TIMELINES 2/7/19

Cold Hudson Dip in Stony Point Raises Funds for Local Families

The 20th annual Stony Point Seals Plunge took place last weekend when over 100 people dipped into the cold Hudson River to raise funds for charity. This fundraiser supports individuals in the community who are in need of support. For the 20th anniversary, the event raised money for families of two local children who are sick, to help pay for medical expenses. Aside from jumping in the river, the event offered music, food and raffles with donated gifts for participants.

Rockland Locals at Super Bowl

Two Rockland locals were celebrating big with the New England Patriots win in the Super Bowl last weekend. Jason and Devin McCourty, of Nyack, spoke with Robert Kraft, owner of the Patriots, who thanked Jason for his positivity in the locker room. Jason joined the team in March, when he was a draft pick after a 0-16 season with the Cleveland Browns. “Seeing your spontaneity and your happiness, I think helped the whole locker room appreciate this. I’m just glad we closed the order unlike last year,” Kraft said.

The Fate of the Time Hotel in Nyack to be Determined

The fate of the boutique Time Hotel in Nyack will be determined later this month, as the deadline for the bankruptcy trustee to receive written proposals is Feb. 15. The hotel has been in bankruptcy since July 2018. The group faces Chapter 11 bankruptcy and the contracted management company, Dream Hotel Group, took control of the bank accounts. Dream Hotel Group is expected to put in a bid for the hotel, which includes up to $45 million in debt. This debt total includes an almost $19 million loan from Bank Hapoalim, a $10 million loan secured by a mortgage against the hotel, and more than $350,000 in property taxes. Some believe the property might be bought by a major hotel group such as Hilton, Marriott or Starwood.

Spring Valley Building Inspector Convicted of Fraud

A former building inspector for Spring Valley was convicted of a felony and two misdemeanors in Rockland County Court. Walter Booker was found guilty of issuing a false certificate, a felony. He was also found guilty of two counts of official misconduct for backdating a certificate of occupancy with the intent to defraud, a misdemeanor. His lawyer is challenging the judge’s decision. Booker’s criminal charges were dismissed by a Rockland judge in 2016, but a state Appellate Division panel reinstated some of the charges in 2018. Booker is accused of participating in a scheme with Spring Valley businessman Jacob Goldman, who pleaded guilty without jail time and repaid $33,000, stolen through a tax-exemption scam, to Ramapo.

Gannett Rejects Unsolicited Bid

Earlier this week, Gannett Co. rejected an unsolicited proposal to be bought by NMG Enterprises Inc., a media company also known as Digital First Media. Gannett’s board unanimously rejected the proposal MNG put forward on Jan 14, offering to buy Gannett for $12 a share in cash. At the time of the offer, MNG’s offer was 23 percent above Gannett’s most recent closing price. After reviewing the proposal, Gannett’s board issued a statement declining the offer, stating, “Gannett does not believe MNG’s proposal is credible.” MNG Enterprises released a statement in response to Gannett, claiming MNG is better suited to run the company. “Gannett is presiding over a declining core business, decreasing cash flow and significant leverage because it overpaid for digital assets,” the statement said.

Rockland Development Office Missing Documents

County Executive Ed Day’s administration hired a national accounting firm to perform an audit on the Rockland Community Development Office. The firm found a wide range of problems related to the office’s handling of government money for a seven year period between 2009 and 2016. The audit didn’t cite any criminal activity, but points to a lack of paperwork and overnight regarding business loans and money dispersed for low-income municipality projects. The firm recommended further investigation and was paid more than $50,000 for the service. Since the fee was under $100,000, Day did not need County Legislature approval. The audit was completed back in 2017, but the legislature only found out about it in August 2018 after the Day administration withheld funds from United Hospice of Rockland.

Local Lawyer Isn’t Always the Bad Guy

Dennis Lynch, a local reputable attorney, has not always been viewed as the “bad guy.” Lynch, a 67-year-old Nyack native, believes he is hired as an attorney when civility no longer works. “That’s my profession,” he told LoHud, “I understand I am the person they’re not often happy to know.” Lynch’s biggest case was in 1996 when he won an $8.1 million settlement against the Town of Orangetown.

Aside from being involved in the local legal space, Lynch has dedicated parts of his life to helping villages in Ghana and social justice in Northern Ireland. Lynch grew up attending St. Ann’s Church with his family and went to Nyack High School. In the late 1990s, he worked with other local activists from Rockland to bring IRA member Gerry Adams of Sinn Fein to the U.S. by getting around his IRA affiliation ban. Through St. Ann’s he came very interested in raising money and awareness for lean drinking water in Ghana. He’s traveled to Ghana five times and helps with conflict resolution training at the Catholic University of Ghana.