Monday, May 14, 2012

Hudson Bureau Confidential: Ulster County makes decision in spat among Hasidim 

Ulster County was the reluctant parent to the Satmars sibling rivalry.

Older brother Aaron Teitelbaum pleaded for Ulster County to pull this car over and resolve the backseat wrestling match for the shiny toy: control over Catskill summer camps.

Not a chance, Ulster said at first.

"Since my office cannot resolve the issues that exist solely among your clients, I find no benefit in having a meeting," county attorney Bea Havranek wrote Jan. 27.
Younger brother Zalman has had the run of the four Hasidic campgrounds ever since the siblings' 2007 spat, but Aaron had a different idea. He used the name of Congregation Yetev Lev to get Ulster County's blessing. The county had been instructed to grant camp permits to only Congregation Yetev Lev, and by March 27, two applications had arrived in the name: one from Zali, and one from Aaron.

The county relented and offered to play peacekeeper.

"If you still believe a meeting with my office and counsel would facilitate a resolution between your clients, I am available to have such a meeting," Havranek wrote March 27.

Zali's lawyer claimed victory after mid-April meetings with Havranek and Ulster executive Mike Hein, saying the county agreed to issue permits to their allies and had even set campground inspection for May 15.

Nonsense, the county said.

"No inspections are scheduled for any of the above referenced camps at this time," Havranek wrote April 27.

Twelve days later, Ulster awarded the permits to the Zalis and made arrangements for an inspection.

The proposed date? May 15.


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