Village of Bloomingburg Lawsuit:
· Plaintiffs have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit to stop egregious, government-sponsored, religious discrimination in the Village of Bloomingburg, New York and the Town of Mamakating.
· Just 75 miles north of New York City, public officials are engaged in a shocking campaign of anti-Semitism reminiscent of racial discrimination in the South generations ago. They are abusing their authority to erect roadblocks to stop Hasidic Jews from buying houses, establishing a private school, and operating businesses in their community.
· The plaintiffs are a Jewish religious school, Jewish parents, and Jewish developers. They allege that defendants’ acts have violated local, state, and federal laws, and even the Constitution itself.
· Official Discrimination
· Bill Herrmann, the Supervisor of the Town of Mamakating, has said that “the people elected him to stop the Jewish infiltration.” Frank Gerardi, Mayor of the Village of Bloomingburg, has said that he was elected to prevent more of “those people” – Hasidic Jews – from moving into Bloomingburg.
· Supported by a hateful group of residents, Defendants have engaged in a civil rights conspiracy to prevent Hasidic people from moving into Bloomingburg and to prevent them from opening institutions to support their growing community.
· For instance, last year, a Jewish religious school sought to obtain site plan approval to use an existing building as a school – a use permitted as of right in the zoning district. Angry residents mobbed two consecutive Planning Board meetings and forced the meetings cancellation before the Board could vote. At the third meeting, the intimidated Planning Board voted against the application without serious discussion. Members opined simply that Bloomingburg already had a public school and did not need a parochial school.
· After the state court found this decision unlawful and ordered reconsideration, the Village Board voted to dissolve the Village Planning Board rather than act. The Village Board delegated its authority to the Mamakating Planning Board, which has so far refused to act on the application, even though it has been pending for over a year.
· The treatment of the religious school is just the tip of the iceberg. In order further to block further Jewish-owned development, the Village of Bloomingburg has imposed a moratorium on any new construction in the Village, premised upon a “hazardous waste disposal” emergency that is nothing but a transparent pretext to prevent further Hasidic immigration.
· Meanwhile, the Village has repeatedly issued stop work orders and imposed innumerable, frivolous demands upon Jewish-owned businesses. At the same time, Village officials have instructed the building inspector to ignore complaints against non-Jewish owners because they are “one of us.”
· In a final attempt to stop pending developments, the Village of Bloomingburg has scheduled a referendum to dissolve itself into the Town of Mamakating in the hope that the Town may impose further obstacles and additional delay on the already pending developments.
· The Town and Village Are Motivated by Hateful Religious Discrimination.
· In order to send the message that Jewish people are not welcome, residents erected a 20-foot tall wooden cross across from a new Jewish-owned development.
· In June and July 2014, vandals broke the windows of Jewish-owned businesses on a half a dozen occasions.
· Orthodox Jewish women have been repeatedly been cursed at while pushing strollers and passersby have hurled coffee cups at members of the Hasidic community walking through the streets of Bloomingburg.
· In the past two weeks, the Village’s new Code Enforcement Officer has called State Troopers, who have threatened to arrest Jewish students on a field trip.