David Hellman from Brooklyn pleaded guilty on Thursday to his part in a scheme which involved a group of eight men from Monsey, including two rabbis, using violence to threaten Jewish men to grant their wives religious divorces, known as gets. According to U.S. Attorney paul J. Fishman, Hellman admitted that he and the other men had made plans with an undercover FBI investigator whom they believed was the brother of a woman seeking their assistance in the reports it stated that the men had planned to restrain and torture the man into granting a get. So far Hellman is the only member of the group to issue a guilty plea, he has been charged with traveling in interstate commerce to commit extortion. He will be seen in Federal Court in Trenton, New Jersey on June 12 and is facing a $250,000 fine and up to twenty years in prison.
State Supreme Court Justice Margaret Garvey ruled on February 28 that the East Ramapo School District does not owe 1.3 million dollars to the Orthodox Jewish congregation that has leased Colton Elementary School since 2009. The Congregation Bais Malka and the Hebrew Academy for Special Children filed a lawsuit against the district saying that they are owed credit towards the 6.6 million dollar purchase of the building that was agreed upon. Garvey stated that the tenants would only be entitled to rent credit if they had enacted first refusal, which they did not because they placed the highest bid. Paul Savad, who is providing legal representation for the congregation stated that though disappointed his clients will be continuing with additional claims. The suit continued in court yesterday.
A Stony Point man who was arrested n 2013 for a drunk driving accident on Route 9W in Tomkins Cove admitted to causing the crash in court, officials stated on Tuesday. 46- year old Michael Coyle was allegedly driving into the opposite lane to pass cars when he hit a car driven by Alysoun Sherwood, daughter of former state Supreme Court Judge William Sherwood, who was hospitalized after the crash for serious injuries to her femur, arms, ankles, and sternum. According to District Attorney Thomas Zugibe officers completed an alcohol test and found that his blood alcohol content was .18 percent. Coyle was charged with first- degree assault, first- degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, reckless driving and circumvention of an interlock device, and two felony counts of aggravated driving while intoxicated. Zugibe stated that Coyle pleaded guilty and is facing three and a half years to ten years in state prison.
Investigations into a robbery that occurred in August at a Suffern jewelry store has led Suffern police and the Rockland Sheriff’s Department to the arrest of a Sloatsburg man. According to Suffern Police Chief Clarke Osborn 32- year old Jonathan Burrell was arrested Tuesday after the investigation team tested blood that was found on a broken window that the suspect had apparently cut himself on when entering the store. Osborn stated that Burrell became a suspect after he was arrested and charged with grand larceny for stealing a woman’s purse two days after the store was broken into. Burrell iis being held at the Rockland County Jail on $15,000 bail.
A fire commissioner in Monsey, where they recently voted to shut off the whistle that sounds to alarm volunteers of a fire, has subdivided property he owns next door to the Brewer Fire Engine Company to build ten housing units there. Volunteers have expressed opinions about the subject, saying that commissioner Joseph Jacob should have abstained from voting, since he stood to benefit financially from the whistles going quiet. According to records jacob was approved to build a three family home on 10,000 sq. foot plot of land and three apartments on another 14,000 sq. foot lot. The vote took place after residents recently complained about the loud alarms, which many say are not necessary and are a nuisance to the community. Monsey Fire Chief Richard LaGarde stated that already several volunteers have missed calls having to rely on their pagers, which have limited services in some areas. The commissioners will be meeting Thursday to discuss the issue.
According to Rockland County’s Personnel Commissioner, Joan Silvestri, her office will not be questioning the placement of Spring Valley Attorney Jerrod Miles. Last month trustees on the village board filed complaints that they had not actually voted to approve Miles’ appointment, though according to Silvestri when asked the village provided paperwork showing that he was properly voted in. Trustee Vilair Fonvil, who originally filed the complaint, stated that the Deputy Village Clerk approved the minutes, even though they don’t show the correct information, and that he and other trustees did not approve to have Miles appointed.
A house fire in Monsey led volunteer firefighters to discover a commercial kitchen in the residence. According to Fire Chief Richard LaGarde no one was injured in the fire and a woman working in the kitchen put out most of the flames with a hose from the sink. LaGarde and officials believe that two rooms in the home were converted for commercial use as a kitchen, inspectors found wheeled carts that seemed to be used to distribute food. Ramapo Building Inspector Anthony Mallia stated that it was probable that no one had approved the kitchen to be built. According to LaGarde the flames spread quickly and residents were left temporarily without a home.
Two Ramapo Town Board members are questioning the appointment of two new positions within the town. Councilman Daniel Friedman released a letter on Monday stating that the details of the hirings were different when he voted with the board to hire Bernard Charles to the position of public affairs consultant and Melinda Mallia as a temporary clerical assistant. Friedman stated that he was told Mallia’s job would be part-time, paying 10- 20 dollars an hour. She was hired for a 35 hour work week, making $22 an hour. Friedman claims that he voted for a $5,000 a month salary for Charles because it was believed that he was going to leave his $35,000 a year job in Spring Valley. Board member Patrick Withers stated his agreement with Friedman, commenting that the current positions are not what the board voted to approve. Both members of the bard are requesting an investigation into the hirings, stating that a violation of the vote is at the expense of taxpayers.
According to police a Spring Valley man was arrested on Sunday night in Peekskill after allegedly getting in a fight with another man at a party. Patricio Guartan- Jimenez was arrested and charged with a felony count of second- degree assault after police were called to the scene and found a man who was missing a large piece of his nose. According to Lt. John White, Guartan- Jimenez was intoxicated when he got into a fight with the other man, grabbed him and bit his nose off. Police stated that Guartan- Jimenez was taken to Westchester County Jail and the victim will most likely need reconstructive surgery for his injuries.
As Nyack Hospital gets closer to offering mental health programs Rockland will begin closing down the Inpatient Mental Health Care Unit and Crisis Service this year. According to the Rockland County Mental Health Commissioner Mary Ann Walsh- Tozer the transfer of facilites makes sense because patients have to be transported by ambulance to be approved for medical treatment at Good Samaritan or Nyack Hospitals before they can be treated at the mental health unit. By moving the treatment center patients will be able to gain medical care at the same location. The process will also save the county one million dollars this year and an expected two million next year. Lauren Malone, a hospital spokeswoman, stated that about 93 county workers will lose jobs, though interviews have taken place fro 50- 60 positions at the new location. Legislator John Murphy has stated that Nyack Hospital has yet to obtain a license from the state Health Department and he thinks that they should wait to lay people off until then. According to County Executive Ed Day there is a plan B to have the county continue care if something goes wrong, though the new unit is expected to be opening in mid April.