UPDATE: After claiming the Town Hall meeting will be postponed and that they claim a meeting with the AG will happen in the next two weeks, a stipulation was filed extending the time to respond to the complaint through March 6th.
While I wouldn’t want to make any predictions, it seems that a settlement with the AG would have been an easy thing to accomplish if that’s the direction the State wanted to take. Perhaps the State, having seen how people are treated at open public meetings in Mahwah, wants to vindicate the rights of the public? Perhaps something else will be added to the complaint?
What will happen between now and March 6th? We don’t exactly know. But we will be keeping an eye on the court docket.
If you haven’t been told about this development by the officials in Mahwah, ask them why? If you want to keep aware of new developments, follow our Facebook Group: Facebook.com/groups/EruvLitigationInfo/
This past Tuesday, the Mahwah Council abruptly cancelled a scheduled Town Council meeting to discuss the settlement agreement entered into with the Bergen Rockland Eruv Association by the Town.
Last night, the Mahwah council met at their regular scheduled meeting. They indicated the reason for the cancellation and it doesn’t make any sense. At the 16:50 mark of the video below, the Council President Robert Hermansen asked the Township’s attorney Brian Chewcaskie to make a statement about the Town Hall meeting.
Chewcaskie said that Town Hall meeting was cancelled base on the advice of the attorneys handling the eruv litigation and the AG litigation. He said:
“the reason it was cancelled, although there was a settlement agreement entered into… there still are continuing actions being taken. In fact, we have a scheduled meeting with the rabbi and the attorneys to discuss various alternatives they have agreed to accommodate Mahwah and do so. That meeting is scheduled the week of Feb. 20th. In addition, we have requested a meeting with the attorney general’s office. We do not have a scheduled meeting yet and we expect that that would occur in the next two weeks. Based upon that, it was determined that it would be prudent not to have the Town Hall meeting until after those two meetings are conducted and we would expect that within the next three weeks that there would be a Town Hall meeting for any questions relating to the status of those litigation. The matter has been resolved.”
This begs the question: didn’t that situation exist before the Town Hall meeting was schedule?
Since the ink was drying on the settlement agreement, Hermansen has been speaking about how they will be meeting to possibly move and relocate the eruv. Now, he wants to claim that the Town Hall meeting needs to be postponed because they will be having that meeting?
Then Mr. Chewcaskie spoke about the stories people are reading from the internet:
“There’s also a series of what I would call misinformation and rumors — what’s going on, what’s being reported in the media regarding surrounding communities. The Montvale case has been resolved, it has been marked as settled and a formal resolution will be adopted on Tuesday by Montvale.”
I don’t know where he’s looking, but it’s clearly not “marked as settled” on the Court docket. The last entry sets the date to respond to the complaint:
Facts, how do they work?
Back to Mr. Chewcaskie:
“As I’ve indicated to the council, I have no problem addressing any questions relating to the settlement agreement itself, but with regard to any strategy going forward, we will not discuss that until we have some finality, which we expect we will have in a few weeks.”
So, why did the Town Hall meeting need to be cancelled? I’m very confused.
What does the agreement say about moving the eruv out of Mahwah?
On the day the agreement was signed, Robert Hermansen took to social media to state that “the agreement permits us to have a dialogue for the relocation of the ERUV subject to the agreement of both parties”. (see image)
Does the agreement permit such a dialogue?
Well, it doesn’t actually speak to it at all. If that statement is accurate, so is this one:
The agreement permits Mahwah to put Hermansen in stocks and let the community light his pants on fire, subject to the agreement of both parties.
As lawyer and Mahwah resident, Jonathan Marcus wrote in his post entitled “A Lawyer’s Perspective“:
“Council President Hermansen issued a public statement on social media where he stated that one of the primary reasons the Council agreed to the settlement was that “the agreement permits us to have a dialogue for the relocation of the ERUV subject to the agreement of both parties.” This statement is simply untrue and is unsupported by the agreement itself. In fact, one could argue that the agreement states the opposite.”
“While Councilman Hermansen might wish to spin this language into saying that it permits the town to have a dialogue with the BREA about relocating the ERUV, the legal reality is that it does NOT. In fact, nowhere in the settlement agreement is the word “relocation” even used. The legal reality is that the only “dialogue” that has to take place results in the event the BREA (at its sole discretion) wants to modify or expand the existing eruv within Mahwah. Even then, the only dialogue required to take place relates to what route WITHIN MAHWAH such expansion or modification will take. The settlement agreement makes it unambiguously clear that the eruv is here to stay in Mahwah (and in fact, may be expanded within Mahwah) unless the BREA itself decides to remove it from Mahwah.”
It’s an excellent post, it goes through the relevant facts and cites to the settlement agreement. It’s worth your time to read.
Having been called out, Hermansen addressed the issue before the opening of public input at the meeting:
Hermansen: “I just wanna discuss one other thing, because there is a couple of posts that are being flit around Facebook that is just blatant lies, and one of them is being sponsored, one of these lies is being sponsored by our own Mayor, by Team Laforet. So I wanna address that, have you address that about the potential of movement or potentially moving an eruv and some of things are being discussed. Because, some of the things that are being said is that there is no language in there … we can’t do this .. we can’t do that .. we’re not allow to do this … and the mayor was sitting in the same settlement negotiations, and the same meetings that we were, and somehow I don’t understand why he is sponsoring something that is just an absolute blatant lie. So I’d like for you to address that please.”
Chewcaskie: “I’m not familiar with any Facebook posts, however, the agreement provides that the parties will cooperate with any modification, location, expansion, relocation, which is what the meeting [on the week of the 20th] is for.”
Hermansen: “Thank you. Therefore, I’m not going to get into the nuts and bolts of everything, of it, but I can just tell you that the township council is still trying to work with the parties, with everybody, to find something that is a best interest for both parties on both sides, so that we can do the right thing for the community, for everyone, to hopefully move on so that we can get back to the business of what’s the most important things in this town and start to function on things and start to worry about our taxes and the sewer issues that we have and the things that are going on on Chapel Road and things that are happening in other areas of this town that we need to focus on as opposed to things that have been consuming this town for a very long time.
And personally, for myself, I’ve said this before, we’re a better town than this. We’re a better town than what’s been going on, we’re a better town that what people have been talking about, we’re a better town than people have been discussing in the press and we’re a better place than … we have not been represented to be by some of the people who are sitting up here on this dais, who are not protecting this town the right way. And, I think that the right thing to do now is to move forward, find the right thing. This is where we’re at, we allow the attorneys to do what they’re supposed to do, and we move on from here.”
Having been called out, the council that scheduled a Town Hall meeting to discuss the dialogue, claims the continuing dialogue prevents them from having a Town Hall meeting. The language they use changes to describe the settlement and those calling them out are branded as liars.
And that, is how the chronic liar of Mahwah deceives the people.