RSS

Category Archives: Ravena Coeymans Selkirk Central School District

Russian Mafia in Our Back Yards?

Does the Carver Laraway-Boris Jordan-George McHugh Connection Mean We Now Have the Eurasian Mob on our Doorstep?

The Russian Mafia, known in Russia as Bratva, the “brotherhood”, has been around since the Tzar’s days, but up to about the 90s was fairly limited to muscling businessmen and in the protection/extortion racket, and black markets. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the so-called Russian mob was expanded to include ruthless criminals from areas like Chechnia, Ukraine, and other areas until it became more appropriate to call them the Eurasian mob.

The Eurasian mob has been involved in everything from Russian industry, banking and insurance, vice and corruption, to collaborating with other criminal groups like the drug cartels in Central and South America, and even financing and providing guns to the South Italian mafia, the Camorra.

Louis Freeh, former director of the FBI, said that the Russian mafia posed the greatest threat to U.S. national security in the mid-1990s. In August 2010, Alain Bauer, a French criminologist, said that it “is one of the best structured criminal organizations in Europe, with a quasi-military operation.” It’s only gotten worse.

One example is Vyacheslav “Yaponchik” Ivankov, who was sent to Brighton Beach (NY) in 1992, allegedly because he was killing too many people in Russia and also to take control of Russian organized crime in North America. Within a year, he built an international operation that included, but was not limited to, narcotics, money laundering, and prostitution and made ties with the American Mafia and Colombian drug cartels, eventually extending to Miami, Los Angeles, and Boston. Those who went against him were usually killed.

Question: If Ivankov was a well-known organized crime figure and undesirable in his own country, Russia, how did he manage to get into the United States??? Who paid whom off? Where was our national security organization at the time? Where is our national security, Homeland Security, the FBI, now?

On June 7, 2017, 33 Russian mafia affiliates and members of the Russian mob were arrested and charged by the FBI, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and NYPD for extortion, racketeering, illegal gambling, firearm offenses, narcotics trafficking, wire fraud, credit card fraud, identity theft, fraud on casino slot machines using electronic hacking devices; based in Atlantic City and Philadelphia, murder-for-hire conspiracy and cigarette trafficking.

On 19 February 2018, 18 defendants, members of the Russian mob, were accused of laundering over $62 million through real estate, including with the help of Vladislav Reznik, former chairman of Rosgosstrakh; one of Russia’s largest insurance companies. The Russian mob is involved in everything from real estate to banking to aluminum refining companies in Kentucky. (See the article, “Russian organized crime operates just about everywhere” by G. W. Abersold Ph.D. – March 13, 2018). Have they now found a home in Coeymans, a guest of Carver Laraway, at the so-called Coeymans Industrial Park. Will Coeymans be renamed “Russia on the Hudson?

Even the Times of Israel published an article, “US targets ‘Thieves-in-Law,’ Russian mafia royalty” (23 December 2017) and writes, “Washington seems to be confirming that the threat posed by the fabled “Russian mafia” from the former Soviet republics is a more organized one than previously supposed.” Gee! Didn’t you know that?

Russian Mob in Your Back Yard!

Well, Guess What? The Russian mob may be right in your back yard, in the Coeymans Industrial Park, in the grey building with no visible sign identifying what’s going on inside, the very building that houses the Curaleaf marijuana growing and processing operation headed by none other than Russian businessman, Boris Alexei Jordan, who is working in partnership with Carver Laraway and his lackey George McHugh.

This is the Curaleaf facility in the Coeymans Industrial Park
No sign on the building. You’d never find it if you were looking for Curaleaf. We identified it by the many vents on the building and a tiny sign on a door mentioning “Curaleaf Security.” We later confirmed with an employee outside the building.

Boris Jordan likes to talk about how he almost single-handedly turned the Russian economy, including banking and industry, around in Russia. But the boy-wonder, Boris Alexei Jordan, has only a B.A. from New York University, not very impressive credentials for a veritable miracle worker. So how does a guy with only an undergrad degree get to Russia and just start reorganizing things? There’s got to be more, much more to this story than meets the eye. We think we know what it is, too.

Jordan thinks we all came down with the last shower, it seems. Does he and his pals Carver Laraway and George McHugh really think we believe he’d get anything done in Russia without the backing of the powerful Russian mafia and Putin, who himself is closely connected with the Russian mob and mob money? Does Jordan, who blatantly admits that “business is done differently in Russia than it is in the USA,” and that bribery is an accepted way of doing business there, think we’re all stupid?

The Russian Bear Loves Dollar$!

Our question is also this: If he didn’t have mob connections and didn’t work with the Russian mafia and Putin’s crew, how did he stay alive over there? The answer is easy: He worked with them. They had him in their pockets.

It’s no secret that the Eurasian mob is getting more sophisticated and has entered the banking, insurance industries, and even aluminum refining in Kentucky. Jordan himself admits that now that billionaire bucks have bought off the United States government and legislatures, that pot is a major growth industry and a huge market. Jordan has carved out a chunk of that market and want’s us to believe that he’s the genius behind it all. He’s the front man, maybe, but he’s no genius and it’s not Jordan who’s behind it all.

The FBI and other law enforcement agencies in the United States have been aware of this growing problem since at least the 1990’s if not the 1970s but have done remarkably little to slow down the mob’s growth in the United States or even to keep their kingpins out of the country. We really should be asking Why?

In a Connecting Heights (PBS) interview, the interview starts out with a bit of background:

Boris Jordan was a key figure in Russia’s economic transition to capitalism in the early ’90s, assisting in the launch of the Russian stock market and the privatization of state assets. Later appointed chief executive of Russia’s Gazprom Media as well as general director of its NTV television network, Jordan was forced to resign in early 2003 under political pressure.

