s entered Cuomo’s campaign account, according to a filing he submitted to the New York State Board of Elections on July 15.
Eight of these checks had their addresses listed on Cuomo’s disclosure forms as Ste. B04 at 266 Broadway in Brooklyn. In their corporate registrations with the Department of State, however, their addresses were listed as 11 Hayes Court, Unit 201, in the town of Monroe, which contains Kiryas Joel. One of them has filed paperwork in Williamsburg identifying an associated developer as Joel Hirsch.
The ninth check had a different address on Cuomo’s forms, but came from an L.L.C. registered at the same Hayes Court address.
This address has been listed in several places as the address of Mayer Hirsch, including the registration forms for a separate company, Kiryas Joel Meat Market.
Several property-holding companies where Hirsch serves as an officer signed the annexation petition that could have been blocked had Cuomo approved the bill last week. Hirsh is also an officer with the Kiryas Joel Municipal Local Development Corporation. He was also chairman of Vaad Hakiryah, which initially purchased much of the land, according to United Monroe, a group which supported the bill.
Assemblyman James Skoufis, the legislation’s sponsor, disputed the governor’s claim that the proposal was unconstitutional. In a statement issued lat week, he called it “flat-out wrong,” since it would have given review powers to the county’s planning department rather than its legislature. (The section of the constitution cited by the governor says a county’s “governing board” shall only have review powers if it affects the boundaries of the county.)
“The perception certainly is that these big moneyed interests will get what they need if they give enough money,” said Barbara Bartoletti of the League of Women Voters of New York States.
Calls to two numbers listed online as belonging to Hirsch were not answered.