POLITICS CORRUPTION AND RELIGION

The town of Lakewood, NJ was once again in the news this week. As per local news sources, subpoenas were served on the police department’s accident unit. Based on the article it appears the investigation centers on accidents involving Orthodox members of the community and the treatment they may have received by the police and court: https://www.app.com/story/news/investigations/watchdog/2018/07/16/lakewood-nj-police-crash-fbi-federal-investigation-subpoena/781966002/

Last year the community was rocked with a scandal involving government assistance. As per an article published by New Jersey Advance Media: “A total of 26 people – nearly all couples – were arrested in a series of raids by federal and state authorities this summer. Those charged, who are all members of the Orthodox community, were accused of defrauding the government by submitting false applications to collect Medicaid, SNAP food assistance, housing assistance and other benefits for low-income residents.”[1] https://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2017/08/lakewood_inside_the_turmoil_in_njs_most_controvers.html

It is no secret that the Orthodox community is heavily involved in politics and carries great weight with local, county, state and federal politicians. When I served as a police lieutenant with the Union City Police I served as the liaison between the Mayor of Union City (who also serves as the police director) and the head Rabbi of Union City. During this time, I learned very quickly how the Orthodox community works. First, I learned that they vote in a block. If you can control the head rabbi, you can control a vast majority of the Orthodox votes. For this reason, politicians will go out of their way to keep the leaders of the Orthodox Community happy. Once the fraud scandal broke state officials quickly offered amnesty for many others involved in the same crimes:

https://www.app.com/story/news/investigations/watchdog/2018/03/27/amnesty-program-results-lakewood-nj-welfare-fraud-arrests-recovery/948466001/

When I was assigned as the liaison between the Orthodox community and the police/mayor I was advised to deal with the head Rabbi only. At the time the head Rabbi was also the Police Department Chaplin. His personal car had a city installed police package including lights and sirens. What was interesting about having a Rabbi as the head Chaplin of the Union City Police Department was the fact that there were no Jewish cops. It was also a fact that the “police Chaplin” never showed up at any police event and never rendered any spiritual assistance to any officer. If you asked most cops who the head Chaplin was they would not be able to tell you. While I was serving as the liaison, the city donated a free school bus to the Orthodox community. The rabbi believed the free bus came with life-time service. I was called and asked to have the police mechanic respond to their facilities to perform work on the bus. When I advised that this was not permissible, the Rabbi quickly called the mayor directly.  In another instance the Rabbi saw the city had a contract with a company to do government paving; he called requesting that the company go on to their (private) property and pave their parking lot. I had to once again tell this person that what he was asking was not permissible. As soon as I hung up the phone  I received a direct call from the mayor inquiring about what we could do to help. It was at this point that I advised the mayor “that this is an indictment waiting to happen” and removed myself from the position.  Later in my career I was advised by the Chief of police that the feds had come to us seeking our assistance in a fraud investigation involving the Orthodox community. When the Chief notified the mayor, the Chief was advised to tell the feds that we could not assist them.

I have witnessed firsthand the preferential treatment the Orthodox community receives. Without a doubt, what they get and what they get away with, is all about votes.

[1] Race, religion, corruption and politics: A guide to the crisis in Lakewood

Posted August 02, 2017 at 07:30 AM | Updated August 03, 2017 at 09:17 AM

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *