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Category Archives: Ethics and Morality

Sex for sale? The Follow-up.

We became interested in this Jason Tantra and Tantra 4 Gay Men because of what superficially appeared to be a First Amendment violation; upon investigation it’s far bigger than what we originally considered a cat fight between two individuals having different opinions on some arcane subject. This is now a question of what the federal authorities are allowing to get into the country and how the federal and state authorities are ensuring compliance with our laws.

Yes. There is a First Amendment question here, and Yes! we are still asking What right does someone have to limit another person’s free expression of opinion? Yes! We are asking the question of Why? if corporations are given the same rights as flesh and blood citizens, Why are they not held to the same standards? And YES! We are asking Why? If Jason Tantra and Tantra 4 Gay Men are doing what they appear to be doing, what they say they are doing, Why aren’t our immigration, state department, homeland security, federal and state tax authorities, federal attorneys, state attorney generals, county district attorneys doing their jobs and responding, investigating, and reporting on “companies” like Jason Tantra and Tantra 4 Gay Men?

This is still in effect, isn’t it?

We’re still concerned about the First Amendment question. How is it that an individual — a guest in this country, in fact — can demand that another individual — a citizen of this country — be silenced for exercising his Constitutional rights? Does that mean that say, GE, can kill a conversation that is critical of their environmental policies by just asking WordPress or another blog service provider to remove the conversation? And does that also mean that if a blog is critical of government or a government official, the blog can be silenced? Isn’t that where tyranny and dictatorship starts? Yes, people, there’s a glaring First Amendment violation here but there’s also a frightening precedent, too!


The first three lines of History of the Tantra Religion,[1] the author, a. renowned scholar and philosopher of Indian culture and religion scholar, N.N. Bhattacharyyaa, states the purpose of that remarkable book: “to present in a historical outline, the genesis, development and structural analysis of what is known as the Tantric tradition of India.” And he does just that in exquisite detail.

What occurred to me when reading the book is that Dr. B. covers even the most minute detail of the evolution of the Tantra tradition but says practically nothing about “sexual practices, orgasm, Tantric sex, etc. In fact, out of the some 500 pages of discussion, only 5 index entries  can be found under “sex rites” and those entries are but a couple of words mentioning erotic practices. Nothing is mentioned about Western neotantra or the perverse monetarization of the Tradition in the West but for a condemnatory statement in the Introduction (see below).

What is very conspicuous in Dr B’s  answers the question, What is Tantra? in these words:

Tantra was primarily the way or means to understand the mysteries of life and the universe…Tantra arose as the sum total of man’s knowledge of the objective world around him. It was a way of life that sought the significance of knowledge , not in the realization sic of an illusory absolute, but in the day-to-day activities of men, in the simple facts of life like agriculture…etc., and in experimental sciences like alchemy, medicine…with a deliberate theoretical orientation that the structures of the microcosm and the macrocosm are identical and that the key to the knowledge of nature is to be found in the body.

As we mentioned above, the conspicuous short shrift given to Western tantric practice, including those key figures in Western Tantra like theosophist Leadbeater and others, is a clear indication that Dr B. does not consider the Western perversion or its proponents to be worthy of consideration in an otherwise exhaustive treatment of the History of theTantra Religion, the revealing title of the book.

This is borne out by Dr Bhattacharyya’s concise and strident assessment in the Hindu perspective on what Tantra has become in the West, and writes concerning the union of opposites, that is, male and female, and how it has been perverted by opportunist used-car salesmen:

Bisexuality is inherent in all beings and this aspect has to be exercised in order to understand the truth of one’s own nature. Sexual partnership is therefore the best expression for the most intimate relation between the two opposites…Such rationalizations of Tantric sexual elements are basically subjective, the interpretations being in all cases largely conditioned by their author’s outlook and approach. Anyone working on Tantrism cannot ignore the sexual elements, but difficulty arises when the entire Tantric tradition is superimposed on these elements… Sole emphasis on things sexual has resulted in the publication of numerous books on Tantra containing glimpses of modern sexual psychology and burdened with erotic photographs of the Konarak-Khajuraho tradition;[2] in the development of the queer [viz. bizarre, peculiar, strange][3] conception of modern Tantric art depicting varieties of copulative acrobatics; in the production of pornographic fictions sanctified with Tantric quotations; and in the emergence of a class of recent godmen or gurus giving spiritual sanction to all forms of vulgar and gross sensualities of their moneyed clientele. All this is due to the insistence on a ‘misplaced reality ’in Tantric studies, which even the most qualified scholars could not avoid.” [our emphasis]

Translation: Tantra has been hijacked by unscrupulous, ignorant fakes who have reduced it to vulgar and gross sexuality by ignorant dealers in cheap sex thrills.

Our inquiry was not limited to books and publications by scholars; we also consulted with authoritative sources, that is, living organizations, in both the United States and in India, the home of authentic Tantra. With our request for opinions we send the link to Tantra 4 Gay Men, and asked the organizations to visit the site and to tell us what they thought in response to the fair question:

Is the person, Jason Tantra, offering Tantra or Neotantra, or no Tantra at all; in other words, are the teachings and “spirituality” expounded on the site compatible with what is properly called Tantra, or must they be equated with a Western perversion of the Tantric tradition?

The consensus was unanimous: Mr. Jason Tantra and Tantra 4 Gay Men is not Tantra at all.” One commenter, after having visited the site and reviewing several of the videos, described Jason Tantra as “confused.”

At a more basic, superficial level, googling tantric sex will set your hair on end when you read some of the rubbish out there; none of the sex-service providers don’t know shit from Shinola® about Tantra or even the yoga they are sexualizing in their undisguised pornographic offerings.

So we really have done our homework, as you have learned to expect from us when we get our teeth into an issue. What we have found it that there’s something very fishy going on and something needs to be done about it.

You don’t have to work your way through 500+ pages of scholarly writing or contact more than 20 authoritative organizations to find that the consensus of most authentic, genuine proponents of Tantra call the Tantra of the likes of Jason Tantra and Tantra 4 Gay Men, and neo-Tantra overall, to be the product of poorly developed persons obsessed with sex, or charlatans appealing to the appetites of spiritless and bored materialists.

Worse still, and very concerning, is the question of Why? adult human beings need to pay outrageous amounts of money to get naked in a group setting and practice promiscuous sex in weird positions? It’s either purely exhibitionist or they can’t satisfy their need for human touch and attention in normal interpersonal engagement or Facebook and social media just isn’t doing it for them.

Now, we’re not lambasting or pillorying the LGBT community, or rather the gay men who are the primary targets of the tantra charlatans, simply because Jason Tantra and Tantra for Gay Men has attracted our attention. Nor are we singling out Jason Tantra or Tantra 4 Gay Men; there are many such operations going on in the US alone. There’s something intrinsically pathological about the whole thing. we have studied the Tantra 4 Gay Men site, reviewed the videos, listened to Jason Tantra’s ravings, and we remain unimpressed and very concerned. we have also obtained access through a reader to the Tantra 4 Gay Men site and must note that most of the members are late-to-middle to senior gay or bisexual men. What that means to me is that Jason Tantra is appealing to — and very possibly exploiting, even if it is with their self-destructive consent — a very vulnerable group of men who may be marginalized in terms of their appeal to desired love objects, who may find it difficult to find others of their age and persuasion, or simply are incapable of getting what they think they need outside of paying for it!

The fact that Jason Tantra is selling sex services is obvious, conspicuous. The act that Jason Tantra’s “ teachers” include rent boys and a former porn “model/actor” is undisguised (See “Masseurs“). The fact that Jason Tantra himself, is a narcissist, and running an escort service for men who can’t otherwise find someone to accompany them on trips is obvious (J. Tantra offers his companioning service at Holiday Companion. He’ll travel with you and provide 3 hours of service a day.). Look, if you’re a whore or a prostitute just be honest and say so. If you’re running an escort service and a sex massage service, just say so! Don’t use the name of a time-honored religion to disguise your perversion.

Take Jason along with you on your next trip.

The fact that Jason Tantra claims that the United States State Department and the United States Homeland Security have vetted him and his operation and have granted him a visa to work in the United States and to operate his business in the United States is a shameful statement on how the United States government conducts its own business!

The fact that Jason Tantra operates under an assumed name and provides no details as to his identity or any legal details about his “company”, such as a business registration number or an employer identification number certainly raises questions as to his legality and the legal status of his “company.”

We have contacted the relevant federal authorities, the New York State Attorney General, several district attorneys and are awaiting their responses, reports.

Jason Tantra/Tantra 4 Gay Men, according to their website, offers “programs” in Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, and in isolated locations across the US. The locations are a secret. The payment details are a secret. Where’s the state authorities and the federal authorities in all of this?

We became interested in this Jason Tantra and Tantra 4 Gay Men because of what superficially appeared to be a First Amendment violation; upon investigation it’s far bigger than what we originally considered a catfight between two individuals having different opinions on some arcane subject. This is now a question of what the federal authorities are allowing to get into the country and how the federal and state authorities are ensuring compliance with our laws.

