Members of Satmar Community File Civil Rights Suit Against Bloomingburg, Mamakating Officials


village-of-bloomingburgMidHudson News reports: A $25 million lawsuit has been filed in federal court seeking to block the dissolution of the Village of Bloomingburg as well as the September 30 referendum on the issue.

The suit was filed Monday in US District Court for the Southern District of New York against the Village of Bloomingburg, Town of Mamakating and their officials by the land owners and prospective tenants of housing, a school and a ritual bath that are planned to be constructed in the village, alleges blatant discrimination against the plaintiffs solely because a Chassidishe community with over 300 housing units and the other projects have been proposed for Bloomingburg.

The plaintiffs include the Bloomingburg Jewish Education Center, a not-for-profit religious trust that would be the tenant of Learning Tree and the operator of a private religious school located at 132 Main Street in Bloomingburg; Sullivan Farms, the property owner upon which the Chestnut Ridge housing subdivision is being built; Learning Tree, a limited liability company that owns the property on which a private religious school would be operated; and two Bloomingburg women who would send their children to the religious school when opened.

“Plaintiffs have commenced this action to stop pervasive, government-sponsored religious discrimination,” they claim in their court filing. “The Village of Bloomingburg and the adjoining Town of Mamakating, acting on behalf of an aggressive and hateful group of their residents, are engaged in a conspiracy to prevent Hasidic Jews from buying houses, establishing a private school, and operating businesses in their community.”

The suit, which asks for a jury trial on its allegations, seeks among other things, to enjoin the two municipalities from enforcing or trying to prohibit the plaintiffs from using their property in the village; and to enjoin the referendum to vote on the dissolution of the village and to stop the dissolution itself. They maintain that effort is being done solely as a move to block the projects from being developed and to keep the Hasidic people out of their community.

In a 66-page “complaint and demand for jury trial,” the plaintiffs claim their rights to fair housing, free exercise of religion, freedom of association and equal protection under the law, have been violated by the village and town and their officials, both elected and appointed.


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