Local Pharmacist Investigated and Raided by DEA
According to a lohud.com article, Maurice Malin, 82, was arrested during a raid at his home in Montebello, New York. Malin is accused of running a prescription drug scam. The DEA’s New Jersey office had been investigating Malin for about a year and claims he gained more than $6 million a year through the scam. Lohud.com’s article explained the DEA believes Mailin has distributed more than two million butalbital pills through phony prescriptions. His home, three Bronx business locations and a location in Tappan were raided by the DEA according to the article.
Controversial Housing Development Seeks Community Input
Wesley Hills developer Joseph Brachfeld has transformed two parts of Rockland, creating the Town Square indoor mall and then the Evergreen supermarket. He now wants to develop a housing complex, the Town Square Residences on a 23-acre site currently used as a park-and-ride lot. During a meeting with The Journal News/lohud Editorial Board Brachfeld insisted on diversity among the shops and complex. But, many are concerned this area would become another segregated section of the town. Brachfeld admitted to the board most of the shops were Orthodox-owned. He claims to be doing outreach to diverse community groups and houses of worship to draw in tenants from different backgrounds. According to the Journal News area Brachfeld has contacted NAACP leaders who are considering meeting with him “I have a lot of concerns and skepticism regarding that kind of community being able to develop within Rockland County,” Wilbur Aldridge, the NAACP regional director told The Journal News. “There are some people in Rockland who have been more exclusionary in their living environment than others.”
Corruption Sentence Reduced
A disbarred lawyer and former Republican fixer Anthony Mangone, 42, of Harrison has been given a shorter jail sentence after helping prosecutors convict four elected officials and his sentence was delivered on the wrong sentencing guide. He was originally given an 18-month sentence in December but will now be serving one year and one day for bribery and tax fraud. Mangone’s extensive cooperation including helping the feds convict former Yonkers Councilwoman Sandy Annabi and her cousin, former Yonkers GOP chairman Zehy Jereis led his lawyers to ask for no jail time. Mangone was indicted in January 2010 for bribery charges and began cooperating with the feds in March of that year.
Video Records Solicitors in Chestnut Ridge
A video appeared on NBC 4 New York showing a Rockland resident’s cell phone video of real estate solicitors. The video showed aggressive solicitors in her Chestnut Ridge neighborhood. A few towns in the county require permission of residents for solicitation. The video showed a man approaching her property asking if anyone wants to buy her house. She recorded two videos, both showing men in long dark jackets asking if homes were for sale.
Three Rockland Men Linked with East Coast Organized Crime Ring
Several men from Rockland County and the surrounding area were indicted on Thursday Aug. 4, 2016 by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan. This East Coast organized crime ring ran from Massachusetts down to Florida and a federal crackdown resulted in 39 defendants being taken into police custody for various crimes ranging from racketeering, violence and gambling. Three of the men charged include Anthony “Harpo” DePalma, 70, of Stony Point, Paul Cassano of Nanuet and Marco Minuto, 80, of Upper Saddle River. Suspected Genovese crime family captain Pasquale Parrello of Tuckahoe, Joseph Merlino of the Philadelphia area and Genovese acting captain Eugene O’Nofrio of East Haven, Connecticut have been identified as the criminal enterprise leaders according to the indictment.
Orthodox Community Takes Step Toward Policy Change
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish newspaper printed a photograph of Hillary Clinton, although a bit obscured, speaking at a rally in Florida. The English-language weekly paper, Yated Ne’eman, is printed in Rockland. Before this, the paper and other ultra-Orthodox press would only published political cartoons or photos of her husband, Bill Clinton. The photograph showed Clinton’s raised hand and the top of her hair. The Columbia Journalism Review reported last year that editors of these papers were reviewing their policies regarding publishing pictures of women as Clinton’s campaign grew. The policy change will ultimately come from the rabbis according to one CJR article, though this is a step in the right direction.
Homegrown Pot Bust in Stony Point
The Stony Point Police Department arrested Vincent Guarino, 36, after seizing approximately 10 pounds of homegrown marijuana from his home. He currently faces the following charges: first-degree criminal possession of marijuana, a felony, and unlawfully growing cannabis, a misdemeanor. According to the public, the Stony Point officers stormed his home at approximately 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday and found a system of infrared lights and a ventilation and irrigation system used to grow the plants. Following a $500 bail posting, Guarino was released and is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 1.
East Ramapo Community Rallies for School Board Replacement
On Tuesday Aug. 9, 2016, the community outcry for East Ramapo School Board President Yehuda Weissmandl step down was heard as more than 100 people rallied outside of the office during a school board meeting. Organized by a local advocacy group, Strong East Ramapo, the group rallied after Sabrina Charles-Pierre’s term was cut in half after officials learned she was not given the proper oath of office within 30 days of the election results. The Spring Valley NAACP criticized the board and accused them of shortchanging Charles-Pierre, “a black woman representing the interests of public school parents on a board dominated by Orthodox Jewish men who send their children to private schools” according to lohud.com. The board has also been criticized for filling a spot on the board with a real estate businessman as opposed to someone with ties to the students, such as Jean Fields, a retired Ramapo High School principal. During the meeting current board member Joe Chajmovicz, 41, was asked if he would step down to allow someone with more knowledge of the school district to join the board.
Kiryas Joel Community in Orange County Petitions for New Town
A press release on Tuesday Aug. 16, 2016 announced that Kiryas Joel leaders in Orange County, New York are starting a petition to ask the county legislator to form a new town consisting of their village and 382 surrounding acres. If it makes it to the county legislator, a two-thirds majority is needed to approve the request. “Many people have complained about Kiryas Joel voters having too much of a say in the Town of Monroe,” according to Kiryas Joel Administrator Gedalye Szegedin in the press release. Some Monroe residents including Emily Convers, the chairwoman of the United Monroe Citizens group, oppose the new proposal “because it would foster the same dense housing development, population grown and strain on local resources that fueled opposition to annexation” according to a recordonline.com article. According to the article no action by either the Monroe Town Board or the Kiryas Joel Village board is needed for the petition to be presented the county legislature.
Fire Destroys Bardonia Condos
A fire destroyed four condo units and damaged eight others in Germonds Village in Bardonia on Tuesday Aug. 16, 2016 according to a lohud.com article. The fire started shortly before 7 a.m. and authorities are not sure how many people have been left homeless from the destruction. The fire’s cause has not been determined yet and no residents were injured. The weather on Tuesday impacted the firefighters. “Days like today (are) a fireman’s worst nightmare,” Nanuet Fire Chief Todd Giraudin told lohud.com. Part of Route 304 was closed while firefighters extinguished the fire.
Carlucci Urges Zombie Home Reporting
To help maintain area property values, on Aug. 11, 2016 State Senators David Carlucci and Jeff Klein and Mayors Jennifer White of Nyack and Bonnie Christian of South Nyack urged Rockland residents to utilize a new state hotline to report zombie homes. An investigation by the state senators showed that zombie homes in Rockland decreased from 272 to 202 after Senator Klein’s legislative package holding banks accountable for the maintenance of zombie properties was enacted. The press release states the abandoned properties continue to cost Rockland homeowners more than $6.2 million in house value deprecation. “Effective December 20th, 2016, New York State has adopted a law which will address this issue. Municipalities will be able to enter onto and maintain any mortgage delinquent residential property in order to address a threat to public health, safety, and welfare. This has been a long time coming. South Nyack will definitely take advantage of this new law to protect the health of our residents and the values of our properties,” Mayor Christian said.