But there’s one key bit of information we haven’t shared: Boris Alexei Jordan is an American of Russian parentage. You see, his people emigrated from Russia after the revolution. He admits he grew up in a strongly Russian traditional home, went to Russian school, and he even speaks fluent Russian. According the interview transcript, Jordan says:

I was very interested in Russia. My family came from this country. I was educated in the United States at home as a Russian. I had a Russian education on Saturdays for Russian language and Russian history. My university education was based on U.S.-Soviet diplomacy.

[Editor’s Note: This is a bit confusing because at one point Jordan says his education was based on “Russian diplomacy” and a couple of breaths later says that his background was “Russian finance.” The man can’t keep his story straight.]

We also find it interesting that Boris Jordan entered the Russian economic scene in the 1990’s, a time when the Russian state was in a turmoil and the Russian mob was seizing the opportunity of a country in chaos to get its fangs into very vulnerable and influential business sectors. They obviously needed a plan and needed one fast: Enter Boris Alexei Jordan and a small team of other opportunists. You don’t just step in because a bunch of patriots invite you in, not in Russia. The mob doesn’t just let some hungry wannabe waltz in and take over what was theirs to claim. Jordan had to have mob support or he was a dead man.

One clue about the sinister connections is a statement made by Jordan in an interview, when he talks about setting shop in the Metropol Hotel in Moscow:

We literally had to come in on a weekly basis with a suitcase of $25,000 or $50,000, or $100,000 in cash to just finance this whole operation and put it together.

Jordan describes how he got things done, avoiding the word “bribe” and replacing it with “incentivize,” according to Jordan: Where’d he get the suitcases of money he was talking about in his interviews? Santa Claus? The Easter Bunny?

Where’d the suitcases of money come from? The United States has laws and rules concerning how much money leaves the country and Russia certainly has rules about the sources and destinations of US$. Where’d the money come from, Mr Jordan?

Was it Easter Bunny money in the suitcases?

In the end it was a very old, simple process that got these guys to agree. We had to basically, I wouldn’t say bribe, but incentivize them by giving them stock.

Shakespeare wrote: “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet?” In other words, a rose would smell just as sweet if you called it a cabbage. Well, bribery by any other name smells just as bad. Whether you call a bribe and incentive or not, it’s still a bribe. Sorry, Boris.

Doesn’t matter whether it’s in the Kremlin, Cuomo’s office, the NY state Senate or Assemby, or in Washington D.C., or George McHugh’s or Michael Biscone’s office.
It’s still bribery.

At another point in the same interview, Jordan responds:

“There’s an argument that I’ve compromised principles somehow by trying to adjust to doing business in the Russian environment…If you’re going to operate within this environment, if you’re going to have an impact on changing it, you can’t do it overnight. You can’t come in here and say, “For God’s sake, you have to follow the U.S. laws on securities for these operations.” You can’t do that. It’s just impossible…I’ve created a way of life for myself here [in Russia]. I’m living here with my family and my children for a very long period of time, and I intend to continue to live here. We are participants in an evolution and a change in this country…I’d love to change this country in two, three years, but I don’t want to make it look like the United States because, frankly, this country has tremendous things that are different from the United States.” [Emphasis provided]

That interview was conducted by PBS “Commanding Heights,” on October 3, 2000; Jordan was 33 at the time. There’s a lot going on in that background but we’ll gloss over it for now. Trust us when we say that it all supports our contention that Jordan is part of something much bigger and much more sinister than just growing pot.

We found another site that tells the story of how Boris Jordan does business. It’s a real eye-opener so do yourself a favor and read the article by Bill Browder, an American investor, “A true story of high finance, murder and my fight for justice in Putin’s Russia,” in which Jordan is a key figure.

American Investor Bill Browder, at war with Boris Jordan

Jordan was fired from his positions at Gazprom and NTV while in Russia. Apparently he stepped on Putin’s toes and had to go. Read the New York Times report at “American Financier Is Fired as Head of Russian TV Network,” Putin was angered by Jordan’s publishing premature reports of Russian troop movements responding to a Chechen terrorist attack on a Moscow theater that left 129 hostages dead. Jordan thought the report was ”exceptionally well done.” Putin’s response was, “journalists should not ply their trade ”on the blood of your own citizens — if, of course, those who do this consider these citizens to be their own.” The remark was widely seen as a jab at  Jordan and a NTV journalist, Savik Shuster, a Canadian citizen. Jordan’s operation gets 129 people killed and Jordan thinks it was “exceptionally well done.” Disgusting.

The Russian MobBoris Alexei JordanHis American Whores (Carver Laraway/George McHugh) relaxing together.

In one interview with CNBC he openly talks about getting US laws changed. Now how do you think he gets that little tidbit done? He also says that the Candadian market for pot isn’t big enough; its the US that is the target. Does that get your gray matter fired up yet?

Our research has shown that more is written about him in Russian than in English. In fact, credibility is an issue here, and there’s an awful lot about Boris Alexei Jordan that is in-credible. But make no mistake about it: Boris Alexei Jordan is 200% Russian.

For an interesting perspective, see the article “How Russia Prepared Renaissance Capital Co-Founder Boris Jordan For The Cannabis Industry” by Javier Hasse and Alex Oleinic , Benzinga contributors.

