Category Archives: fake affordable housing
RE: Vigilante Cops in the Incorporated Village of Patchogue
The Incorporated Village of Patchogue created an illegal constabulary or “fake” police department, corrupting many aspects of government and in order to undermine the minority population and drive the immigrants out. These village employees wore illegal uniforms, ticketed civilians and were armed with crowd control deadly force.
The corruption of the Incorporated Village of Patchogue’s constabulary coincides with the Incorporated Village of Patchogue’s redevelopment. The Village’s used federal and state monies to fund its redevelopment through the New York State Department of State, Division of Coastal Resources Local Waterfront Redevelopment Program, which has federal regulations and guidelines that were violated.
One objective of the Village’s redevelopment included the pushing out of minorities and lower income people out of the Incorporated Village of Patchogue. The “shock and awe” fear of an unlawful illegally armed police force was particularly effective in pushing undesirables out the Incorporated Village of Patchogue’s boundaries. The Incorporated Village of Patchogue’s employees, posing as constables, threatened deadly force and coerced residents to give up their rights, which would have otherwise been protected under New York State and Suffolk County laws. Residents were faced with fines, arrests, unwarranted inspections, harassment, and threats of assault with illegal firearms.
Proof and admissions the Constables were volatile of Suffolk County law
On June 23, 2008, Brian Egan, the new Incorporated Village of Patchogue Attorney, finally publicly admitted that the practice of carrying firearms was illegal. Attorney Brian Egan declared that the arming of their personnel violated not one, but three laws, and possibly violated the oaths of office of those who were involved. The admission of Mr. Egan goes to the heart of the Incorporated Village of Patchogue’s ability to illegally maintain an unlawful and illegitimate policing force.
I an effort to obtain copies of guns permits, I contacted the Suffolk County Police Permits Division and used the New York Freedom of Information; they refused to allow me access to the Incorporated Village of Patchogue employee pistol permits. These pistol permits would have shown the permits used by these employees were unlawful.
The previous Village of Patchogue Chief Constables, Mr. Tameo and Mr. Kratch, who oversaw the Incorporated Village of Patchogue employees unlawfully deemed “Constables,” have admitted in sworn statements of having participated in the this illegal scheme. Mr. Tameo and Mr. Kratch directed Incorporated Village of Patchogue employees, not recognized as Constables, but nevertheless acting like Constables to stop and detain Suffolk County motorists as they drove through the Village [Contrary to law, no provisions to thwart racial profiling were in existence, see below ]. Mr. Tameo and Mr. Kratch testified that they thought their practices were sanctioned by the District Attorney’s Officer, because this agency prosecuted the tickets.
In 2006, Village of Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri conceded in a public forum in accepting the Wood v Incorporated Village of Patchogue, et al, Index No. 01-CV-0229 (the “Wood Case”), class action settlement because the actions of detaining motorists was wrong and that the Village would cease the practice.
In the Wood Case, the Incorporated Village of Patchogue had to pay back motorists for these unlawful tickets as part of the Class Action suit settlement with Suffolk County residents. However, at the time no one realized that the Village of Patchogue’s Constabulary was illegal, unauthorized and lacking federal regulations concerning racial profiling.
The Incorporated Village of Patchogue has failed to fully live up to its settlement. They failed to comply with making the best efforts to heal the motorist driving records. Most importantly, the suit never alleged or resolved the issue of racial profiling. Upon information and belief, the Village has stopped the practice of detaining motorists, but no one has had sufficient access to Village records to investigate the racial bias of the illegal police activity. I used the New York State Freedom of Information Law to obtain information, including the Incorporated Village of Patchogue’s rules concerning racial and national origin profiling instructions and they responded that the Village lacks any instructions.
Due to the recent death of Marcelo Lucero, a Latino immigrant, the Village of Patchogue’s officials attempted to distance themselves from the illegal constable scheme. I spoke at the Incorporated Village of Patchogue Board of Trustee public meeting on or about Monday, December 8, 2008, and when I asked whether the Village would continue to use the title of “Constable,” I was informed by Brian Egan, Village Attorney, Steve McGiff, Deputy Mayor, and Mayor Paul Pontieri, that during the present administration (2004 to present) the “Village never called its employees ‘Constables.’” “never used the term,” “don’t know what you are talking about.” This is a deception.