Is this Tantra operation a fraud being perpetrated on a group of vulnerable men? Is this Tantra operation a fraud being perpetrated on several states and the feds? Is this Tantra operation a fraud that totally misrepresents a three-thousand year old religious tradition? Are we confronted here with a psychological and moral disease, a spiritual syphilis, a public health crisis which, like so many before it, is being ignored by our government and the public servants we pay to keep watch over such plagues?

Yes. There is a First Amendment question here, and Yes! we are still asking What right does someone have to limit another person’s free expression of opinion? Yes! We are asking the question of Why? if corporations are given the same rights as flesh and blood citizens, Why are they not held to the same standards? And YES! We are asking Why? If Jason Tantra and Tantra 4 Gay Men are doing what they appear to be doing, what they say they are doing, Why aren’t our immigration, state department, homeland security, federal and state tax authorities, federal attorneys, state attorney generals, county district attorneys doing their jobs and responding, investigating, and reporting on “companies” like Jason Tantra and Tantra 4 Gay Men?

We’re still concerned about the First Amendment question. How is it that an individual — a guest in this country, in fact — can demand that another individual — a citizen of this country — be silenced for exercising his Constitutional rights? Does that mean that say, GE, can kill a conversation that is critical of their environmental policies by just asking WordPress or another blog service provider to remove the conversation?


And does that also mean that if a blog is critical of government or a government official, the blog can be silenced? Isn’t that where tyranny and dictatorship starts? Yes, people, there’s a glaring First Amendment violation here but there’s also a frightening precedent, too!

This has now become a question of how corrupt our local, state, federal government has become, and because of that corruption, how much corruption it is allowing to insidiously infect our American culture and society.

We are posing these questions to our public officials and authorities and we demand a response, answers!

The Easton Mountain “retreat community” is in Washington County, near Greenwich, in New York State. They regularly host Jason Tantra and Tantra 4 Gay Men. Perhaps the Attorney General or the Washington County DA could start there asking questions? They’re in New York State and certainly should be able to answer questions, especially about operations, licensing, taxes, etc. Maybe those government officials should be showing as much interest in this issue as we are.

Easton Mountain is just another open-air j/o club or bathhouse posing as a legit retreat center

What’s even more disgusting — and you thought it had already hit rock-bottom – is that the freaks running Easton Mountain have the ignorance and gall to actually publish “Seven Principles of Tantra” . You can clearly see that Easton Mountain is just another open-air j/o club or bathhouse posing as a legit retreat center. Easton Mountain and their source, Rudy Ballantine, another fake guru/fraud, are egregiously misinforming their public and taking them for total fools! They know NOTHING about Tantra except that their perverse version of it is making them money. There are laws protecting the public against fraud and fraudulent practices! So where are our law enforcement people on all of this?


Notes

Update: We’ve bee provided with access to view the articles critical of Jason Tantra and Tantra 4 Gay Men and the content of the blog suspended by WordPress in response to Jason Tantra’s whining. To read those posts, please go to Neotantra Frauds.

[1] Bhattacharyya, N. N., History of the Tantric Religion. Second Revised Edition. (Manohar: New Delhi, 1999)  ISBN 81-7304-025-7

[2] The Khajuraho Group of Hindu temples and Jain temples in Chhatarpur district. They are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temples are famous for their nagara-style architectural symbolism and their erotic sculptures. The Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is decorated with a profusion of sculptures with intricate details, symbolism and expressiveness of ancient Indian art.

The Konark temple of the sun is also known for its intricate sculptures of gods and goddesses, animals of many species, and tableaus from everyday life; the erotic sculptures of maithunas depict sexual union in ritualistic and romantic situations. These show couples in various stages of courtship and intimacy, and in some cases coital themes. Notorious in the colonial era for their uninhibited celebration of sexuality, these images are included with other aspects of human life as well as deities that are typically associated with Tantra, and these images may be the same kama and mithuna scenes found integrated into the art of many other Hindu temples. The erotic sculptures are found on the temple’s Shikhara, and these illustrate all the bandhas (mudra forms) described in the Kamasutra.

[3] Dr B’s use of this word is more in the sense in which it is understood in his culture, that is, peculiar, strange, eccentric. It does not even imply the meaning given it in the West to describe aberrant behavior and formerly used to describe homosexuals, or the more contemporary use of the term to describe a broad spectrum of non-normative sexual identities and politics.

 

Why don’t funeral directors just ask?

“This article is not going to endear me to many funeral directors but I’m willing to take the risk for the sake of the best care for the bereaved.” [the Author]

At a recent funeral service at one of my regular funeral homes I was working with a funeral director, who recently joined the team. We had a moment to chat and I asked him why I was not seeing any referrals or cases from him. It was very unusual because the other funeral directors on staff called frequently with requests for services. His answer was a bit shocking: “They don’t ask.” He meant the bereaved families don’t ask.

Well, when a funeral director takes the first call alerting him of a death, or when the family comes in for the arrangements meeting, they shouldn’t have to ask. Part of deathcare is asking the right questions and the religion- spirituality question”, or even “Would you like to speak to our bereavement chaplain about the service?” or “Would you like us to have our chaplain join us at the arrangements meeting?” are among the “right” questions.

Asking the right questions; giving the right answers.
The arrangements meeting.

The fact is, any funeral director should be trained and interested enough to ask all the right questions; after all, the family is coming to the funeral director to have him or her ask the right questions and give the right answers. I have never met a family facing the recent death of a loved one come in with a laundry list of Questions to Ask. Families don’t have a FAQs page when in the grip of acute bereavement! Wake up! You deathcare professionals — if I can use the term “deathcare” these days — need to re-join the care team.

Get it done and move on!

Reason No. 1: Time

One of the reasons for this conspicuous thoughtlessness and lack of real compassion is that most mortuary science programs don’t teach deathcare; they teach the business of funeral directing and how to pass the boards. When a graduate finishes his two-year course, he goes into a one-year residency program with a funeral home, where he again learns the “business.” He has to sell the funeral home’s facilities, their merchandise, the skills of the preparation team, and his time. Of course there are the other items like removal of the deceased, paperwork required by law and cemeteries, etc. But it’s all about the “product.” What the funeral director is selling is turnkey disposal of the deceased, and he’s doing that with time in mind. It’s a question of turnaround. Finish up this case, get back to the funeral home, get the messages and move on to the next removal. All of this involves time.

So the real reason most bereaved families don’t get spiritual, religious, or officiant services is because the funeral director does not ask. The funeral director doesn’t ask because such services are not part of what he sells; he has to get them from the outside, and he calls those costs “out-of-pocket” expenses, because either he has to pay them and get reimbursed or the family pays for them directly. He or she does not ask because a religious or spiritual funeral service takes time — it adds about an hour to the entire program. And those hours add up and translate into dollars, thousands of dollars for the funeral home. Keep the disposal time down to a minimum and feed the bottom line.

The regrettable fact today is that most funeral directors spend very little time with the family or the survivors, the bereaved. He probably receives the first call through a third party answering service, he makes the removal as quickly and cleanly as possible, he sits through the arrangements meeting with the family and showcases his services and merchandise, greets the family and mourners at the door, and stands by during the visitation hours (usually 3-4 hours at most), if any, and stands by and directs the final viewing and funeral (usually 2-3 hours). That’s it. The only direct contact with the family is perhaps 1 hour during removal and during the arrangements meeting. The rest of the 2-7 hours of visitation and funeral operations he’s standing by, ensuring that things go per script, and there’s little or no contact with the bereaved, much less any attempt at bereavement support. That’s the chaplain’s job but what if there’s no chaplain to do that?

Corporate and Factory Funerals Services.

The situation is even worse with the factory funeral services providers like Newcomer and Service Corporation International (SCI and their Dignity Memorial). These corporations work on volume and marketing. They offer “the lowest cost” in the area and then pick up the slack with factory-style services and nickle-and-diming the bereaved with the little “extras.” If your thought the small funeral home operator was on a tight schedule, you haven’t experienced the factory funerals. Because funeral homes work with a time-focus, they are likely to promote the easiest and quickest disposal methods to the bereaved, using the sales pitch that “it’s the least expensive” of the disposal methods: direct cremation or direct burial. Nothing between death and disposal. Grandpa dies, gets carted off and shipped directly to the crematorium, or he gets buried almost immediately. No frills, no time lost. After all, you have better things to do with your time than deal with death. Right? Funeral director gets back for the next case, and the relatives get on with whatever they think is more important than honoring their dead.

Reason No. 2:  Money

While time in the funeral services business may equate with money more than in other businesses, money and expenses factor into this dehumanizing equation.

While cutting quality of services.

But leaving the fact that time is money for a moment, a well-orchestrated funeral or memorial service can be complicated and involve additional costs. Of course, the funeral director does not have to pay those costs but he does have to persuade the family to agree to them and ultimately to pay for them. There was a time when the deceased was laid out for 2-3 viewings: the first was the family private viewing. The next evening would be the visitation viewing when friends and acquaintances would “pay their respects,” and offer condolences to the family. The third viewing, if there were one, would be a public viewing, perhaps with a prayer service, or it would be on the morning of the actual funeral either in the funeral home or crematorium chapel, or in a church or temple, followed by the procession to the place of final disposition. Those days are gone. History.