But all of that aside, we have to seriously ask ourselves where our elected and public officials were when all of this was in the planning and ultimately got approved by someone. We’re thinking especially of those closest to us and our children, those elected officials and public servants in whom we place our trust to make good decisions and to protect us:

  • Ravena Coeymans Selkirk Central School District & Board of Education: When they’re not spending tax dollar wildly or evading paying taxes, where were they when the Town of Coeymans was considering this pot growing and processing facility? Of all the public servants, we’d have expected our kids’ educators to have chimed in at some point along the line. But they don’t care about anything but their own interests and their pensions.
  • The Coeymans Town Board and the Ravena Village Board: Where were the public comment sessions and were were the town and village officials while all this was being hatched? Weren’t they elected to protect the public’s best interests? Instead they put out the Welcome Mat to a Russian billionaire, his American whores, and the Russian mob. Great job!
  • Where were the Churches?!? All the Jesus Loves You! freaks. All the Bible Thumpers! All the Faith and Family Values hypocrites? All the good church-goers that fill the church parking lots for 45 minutes every Sunday? Where were your pastors, your priests, your bishops, your deacons and elders when all of this was happening?
  • Law Enforcement: Yeah, we know: All we can do is enforce the law! Poor excuse, dudes! Are you a bunch of brainless manikins? A bunch of remote controlled robots who get reprogrammed every time the politicians conjure up some hare-brained scheme? Just a couple of years ago, we recall and so do you, you and our corrupt judges were ruining peoples’ lives for a dime-bag of pot. Now you’re right in the middle of the corruption protecting the industrial pot-growers? If that isn’t an example of public corruption and the mob at work, what is. Can you defend yourselves?
  • But the worst bunch are the state and federal legislators, the people some voters put in the New York State Assembly and the Senate, and the US House of Reps and US Senate. They’re the biggest failures, disappointments and criminals because they are the real Whores of Babylon, it’s that bunch of elitists who sold us out. They took mob money to legalize another drug plague. They criminalized tobacco, an American addiction, only to legalize marijuana, a foreign addiction. They all should be tried as traitors!
  • And our final accusation is against YOU! Where were you when all of this was going on? Probably watching some sick sitcom like Mike and Molly while the rest of us were out voting, exercising one of our most important rights. It was your responsibility, your duty, your obligation to safeguard your children, their community, and their future. You FAILED! Your children’s blood is on your hands. We’ll be there to remind you when catastrophe strikes, if it hasn’t done already.

Moscow on the Hudson

Kremlin and Red Square (Moscow), Law Office of George McHugh (Old Ravena News Herald Building), Coeymans Industrial Park, the News Herald Offices (the former George McHugh law offices). Moscow will soon be in Coeymans via the Coeymans Industrial Park!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 15, 2019 in 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 2019 Elections, 20th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 46th District, 46th Senate District, Albany, Albany County Chamber of Commerce, Albany County District Attorney, Albany County Executive, Albany County Executive, Albany County Sheriff Department, Albany County Supervisor, Andrew Cuomo, Bill Bailey, Bill Bailey, Boris Alexei Jordan, Boris Jordan, Boris Jordan, Brandon LeFevre, Capital District, Carver Companies, Carver Companies, Carver Construction, Carver Laraway, Coeymans, Coeymans Assessor, Coeymans Bulding Inspector, Coeymans Code Enforcement, Coeymans Industrial Park, Coeymans Police Department, Coeymans Town Board, Columbia-Greene Media, Conspiracy, Corruption, Curaleaf, Daily Mail, David Soares, DEC, Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, District Attorney, DOT, Elected Official, Elections 2019, Eurasian Mafia, Eurasian Mob, Family Values, FBI, FBI, FBI Criminal Information System, FBI Public Corruption Squad, Federal Bureau of Investigation, George Amedore, George Amedore, George McHugh, Government, Governor Mario Cuomo, Greene County News, Hudson Valley, Internal Revenue Service, James Latter, James Latter II, Jason Hyslop, Joel Coye, Joel Coye, Johnson Newspaper Corporation, Johnson Newspaper Group, Keith Mahler, Keith Mahler, Lafarge, Lafarge-Holcim, LafargeHolcim, Law Enforcement, Mark Vinciguerra, Mark Vinciguerra, Matt "the Mutt", Matt Miller, Matthew J. Miller, Mayor "Mouse", Mayor "Mouse" Misuraca, Medical Marijuana, Michael Biscone, Michael J. Biscone, Money Laundering, Moose Misuraca, Moose Misuraca, Moscow on the Hudson, Nancy Biscone-Warner, Nancy Warner, Nancy Warner, New York, New York Department of Environmental Conservation, New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, New York State Police, New York State Police, New York State United Teachers, News Herald, NYS Assembly, NYS Comptroller Audit, NYS Senate, NYSUT, Office of the Attorney General, P. David Soares, Palliatech, Peter Masti, Peter McKenna, Phil Crandall, Phillip Crandall, Port of Coeymans, Public Corruption, Public Safety, Ravena, Ravena Building Inspector, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk Central School District, Ravena News Herald, Ravena Village Budget, RCS Board of Education, RCS School Superintendant, Richard Touchette, Rick Touchette, Russian Mafia, Russian Mob, Russians, Russians are Coming, Selkirk, Senate District 46, Smalbany, St Patrick's Ravena, Stephen Flach, Superintendent of Schools, Teachers Association, Thomas E. Dolan, Times Union, Tom Dolan, Tom Dolan, Town of Bethlehem, Town of Coeymans, Town of New Baltimore, Town of New Scotland, United States Attorney, United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, United States Department of Justice, United States Government, US Department of State, US Senate, Village of Ravena, Village of Ravena Planning Board, William Bailey, William Misuraca, William Misuraca, Zach Collins

 

Happy Independence Day! Everyday.

No Flag-waving, Sunshine Patriotism. It’s all Phony. We are Celebrating Truth, Instead.