Furthermore, the Incorporated Village of Patchogue Public Safety code enforcement or Public Safety Departments, or its officers, are defective in that it fails to maintain the minimum standards required by the State of New York. There is no official reporting and therefore, no transparency. This allows the Incorporated Village of Patchogue to run an unlawful and unauthorized Constabulary, a “fake” police department, with the intent to discriminate against minorities.
Suffolk County’s Failure to Protect Village of Patchogue residents:
Suffolk County Officials Knew That The Incorporated Village of Patchogue Was Running An Unlawful Policing Department in The Form of Office of The Village Constables and Did Nothing About It
Sergeant Santa Maria of the Suffolk County Police Department was present at the 1994 enactment of Local Law #9, Chapter 7, of the Village of Patchogue Code, which falsely and deceptively passed a law that allowed the Incorporated Village of Patchogue policing power. The Suffolk County Police Department’s presence condones this illegal act.
Furthermore, the Suffolk County Police Department worked in conjunction with the Incorporated Village of Patchogue Constables, even though they had knowledge of their illegal power and were duty-bound to shut the organization down and arrest those village employees who were impersonating officers. Suffolk County allowed the Incorporated Village of Patchogue Constables to enter crime scenes and to piggy back upon their official privileged access. Furthermore, Suffolk Police Department shared information with Incorporated Village of Patchogue Constables. Upon investigation from the proper authorities, evidence may emerge that the corruption of the Incorporation Village of Patchogue departments started the corrupting of the Suffolk County Police Department and other policing agencies.
The Suffolk County Police Department may have rewarded its auxiliary police force members with opportunities to participate in the illegal Incorporated Village of Patchogue unauthorized and illegal policing force. The Suffolk County Civil Service Department not authorize the practice nor recognized the title “constable” or the practice of carrying guns and told the Village to cease the practice. Many of the Village’s Constables were ex Suffolk Police Department auxiliary police, which in the late 1990’s Suffolk County’s Sherriff’s office trained. This training was illegal and further added to the illusion that the Incorporated Village of Patchogue employees’ policing power was legitimate. Also there was a sharing of personnel between the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office and the Incorporated Village of Patchogue, case in point, Mr. Al Costello, who posed as a Village constable. This professional collusion caused the Suffolk Police Department to turn a blind eye to a policing entity that Suffolk Police Department knew was illegal, dangerous and discriminatory.
When complaints were made to Suffolk District Attorney’s office about the Incorporated Village of Patchogue’s illegal policing force, Darryl Burger, investigating for the District Attorney’s Office said “we can’t tell if the constables are legal or illegal. Our staff lacks the resources to make this determination.” Mr. Burger may have made this statement to conceal wrongdoing on the part of the Incorporated Village of Patchogue policing force. Other members of the District Attorney’s Office then proceeded to make improper determinations in order to protect Suffolk County Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office and to obscure the facts and avoid investigating a criminal matter that both the Suffolk County Police and the District Attorney’s Office were involved in. The result is that Suffolk County residents have been harmed and injustice has prevailed.
The Incorporated Village of Patchogue had willfully violated the following Federal Laws:
Conspiracy Against Rights, 18 U.S.C. § 241. Section 241 of Title 18 is the civil rights conspiracy statute. Section 241 makes it unlawful for two or more persons to agree together to injure, threaten, or intimidate a person in any state, territory or district in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the laws of the Unites States, (or because of his/her having exercised the same). Unlike most conspiracy statutes, Section 241 does not require that one of the conspirators commit an overt act prior to the conspiracy becoming a crime. The offense is punishable by a range of imprisonment up to a life term or the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances of the crime, and the resulting injury, if any.
Criminal Interference with Right to Fair Housing, 42 U.S.C. § 3631. Section 3631 of Title 42 makes it unlawful for an individual to use force or threaten to use force to injure, intimidate, or interfere with, or attempt to injure, intimidate, or interfere with, any person’s housing rights because of that person’s race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin. Among those housing rights enumerated in the statute are: 1) the sale, purchase, or renting of a dwelling, 2) the occupation of dwelling, 3) the financing of a dwelling, 4) contracting or negotiating for any of the rights enumerated above, and 5) applying for or participating in any service, organizations, or facility relating to the sale or rental of dwellings.
