The writer is a member of the Rockland County Legislature
The two properties commonly referred to as the Matterhorn Nursery and Minisceongo Golf Course represent approximately 175 acres in the Town of Ramapo targeted for development. The Matterhorn property was purchased through a foreclosure auction for 5.1 million by deed dated August 22, 2014. The purchaser was Summit Hempstead LLC; or in other words, John Doe one through ten at the time of purchase.
The Minisceongo property was a straight buyer/seller transaction for $32 million consummated in January of 2016. The majority purchaser is Mount Ivy LLC, with a minority purchaser, Lindifrim Pomona. The Minisceongo purchaser’s are floating plans for hundreds of townhomes.
Summit Hempstead LLC formation documents provide a New York State DOS (Department of State) process of service address of:
The Lightstone Group
1985 Cedar Bridge Avenue Ste. 1
Lakewood, New Jersey 08701
Headquartered in Manhattan, the Lightstone Group is one of the largest privately held real estate holding companies in the United States. The group has vast real estate holdings throughout the nation in residential and commercial properties.
As far as Mount Ivy and Lindifrim go, both were formed on January 5, 2016, about one week before the Minisceongo purchase. New York State records show that process of service for Mount Ivy is a Baltimore Maryland law firm. Process of service for Lindifrim is:
286B Cedar Bridge Avenue
Lakewood, New Jersey 08701
The Matterhorn property lies in the Village of New Hempstead, outside the direct control of the Town of Ramapo. Minisceongo falls under the jurisdiction of the Town of Ramapo and will require not only a zoning change for any proposed development, which in Ramapo has meant automatic approval under the St. Lawrence reign of shame, but also a change in the master plan, which currently only allows single family housing. A change in the master plan can only be approved by a vote of the Ramapo Town Board and would require a super majority vote of four to one.
The Ramapo Town Board will have a new supervisor and at least one new council-member, possibly two, after this coming November election. One of the two remaining council-members will be Michael Rossman, an employee in the Rockland County Board of Elections who defeated Bill Weber for the seat in 2016–Weber is currently running for Ramapo Supervisor. Rossman won in a special election following the arrest of former council-member, Shmuel Tress, a handpicked St. Lawrence creation.
Rossman won based on a platform of no platform, a blueprint for victory in Ramapo. By definition he is a go-along, get-along, march in lock-step foot soldier of the Ramapo Democratic Machine, vigorously supported by Mona Montal. Since taking office he has been basically mute with no ideas or statements. Exactly which way he goes may very well depend on who will be leading him after the election.
What we do know is that the face of the Minisceongo purchase and proposed development is a Joseph Kazarnovsky. Not only is he the face of Minisceongo but the deed for the Matterhorn property is signed by a Joseph Kazarnovsky as managing partner for Summit Hempstead LLC.
In August of 2015, Joseph Kazarnovsky woke up one morning and wrote three consecutively numbered checks payable to Friends of Christopher St. Lawrence for $3,000.00; The Ramapo Democratic Committee for $5,000.00; and Leadership That’s Working for $5,000.00. All three accounts were controlled by St. Lawrence. Leadership That’s Working is a political action committee account, the name of which may be the all-time example of gallows humor.
While Mr. Kazarnovsky has donated on the federal level over the years, a search of New York State records back to the year 2000 reveals that was the first time he ever donated locally. Why? Perhaps someone should ask him, or maybe Nat Oberman, the St. Lawrence loyalist and professional petition objector who was at the time the treasurer on all three accounts. Perhaps you should not bother wasting your time.
In October of 2016, Mr. Kazarnovsky made another donation; $4,000.00 to Friends of Michael Rossman. Interestingly, the donation appears on Rossman’s financial disclosure with the State of New York but not on Kazarnovsky’s contribution record with the state; until you look a little closer. The Rossman donation is from a Joseph Kazrnovsky. The same address as the St. Lawrence donations but a different spelling, the A missing after the K-A-Z. The misspelling creates a separate file at the state Board of Elections failing to link the two for at the very least public on-line viewing.
Now this may simply be a case of an honest mistake, which is easy to do with a long name like Kazarnovsky or mine, for that matter. For conspiracy theorists an intentional attempt to obfuscate may come to mind, after all, we are dealing with St. Lawrence and the Ramapo Democratic scheme and anything is possible, especially when a third contribution appears on December 12, 2016 for $3,000.00 to Friends of Christopher St. Lawrence.