Our gift to our readers, followers, and supporters on this Independence Day. From the movie Idiocracy (2006), President Camacho’s State of the Union address:


Editor’s Note: Idiocracy is a 2006 American science fiction satire/comedy film. The film tells the story of two people who take part in a top-secret military human hibernation experiment, only to awaken 500 years later in a dystopian society where anti-intellectualism and commercialism have run rampant, and which is devoid of intellectual curiosity, social responsibility, and coherent notions of justice and human rights. The main character, Joe Bauers, the definition of “average American”, is selected by the Pentagon to be the guinea pig for the top-secret hibernation program. Forgotten, he awakes five centuries in the future. He discovers a society so incredibly dumbed down that he’s easily the most intelligent person alive. Many in the media and commentators call the film a “documentary” rather than a comedy, and discuss how the theme of the film is actually coming true!


We’re celebrating the REAL America. We’re celebrating the Catskills!

Unlike most journalism and unlike most media, Smalbany is Independent, totally Independent, and doesn’t sell out for cash, ratings, future promises. Smalbany cherishes the guaranteed freedom of press and opinion, and will never abuse that guaranteed right. Smalbany is no slave to any special interest, any politician, or bribery of any kind. No other area print or online media can make that claim. That’s why we are the areas most read and most trusted journalistic source for truth and openness.

As of July 4th, 2019
471,413 Readers and GROWING!
539 Unique Articles – Did YOU provide a tip or a lead?
1,973 Reader Comments (Approved) – Did YOU comment?
74,145 Comments (Total) – Thank you if you did!

(To receive new articles and comments by email, click the FOLLOW THIS BLOG button on the right and enter your email.)

The Smalbany a.k.a. Albany, NY, team wish all of our readers a safe and peaceful Independence Day 2019.

The Smalbany Blog again celebrates their 5th Independence Day, Yes! 5 years already serving the community and beyond. Smalbany Blog confirms and re-asserts their

  • Independence from allegiance to any political party, ideology, special interest, religion, or group; Smalbany’s only allegiance is to Truth and Fairness.
  • Independence from greed and avarice as a motivation; Smalbany does not allow advertising and does not ask for donations nor even accept donations, if offered; Smalbany doesn’t owe anyone anything but justice and fairness.
  • Independence from ignorance and lies; Smalbany never posts an article without checking the facts and looking at both sides of the story.
  • Idependence from hearsay, rumor, or gossip. What you read on Smalbany has been investigated and vetted; that’s how we keep our credibility.
  • Independence from fake loyalty to any flag or national myth; Smalbany is supranational, above any nation or national symbol, Smalbany avoids idolatry and false prophets.
  • Independence from fear; Smalbany knows more than it posts, and keeps the scoundrels and villains in the community and beyond on their guard.
  • Independence from corruption in public services, public servants, elected officials; Smalbany doesn’t ask any public servant or elected official for any favors. This means that the crooks in government can’t buy their way out of their crimes.
  • Independence from any blame or guilt; Smalbany has always maintained the highest level of integrity — and will continue to do so — and has nothing to fear from the powers to be.

And speaking of misinformation, Most historians have concluded that the Declaration was signed nearly a month after its adoption, on August 2, 1776, and not on July 4 as is commonly believed. The actual resolution of independence was made on July 2, 1776, by the Second Continental Congress in a closed session. So why July 4th? The declaration resolution was publicized on July 4, 1776. In 1781, the Massachusetts General Court became the first state legislature to recognize July 4 as a state celebration. But it wasn’t until 1870 that the U.S. Congress made Independence Day an unpaid holiday for federal employees, and only in 1938 did Congress change Independence Day to a paid federal holiday; in 1941 the day was expanded to become a “national” holiday. (5 U.S.C. § 6103). (Source: https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/july-4th, last accessed on July 3, 2019)

That’s the kind of Independence we at Smalbany wish each and every one of our contributors, followers, readers, and supporters. We wish you all a Smalbany Independence Day, every day!

The Hudson River represents natural freedom and independence. Keep it pure and free.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 4, 2019 in 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 2019 Elections, 20th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 46th District, 46th Senate District, Albany, Albany Classis, Albany County Civil Service Department, Albany County District Attorney, Albany County Elections, Albany County Executive, Albany County Legislature, Boris Jordan, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Business, Capital District, Capital Region Independent Media, Carver Companies, Carver Companies, Carver Construction, Carver Laraway, Catskill-Hudson Newspapers, Church, Church of St Patrick Ravena, Civil Rights, Civil Rights, Coeymans, Coeymans Industrial Park, Coeymans Town Board, Columbia Greene Media, Columbia-Greene Media, Conservative Party, Constitution, Daily Mail, David Soares, DEC, Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Homeland Security, District Attorney, Easton Mountain, Elections and Voting, FBI, FBI, FBI Criminal Information System, FBI Public Corruption Squad, First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Freedom, Freedom of Speech, George McHugh, Government, Governor Mario Cuomo, Greene County, Greene County Board of Elections, Greene County District Attorney, Greene County Elections, Greene County Independence Party, Greene County News, Hudson Valley, Independence Party, Internet Speech, Jason Tantra, Joe Stanzione, John B. Johnson, Johnson Newspaper Corporation, Johnson Newspaper Group, Jordon J. Anthony, Joseph Stanzione, Justice and Courts, Lafarge-Holcim, LafargeHolcim, Law, Law Enforcement, Mark Vinciguerra, Mark Vinciguerra, Miami-Dade District Attorney, New Baltimore Assessor, New Baltimore Democrats, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Highway Department, New Baltimore Republican Club, New Baltimore Town Board, New York, New York Department of Environmental Conservation, New York State, New York State Constitution, New York State United Teachers, News Herald, NYSUT, Office of the Attorney General, Pledge of Allegiance, Port of Coeymans, Ravena, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk Central School District, Ravena News Herald, RCA, Reformed Church of America, Riley Kern, Riley P. Kern, Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, Russians, Russians are Coming, Sabic, Sex 4 Sale, Smalbany, Suffolk County District Attorney, Sycamore Country Club, Tantra 4 Gay Men, Terry Hagen Memorial Golf Tournament, Times Union, Times Union, Times Union Blogs, Travis D Hagen, Travis Hagen, Uncategorized, United States Attorney, United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, United States Department of Justice, United States Government, US Department of State, US Senate, Washington County District Attorney

 

Riley’s Stats: A near record week.