This statute also makes it unlawful to use force or threaten to use force to injure, intimidate, or interfere with any person who is assisting an individual or class of persons in the exercise of their housing rights. The offense is punishable by a range of imprisonment up to a life term, depending upon the circumstances of the crime, and the resulting injury, if any.
Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law, 18 U.S.C. § 242. This provision makes it a crime for a person acting under color of any law to willfully deprive a person of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.
For the purpose of Section 242, acts under “color of law” include acts not only done by federal, state, or local officials within the their lawful authority, but also acts done beyond the bounds of that official’s lawful authority, if the acts are done while the official is purporting to or pretending to act in the performance of his/her official duties. Persons acting under color of law within the meaning of this statute include police officers, prisons guards and other law enforcement officials, as well as judges, care providers in public health facilities, and others who are acting as public officials. It is not necessary that the crime be motivated by animus toward the race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin of the victim.
The offense is punishable by a range of imprisonment up to a life term, or the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances of the crime, and the resulting injury, if any.
Federally Protected Activities, 18 U.S.C. § 245. The portion of Section 245 of Title 18 which is primarily enforced by the Criminal Section makes it unlawful to willfully injure, intimidate or interfere with any person, or to attempt to do so, by force or threat of force, because of that other person’s race, color, religion or national origin and because of his/her activity as one of the following:
- A participant in a benefit, service, privilege, program, facility or activity provided or administered by a state or local government;
- A traveler or user of a facility of interstate commerce or common carrier;
- A patron of a public accommodation or place of exhibition or entertainment, including hotels, motels, restaurants, lunchrooms, bars, gas stations, theaters, concert halls, sports arenas or stadiums.
This statute also prohibits willful interference, by force or threat of force, with a person because he/she is or was participating in, or aiding or encouraging other persons to participate in any of the benefits or activities listed above without discrimination as to race, color, religion, or national origin. The offense is punishable by a range of imprisonment up to a life term, or the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances of the crime, and the resulting injury, if any.
Cesar Perales, President and General Counsel of Latino Justice, an advocacy group said an investigation was “…akin to the Justice Department going into Mississippi in the civil rights era to investigate murders by the Ku Klux Klan.”
I fear that the lack of federal oversight concerning the investigation into these Suffolk County Long Island illegal policing activities will lead to the further eruptions of violence in our community.
Very truly yours,
Henry R. Terry
About the Comprehensive Plan:
On December 11, 2008 Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo unveiled legislation to empower communities across the state with the ability to fundamentally reorganize and consolidate local governments.
Simply put, our system of local government is broken. It has been outpaced by globalization, regionalization, and an ever changing marketplace. The density of local government in New York is astounding. There are 10,521 overlapping government units, providing duplicative services creating needless, wasteful bureaucracies.
Given the current fiscal crisis New York is facing, reorganization of some governmental entities to more efficiently provide vital services is needed. In some cases, consolidation or dissolution may be necessary to reorganize government to meet the needs of their communities. However, current law is unable to solve the problem for it is inconsistent, often nonsensical, poses legal barriers, and includes anachronisms that make operational reform virtually impossible.
- The law is inconsistent regarding consolidation of local governmental entities. Under current law, there are differing rules for various types of governments. For instance, there are specific measures to consolidate or dissolve special districts, depending on the type of special district. Moreover, there are different rules for villages, towns, and special districts. These complex set of rules that vary wildly based upon the type of government makes if virtually impossible to consolidate or dissolve governments.
- The law is filled with anachronisms. More disturbing is that the law contains provisions that are relics of the past that conjure up images of “poll taxes.” In some cases, an individual may vote to dissolve or consolidate governments, such as special districts, only if they own taxable real property in the area.
- The law contains many legal barriers. For instance, town boards are powerless to consolidate or dissolve certain types of special districts, while citizens are powerless to initiate certain types of consolidation or dissolution of special districts.
The Attorney General is proposing legislation that streamlines existing processes, eliminates inane inconsistencies, and strikes from the law offensive anachronisms such as requiring property ownership in order to vote in a special town election on a proposition to consolidate water districts.