While all of this added time to the event and locked up the funeral home’s resources for the duration, such a funeral also required additional arrangements (time etc.), equipment (vehicles, transportation, etc.), personnel, and outside professionals (clergy), and even outside facilities (church, chapel). Today’s funerals are much different in terms of visitation and receiving friends and acquaintances: There may be a funeral home chapel service before processing to the place of final disposition. There may or may not be a wake or prayer service or even a public viewing the day before the actual funeral. In other words, the funeral home facilities have become one of the products sold and all other services have been cut to the absolute minimum, including any bereavement support and any spiritual or religious support.

In other words, by not asking or offering bereavement support in the form of spiritual or religious services, the funeral home is saving time and, hence, money. The funeral director saves time and effort by not asking if the family wants spiritual or religious support, and he doesn’t bring up the subject. He thus does not have to plan in the time for coordinating with the chaplain or clergyman nor does he have to tie up personnel and facilities and time for an in-house funeral service, much less an off-site church service.

The savvy funeral director is aware that if he doesn’t offer, the bereaved are unlikely to ask for spiritual or religious services.

There is an exception to this “rule:” Many funeral homes have close connections with a local church or several churches for a very special reason: when a congregation or parish member dies, he gets the body and the pastor gets the honorarium for the use of the church and for officiating at the funeral. This is the one instance where the pastor or the church administrator will promote the services of the funeral director and the funeral director ensures that the church gets the case. That’s why we most often see a funeral home sponsoring a church’s calendar and advertising in the church bulletin. Funeral director and pastor tend to partner and profit by this relationship. Funeral home gets the body and the pastor gets the honorarium. Works well for both. And at least the family gets the appearance of religion or spirituality but it’s just the appearance. We’ve all experienced the funeral service where the officiant clergyman has no idea who the person was but does the service anyway. That’s insensitive and unethical. But it apparently works for most everybody, however.

Reason No. 3: Ignorance

As I mentioned above, most graduates of mortuary science programs learn how to run a funeral services business, that is, the body disposal business. Most graduates leave the program with little or no understanding of spirituality or religion, or even of the psychology of grief and coping with bereavement. They go through the coursework and the motions but what they’re really interested in is the business. After all, it’s one of the only businesses that will always have a customer pool.

I have to ask: “How much can anyone learn about these fundamentally human aspects of deathcare in a mere two-year course that includes business studies, including business law and the legal aspects of deathcare, the basic sciences of death and post-mortem preparation of the deceased, cosmetology, etc.”

Truth be told, many young people go into the mortuary science programs with the best of intentions but then something ugly happens; they see what was once a noble profession from the inside. It’s like admiring a beautiful medieval tapestry and then looking at the back and seeing the ugly knots and strings. What’s more, at 18 or 21 years old, they generally lack the maturity to make good judgments and they have no life experience to fuel any sort of wisdom. They go in as sponges and come out saturated with misconceptions and deranged values. So now you are sitting across from an ignorant 20-something funeral director who is going to tell you all about death and grief! He could be your grandson!!!

Here’s my point: A professional chaplain will have at least a four-year undergraduate degree and then at least a professional degree at the master’s level (masters degree in pastoral studies, religion, theology, or the gold-standard professional degree, the Master of Divinity). For example, a very good friend of mine has a graduate degree in psychology with a degree in literature, and a master of divinity degree, plus formal healthcare chaplaincy training. Most masters degrees require only 12-30 credits of graduate level study; the masters degree in divinity requires at least 75-90, frequently up to 120 credits of graduate level study! In other words, the professional chaplain is likely to have as much training as a physician, and at least 2-3x more training than most graduate degree programs. A professional chaplain is also very likely better trained that the vast majority of so-called denominational clergy, most of whom get their credentials from a so-called denominational “bible school” or from some unaccredited school of ministry. The bible-school graduates are cheap but ineffectual; the real professionals are not all that expensive but are professionals and some ignorant business owners don’t like to get too involved with professionals.

So who do you think is the best qualified to provide acute, short-term, or long-term bereavement support?

Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying here. Many funeral directors are very intelligent, skilled, and compassionate people who have chosen a very thankless, but very essential line of work. While there are some crooks and some very incompetent weasels among them as in any profession, most are very good at what they do: (1) serve the public in an essential role, (2) run a business, (3) participate in important community organizations and activities. From personal experience, I have worked with some saints but have also to admit that I have experienced some real ignorant sickos.

But today the bottom line is unquestionably business success, and that means turnover. Turnover is important in the short term because it provides the funeral director with a lifestyle; in the long-term it shows that the business can make money and, when it comes to retirement time, the funeral director wants to sell the business for as much as he can get. My point is that the funeral director is not trained to provide bereavement support or religious/spiritual support, or even to officiate or to design a funeral service; he’s trained in the business and technology of body disposal and running a funeral home.[1]

Reason No. 4: They don’t care.

While ignorance is not restricted only to the scope of training but can also be observed on the personal level in some funeral directors. It can come into play in other ways: a “not knowing” that results in “not caring” or indifference to the spiritual needs of the customer. Or, the funeral director has a more subtle agenda: he simply does not believe or does not have a connection with spirituality or religion, or he is simply anticlerical or anti-religion, and, paradoxically, he man not feel comfortable talking about the subject of death and spirituality much less even including it in their offerings. He doesn’t care what the bereaved believe, he doesn’t believe that is important.

And then you have the feminist funeral director whose main objective is to make an incursion into what was historically a male-dominated profession. Her self-loathing and hatred of being a woman blinds her to all else, including the needs of the bereaved. Like so many women who enter into previously male-dominated professions, they exaggerate everything, even the insincerity and unauthentic compassion they offer. They have an agenda, not a vocation. But that’s not limited to the funeral business.

That is a problem in many ways but the most insidious way is that they are promoting personal beliefs at the expense of individuals in a very vulnerable situation who might benefit from religious or spiritual support. Moreover, the funeral director in such situations in in a control and power situation vis-à-vis the bereaved, and is misusing that situation in an unethical manner. Again, ethics is not a hot topic in mortuary science curricula, unless it’s basic ethics to keep the potential funeral director out of legal hot water.

If a funeral director finds he does not believe or is anticlerical or anti-religion and, during the arrangements meeting finds that the family has a faith or belief tradition, whether they practice or not, he should refer the case to a colleague who can best serve that family. You can be certain that in the very policy-aligned corporate funeral homes (Newcomer, Service Corporation International, Dignity, etc.) this is not going to happen. It probably won’t happen even in a larger privately owned funeral home group.


This article was inspired by the statement of a funeral director, which in turn resulted in reflection on why an experienced deathcare provider would make such a statement. It is not my intention to indict any funeral director or to paint all funeral directors in the same color, but to make the point that regardless of the reasonable presumption that the funeral director is a business man and, for obvious reasons, must operate a funeral home as a business, there are some essential services that must be offered, even if the client does not specifically or explicitly request them, and which might require the funeral director to make the effort to ask directly, “Have you given any thought to a religious or spiritual service as part of the final arrangements?” or at least to review the death documents to ascertain whether the deceased had a religious or spiritual preference, and then proceeding on the basis of that information. It’s as simple as that.

If they don’t ask, you ask. Period.


This article is courtesy of Compassionate Care Associates, marriage celebrants and funeral and memorial officiants serving the Greater Capital District Area of Albany, Schenectady, Rensselaer, Columbia, Ulster, Greene counties in New York. Visit the website at Compassionate Care Associates.


[1] I do know some clergy who are “working clergy,” that is, they are ordained by their denomination as clergy but work in the funeral services sector as “funeral directors.” Depending on the denomination, their “clergy” training may be minimal or it may be accredited by a national or international agency, but they are denominational clergy, that is, they are trained in a specific faith or belief tradition, and are bound by that tradition. They don’t bite the hand that feeds them. A professional interfaith chaplain may be ordained or licensed but he does not serve a specific denomination, and he is most likely adept in several faith or belief traditions as well as in non-religious traditions. That’s the big difference between denominational clergy and the interfaith chaplain. To ensure the best service, the best choice is the professional interfaith chaplain.

Furthermore, the interfaith professional chaplain likely specializes in a narrow field of expertise such as bereavement, crisis intervention, healthcare, etc. Beware, though, of the so-called “board-certified” log-rollers and club members; the board-certified chaplain is no better than the denominational clergyman; both serve a master and that master is not the bereaved or the client! The majority of “board-certified” log-rollers have little or no training in ministry, theology, pastoral care, or religious studies. If you hear the words “evidence based” you know they’re robots. Membership in an organization and that organization’s “certification” keeps the organization in business but doesn’t to a thing for the bereaved. Most are narcissists and incompetent. Same generally applies to most careerist clergy.

 

 

We Are Re-Opening the Case: Riley Kern, Young Man Killed in Coeymans Hollow, Sycamore Golf Course

Just when they thought they got away with it!

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The Facts are Pointing to a
COVER UP!!!