Since Smalbany published the first article about Riley “Jeremiah” Kern, the young man who was killed in a tragic motorcycle-pickup truck accident on July 27, 2018, the coverage of our investigations into Travis D. Hagen, 48, of Coxsackie, NY, and the Coeymans Police Department, specifically their botched non-investigation and cover-up of the facts of the accident, we have forced Travis Hagen and Coeymnans Patrolman Ian FOARD and acting Coeymans Police Chief Daniel Contento into the headlights. Their reaction: Well Foard and Contento are like deer in your headlights; they don’t know which way to go. Travis Hagen has simply crawled back into the woodwork.

The bad news is the Foard, Conento, and Hagen are still free and walking the streets. No one is safe.

The good news is that Riley’s case has gotten near record attention and interest on an international scale.
We thought our readers would be interested in the stats so we’re sharing them soon.

Reader Figures Have Gone Thru the Ceiling!

The four articles getting all the attention at the expense of other important issues in the region are:

Those articles grew out of our interest and concern that a fatal accident on State Route 143 in Coeymans Hollow, practically on the Sycamore Country Club golf course grounds, received absolutely no media coverage and, when readers started asking Smalbany about the accident, Smalbany started asking questions. (See the footnote in our article, Three Articles on New Baltimore Scandals: Pick One or Read All.)

Riley was a local kid and attended RCS high-school until moving to Kansas with his mom and younger sister.. He had returned to New York, and was living with his father in Climax at the time of the accident. Riley was a very popular kid and had many loyal and loving friends in the RCS area. Riley was 19 when he died; his funeral was on his 20th birthday.

Whatever you want to call it, it’s open now!

When Riley’s mom contacted us and told us how so many obstacles were being put in her path, how many contradictions she was hearing, how the factoids didn’t seem to make any sense, we decided that she had gotten enough of a runaround and heard enough bullshit for one day. We know the area and the people involved, and we know their histories. We know what they are capable of and we knew that Riley’s mom didn’t deserve the treatment she was getting. She had just lost her son, and needed answers, not a runaround.

Hagen, Foard, Contento had opened a can of angry hungry worms and they were on the menu as of NOW!

(Image Credit: We gratefully acknowledge http://www.justoutsidetheboxcartoon.com for this very appropriate image. Please support their site and always give proper credit for images you may use.)

We’ll be publishing the updated statistics on Saturday, September 16, for the information of our readers. The interest shown is phenomenal. Now what we’d really like to see is all of our readers joining together in a show of support for Rye’s mom and his family. They are hurting in a number of ways and need our support. We’ll keep our readers informed in our updates and continuing coverage. Stay tuned!

Fact: Our posts are shared automatically on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook but those views are not counted here on WordPress. That means our numbers are even higher than our WordPress statcounter shows! On LinkedIn along almost 10,000 followers see our posts. On Facebook the figure might be tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions! We get the word out!

 

 

 

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!

(Follow this Blog to Receive Automatice eMail Updates when We Post New Articles — Use the Follow Sign-up in the Right Margin.)

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 … !

 

 

 
5 Comments

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

 
Leave a comment

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.

 
2 Comments

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

 

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

The New Baltimore Board of Assessment Review met on Grievance Day, May 22, 2018, and the Final Tax Roll was published on July 1, 2018.

The Office of the Sole Assessor, currently occupied by Mr. Gordon Bennett (an employee of the Town), and the New Baltimore Board of Assessment Review (all appointees by the current Town board) is representative of the rest of New Baltimore’s dog-and-pony act, their excuse for Town government: Complete Incompetence and Ignorance!!!

Grievance Day is also a dog-and-pony act, where a gang of five appointees sit and demonstrate how ignorant and poorly qualified they are for determining the quality of property assessments in the Town of New Baltimore. The assessor sits by and listens, not contributing much in the way of assisting the poor wretches or preventing them from making complete asses of themselves and taxpayers!

Here’s this year’s tally of stupidity based on documents provided by the Town of New Baltimore and the official taped recordings of the New Baltimore Board of Assessment Reveiw of hearings held on Grievance Day, May 22, 2018, at New Baltimore Town Hall:

Shyster Michael Biscone of Ravena, apparently a bosom buddy of Mr. Bennett, since they are on a first-name basis, even in an official proceeding like Grievance Day, represents two property owners before the Board of Assessment Review, and presents their cases in a rambling fashion, so you have to pay close attention to understand the bottom line on the tapes. [Editor’s Note: For those of our readers, we are providing links to the Greene County online Property Tax Information website, where you can read everything about the properties we’re discussing. It’s all public access. Just click the links in the text below to go to the property information. The link to the main page, where you can search properties by municipality, tax map number, last name, first name, etc. is Greene County Search. ]

The first property is on Roberts Hill Road (565 Roberts Hill Rd, West Coxsackie NY 12192); it’s actually two properties that were once one but was divided in order to sell them. One has a house on it sitting on three acres (Tax Map No. 28.00-2-31.2). The other portion is 37 acres of undeveloped property (Tax Map No. 28.00-2-31.1). Mr. Biscone, on behalf of David Hales, whom he refers to as a “fine young man,” argues that the two properties should be assessed as one. He also admits that Grievance Day is not the place to argue his reasons but he does so anyway. Hales purchased the property in 2017 for $206,000. Bennett assessed the property for $210,000. The New Baltimore Board of Assessment Review, practically no questions asked, reduced Hales’ assessment by $49,000. Why? You’ll never know.