It is a system almost nobody understands, least of all the people served by it. New Yorkers have the highest local tax burden in the country that dwarfs other states and far exceeds the national average. By consolidating governments and services, taxpayers could save millions of dollars annually.
Special districts were created to assist towns facing population explosions caused by the migration of people away from cities after World War II. They were established to offer service delivery to properties in a specific area of a town. Special districts have grown dramatically since 1940.
In 1940, there were 2,000 special districts and by 2000, there were over 6,000.
Long Island has become a special district archipelago. Nassau and Suffolk Counties combined have over 340 special districts. The result of the hodgepodge is multiple tax bills. A person pays county and town taxes, village taxes, school taxes and taxes for special districts.
WHY IS THE ATTORNEY GENERAL INVOLVED?
The Attorney General’s Office has been doing its part to address the problem of local government dysfunction. Over the past 19-months, the office has been conducting statewide investigations into waste, fraud and abuse at various levels of government. Those investigations have already resulted in numerous settlements and convictions that have saved taxpayers millions of dollars. Every case of fraud, no matter how small, can create big problems for the state.
As the state’s chief legal officer, Attorney General Cuomo is often tasked with advising local governments on laws regulating them. It is clear that current laws are filled with inconsistencies, complexities, and anachronisms making meaningful reform in the current environment unattainable.
NEW YORK’S PAST SUCCESS
The conventional wisdom is that government could not be reorganized. Reports were written, but nothing got done. It has gone on for years. But, ultimately, leadership made the difference.
In the early part of the 20th century, the structure of New York State’s Government was every bit as bad as the current state of our local government system. But, what these dire times present is an opportunity.
Take for instance school districts. In 1947, a statewide Master Plan for School District Reorganization was enacted an although not a compulsory plan for reorganization, the Master Plan guided state level efforts to encourage reduction in the still-large number of school districts. The result was the reduction of the number of schools from 10,000 to less than 700 today.
People like Al Smith — supported by reformers, the media, and good government organizations made the impossible possible. In the 1920s, New York comprehensively reformed the structure of State government and created a model emulated by states throughout the nation. It was then one of the greatest achievements in American politics.
It has always been our mission to solve the nation’s problems first here in New York and serve as an example.
Responding to Lawrence Downes’ editorial “Victim Circus” in the New York Times:
Witches hunt? None here. Nor is there any need for a “hunt.” Seventeen years of a fake police should be a hard enough fact–”probable cause” for an investigation.
Is there any proof the Village personnel impersonating peace officers did anything wrong? We don’t need proof of wrongdoing. No speculation is required. Everything that they did is morally questionable and is legally actionable.
Do the immigrant Latinos, who Wolter asked to come forward, know what happened to them? How could they when the victims come from places where police and abuse is the norm? The authority figures in Suffolk, Levy, Pontieri, and others, are no different from what they are used to. Latinos are escaping a world where the fourteenth amendment “equal protection clause” does not exist.
In “Outlier” Malcolm Gladwell talks of cultural bias and how it shapes our lives. Here the cultural bias of many who come from Latin America is to distrust government officials and the police as they are known to violate human rights. But this culture bias, while indeed present in the Latin community I speak to, is actually grounded in reality and the district of the police and government is real. It is the well-founded distrust founded upon the fact that in the Suffolk and in Patchogue there is no equal protection clause to protect Latinos. How could there be one if they have an unlawful and untrained police department who targets them?
“They are not angry” pontificates as Mr. Pontieri characterizes. Many community leaders are asking for forgiveness and reconciliation. However, forgiveness and reconciliation traditionally comes after the admission of wrong doings and as a request for forgiveness and we have yet to hear such a request. In fact, Mr. Pontieri and others have done everything they can to suppress the truth of the illegal untrained police force is doing. If the Latin population and the general population is not angry YET, it is because are not aware of what has been done to them in the name of public safety.
Here in the North we believe that only the South would have such a corrupt police force to push the “undesirables” out. It couldn’t happen in New York, not 60 miles from New York City. You couldn’t possible have an untrained, illegally armed fake police force with no “racial profiling” and no prohibitions on asking detainees their status. This isn’t Alabama after all. Right?