As you may recall, we wrote in a July article, “Three Articles on New Baltimore Scandals: Pick One or Read All,”, asking “Did you know?” about the case of a young man who was involved in a fatal motorcycle-pickup truck accident in Coeymans Hollow. We wrote:

Editor’s Sidebar: Town of Coeymans. We’ve received reports of a fatal pick-up truck — motorcycle accident that occurred during the evening hours of Saturday, July 28, 2018, on Route 143 in the Town of Coeymans. The operator of the motorcycle, a 20-year old man was killed; the operator of the pick-up truck was allegedly Ravena resident Travis Hagen. Strangely nothing has appeared in the local media about the accident. We have contacted the Coeymans Police for confirmation facts but have not received a response. A reader has informed us that he, too contacted the Coeymans Police acting chief, Daniel Contento, and was told only that there was an accident and the police investigated and reported it to the DMV. Is this a cover up to protect a prominent Ravena family? Doesn’t the young man’s life mean anything or do we just sweep the whole thing under the carpet? We need to start asking questions. The 20-year old man is not just another raccoon, Mr Contento!

This is Riley and a Companion.

Read more about Riley at
Ryan Parker Kern  August 4, 1998 – July 27, 2018 
and leave a note of support and condolence for his family and friends.

At the time, we were suspicious that the accident didn’t get a single word of coverage on any media, and we asked Why?

Since we published that very small bit of information, we’ve received contacts from people who have read the inconspicuous item and have contacted us with a huge amount of information and many, many questions.

In the meantime, we have received some information on Travis Hagen that points to a cover-up in the case of the young man’s death. At the very minimum, a number of people involved in the investigation of the accident and reporting the so-called “facts” are going to have to answer a lot of very unpleasant questions very soon!

Travis Hagen, 48, of Coxsackie. Driver of the pick-up truck.

There are still people in this community who think they are above the law

We are now re-opening the case and will be publishing the information as it’s verified for you, our reading public, to be sickened and outraged by what’s going on in the RCS community and what’s going on in the Coeymans Police Department. There are still people in this community who think they are above the law and can get away with trying to hide a crime. We’re here to make certain the truth gets out and they are brought to justice.

Click this link to read Riley’s mom’s response to detractors of SmalbanyRiley’s Mom Responds: A Mother’s Perspective.

Unconfirmed witness reports indicate that there are inconsistencies in the Police Incident Report. Is there a possibility that the driver of the pick-up truck was … !

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2018 in 19th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, Accident, Acting Police Chief, Albany County Coroner, Albany County Coroners Office, Albany County District Attorney, Albany County EMT, Albany County Sheriff Department, Albany Medical Center, Barbara Underwood, Capital District, Chaplain Services, Civil Right Violation, Civil Rights, Civil Rights, Coeymans, Coeymans Acting Police Chief, Coeymans Police Department, Collusion, Columbia-Greene Media, Conspiracy, Corrupt Police, Corruption, D. W. Contento, Daily Mail, Daniel Contento, David Soares, Death, Death Certificate, Death Investigation, Department of Motor Vehicles, DOT, DOT, Driving under the Influence, Electronic Death Registration System, Ellis Hospital, Emily Kern, Evil, Geico Insurance, Greene County News, Hearst Corporation, Ian Foard, Immorality, Investigation, John B. Johnson, Johnson Newspaper Group, Law Enforcement, Lawsuit, Mark Vinciguerra, Misconduct, Monitoring, Morality, Motor Vehicle Accident, Motorcycle, New York, New York State, New York State Department of Transportation, New York State Police, New York State Police, News Channel 10, News Channel 13, News Channel 6, News Herald, Notice of Claim, NYS Assembly, NYS Comptroller Audit, NYS Senate, Obstruction of Justice, Office of the Attorney General, Office of the Comptroller, Paul Gumpher, Perp Patrol, Phil Crandall, Phillip Crandall, Police Incompetence, Professional Ethics, Professional Misconduct, Public Corruption, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk Central School District, Ravena News Herald, Riley Kern, Riley P. Kern, Rye, Stephen Prokrym, Steve Prokrym, Suffering, Sycamore Country Club, Thanatology Café, The Daily Mail, Thomas Marra, Times Union, Times Union Blogs, Town of Coeymans, Travis Hagen, Uncategorized

 

Board of Education Member James “Hadji” Latter: Is he paying his fair share of property taxes?

In the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central School District, the name James “Hadji“* Latter has a murky history. He’s been able to stay on the RCS-CD Board of Education for a number of years now, not because of his tidy background and performance record, but because the RCS-CD is just a corrupt and manipulated as any other “elected” body in the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk/Albany County region, including New Baltimore and Greene County. But New Baltimore, although in Greene County, pays a portion of their property taxes to support the bloated budget of the RCS-CD and the idiotic programs approved by a board of back-scratchers and cronies.

* “Hadji” is our nickname for James Latter II because of his close associations with the Saudi Arabian company SABIC.

We have reported in the past about Latter’s questionable conduct on the board but when you are dealing with a group who love their power to spend public money, and then ask for more and then make decisions that affect the school age young people in the district and their futures. It’s hard for them to let go and share the responsibility or even to acknowledge and consult the public. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and the RCS Central School District Board of Education is no exception. Least of all Mr James Latter II.

That’s why, when a local resident drew our attention to the parking and traffic situation in the Village of Ravena in connection with our recent investigation of Village of Ravena Code Enforcement and, while guiding us around on the grand tour of the many Village of Ravena parking opportunities — in no less than six public parking areas less than one block from the commercial district of Village Center —, and that resident pointed out and commented on a particularly ostentatious eyesore of recent construction on a large lot on Aluise Drive, just in back of the huge lot owned by the Roman Catholic Church of St Patrick, we got curious.

That’s when sitting RCS Central School District Board of Education member James J. “Hadji” Latter II again waddled into the spotlight in his usual murky and questionable style.

You see, Latter and wifey, Amanda C. (Mrs Hadji) purchased two large adjacent lots (total acreage 6.5 acres, cost $101,000) on Aluise Drive in the Village. The lots were previously owned by the Roman Catholic Church of Saint Patrick (Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany) but were sold off and Latter was in the pews ready to close the deal. Was that because former BoE member and crooked cop Gerald “Dirty Hands Jery” Deluca was high up in the Church’s lay administration and an insider? Probably. Latter and “Dirty Hands” Jerry were thick as flies on fresh summer sh*t. So here we have another questionable business deal in Ravena, Home of the Incest Club, and the Roman Catholic Church of Saint Patrick, an Incest Club meeting place, probably brokered by “Dirty Hands Jerry” Deluca before he was forced out (“resigned”) of the Coeymans Police Department with former dunce Coeymans Police Chief Gregory “Dumplin” Darlington was canned (“retired”), and disgraced town/village justice Phil Crandall was elected to be Coeymans Town Supervisor. You really can’t make this stuff up!!!

Our investigations to date have revealed the following interesting and questionable situations. But please note: This information is preliminary and is based on our research in the Village of Ravena and the Town of Coeymans using immediately available information, that is, information we could get on the spot without the formal F.O.I.L procedure (demanding production of public access documents and information under the provisions of the New York State Public Officers Law), and our vetting of that information on official New York state tax online sites. We have demanded the production of documents that will provide finer details of the transactions and Mr Latter’s operations but that may take some time, given Mr Latter’s position and his “friends” in Village and Town offices.

The properties are listed in the official property tax documents as belonging to James and Amanda Latter of 13 Laura Drive, Ravena, New York. Note that address because we’ll be returning to that information shortly.

James “Hadji” and Amanda Latter posing with Hillary Clinton.
Birds of a feather…!

New York State Law Requires the Assessor to Assess Property Under Construction

In some states a new construction is not subject to assessment for tax purposes until it is completed and a certificate of occupancy is issued. The situation in New York State is different, however, here in New York state there is the so-called partial assessment.

Sitting Board of Education Member James Latter’s new house he will be sharing with teacher wife Amanda Latter.
It’s at 9 Aluise Drive in Ravena, in back of St Patrick’s Church.

New construction assessments are placed on the assessment roll based on the partial market value if the construction is in process or the market value of the completed construction as of March 1st, and that assessment is used to compute the school tax bill issued in September and the county, town, and special district tax bill issued the following January.

9 Aluise Drive. Behind St Patricks RC Church and next to the P.B. Coeymans Elementary School.

In the case of a partial assessment, the market value of the home is determined by using the completion percentage of the construction as of March 1st. If the construction is partially complete as of March 1st, the assessment will represent only a percentage of the total property tax assessment when the construction is completed.  A partial assessment will be place on the tax roll as a “partial”, and increased each year until the construction is 100% complete.

In New York State, the assessor is required to value the property exactly as he or she finds it on taxable status date, that is on March 1st. The Assessor is required by New York State law to value property in its condition on that date. A partially completed building will receive a partial assessment based on its estimated percentage of completion as of March 1st. If your house is under construction on March 1, its estimated percentage of completion on that date will be the basis for the assessment

The property was assessed at a time when the progress of the entire construction project was measured and recorded as a partial assessment. An assessment calendar requires that a property review be based on where the progress of the construction is at the time, and the assessment be based on the progress at the cut-off date on the calendar year. The property has to appear on the tax roll for taxes to be paid in the following year.