This contribution comes from a Joseph Kazarnosky, same address as the other four. This time the V is missing between the O and the S. You have to begin to speculate that the possibilities of name alterations with this name are endless. Now a second separate file has been created at the State Board of Elections. Three files for one individual for five donations totaling $20,000.00, an average donation of $4,000.00. I guess Mr. Kazarnovsky either never thought St. Lawrence would be convicted or didn’t care.
Talk about a data integrity issue and an obstacle course for investigators. True to form, the state takes no accountability for the situation, issuing a disclaimer that they only record what is reported to them.
The latter two donations were made after I pointed out the other three in a previous article and before you could draw any conclusion as to why Mr. Kazarnovsky would all of a sudden become the new Ramapo donor developer of choice.
Remember, you are dealing with extremely politically savvy people, who probably read everything I write.
If you didn’t know any better, when you look at the financial disclosures of Friends of Michael Rossman you might believe you were looking at Friends of Christopher St. Lawrence as many of the St. Lawrence faithful appear, such as Ruzhin Corp. and BE and YO Realty, both in Monroe.
Ruzhin Corp. has its own interesting history of donating. They gave Friends of Michael Rossman $2,500.00 in November of 2016. Prior to that they forked over two $5,000.00 checks on July 30 and 31, 2015 to Friends of Christopher St. Lawrence and Leadership That’s Working.
The two separate check donations, however, are recorded with the same check number. While most likely a mistake, an inquiry would certainly be reasonable.
In September of 2014 another $5,000.00 went to Leadership That’s Working to fund the anti-ward referendum. That’s about the extent of Ruzhin’s donating. What exactly Ruzhin Corp. does, if anything, I do not know. If the contributions come from the legitimate profits of the business I have no complaints.
On August 2, the Legislature unanimously passed a resolution I sponsored calling on our State Legislature to amend election and business law to require any campaign donation from an LLC or any business entity to come from the legitimate profits of the business based on their revenue and expense stream. It also calls for a period of business demonstration and civil and criminal penalties for non-compliance.
This legislation would prevent cash infusions from principals of the entities or deposits from third parties who have no legitimate connection to the business. I believe this practice can already be interpreted as a straw-donation but prosecution as far as I know has never been attempted. It may be an issue the IRS could be more successful with.
Any vote by Rossman to change the master plan can only be viewed at this point as a fait-accompli. Nothing will change anyone’s mind and Mr. Rossman should recuse himself from any vote on Minisceongo, but he won’t. Like most of our elected officials a conflict of interest is only something in the recess of their mind.
Mr. Weber’s opponent for Supervisor will be Michael Specht, a long time Ramapo Assistant Town attorney. To date, no one has asked him his position on changing the master plan for Minisceongo, the fate of the quarry property in the Village of Suffern, the lawsuit against Ramapo over the Sewer District One soil debacle, the skating rink economic disaster, or if he will fire Mona Montal, Michael Klein, Nat Oberman and Toney Earl, the Chairman by default of the Rockland County Legislature and a Ramapo Town employee. Of course he won’t because he is part of the same Ramapo Democratic Machine as they are. Ramapo needs a total clean slate, yet some of those that need to go are carrying his petitions and assisting his campaign.
Even though he lives in the Village of Suffern, only about 50 of his Democratic petition signatures came out of the village. Suffern has roughly 3,000 registered Democratic voters. He didn’t even have the courtesy to walk his own Election District (Ramapo 82), which is only about 300 registered voters and is also my Election District, instead sending his wife and others to collect. Why? Because flying under the radar and avoiding questions from my neighbors – like what will be different under him as opposed to St. Lawrence – is probably a question he would rather avoid.
The real drama in this election may be whether a Kazarnovsky donation will show up under Specht’s contributions, and/or his running mates, under what spelling, whether it will be $4,000.00 and most importantly, the timing of the donation. One of the oldest political tricks in the book is coordinating the receipt of donations from certain donors as late in the campaign cycle as possible to avoid detection of connection. You see, a shade of gray does not just come in monetary form when it comes to fooling the voter.
There’s an old saying that may ultimately sum up post St. Lawrence Ramapo. The more things change the more they remain the same. And the more overdevelopment there will be.
Rockand County Legislator