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Segregation, New York Style - Historian - 08-19-2005

THE HOFFMAN WIRE
Dedicated to Freedom of the Press, Investigative Reporting and Revisionist History

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Michael A. Hoffman II, Editor

August 19

<FONT size=4>SEGREGATION, NEW YORK STYLE</FONT>

Editor's Note: National Public Radio did a week-long series of extensive radio broadcasts in June featuring Walter Cronkite hand-wringing and pontificating about Southern segregation and indicting Southerners for just about every  crime, vice and low-down inclination known to man. Meanwhile, "Hasidic 'Jews' only" towns in upstate New York--where segregation is enforced with stone-throwing, vandalism and even arson--remain a stricly local issue on the media's radar-screen.

<FONT size=4>New Square house vandalized
</FONT>

By STEVE LIEBERMAN
THE JOURNAL NEWS (New York)
August 19, 2005

NEW SQUARE — Part of a house that a California-based real estate investor bought recently at a foreclosure was purposely knocked down this week, Ramapo police said yesterday.

Police are conducting a criminal investigation into the vandalism at 9 Eisenhower Ave. which has been the scene of demonstrations by some residents and vandalism since the new owner evicted three families and two businesses in June.

On Saturday night or Sunday, police said, an addition to the house and a car port were knocked down, leaving a pile of rubble next to the yellow multi-family house. The addition had been supported by four wood posts cemented in the ground.

"We have ruled out an accidental collapse after speaking with the building inspector and investigating the scene," Lt. Brad Weidel said.

"We're now focusing our efforts on a criminal investigation," Weidel said. "We can comfortably say this house probably wasn't randomly chosen. There have been ongoing problems there."

The damage was estimated at $25,000 and New Square has given the owner a few days to clean up the rubble, Weidel said. If he doesn't, the village intends to hire a contractor and bill the owner.

The owner, Alain Fattal, angrily pointed at rubble Wednesday afternoon, blaming the Hasidic Jewish community for destroying his property to prevent him from owning the house.

Fattal, 34, said he bought the house as part of his business after the previous owner didn't pay the mortgage. He said he had been waiting to negotiate a price to sell the building to the community, but village leaders never called him.

"I am very upset at this hooliganism," Fattal said. "No one has the right to destroy another person's property. This is despicable and uncivilized."
He said he would file a civil rights complaint with the FBI and the state Attorney General's Office.

"This is no longer about a real estate deal," Fattal said. "This is about my Constitutional rights to own property. I will not be intimidated."Fattal said he would rebuild the three-family house, clean up the grounds and rent to people who were not Hasidic Jews and didn't live in the community.

"They cannot scare me off," Fattal said. "I own the property. If they want to keep the village purely Hasidic, that's fine with me.

"We can sit down and quietly reach a business deal," he said. "I bought the property for 'x' and I want to sell it for 'y.' "

New Square Deputy Mayor Israel Spitzer said yesterday that the village government would not get involved in the purchase of Fattal's property. He said the village did not support or condone vandalism to anyone's property.

"He will be able to conduct his business just as if he owned property in any other village in the county," Spitzer said. "This is an individual issue involving one house. The village government is not involved and has no intention of getting involved."

In June, Spitzer said village leaders would meet with Fattal's representative.

Several residents watching Fattal speak with police Wednesday said they knew nothing about how the side of the building came down, but seemed aware of the controversy surrounding the house. They declined to give their names.

There was a minor uproar in June in the village after Fattal purchased the property and evicted the tenants.

Galaxy Assets Corp. of Manhattan, which Fattal also owns, obtained the deed and $420,000 mortgage on the building, which housed three families, a bookstore and a catering business.

The property was foreclosed on after the former owner, Elieser Friedman, failed to pay a November 2001 mortgage, according to documents filed with the County Clerk's Office in New City.

Juda Friedman has since filed a lawsuit against the Rockland Sheriff's Department and county, contending that his religious bookstore was improperly evicted.

Juda Friedman claims he never received written notice of the June eviction as required by law and was not named in the court-ordered eviction. The building has two mailing addresses, 9 and 9c Eisenhower Ave.

The county denied that the eviction was improper and said that both addresses were included in the eviction order.

Fattal said Wednesday that he had given Friedman and the other families about six months to leave the house before he had them evicted in June. Fattal said he sent workers to clean up the property last week and that they told him some residents had tossed rocks at them and the building. On Monday, the workers told him the side of the house had been
demolished. Police detectives spoke with neighbors after Fattal filed a complaint. Weidel said the residents didn't provide any "concrete leads from those conversations."

"What we find curious as investigators," Weidel said, "is nobody from the community contacted the police about the situation."

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