The law would require that the Latter construction be assessed in it’s state of construction on March 1st. It was not. This partial assessment procedure was not followed in Latter’s case and Latter’s property was not assessed in part while under construction and, though completed, the Town of Coeymans Assessor was unaware of the construction and the property has not yet been assessed! Mr Latter is not paying his fair share of property taxes. Mr Latter is not paying his fair share of his school taxes to the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central School District. Mr Latter should be required to resign from his position on the Board of Education for such malconduct.


We did some research and found that the latest tax information on the property at 9 Aluise Drive in Ravena doesn’t show a thing about any new construction and lists it as vacant land. But there’s a house on it that looks as if it’s market value would be at least $200,000!!! What is the deal here? We all have to pay our property taxes and a big part of those taxes go to the schools. Latter is on the Board of Education and decides on the school budget and how much we have to pay but it looks like he’s scamming the Town of Coeymans, whose Assessor wasn’t even aware the house was there — even though you can almost see it from Coeymans Town Hall!!!

Extract of New York State Real Property Report for one of the Latter Lots (where the house is standing).

New York State real property tax assessment law requires that a new construction be assessed as a partial assessment if it’s not completed by the date of March 1st of any year. That means that whatever part of Latter’s house that was completed by March 1, 2018, should have been assessed at that percentage of the total value of the house. But it wasn’t and we all want to know Why?

Another inconsistency is this: James Latter and Amanda Latter list their address of record as being 13 Laura Lane in the Village of Ravena. A bit more research shows that 13 Laura Lane in the Village of Ravena is owned by Anthony and Ann Carrk, not by the Latters. True, the Latters could be renting from Amanda’s parents all these years but isn’t that a stretch? Could be true, though. Maybe Jimmy “Hadji” or Amanda could shed some light on this question. Or maybe Anthony or Ann Carrk can explain the living conditions and how so many could be living in that tiny hovel on Laura Lane.

13 Laura Lane and 9 Aluise Drive. Where do the Latters live?

If you ask the Village of Ravena Building Department Joe Burns, he willl tell you that they issue the building permit for new constructions, do the code enforcement inspections, and when the construction is done, they issue the certificate of occupancy. The Town of Coeymans Sole Assessor Dawn DeRose will tell you that they are notified by the Village of Ravena when the construction is finished. But that’s doesn’t explain why a partial assessment of the Latters’ property wasn’t done by the Town of Coeymans according the New York State Real Property Law. You’d think Town of Coeymans Sole Assessor Dawn DeRose would know better.

This just in: According to a very simple document provided to the Town of Coeymans by the Village of Ravena entitled “Village of Ravena, Building Projects Completed in July 2018” the Village of Ravena provides a one-liner notification of Latter’s construction project. That’s all. The document provides only the following information:

The Bare Bones Provided to the Town of Coeymans Assessor.

The above document provided by the Town of Coeymans in response to a F.O.I.L. demand clearly shows that Latter’s new construction was likely completed by March 2018 and is valued at $300,000. Even if it were not completed it would have been substantially completed and should have been assessed and on the tax rolls!!! It is not. A 1728 square foot two-story home with attached garage can represent a pretty fair amount of tax revenue, even if only subject to a partial assessment. Our question is: Why wasn’t the information provided to the Town of Coeymans Assessor when the building permit was issued? Why was it provided only after a Certificate of Occupancy was issued on July 3, 2018!!! Latter saved a pretty penny thanks to the Village of Ravena’s substandard reporting procedures. We’re certain the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance will be very interested in this case and will likely want to investigate how many other similar cases have gotten past the Assessor and the Tax Department.

Ravena will tell you it’s not their problem because they don’t have an assessor; the assessments are done by the Town of Coeymans Assessor. Coeymans will tell you that they don’t police the Village of Ravena and the Village of Ravena has to tell Coeymans what’s going on so that the assessor can do his assessments. Latter will likely tell us that he doesn’t know anything about all this. Sounds like a really shady case of finger-pointing or passing the buck here, now that the cat’s hit the fan and yet another problem in Village of Ravena-Town of Coeymans communications is revealed. Don’t you think it’s high time the Village and the Town started communicating? Now the community is losing property tax money from a select few that managed to drop below the assessment radar. That’s just not fair and it’s not legal. Someone has to answer for this illegal conduct and investigate how many other similar cases have cheated the Town out of tax dollars.

This is another case for the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, Real Property Division, and the Office of the New York State Comptroller. Rest assured they’ll be informed of all relevant details.

Do the Village or Ravena and the Town of Coeymans need a Special Audit?

But isn’t Latter a Board of Education member elected by the deaf-dumb-and-blind voters of the Town of Coeymans? Doesn’t he put together the school budget that gets funded in major part by our property taxes as assessed by the Office of the Assessor. And isn’t Latter a so-called “financial analyst” at SABIC? Wouldn’t you expect him to know about property taxes, assessments, etc.?

Ignorance is no excuse
Village and Town are Accessories.


Editor’s Aside: Diverting a bit from Mr James “Hadji” Latter’s past malconduct while a Board of Education member and later as president of the Board of Education that ranged from violations of confidentiality to a laundry list of questionable conduct and associations, he seems to have allied himself with a clique that manages to get elected no matter what. Probably by friends and family and a bit of influence peddling. But Latter is a decision maker on the Board of Education that hires the Superintendent of Schools for the RCS Central School District who runs the schools and manages the teachers. Latter’s Board hired a former principal/teacher from the RCS high-school as Superintendent at an astronomical salary, and others in turn to other posts.

“Hadji” Latter and his cronies have considerable influence on what gets taught by whom in our schools but he is obviously a supporter of Hillary Clinton. What’s worse still, is the fact that he is employed as a financial analyst at the Saudi Arabian company SABIC!!!

The SABIC flag flying near one of the company’s cogeneration towers in Feura Bush.

SABIC (Saudi Basic Industries Corporation) is a Saudi diversified manufacturing company, active in petrochemicals, chemicals, industrial polymers, fertilizers, and metals. It is the largest public company in Saudi Arabia, as listed in Tadawul, but the Saudi government still owns 70% of its shares. SABIC is also the largest listed company in the Middle East. Private shareholders are from Saudi Arabia and other countries of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Saudi SABIC

While Saudi Arabia is often a secondary source of funds and support for terror movements who can find more motivated and ideologically invested benefactors (e.g. Qatar), Saudi Arabia arguably remains the most prolific sponsor of international Islamist terrorism, allegedly supporting groups as disparate as the Afghanistan Taliban, Al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Al-Nusra Front. Saudi Arabia is said to be the world’s largest source of funds and promoter of Salafist jihadism, which forms the ideological basis of terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda, Taliban, Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Syria, Lebanon, Jordan) and others.

This is one of the guys you elected to run your school system!!!


We’re staying on top of this one and will publish the information provided by the Village of Ravena and the Town of Coeymans in response to our F.O.I.L demands as it becomes available.

Yes. We know.
But let’s see what you say when the cat hits the fan.
JUST PAY YOUR TAXES!!!
The Editor

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2018 in 19th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, Accountability, Albany, Amanda Latter, Ann Carrk, Anthony Carrk, Assessment, Bill Bailey, Board of Education Member, Brian Bailey, Capital District, Church of St Patrick, Code Enforcement Officer, Code Violation, Coeymans, Coeymans Assessor, Coeymans Code Enforcement, Columbia-Greene Media, Daily Mail, Donna Degnen, Fair Play, Gerald Deluca, Gordon Bennett, Government, Greene County News, Henry Traver, Incompetence, James Latter, James Latter II, Jason Hyslop, Jeff Ruso, Jerry "Dirty-Hands" Deluca, Joe Burns, Joe Tanner, John B. Johnson, Joseph Burns, Joseph Tanner, Mark Vinciguerra, Mayor "Mouse", Mayor "Mouse" Misuraca, Michael J. Biscone, Moose Misuraca, Nancy Biscone-Warner, Nancy Warner, Nancy Warner, New Baltimore Assessor, New York, New York State, New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, News Herald, NYS Assembly, NYS Comptroller Audit, NYS Senate, Office of the Comptroller, Official Misconduct, Partial Assessment, Phil Crandall, Property Taxes, Public Corruption, Public Office, Public Safety, Ravena, Ravena Building Inspector, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk Central School District, Ravena News Herald, RCS Board of Education, RCS Central School District, RCS School Superintendant, RCS Superintendent of Schools, Real Property Tax Law, Sabic, Sante Debacco, Selkirk Cogen, Shame On You, Smalbany, Tax Avoidance, Tax Evasion, Tax Evasion, Taxation, Thomas E. Dolan, Tom Dolan, Village of Ravena, Village of Ravena Building Department, William Bailey, William Bailey, William Misuraca, William Misuraca, Zoning Enforcement Officer

 

Three Articles on New Baltimore Scandals: Pick One or Read All.

First of all: Were you aware of these little tidbits?

