Friday, May 26, 2017

One Pleads Guilty To Voter Fraud In Attempt To Get Approval For Townhouses For Hasidic Jews

As previously reported, the village of Bloomingburg, New York has been embroiled in a battle over whether an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community would expand into the town.  Real estate developer Kenneth Nakdimen and his associates sought to build a  396-unit townhouse development there to be marketed to Hasidic Jews.  They faced local opposition which the developers said was fueled by anti-Semitism.  As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the developers were ultimately indicted by the federal government for their voting fraud tactics in seeking to obtain approval for their project.  Yesterday the U.S. Attorney's office for the Southern District of New York announced that Nakdimen has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to corrupt the electoral process. The announcement describes the basis for the charges:
[B]y late 2013, the first of their real estate developments had met local opposition, and still remained under construction and uninhabitable.  When met with resistance, rather than seek to advance their real estate development project through legitimate means, NAKDIMEN and others instead decided to corrupt the democratic electoral process in Bloomingburg by falsely registering voters and paying bribes for voters who would help elect public officials favorable to their project.
....   NAKDIMEN and others took steps to cover up their scheme to register voters who did not actually live in Bloomingburg by, among other things, creating and back-dating false leases and placing items like toothbrushes and toothpaste in unoccupied apartments to make it seem as if the falsely registered voters lived there.
UPDATE: On June 6, the U.S. Attorney's office announced that a second defendant, Shalom Lamm, has now also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to corrupt the electoral process.

[Thanks to Steven H. Sholk for the lead.]