Entries Posted in Settlements

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Shareholder Jacob Lamme, a member of McNamee Lochner’s litigation department, recently obtained two court orders in related tax certiorari cases that granted full real property tax exemptions for eight (8) properties under Sections 420-a and 462 of the Real Property Tax Law.   The City of Amsterdam had denied tax exemptions to two religious entities for the properties, claiming that the properties were not used in a manner sufficient to warrant exemption.  Jacob successfully argued that his clients’ use of the properties, as clergy housing and parking lots associated with a Buddhist temple, qualified them for exemption under the law.

This marks another real property tax litigation victory that Jacob has obtained on behalf of a religious institution.  In 2014, Jacob was part of the litigation team that successfully appealed a determination to the Appellate Division, Third Department, and obtained a tax exemption for a large religious summer camp in Schoharie County that serves underprivileged children.

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A Rabbi and his wife have been denied bankruptcy relief by a judge who found that they persistently lied about their income and expenses. In an uncommon denial of discharge, Chief Northern District Bankruptcy Judge Robert Littlefield Jr. said the petition of Daniel and Susan Wolpe was littered with falsehoods. Littlefield denied the debtors the fresh start they sought under Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

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The Mohawk Indians of northern New York didn’t even have a word in their language for pollution before the discovery of elevated levels of polychlorinated biphenyls [PCBs], volatile organic compounds, dibenzofurans, cyanide and fluorides in the St. Lawrence and Grasse rivers and other waterways.

One study traced PCBs released into the St. Lawrence by Alcoa to PCBs in the fish, then into the bodies of Mohawk mothers who ate the fish, into the mothers’ breast milk, into the bodies of their babies and into the babies’ urine, said attorney John Privitera, a shareholder at McNamee, Lochner, Titus & Williams in Albany.

“Basically, this community is a fishing community,” Privitera said. “But when they realized that the fish were polluted in the mid-1980s, they just abandoned fishing.”