Crime: Airmont: Feds eye involvement in Hasidic Jewish discrimination lawsuit - PressFrom - US

CrimeAirmont: Feds eye involvement in Hasidic Jewish discrimination lawsuit

20:16  12 september  2019
20:16  12 september  2019 Source:

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Video: Drone video of United Talmudical Academy of Monsey campus on Cherry Lane in Airmont John Meore & Peter Carr/The Journal News.

AIRMONT - For the third time since becoming a village, officials here face a federal lawsuit accusing them of discriminating against Orthodox Jews . The most recent federal complaint filed by the Hasidic Jewish Central UTA school alleges that Airmont officials — using the government apparatus

AIRMONT — The U.S. Attorney's Office is evaluating whether to get involved in a civil rights lawsuit filed by Orthodox and Hasidic Jews claiming the village practices systemic discrimination, according to a letter to a federal judge.

The December 2018 lawsuit by Congregation of Ridnik and several rabbis claims village officials are hostile toward religious Jews and tries to prevent them from praying and holding services in their homes by delaying approvals for residential houses of worship.

The legal papers also claim the village threatens religious freedom by issuing building and zoning violations with daily fines of up to $1,000 and threats of jail.

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Another federal lawsuit filed by a group of Hasidic and Orthodox Jews accuses Airmont Village officials of systemic discrimination by using their zoning and inspection powers to prevent the residents from practicing their religion. On Tuesday, First Liberty Institute and the international law

Village officials have previously denied the accusations and are contesting the legal action in U.S. District Court in White Plains.

The December lawsuit came on the heels of a legal action by the Central United Talmudical Academy in November accusing the village of discrimination concerning expansion of a school on Cherry Lane. The Suffern Central School District is named in the lawsuit for its busing policies.

LETTER: U.S. Attorney's Office evaluating congregation's lawsuit against Airmont

The U.S. Attorney's Office has been monitoring Airmont's zoning and enforcement based on two previous legal actions accusing the village of discriminatory zoning against Hasidic and Orthodox Jews since its incorporation in 1992. The actions accuse the village of violating the U.S. Constitution's freedom of religion amendment.

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The affluent Rockland village is battling growing pains, and pushback against zoning laws from a growing Hasidic community. Rockland/Westchester Journal News.

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In a letter dated Sept. 4 to Judge Stephen Roman, federal prosecutors said they want to ensure that Airmont officials are adhering to previous agreements and court decisions governing the village's zoning codes and practices involving Hasidic and Orthodox Jews.

The prosecutors told Roman they want to evaluate the Ridnik legal action and determine how Airmont characterizes previous government positions. The prosecutors want until Sept. 30 to determine whether "to file a statement of interest" in the legal action.

"As the court may be aware, the village of Airmont has been the subject of much prior, long running litigation brought by the United States arising out the village's pattern and practice of unlawfully discriminating against Hasidic residents," U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a letter sent by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Cha-Kim.

Airmont: Feds eye involvement in Hasidic Jewish discrimination lawsuit© Submitted Airmont Mayor Nathan Bubel

Mayor Nathan Bubel didn't respond to an email request for comment nor did the four other members of the Board of Trustees. Messages were not returned by Village Attorney Amy Mele and the village counsel in the lawsuit, Brian Sokoloff.

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Gender Discrimination (Sexism) Gender discrimination occurs when a person is treated unfairly because of her gender. It frequently occurs in the form Mental or Physical Disability Discrimination Disability discrimination involves discriminating against a person because of her disabilities.

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Both 2018 lawsuits were filed against the administration of Mayor Philip Gigante. He and two trustees were defeated in March in a write-in campaign by Bubel, Brian Downey and Migdalia Pesante with strong support from the Hasidic and Orthodox Jewish voters.

Gigante and other officials maintained the village has strict enforcement of zoning and safety codes but doesn't discriminate.

History of legal tussles

The Ridnik lawsuit marked the fourth one accusing the village of discrimination since it formed along the southern tier of Ramapo in 1991, bordering New Jersey. The village lost the first two cases for using its zoning to block residential houses of worship and then schools with dormitories in the mid-1990s. The fights cost taxpayers several million dollars in legal fees and penalties.

Residents broke away from the town of Ramapo to form the village and as Orthodox and Hasidic Jews began moving into the area with hopes of setting up schools and synagogues in residential areas.

Similar tensions exist in nearby Chestnut Ridge, where Orthodox Jews won a heated battle to have the Board of Trustees adopt a law with a tier system of allowing residential houses of worship. The law prompted several legal actions in state and federal court by Orthodox and Hasidic Jews to force the law and other residents seeking to overturn the statute.

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Welcome to the Village of Airmont . Airmont is a community located in Rockland NY. Its culture is represented by people of all races and creeds.

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In Ramapo's northern region, Pomona lost a federal lawsuit brought by the Congregation Rabbinical College of Tartikov. Pomona is appeal the ruling, saying village officials created zoning to block the congregation's school and housing for rabbinical students and their families. The village also is fighting Taritkov's request for $5.2 million in reimbursement for its legal fees.

AIRMONT: Ramapo village slapped with another federal discrimination lawsuit

LAWSUIT: Congregation of Ridnick and other religious institutions take Airmont to court

CENTRAL UTA: Hasidic Jewish school sues Airmont for religious discrimination, seeking approvals, $25M

TARTIKOV: Congregation seeks $5.2M in legal fee reimbursement from Pomona

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This article originally appeared on Rockland/Westchester Journal News: Airmont: Feds eye involvement in Hasidic Jewish discrimination lawsuit

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