At the January 1, 2018, Organizational Town Board Meeting:

Mr. Jeff Ruso appointed former New BaltimoreTown Supervisor, Nick Dellisanti, to be his deputy supervisor. Dellisanti showed his true colors when he refused to appoint non-party campaign workers to key town positions when he took office; his damning response was, “Republicans appoint Republicans.” Seems that New Baltimore Town Supervisor Jeff Ruso takes it a step further, since Ruso was Dellisanti’s deputy supervisor, “Cronies appoint cronies.” The net effect is that Dellisanti, although he had all sorts of excuses why he didn’t want to run again in 2017, got himself appointed to act as supervisor.  Ruso runs unopposed in New Baltimore and gets “elected” to be Town Supervisor and then he selects Dellisanti to be his deputy. Clever little trick, doncha think? Don’t they call that a dictatorship elsewhere? Single party system, unopposed (s)elections. Padding the panel.

Two famous political cronies.

But what really reveals Ruso’s attitude towards his unopposed election to be supervisor are his own words on appointing Dellisanti: “Now the appointment is mine entirely as Town Supervisor,” but Ruso did have the decency to ask the Town Board to ratify his appointment by Resolution. His motion was seconded by his constant sidekick Shelly vanEtten, whose husband also serves on the Planning Board as chairman, and somehow got on the Town Agriculture Committee, indirectly pulls strings on Town committees through his wife, Shelly van Etten, a sitting Town Board Member.

The shyster factor was also confirmed with the re-appointment of Tal Rappelea to be Town Attorney. Rappelea will receive more than $800/month as Town Attorney, generally sitting for about an half-hour next to Ruso or Dellisanti once a month at the regular Town Board meeting, if he even shows up.

There’s much more that our readers should be aware of and can be found in the minutes of that meeting at Organizational Meeting 2018 of January 1, 2018 .

This article is actually three component articles. Click on the links below to read the different sections. You won’t regret it.

Editor’s Sidebar: Town of Coeymans. We’ve received reports of a fatal pick-up truck — motorcycle accident that occurred during the evening hours of Saturday, July 28, 2018, on Route 143 in the Town of Coeymans. The operator of the motorcycle, a 20-year old man was killed; the operator of the pick-up truck was allegedly Ravena resident Travis Hagen. Strangely nothing has appeared in the local media about the accident. We have contacted the Coeymans Police for confirmation facts but have not received a response. A reader has informed us that he, too contacted the Coeymans Police acting chief, Daniel Contento, and was told only that there was an accident and the police investigated and reported it to the DMV. Is this a cover up to protect a prominent Ravena family? Doesn’t the young man’s life mean anything or do we just sweep the whole thing under the carpet? We need to start asking questions. The 20-year old man is not just another raccoon, Mr Contento!

Go to other articles in this mini-series on New Baltimore:

Open Letter Blasts New Baltimore Supervisor, Town Board over Jordan Affair

New Baltimore Town Supervisor Jeff Ruso and his Board: Hide and Deny

New Baltimore Sends “Acting Superintendent” to Highway School. Why?

New Baltimore Property Taxes: Absolutely No Rhyme, Reason, or Answers!!!

The New Baltimore In-Justice Court and Kangaroo Judges: Thomas Meacham, A Case Study.

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2018 in 19th Congressional District, 2018 Elections, 20th Congressional District, Alan van Wormer, Animal Control Officer, Assessment, Assessment Review, Board of Assessment Review, Broken Lease, Burning the Constitution, Charles Stahlman, CHIPS, Civil Right Violation, Consolidated Highway Improvement Program, Conspiracy, Constitution, Corruption, Crystal R. Peck Esq., Daily Mail, DeLeonardis & Peck P.C., Denis Jordan, Denis Jordan, Deputy Superintendent of Highways, Donna Degnen, Elections and Voting, Gordon Bennett, Government, Greene County, Greene County Court, Greene County District Attorney, Greene County Elections, Grievance Day, Harassment, Hazardous Conditions, Hudson Valley, Jeff Ruso, Joe Stanzione, Joe Tanner, Joseph Stanzione, Joseph Tanner, Law Enforcement, Lawsuit, Marshall Sterling Insurance, Meprision of Felony, Michael Biscone, Michael J. Biscone, Misconduct, Misuse of Public Office, New Baltimore, New Baltimore Assessor, New Baltimore Democratic Committee, New Baltimore Democrats, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Highway Department, New Baltimore Highway Superintendent, New Baltimore Republican Club, New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways, New Baltimore Town Board, New Baltimore Town Court, New York, New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct, New York State Constitution, New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, New York State Department of Transportation, New York State Department of Transportation, New York State Highway Law, New York State Police, New York State Police, New York State Supreme Court, New York State Town Law, New York State Unified Court System, Nick Delisanti, Nick Dellisanti, NYS Assembly, NYS Comptroller Audit, NYS Senate, Office of the Assessor, Office of the Comptroller, Pat Linger, Patrick Linger, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk Central School District, RCS Central School District, Ronna Smith, Scott Van Wormer, Scott VanWormer, Shelly van Etten, Smalbany, Sole Assessor, Stahlman, Tal Rappelea, Terry J. Wilhelm, Terry Wilhelm, Tom Meacham, Town and Village Courts, Town and Village Judge, Town Justice, Town Law, Town of Bethlehem, Town of New Baltimore, VanEtten, Zach Stahlman, Zachary Stahlman

 

The New Baltimore In-Justice Court and Kangaroo Judges: Thomas Meacham, A Case Study.

We’ve just been informed that Zachary Stahlman and Charles “Chuck” Stahlman’s continuing harassment of a local business has been rejected by the Greene County Court. Shyster loser Brendan Baynes (Brendan Baynes Law Firm), representing the Stahlmans in their bid to continue harassing a local business, and his motion to reargue the case, claiming that the Greene County Court and County Judge Terry J Wilhelm didn’t understand the facts or the law, got kicked out, as we predicted. For background on the Stahlmans and Baynes, see our article, “Shyster Meets Psycho: Brendan Baynes and Zachary Stahlman a.k.a. Fat Cat Antiques“. Their attempt failed miserably, of course.

In a Decision & Order dated July 2, 2108, Greene County Court Judge Terry J. Wilhelm denied Stahlman’s motion for reargument, which was stupidly filed by local shyster Brendan Baynes of the Baynes Law Firm of Ravena, NY (we’ve already commented on the fact that Baynes’ law firm isn’t in Ravena, his P.O. box might be, but his office is in what appears to be a chicken coop on US Rt 9W in Greene County; it’s not even in Albany County!). If Baynes doesn’t even know where his office is located do you want to trust him with your legal work? But that says a lot about the Stahlmans.

The whole fiasco started in New Baltimore Town Court when former one-term town justice Lee Davis, a New York State Health Department attorney, no less, couldn’t interpret the terms of a commercial lease correctly, and started the ball rolling in a cascade of confusion worthy of the antics of a group of circus clowns. One of the biggest clowns, local attorney Brendan Baynes of Ravena, New York, jumped into the act to demonstrate how incompetent a New York attorney can be. The Stahlmans got what they deserved. Losers!

Our investigations as reported in our article, “Are Charles H. “Chuck” Stahlman and Son, Zachary Stahlman a Bit too Cozy with New York State Police?” received a very prompt and concerned response from the New York State Police Internal Investigations and the Station Commander at the New Scotland State Police, who flatly denied any connection with the Stahlmans, except that they were the ones who arrested Charles “Chuck” Stahlman for passing fake money, but once the case went to Albany  County DA P. David Soares, that’s where the NYSP connection ended. In fact, Charles Stahlman has a date in court in September. We’ll be watching what Albany County DA Soares does to botch up the case, which he no doubt will do.

The State Police also sent Chuck Stahlman and wifely Stahlman packing when they cried harassment when legally served with court papers. The Stahlmans are displaying a “We Support the Bethlehem Police” poster on their property on US Route 9W. Yeah, we bet they do!  Too bad for the bad-news boys in Stahlmanville.

The only remaining question we have at this point is whether Albany County District Attorney David P. Soares will screw up the case when Chuck Stahlman has to appear in September on the charges of


AND AGAIN IN NEW BALTIMORE TOWN COURT…

We’ve been looking at elected officials’ and public servants’ oaths of office and find that just about every one of our local elected officials and public servants have sworn an oath they cannot possibly uphold. They just won’t admit that they are ignorant and incompetent. They don’t know their jobs, take the public’s money and are, well, thieves!

THE NEW BALTIMORE TOWN COURT or THE CENTER FOR BACKWATER INJUSTICE

In a recent letter to New Baltimore Town Justice Thomas Meacham, a resident demands to know why a complaint made with the Town of New Baltimore Animal Control Officer (ACO), Joseph “Joe” Tanner, was dismissed without notification of the parties, including, at least according the Mr. Tanner, the Animal Control Officer. The letter (June 6, 2018) reads in part:

“Mr. Tanner informs me that the complaint was “discarded” by you. Mr. Tanner further reports that he had discussed the case with you and was surprised that you had discarded it.

“My question to you is on what grounds and authority did you discard/dismiss the case without having consulted with me or without a hearing.”

Meacham responds on July 5, 2018, by sending a so-called Decision, without even so much as a note, dated September 26, 2017 (!!!) which reads:

“On 9/26/17 the hearing was held at the Town of New Baltimore Courthouse in Greene County, NY. Neither the Animal control officer (ACo) or the complainant were present in the court at the hearing.”