The second property is an interesting case. Again, it’s presented by shyster Biscone and is a property owned by William Brant, who, by the way, gives his address as 72 Brownstone Way, Apt. 410, Englewood, New Jersey (!), and owns the property on US Rt. 9W, between the Best Western and New Baltimore Family Dentistry (Tax Map No. 40.00-4-2.111). He’s had his plan for a for-profit senior living project that has been before the New Baltimore Planning Board for several years now, and has finally gotten approval. If you drive down US Route 9W going South, you’ll come to the Best Western Hotel, and then New Baltimore Family Dentistry. The Brant property is between the hotel and the dentists there’s a cute little cottage sitting in the middle of the field (that’s the Brant property) . In fact, you can see the temporary road leading into the property, where construction preps are being done. Looking towards the back of the property is a small building, a “well house” that is discussed below.

The property is assessed at $120,000 land value, but Biscone somehow convinces the New Baltimore Board of Assessment Review that it’s overassessed at $70,000 because of a “well house.” Biscone argues on behalf of Brant that the “well house cost” Brant only $27,000 but Bennett has assessed it at $70,000. If you’re lost here, don’t worry, it doesn’t make sense unless you listen to the tapes about 3 times. It’s a smoke and mirrors act and works for Biscone and Brant because the BAR buys it and reduces Brant’s assessment by $25,000. You’d think the members of the BAR would have the property tax reports in front of them to follow along but Hey! If they did that they might have smelled a rat and caught it. But that would be asking too much of a bunch of sillies trying to look important.

One tidbit that Biscone drops is that he will “drop off a number of receipts” that would prove what he was saying (not that Michael Biscone was ever concerned with the truth). But he never had to do that because the BAR made their decision to reduce the assessment that evening, on May 22, 2018, without the benefit of any proof or documentation.

What’s even more interesting is the fact that Biscone mentions that one of the contractors, whose receipts he was going to produce, is none other than Robert van Etten, New Baltimore Town Board member Shelly van Etten’s husband. What’s even more interesting is that van Etten, who owns an excavation-construction business located in Ravena, New York (only per the address), is the chairman of the New Baltimore Planning Board (and of the New Baltimore Town Committee on Agriculture)!!! Yes, readers, that’s the same Planning Board that kept Brant’s application in Limbo for several years and only just approved it! Does anyone smell something like conflict of interest here? Corruption? Stupidity?

Does anyone wonder Why? Mr. Brant got his Planning Board approval for his project after so many years of hassle? Just saying …

Case No. 3 is a property owner whose primary residence is in Long Island and who owns a property on North Ridge Road in Hannacroix. 2 acres with a 1 family house on it. Mr. Crimeni, whose primary address is 48 Lace Lane, Westbury, NY, is crying poverty. You see, he thinks his assessment is too high and he’s paying too much in taxes for his weekend country estate, comparing his New Baltimore taxes to his $8,000 Long Island taxes. Crimeni’s property (Tax Map No. 4.00-3-20)  full market value is $195,000 and is assessed at $145,000 but Crimeni is still not satisfied. (There seems to be some confusion also in the tax records because on one page for the same property we find the full market value to be $195,000 and on another page we find that value to be $116,000. It also shows it to be a 1-family house but the house has 0 living space! Maybe there’s an explanation for this?) Anyway, Rocco Crimeni co-owns the property with Nicola Crimeni (apparently his brother) and to listen to their story and compare it to the tax records is like, well, it’s like pure steaming bullshit. The original assessment was on a full market value of $195,000 which was assessed by Bennett at $145,000 for the 2 acres and the house. After the BAR heard Mr. Crimeni’s sad story we find that the assessment for the 2 acres and the house was reduced to a full market value of $119,298, and an assessed value for 2018 of $85,000, total tax bill of $ ??? The final assessment is $85,000, a total reduction of $60,000 !!! Great job, Ms Degnen and company!

Just for kicks and giggles, here are a couple of excerpts from the Crimeni hearing:

Crimeni: There was a trailer on the property and it burned down because of a wood stove we had there.

Crimeni: We purchased an Amish house for $38,000…the Amish people built it…it’s a shell…We’re finishing it ourselves.

Crimeni: We’re not rich people … the disparity in Mr. Bennett’s assessment is tremendous…We have a house on Long Island…and the taxes are $8000…

Degnen: You said it was a shed…[Editor’s Note: Crimeni did not say it was a “shed”, he said it was a “shell”! Degnan makes many such mistakes throughout the hearings. Is she hard of hearing or just demented?]…What are the dimensions?

Crimeni: 26 x 28, 2-story…We don’t have the money to finish it.

Degnen: Are you living there now? [Editor’s Note: Apparently Degnen missed the part where Crimeni says he lives on Long Island. She also hasn’t done her homework or she would know that Crimeni’s primary address is on Lace Lane, Westbury, NY!!!] … Do you have water and electricity? [Again, Degnen, homework? Familiarity with properties?]