Fake Cops, it must be a hoax you say. Suffolk County Police Department would never go along with that! Wouldn’t they have an obligation to put a stop to it? Doesn’t the Suffolk County Police Department have to uphold the law?
From the moment this hate crime problem came up, the politicians began to clamor for immediate “healing.” They wanted the cameras and newspapers to go away. Lawrence Downes alludes that Priest Wolter is a grandstanding, because after all, the Mayor “is concerned.” Somehow we should bow down to the Mayor’s authority, as he knows best and grew up two blocks away from where Marcelo was murdered. After all, he says, “The Village of Patchogue has always taken care of its own issues.”
The question, which Mr. Downes does not ask is how does the Village of Patchogue takes care of its own issue, but I will answer him:
1) They create a fake armed and untrained police force.
2) They illegally destroy and doctor records to hide their illegal activities.
3) They defraud Suffolk County Civil Service.
4) They deprive residents of the right to speak at public meetings.
5) They destroy public meeting tapes and do not record public minutes.
3) They only allow certain business in town.
6) They use constables to target Latinos and the poor.http://villagepolicecases.com/documents/Patchogue_Fourth_Amended_Complaint.pdf
7) They exempt their friends and associates from complying with Village Law and selective enforce the laws against others.
8) They call in a fake fire alarm to search the homes of suspected immigrants.
9) They deny anything happened.
Then one would ask, what’s has been the motive? Why the fake cops in the first place? Why go through so much trouble? Why put everything, the entire Village government at risk. FEAR is the confessed answer. Fear of whom?
If you want an answer, don’t listen to me draw conclusions. It’s all in the 17 years of Village of Patchogue, Village Court records and police records that were illegally “not maintained.”
Can you imagine if the Suffolk Police Department said it didn’t have any records? Well, this is what Village of Patchogue officials, Judge McGuire, former Village Attorney J. Lee Snead, current Village Attorney Brian Egan, and current Village Clerk, Patricia Seal are telling us. The records should document the illegal detaining of motorist, and the illegal search of DMV records, and the failure to remove false convictions marked on the victim licenses–a racial profiling cocktail, but which is by no means the main course.
The fake armed untrained cops (call them what you like Village Constables, Code Enforcement Officers, Park Rangers, because the Village of Patchogue unlawfully gave all these officers policing power) reason for EXISTING can be found in the government records and “Facts are stubborn things.”
If you want to find out what is going on in Patchogue you must go to the records. Slavery has its invoices and manifests and contracts and the Village Patchogue has its minutes and department records. An inspection of these will show what the history of what Patchogue did in the name of public safety, redevelopment, and progress.
Henry R. Terry
Calling for Development Accountability
From around the state a coalition of community, policy, labor, and environmental organizations and have come together to form the New York State Initiative for Development Accountability (NYS IDA). Frustrated by the lack of quality jobs, transparency, and community participation in development as well as the negative environmental impacts of never-ending sprawl, these groups are targeting a main engine of subsidy distribution – Industrial Development Agencies (IDA) – for reform.
IDA’s hand out hundreds of millions of dollars a year in property tax breaks to companies across the state for the promise of new jobs and ostensibly other economic development “benefits”. But from North Country to Suffolk actual benefits are often underwhelming and sometimes completely scandalous. From the promise of jobs that actually result in net jobs lost, to counties stealing businesses (and jobs) with the lure of more tax breaks than their neighbors, to businesses with a long list of labor and environmental violations receiving tax-payer money IDA’s have not lived up to their promise.
In the coming months the Development Accountability coalition will be pushing for a set of reforms at the state level that include wage standards (prevailing and living wage), local hiring, community impact reports, increased transparency, a greater role for the public in the process, increased environmental standards, clawbacks (“do what you promise or give us back the loot”), and other important measures. The inclusion of these reforms in the subsidy giveaway process would transform how development impacts the real lives of people who should be benefiting more from the economic growth of their communities.
The Senate and the Assembly must act by July to incorporate these reforms and the coalition is working in regions across the state to make sure that local communities and the elected officials who represent them are speaking in one loud voice for subsidy accountability.