Overlooking the horrible grammar in this official court document, there are some very significant problems in how this case was handled. The Complainant, upon receiving Meacham’s response, addressed a letter to “his honor” in which the Complainant pulls no punches:

“While the document mailing postmarked July 5, 2018, indicates a decision of the court dated September 26, 2017, it gives no further statement as to why the apparent Decision of September 26, 2017, was sent out on July 5, 2018, and only after I demanded information from the Court as to the status of the complaint. If one does the math, that is fully 10 months after the fact; by any standard, even if one applies the standards of a Town or Village court and the competence of a Town or Village “justice,” such an untimely notification is unacceptable.

“But the untimely notification is not the sole unacceptable observation to be made on hand of the Court’s apparent response.

*****

“The document indicates that the “[d]efendants were arraigned on 8/29/17.” Presumably, that date notation is intended to mean August 29, 2017.

“The fact that I made the complaint by me The “personally with Mr. Joseph Tanner on or about Tuesday, July 11, 2017, immediately following a so-called “trial” in the matter of Thompson v. Krug [sic, recte “People v. Krug”], a dog nuisance case, which you sua sponte dismissed after coaxing the complainant telling him you were going to dismiss the case even without hearing the facts or witnesses who were waiting to be heard. This fact raises the question as to why it no less than took 7 weeks for the New Baltimore Town Court to “arraign” the defendants on a dog nuisance violation?

*****

“The Decision document also states that a “hearing was held at the Town of New Baltimore Courthouse” on 9/26/2017 (September 26, 2017), and that “[neither] the Animal Control Officer (ACO) [Mr. Joseph Tanner] or [sic] the complainant were present in the court at the hearing.”

“In other words, Sir, in the case of People v. Krug, while mis-captioning the matter before the court, you unilaterally eliminated the People from the matter.

*****

“First of all, in an animal nuisance complaint, it is the Animal Control Officer (ACO) who prosecutes the complaint before the court; it is the Animal Control Officer who is the prosecutor. The court cannot “hear” a case in which the prosecutor is not present; the Court cannot entertain an ex parte hearing. A hearing, sir, involves the parties, not a single party but all of the parties! Mr. Tanner is the New Baltimore Animal Control Officer and in the subject matter he is the prosecutor and the representative of the People of New Baltimore. How do you presume to abrogate to yourself the prerogatives of the executive branch (enforcement and prosecution) from your position in the judiciary?!? How do you presume to disregard the doctrine of separation of powers in violation of the New York State Constitution and the Constitution of the United States, both of which you swore in a solemn oath of office to support?

*****

“I am at a loss, as would anyone who is even remotely familiar with the administration of justice, how it would be possible for both the prosecutor and the chief Complainant to be absent from a hearing without red flags going up everywhere. Didn’t it occur to you that something was awry when the prosecutor and the chief Complainant were not present at the hearing?

*****

“According to the document you provided as a Decision, you arrogantly proceeded with a so-called “hearing,” heard the defendant(s) without the benefit of the prosecutor or this Complainant, and dismissed the case.

“Your questionable conduct in this one case raises a plethora of questions as to your competence as a member of the judiciary, not only in terms of an understanding of your role but questions even your appreciation of the implications of your oath of office and your knowledge of procedures. Given these primary questions and the secondary issues and questions that arise therefrom, it would appear that you are in violation of a number of regular and ethical rules.

“Your conduct of this matter may subject you to discipline, and given the circumstances, I shall immediately file a complaint with the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct, demanding that you be at least censured if not removed from the bench.

“Before this matter becomes any more embarrassing to the Town of New Baltimore or to the New York State Unified Court System, you may wisely and prudently consider resigning with immediate effect.”

The Complainant’s letter was sent on or about July 30, 2018, and copied to the New Baltimore Town Clerk, the New Baltimore Justice Court Clerk, Town Justice Joseph Farrell Jr, and mailed to Mr. Meacham.

We have demanded insight into the Court records in this case and have been informed that they will be made available for inspection on August 20, 2018, at the New Baltimore Town Hall. We’ll have our representative there to inspect those records and recommend further action.

All of our public servants have to swear an oath of office in which they swear to support the New York State Constitution and the Constitution of the United States of America. That’s the joke of the century.

Not a single one of the officials we have examined has any idea of either of the Constitutions and they are continuously violating the highest laws of the state of New York and of the United States, their Constitutions. Our public servants have no clue about the constitutions they swear to support and they’re violating our rights on a day-to-day basis.

The voters of New Baltimore elected a dolt to be a town justice, Thomas Meacham, who has no clue of what it means to be a member of the judiciary nor any idea of any boundaries set by the separation of powers in the three branches of government.

Meacham not only is ignorant of any constitutional provisions of separation of powers, he seems to make his own rules of procedure as he moves blindly along violating the public’s rights and traumatizing the people’s trust in an unbiased and non-partisan judiciary, something that is alien to New Baltimore and most towns and villages that are plagued with the antiquated and incompetent system of town and village justices, who are not educated in the law and are required to have only a high school education or equivalent to be voted into the court system!

We have been studying the Town and Village Court System of the New York State Unified Court System and have found that it is the source of problems for almost 100 years. The fundamental problem is that local communities elect local residents to be local judges, called town or village justices (formerly “justices of the peace”), most of whom have absolutely no training in law or anything close to it. The only requirement to be one of these dolts is the equivalence of a high school graduation and the necessary votes, that is, one more than your opponent!! There have been attempts to eliminate the town and village court system but communities don’t like interference from above and legislators are not all too eager to risk pissing off voters by doing something that might be right or necessary. Perish the thought!

Go to other articles in this mini-series on New Baltimore:

Open Letter Blasts New Baltimore Supervisor, Town Board over Jordan Affair

New Baltimore Town Supervisor Jeff Ruso and his Board: Hide and Deny

New Baltimore Sends “Acting Superintendent” to Highway School. Why?

New Baltimore Property Taxes: Absolutely No Rhyme, Reason, or Answers!!!

*****

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2018 in 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 46th District, 46th Senate District, Albany, Albany County District Attorney, All the Justice You Can Buy, Baynes Law Firm, Bob Krug, Bonnie Krug, Brendan Baynes, Burning the Constitution, Capital District, Charles H. Stahlman, Charles Stahlman, Chuck Stahlman, Civil Lawsuit, Civil Rights, Constitution, Corrupt Judge, Corrupt Justice, County Legislator, Criminal Judge, Crystal R. Peck Esq., David Soares, DeLeonardis & Peck P.C., Democrap, Democrats, Fat Cat Antiques, Fat Cat Transport, Felony, Fraud, Glenmont, Government, Greene County, Greene County Court, Greene County District Attorney, Harry Davis, Hudson Valley, Intimidation, Joe Stanzione, Joe Tanner, Joseph Tanner, Judge Davis, Judicial Ethics, Judicial Misconduct, Justice and Courts, Kangaroo Court, Law, Law Enforcement, Lee Davis, Lee Davis, Leland Miller, Michael Biscone, Michael J. Biscone, New Baltimore, New Baltimore Town Board, New Baltimore Town Board Member, New Baltimore Town Court, New York, New York State, New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct, New York State Constitution, New York State Police, New York State Police, New York State Unified Court System, NYS Assembly, NYS Senate, P. David Soares, Public Corruption, Robert Krug, Tainted Judge, Terry J. Wilhelm, Terry Wilhelm, Thomas Meacham, Tom Meacham, Town and Village Courts, Town and Village Judge, Town Justice, Town of New Baltimore, Town Supervisor, Zach Stahlman, Zachary C. Stahlman, Zachary Stahlman

 

Bottom-Feeder Planet Fitness Violates Protected Rights!!! Another Report.

“WE’RE GOING AFTER THE 80% OF THE POPULATION* THAT DOESN’T HAVE A GYM MEMBERSHIP”
CHRIS RONDEAU
Planet Fitness CEO


You may not know it but you’ve become a target for the fitness scam of the century, PLANET FITLESS.

It’s all about the money of selling memberships; nothing about you or your fitness!

Thumbs down AGAIN for Plantet Fitness in Glenmont.

We recently published a scathing article on the Planet Fitness franchise, particularly one local facility in Glenmont, New York. Our research actually showed that what we reported about the Glenmont facility is epidemic in most Planet Fitness locations. It seems it’s a corporate characteristic: incompetent management and staff, poor maintenance, and the majority of members are really not what you want to work out with.

The only judgment-free we can find is that it is free of any good judgment.

We have received another serious complaint about Planet Fitness operations, this one points to serious violations of rights guaranteed and protected by the United States Constitution, that is, freedom of speech and opinion. Seems that if someone at the front desk not doing their job but listening to private conversations can go to management who, without due process of any kind such as discussing a possible problem, simply disciplines a member by terminating their membership. No questions asked. Now that’s Planet Fitness customer care. As we’ve already reported, Planet Fitness is a bottom-feeder among fitness clubs, and is really going to hell in a hand basket if recent observations and reports are accurate. Judging by this contributor’s letter, it’s only getting worse.

