From the Journal News this morning.
County Executive Ed Day says private schools will get advance knowledge of inspections Monday and if administrators deny entry the county will seek court orders to enter the buildings with police
Rockland inspectors were denied access to most yeshivas overdue for fire and safety code inspections on Thursday, as a standoff grew between the private religious schools and the county executive.
The majority of administrators politely flashed a legal letter and told the inspectors to speak to their attorney if they wanted access, according to county officials and a lawyer representing the schools.
County Executive Ed Day vowed to press forward with his attempts to review private schools to ensure they are providing safe conditions for children.
A man identified as Ramapo developer-landlord Jacob Wagschal followed one inspection crew, running ahead of them at times, screaming to administrators, “Don’t let them in. Don’t let them in,” several county officials said.
Wagschal has been closely aligned with Ramapo Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence and once was accused of stealing opposition campaign signs on the supervisor’s behalf. [For more on Wagschal, see The ZBA, the Cops, and the Supervisor and Monsey Man Charged with Burglary and Assault for Home Invasion.]
South Nyack lawyer Dennis Lynch said he had instructed his yeshiva administration clients to passively resist attempts to conduct fire and building code inspections at their properties.
“We’re going to advise Mr. Lynch of our schedule of visits next week, starting Monday, with five locations per day,” Day said. “We will also advise Mr. Lynch the sites are not open to debate or change. If we are not given entry we will be applying (to the court) for a warrant to gain entry. If the administrators then deny us, they will be open to the appropriate charges and sanctions.”
Day estimated eight schools had been inspected by county-led teams since last Friday, plus additional schools inspected by local officials..
Rockland Fire Coordinator Gordon Wren and his crew found dozens of violations at the first two locations they visited. Wren has said the violations wouldn’t warrant closure of the schools, but many of the violations were serious issues, including blocked doors and stairwells.
For the complete Journal coverage visit LoHud here.