BAR Member: Do you have the amounts of houses near you…did you bring the houses near you? [Editor’s Note: Apparently the BAR member is asking if Crimeni has any comparables, that is, information on similar properties in New Baltimore. The BAR member should know she should have these or could get them online in a couple of seconds. We did! In fact, if you go to the Greene County link we provided, enter the tax map number and go to the property page, you’ll be able to see the comparables for the property. Here’s the page for the Crimeni property:  Comparables.]

Crimeni: We ran out of money…We don’t have no money … We can’t afford this … [Editor’s Note: Here comes the best one: ] … We don’t live up here!

Hi, I’m the village crazy lady, and I’m on the Board of Assessment Review.

Now don’t you just have to sit down and cry hearing a story like Crimeni’s? Well, he apparently tugged at the heart-strings of the BAR because they allowed him a $60,000 reduction in his assessment, no questions asked!!!

For your information, you can find out any information you want on Greene County properties on the Greene County online property tax site, SDG Mate Online, and can search by property tax map number, owner’s name, etc. It’s all public access and available to anyone who is interested. Here’s the site link: Greene County Property Tax Info .

We could go on with the remaining 6 properties that received similar reductions but we’ve made our point. There’s something really wrong in the New Baltimore Assessor’s Office and on the New Baltimore Board of Assessment Review and it needs fixing. We think it’s corruption and collusion because there’s no rhyme, reason, or fair play in these determinations. Here’s why:

Two properties on New Street in the Hamlet have been the subject of a great deal of anxiety and discussion because since late 2016, severe damage was identified. In the one case, runoff from the street caused the collapse of the building foundation, making it unusable. Then Town supervisor Nick Dellisanti (now Deputy Town Supervisor) and then Deputy Town Supervisor Jeff Ruso (now Town Supervisor), together with Town Board member Shelly van Etten, personally inspected the site and identified a number of problems. Two days later Dellisanti, Ruso, and then Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan and Deputy Highway Superintendent Scott van Wormer visited the site and confirmed the same problems. After that the New Baltimore Highway Department created new problems and the Town was served with a number of Notices of Claim for the damage. In 2017, the Highway Department and Callanan paved New Street and created a mess. We won’t go into details here but if you want details go to our article: “New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways and Board to be Sued – AGAIN!

Dellisanti and Ruso’s game was “deny and hide,” handing the matter over to the town’s insurance company and their lawyers. Town Law would allow the town to make out-of-court compensation to the owner subject to the approval of a NYS Supreme Court judge but NO! they’d rather force the already traumatized owner to have to go to court and then to the poorhouse. That’s Republican fair play, apparently. No one in Town Hall wants to admit the wrong done. In fact, Dellisanti’s personal notes of a discussion with then Superintendent Jordan records that Jordan’s response to the resident’s request for a meeting was, “Let them sue us!” Apparently Dellisanti and Ruso agreed.

The owner of the property continued paying his taxes like a good citizen even though he couldn’t use the property and the damage was continuing because the Highway Department didn’t know what they were doing and Dellisanti and Ruso didn’t either – or they didn’t have the balls to go after Jordan directly. So the property owner requested a reduction in taxes on the collapsing building and the other impaired property, and appeared before the New Baltimore Board of Assessment Review with a complete written history of the case and numerous photographs showing the damage.

The problems first began when New Baltimore Sole Assessor refused to provide the members of the Board of Assessment Review with copies of the property owners request saying, “It’s not our responsibility.” But it is his responsibility to provide the BAR with copies of all complaints, it’s in the Real Property Tax Law!!! At the Grievance Day hearing, Gordan handed the four members present ONE copy, his file copy, of the requests for reduction of assessment on two properties. The hearing was a complete mess, confusion, the BAR couldn’t follow the conversation and Degnen kept on saying, “That’s not our problem. You have to go to the Highway Department,” and had to be repeatedly reminded that the information was being provided for background only, so the Board would understand the history of the problem. Degnen just couldn’t get it. The rest of the Board had no idea what the property was.  By the way, New York Real Property Tax Law requires the Board of Assessment Review to be familiar with the properties they are considering. They were not, which was obvious already in the Hales, Brant and Crimeni cases.

The bottom line: The New Baltimore Board of Assessment Review made all their decisions that evening, during the 4 hours they were hearing 11 case presentations, and did not adjourn to reconsider additional information, did not go into executive session to discuss any details of any property, as they should have done, did not request additional information, and refused to inspect the property. They approved 9 out of the 11 cases for reductions of between $12,000-$60,000, properties whose owners simply thought they were being taxed (Hales, Brant, Crimini) but the properties that were damaged and destroyed because of Town of New Baltimore negligence got NO CHANGE!!!

The Town of New Baltimore, the Office of the Assessor, and the Board of Assessment Review refuse to respond to inquiries or to answer communications on the subject. New Baltimore public servants at work, it seems. Any questions? You won’t get answers from Town Supervisor Mr. Jeff Ruso, Deputy Supervisor Nick Dellisanti, Highway Committee member Shelly van Etten, Sole Assessor Mr. Bennett, or Board of Assessment Review Chairperson, Donna Degnen.

The board is made up of five appointees including: Donna Degnan, Linda LeClair, Ronna Smith, Lynn Taylor, and This year, the members of the  Board of Assessment Review, chose Donna Degnen to be the chair. The fifth member, Bernard “Bernie” Jones was absent on Grievance Day.

The members of the BAR receive $200 each, and the chair, Ms Degnen, $250, with an additional $50 per meeting for meetings beyond two meetings. So that came out to about $50.00/hr for each of the members of the BAR for the 4-hour Grievance Day hearings. Degnen received an additional $50.00. Total for Grievance Day circus appearances: at least $1050.00 to give away almost $300,000 in property tax reductions, the majority of which were totally unsubstantiated if you listen to the tapes!

