Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Foreclosed New Square house vandalized again

Vandals flooded the basement of an Eisenhower Avenue house bought at auction by a Manhattan company and might have tried to burn it down, Ramapo police said yesterday.

Investigators found that a valve handle had been broken off the basement water heater at 9 Eisenhower Ave. on Sunday morning, Detective Sgt. John Lynch said.

"There was 5 to 6 feet of water in the basement when officers went to the house on a report of a pipe bursting," Lynch said.

Police called United Water New York to have the water shut off and to prevent additional damage, he said.

Lynch said officers found burned matches near a basement gas valve, indicating that the vandals might have tried to set the house ablaze.

"Detectives on the scene and the Sheriff's Department Bureau of Criminal Investigation determined this was deliberate damage to the house," Lynch said.

He said investigators estimated that the vandalism caused "several thousand dollars in damage" to the house. Investigators determined that the house was broken into through a rear door. No arrests have been made.

Sunday wasn't the first vandalism at the house, which was bought in February by Galaxy Asset Corp.

Three families and two businesses were evicted in June.

The house became the scene of several demonstrations by residents of the Hasidic Jewish community, resulting in broken windows and harassment of Galaxy workers.

In August, an addition to the house was intentionally knocked down, leaving a pile of rubble in the driveway, police said.

Allan Fattal, a Galaxy representative, estimated that damage at $25,000 and accused village leaders of preventing him from repairing the house and renting it.

New Square's deputy mayor, Israel Spitzer, denied that the village government had any role in the demonstrations. He said he and other officials don't condone the destruction of property.

Tensions have been high in the village concerning the house since Galaxy Assets obtained the deed and $420,000 mortgage on the building. The property was foreclosed on after the former owner, Elieser Friedman, failed to pay a November 2001 mortgage, according to documents filed with the County Clerk's Office in New City.

Juda Friedman has since filed a lawsuit against the Sheriff's Department and county, alleging his religious bookstore was improperly evicted. Friedman claims he never received written notice of the eviction and was not named in the court-ordered eviction.

The county denied that the eviction was improper and said the bookstore was included in the eviction order.


mee k'amchu yisruel


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