Timelines – November 21, 2019

School Threat

Wednesday night at approximately 11 p.m. the Clarkstown PD received a report of a possible threat phoned in to a crisis hotline from a male claiming to be a student at Felix Festa Middle School in West Nyack. The name and all of the information provided by the unidentified male does not match the database of the Clarkstown School District.

The Clarkstown Detective Bureau has been investigating this incident and is in contact with the School District. Additional patrols are at the school as a precaution. There has been no credible evidence of any imminent threat to the school or the students. Police said they will continue to investigate this incident and will remain in contact with school administrators.


Volkswagen Moving in to Vacated Bob’s Furniture Storefront in Nanuet

The Rockland Business Journal reported last week that Volkswagen has signed a lease for 30,000 square feet at 6 Hutton Avenue in Nanuet, the former site of Bob’s Discount Furniture. The space, vacant for nearly a year, has gone through an extensive renovation. The dealership is slated to open in mid 2020.


Condo owners declared exempt from new LLC disclosure law 

A new law intended to reveal the identity of owners of LLCs who purchase real estate,  which passed partly in response to complaints from Rockland residents about unchecked and illegal home conversions, has been hemmed back by the New York State Tax Department.
The state’s tax authority ruled that the regulation will only apply to one- to four-family homes and not condominiums. The real estate industry had been up in arms about the legislation, especially investors and celebrities who purchase condominium units in New York City.

James Gazzale, a state tax-department spokesman, said they were able to revise the rules because the bill sponsors clarified their intent. A spokesman for state Sen. James Skoufis, (D), and sponsor of the disclosure law, said that the intent of the law was to improve disclosure outside New York City.


Longtime Ramapo town clerk retires, board appoints Sharon Osherovitz

Christian Sampson has retired as Town of Ramapo clerk after 23 years on the job. Sampson’s tenure both preceded and survived the controversial rein of former Town Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence, who is currently in federal prison due to a corruption conviction.

The Town Board named Supervisor Michael Specht’s personal aide Sharon “Sara” Osherovitz to replace Sampson at a salary of $150,000 per year. Osherovitz had been deputy registrar of the Town Clerk’s Office for many years prior to taking the position in the Supervisor’s Office. She also formerly worked in the Town Attorney’s Office.


East Ramapo Central will have to defend lawsuit seeking Ward system

U.S. District Court Judge Cathy Seibel this week denied East Ramapo Central School District’s request to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to change the district’s voting system in order to gain greater minority representation. The ruling sends the sides to a trial in federal court in February.

In 2017 the NAACP filed a lawsuit against the district, claiming the at-large voting setup disadvantaged the black and hispanic communities. The NAACP claims blacks and hispanics would be projected to win four of nine seats if the district used a ward system of voting, instead of at-large.  Currently three blacks sit on the board.

Over the years there have been black board members supported by and aligned with the dominant Orthodox Jewish voting block, so activists are not only seeking to change optics but also the underlying political reality.


It’s Official: Foley Defeats Low-Hogan, Takes 17th District Seat on Legislature

Republican James Foley has officially defeated two-term incumbent Democrat Nancy Low-Hogan in the 17th District. The final margin of victory is 69 votes, after absentee and affidavit ballots were counted. The Democrats’ advantage in the County Legislature has been reduced from 10-7 to 9-to-8 as a result.


Buyer of former Novartis campus wants massive reduction in assessment and taxes

Suffern’s biggest taxpayer, Suffern Partners LLC, the firm which purchased the former Novartis campus, is asking for the property value assessments of its parcels on Old Mill Road in Suffern and Hemion Road in Montebello to be reduced from $4.8 million to $696,000, according to court documents. The reduction could cost the village, town and county well over $1 million dollars annually. In 2017, Novartis sold 162-acres to a firm called RS Old Mill, LLC, for $18 million, which immediately sold the same parcels to Suffern Partners LLC for $30 million. The two firms are now in a protracted legal battle in bankruptcy court.