The Board of Assessment Review and the Office of the Sole Assessor are just as indifferent and incompetent as the Office of the Supervisor and the New Baltimore Town Board.

We have obtained the taped recordings of the proceedings of the Grievance Day hearings before the Board and can only say that the bowel sounds in a special ed class would make more sense than what we had to listen to in the tapes. Degnen was dithering and the rest seemed intent on making their presence and importance known by asking irrelevant and generally uninformed questions. None of the four Board members were familiar with any of the properties presented. Just a minute, one member, Linda LeClair, was the only member who showed any interest in the properties and the only member who had personal knowledge of a property. That’s a very poor showing.

But the Board did hear presentations on a total of 11 properties and granted reductions in 9 of them. Two properties, one literally collapsing and unusable and the other defaced by former Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan’s incompetence, were left unchanged, despite comprehensive exhibits and a clearly well-founded presentation. We think that there’s some collusion/conspiracy with the Town of New Baltimore and the BAR to avoid admitting any damage to the two properties, since, if any department or agency of the Town of New Baltimore admits the severe damage to the properties, it will cause havoc in Town Hall. Town Hall has been ignoring the damage and trying to discourage the owner from demanding compensation in their usual way, that is, let their insurance company lawyers make any court case impossibly expensive. That’s New Baltimore Town Hall at work. They ask for residents’ votes and then send them to the poorhouse when something goes wrong and the resident asks the Town to be fair and evenhanded. It’s a lousy system.

Several of the 9 reductions stand out as particularly loathsome and examples of the corruption in small town appointed committees. But first of all, let’s look at some general facts:

The assessments in New Baltimore are done on the basis of the Full Market Value and an Equalization Rate is applied. The Equalization Rate is a percentage that is applied to the Full Market Value to arrive at the assessed value. In New Baltimore this year the ER is 71.25% which means that the assessed value of properties this year is 71.25% of the Full Market Value. That’s legit in our estimation. But that’s were the legitimacy stops cold.

The total value of the properties is divided into two items: the land value and the property value (living area, etc.). The problems start with the Sole Assessor’s, Mr. Bennett’s method for determining the land value, which has absolutely no rhyme or reason and, in Bennett’s own words, the basis for determining the land value is, “Because it’s easier.” “Easier?” Yes, it’s easier to just apply a random value per acre than doing an actual calculation. It’s easier for Bennett.

Here are some examples:

In the Town of New Baltimore, Bennett has assigned land values to comparable properties as shown in the examples below:

The wide discrepancy in the Sole Assessor’s land values is one example of a huge irregularity.

The chart shows properties that are in the same area of the town, actually the Hamlet, but if you look at the land assessment, compare it to the acreage, and then to the per acre assessment, you’ll see why we are so up in arms about Bennett’s crazy assessments! They just don’t make sense! How can the land value of a property of 0.18 acre be assessed the same amount as a property of 1.03 acres, that is, a land value of $11,000??? Then have a look at the difference in the proportional value (last column) per acre!

A property on S. Main Street in New Baltimore of 0.05 acre (Total assessment: $56,700, Land assessment: $9,600) has a proportional price per acre of $192,000!!! WTF?!?!

We’ve written to Mr. Bennett several times and he refuses to answer. We’ve also complained to New Baltimore Town Supervisor Jeff Ruso about the fact that his employees and appointees refuse to answer inquiries but he’s refused to respond as well. It appears that when New Baltimore officials feel the heat of unpleasant questions, they tend to hide or ignore questions. (See Ruso’s comments regarding the resident’s letter, above.)

What’s even worse is the fact that the Board of Assessment Review was very generous in granting their friends handsome reductions, while denying reductions to touchy properties, like ones that are impaired because of Town incompetence. Here are the results of the Board’s “deliberations”:

The Board’s reductions ranged from $0 – $120,000 but there’s no logic; the stories behind the reductions are, however, very troubling. For example:

Brant is the developer who has the property on 9W, just behind the New Baltimore Family Dentistry buildings. Brant is a developer and has been planning to develop the property to put in some sort of housing project. He’s complaining because he feels his property is being overassessed. So, moneybags Brant pulls on the heart strings of the Board and they give him a reduction in assessment of $25,000.

Another property owner, Spence, is apparently interested in selling the property but wants a reduction in assessment for some reason. So the board hands Spence a reduction of $12,000.

But the worst example we have to offer from our investigations, listening to the hearing tapes, and reviewing the documents produced by the New Baltimore Board of Assessment Review and their determinations is a property owned by a downstater, Mr. Cremini and his partner:

Cremini owns a primary residence in Long Island and 2 acres in New Baltimore, where he and his partner a building a weekend home, which is livable and has electricity and water. Cremini is crying the blues because his assessment is “too” high. He pays about $8,000 in property tax on hi primary residence in Long Island and, convinced the Board that he can’t afford the taxes on his New Baltimore property. So the board reduces his assessment by $60,000!!!! Cremini lives in a primary residence on Long Island, can afford to own more than 2 acres and a house in New Baltimore, cries poverty and the Board reduces his assessment by $60,000!!! Of course, Mr. Bennett agrees.

Another property got a $12,000 reduction. Go figure.

Of course, the Board of Assessment Review doesn’t response to our inquiries regarding the reasoning behind these reductions. But our information comes from the actual tape recordings of the hearings made by the Board, and from the official Order for Change in Assessments and the so-called “minutes” of the Board’s meeting.

Got questions? New Baltimore’s got secrets and no one is talking. But these are the facts, people.

 

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?

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

*****