Now Planet Fitness staff are eroding protected rights like free speech, and they’re doing it in a discriminatory way without any notion of fairness or due process. If you’re Mr Nice Guy, you’ll be the first to go because you won’t beat the crap out of the [redacted] manager or his [redacted] staff. Right Daniel Boughton.

Planet Fitness – The Constitution-free Zone

Here’s what we just received (it’s a bit long but we thought it was worth reprinting in its entirety):

Dear Smalbany Editor:

Let me start out by saying that I am not easily impressed or shocked. In my professional life I have encountered incredible suffering and incredible stupidity and ignorance but, I must admit, just when you think you’ve seen and heard it all, someone comes up with another masterpiece of idiocy.

Well, I do apologize, since I am writing to the Smalbany blog, a remarkable venue of never-ending-exposure of local stupidity and ignorance, and the suffering it causes. I read your blog and sometimes just have to shake my head, roll my eyes, and offer a fervent prayer that my friends and neighbors in the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk communities, and our neighbors in the New Baltimore and Greene County communities, read your stuff and wake up to what’s going on. Before I tell my story, and I hope you will publish it, even if you have to edit some of what I have to say, let me first say Thank you! for your time, energy, interest in our communities, but most of all for your guts in saying what others don’t even dare to think. It’s a terrible shame that our communities have become what they are, and we need people like you and your contributors to help us out of the morass into which we’ve sunken thanks to our apathy and unwillingness to speak up.

Several weeks ago, I read a piece the Smalbany blog published on the Planet Fitness franchise [See our article, “Planet Fitness a.k.a. Planet Failure“. The Editor], and I was appalled at what I read. Appalled because I have personally witnessed and experienced much of what you described. But to think that it is so widespread was what really floored me.

Yes, I am, or was, until today, a so-called Black Card Member. I really don’t know why I stuck with Planet Fitness as long as I had but, like so many of my colleagues and friends who are or were members, the fact that it is the bottom feeder of health and fitness facilities was offset by the fact that it was cheap and was on our way home. Well, that’s what we kept telling ourselves.

The fact is, Planet Fitness is a bottom-feeder. Anyone with any sense will admit that and now that there’s more competition in the Albany area with beautiful new YMCAs in Delmar and Coxsackie, Best Fitness, VENT, and other serous, real gyms and exercise studios, the situation as I have been able to observe over the past couple of years is getting worse at Planet Fitness. Worse in that there seem to be more sociopaths and low-lives than ever. But that may be because Planet Fitness is losing all of their top-shelf members to the YMCAs and to the other, more glamorous competition. So I guess they have to make up for their losses by offering cheaper and cheaper deals and attracting a lower and lower class of member

Your article only scraped the surface of what’s going on at Planet Fitness, though, and you have to be a regular at Planet Fitless to really know how bad it is. Don’t be suckered in by the hype and the marketing garbage. This stuff can’t be made up!

Yes, management, if you can call it management, is substandard. At the Glenmont club the manager is about 30 years old and has been “managing” a PF facility for 12 years. 12 years!!! Doing the same thing, dusting equipment, mopping floors, cleaning out urinals, hiring brainless and immature front-desk personnel, and making lame excuses. Clocks were out for months. Equipment unrepaired for weeks. Urinals not working for weeks. Sink fixtures broken likewise for weeks. But the most irritating experience is the type of people that are becoming the regulars. They have no respect — but what can you expect when the staff has no respect —, no gym etiquette, they’re dirty, and the list goes on.

I’ve recently observed the so-called trainer giving an equipment blitz-tour: a quick explanation of what the piece of equipment is working but I have never seen her tell the new member that after using the eequipment, he or she should wipe it down with a paper towel and some of the sanitizer provided. It’s no wonder that these people use the equipment and leave their residues all over it. They have to be told to wipe off their sweat and dirt but nobody at Planet Fitless tells them!

I’ve also never heard or seen the trainer or any of the other staff telling members to pick up after themselves or to put the weights back where they belong. It’s even more of a mess than what you describe in your article.

Management is incompetent and staff are lazy and indifferent. What’s worse still is that the manager is about as mature as the adolescent minds he hires. I guess it makes him feel more comfortable, sorry soul that he is. I can’t imagine what he thinks of himself but then, it takes all kinds.

Yes, I was shocked today when the Glenmont Planet Fitness manager , Daniel Boughton, called me over as I was leaving the facility. He stood there mumbling a lot of words and I was having trouble discerning what the devil he was going on about. I stopped him and asked, “What is it you’re trying to say?” He responded: “I have to terminate your membership.” To be honest, that wasn’t the worst news I could have been given, since I was only waiting until my current membership ran out and I was going to cancel anyway, investing the money in a YMCA membership, because of the quality of the facilities and the programs. No big deal. He’s terminating my membership so now I don’t have to wait. OK.

But curious me, I had to go one step further and asked him Why? What he told me hit me like a brick. His reason: “You are continuously using foul language.” Are you kidding me? Do you know who you are talking to? He repeated, “You are continuously using foul language with staff and other members.” News to me!

I couldn’t believe my ears but when he repeated what he had said I knew I had heard correctly.

My initial reaction was to ask “What are you talking about? First of all, I’ve never used foul language with your staff or with other members.” But ‘continuously’? That really bothered me.

Mr. Boughton pointed out that a couple of months ago I approached him in an agitated state because of some dangerous activity in the free-weights area and an abusive member. I did mention to Mr. Boughton that the member told me to “F**k myself and go tell the manager.” I did quote the member and I did tell Mr. Boughton that “I don’t have to put up with that kind of sh*t.” Yes. I was upset because I was fed up with the same old same old and Boughton and his staff just hold a love fest at the front desk ignoring everything.

Today, another member, a workout buddy, and I had a chat about a new member slamming weights and leaving weights all over the place. My buddy had already told the guy to stop dropping the weights and making such noise. [Editor’s Note: PF has what is called a “Lunk Alarm” which is a whistle or a siren that is operated from the front desk when a member makes too much “inappropriate noise” in the “Non-judgement [sic] Zone.” But isn’t that a judgement [sic[? Apparently the front desk attendants were to busy love-festing to push a button.] He also told him to put his weights away after using them. He was ignored and so he went to the front desk to get one of the “attendants” to talk to the guy. At about this time, rather than being told again to “f**k myself” by some lowlife, I approached the front desk and also asked that someone talk to the guy. The attendants looked uneasy but when we insisted, one of them, a kid, left his perch and seemed to go over to the unruly member. At that point I said something like “#*($(&(@#!! retard member and the staff is too.” I was not happy with how the staff member responded; it was as if we were bothering him, making him do his job, the snotty brat. Apparently [redacted] attendant was offended and carried the “story” back to Boughton, who decided that I was abusive and “continuously using foul language with staff and other members.”

PF Has It But Staff is Too Lazy to Push the Button!

So what I got for my years of membership and loyalty is an insult and a termination. Oh! And I got handed a scrap piece of paper with Daniel Boughton’s manager’s name and telephone number. Boughton told me if I wanted to discuss the termination I could call Dan Harms, his boss. No thanks! Dealing with one ding-a-ling is enough for one day. [Editor’s Note: Wise decision. We’ve spoken to both Boughton and Harms; you don’t want too much contact with the brainless; it might be contagious.] Besides, I wouldn’t want to interrupt Mr Harms’ urinal fishing.

That was it. My private remark to a like-minded buddy was enough to get my membership terminated. No discussion, no inquiry. Summary termination. Isn’t that illegal on some planets?

I could go on but what’s the use? Planet Fitness is Planet Fitless. It sells memberships whether you use them or not. New members, short-term widgets get dumped on veterans who know how to work out together and make life miserable before disappearing, paying their $10 and some ridiculous monthly pittance.

Your article was over-the-top right. Everything you wrote is true but in reality it’s actually worse.

At this point, after some 5 years a Planet Fitness member, and getting treated like that by the likes of the Glenmont Planet Fitness staff, I’m grateful for the nudge to move on.

People interested in real fitness and professionally managed facilities, management who cares, and members who care about their club and their health and safety would do well to avoid Planet Fitness. Yes it’s cheap but you get what you pay for. Some people will accept that. People with any self-respect won’t.

[Name Redacted by Smalbany Policy]

P.s. I know you say you don’t publish names but I have no problem with your publishing my name. I don’t really care if Planet Fitness knows who I am. In fact, I know many local people read your blog and at least my friends who read this blog will know why they are not seeing me any more. I’m sure Boughton won’t tell them the truth – he didn’t even tell me the truth. If you publish my letter, let me say Thank you!

Well, that’s another Planet Fitless (we liked that so we’re going to use it) horror story. We’ve edited in some emphasis and some notes and edited out some words but for the most part, we’ve reproduced the letter as sent and received.

Does this sound like a lawsuit in the making to you? We think there’s good lawsuit in this situation and we’ll be happy to research the possibilities for our reader.

There’s a saying that goes “There’s a sucker born every minute.” We guess that at that rate, there will be enough suckers to keep Planet Fitless going for a while but then what? Are you one of those suckers?

Planet Fitness Club Rated:

Glenmont, NY
Daniel Boughton, Manager
329 Glenmont Road
Glenmont NY 12077
518-439-1200

EXPOSED AGAIN!