Sullivan County, NY – Bloomingburg’s Jewish community has extra reason to rejoice on this final night of the holiday of Succos as word comes that the Village of Bloomingburg and the Town of Mamakating have agreed to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit that charged the two municipalities with religious discrimination.
Sullivan Farms II, a company owned by developer Shalom Lamm, has agreed to accept a payment of $2.9 million just weeks before the federal lawsuit was set to be begin.
“This is a big victory,” Michael Fragin of the Bloomingburg Jewish Community Council told VIN News. “$2.9 million is a big number for any municipality.”
$1.595 million of the award will be paid by the Town of Mamakating with the remaining $1.305 million coming from the Village of Bloomingburg.
The agreement was reached Friday afternoon at a pair of emergency meetings held at the Bloomingburg Village Hall reported the Times Herald Record. Mayor Russel Wood has been pushing for a settlement since taking office last March, hoping to put an end to the years-long conflict, which has been both costly and contentious.
“On the whole, this is for the best interest of the taxpayers,” said Wood. “This is a good deal. It’s a shame it had to come to any of this.”
Bill Hermann, supervisor for the Town of Mamakating, was far more critical in remarks, noting that he had moral objections to the settlement and calling the lawsuit a “public relations stunt.”
The settlement comes just months after Sullivan County settled a lawsuit alleging that the local Board of Elections employees had prevented Bloomingburg residents from voting as previously reported on VIN News (http://bit.ly/2eU4WY8).
Steven Engel, a lawyer at Dechert LLP who represented Lamm, said he hopes that the settlement will finally end years of conflict in the tiny village.
“The $2,900,000 settlement hopefully brings that sad chapter to an end and it should remind the public that bigotry has no place in America,” said Engel.