Peekskill Dem Judge Loehr Sets Violent Criminals Free Without Bail!

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Thanks to the Peekskill Democratic City Council Majority, the City of Peekskill has become a more dangerous place – especially against Hispanics. We at InsidePEEK predicted this very outcome when the unqualified City Judges were appointed.

The latest outrageous act by Judge Melissa Loehr is the last straw!

We clearly showed how Loehr was appointed due to her and her father’s political connection to the Democratic Party. She was chosen over much more qualified candidates and has a close personal connection to Councilman Noodle.

Related Posts:

https://insidepeekblog.wordpress.com/2016/08/22/peekskill-dems-corruption-spreads-to-associate-judge-selection/

https://insidepeekblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/16/peekskill-council-democrats-continue-unethical-ways-with-associate-judge-selection/

https://insidepeekblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/02/peekskill-judge-melissa-loehr-caught-in-ethics-code-violation/

On Sunday July 16, 2017 three Peekskill residents (who are friends of the Democratic members of the City Council) committed egregious hate crimes against two Hispanic males on Orchard Street. The victims were robbed and beaten. One was beaten so badly with a baseball bat that his skull was fractured and his eye socket and wrist were broken! He is clinging to life in the hospital. These same three thugs are suspected of committing a similar crime just two days earlier that sent another Hispanic male to the hospital in critical condition.

So, what did Judge Loehr do when the Westchester DA requested a $25,000 bail be set for these criminals? She simply released two of them on their own recognizance (ROR)! No bail and not even an appearance ticket! She immediately put them back out on the street. The third suspect had a separate domestic violence charge pending so Loehr reduced the $30,000 bail requested by the DA to a mere $2000.

Suspects

These are the three suspects set free without bail by Judge Melissa Loehr.

This was all Mayor Catalina and Councilman Torres could take – they are upset and vow to take action to stop further erosion of the law in Peekskill. The hard-working members of the Peekskill Police and other law enforcement put their lives on the line every day and strive to remove these types of criminals from the streets of the City – then the judges turn around and immediately release them to commit more crime. It has to stop.

Councilman Torres, a former court officer and liaison to the police department made the following public statement following the incident:

“This weekend our city was beset with a rash of the most deplorable violence one can encounter. Regardless of who we are, we all have a sense of safety when we are running about our daily lives. For two in our Latino community, this sense of safety was destroyed. Senseless hatred of a group of three men shattered the peaceful lives of two men and their families. One is physically OK and overcoming a forceful robbery. The other is clinging to his life after being targeted and hit in the head with, I’m told, a baseball bat. Yes, a baseball bat to the head for no apparent reason.

Our police did what we expect of them. They investigated and made arrests and put forth three men to face our criminal justice system. We should all feel safe, right? Well, no, we can’t feel safe. A liberal judge decided to play politics with your safety, and released all three of these accused violent offenders. They are now amongst us instead of safely in a facility where they can’t harm anyone until they answer for their crimes.

Unfortunately, this is standard practice for Judge Loehr. Everyone is released with no regard for our families safety. This is a direct result of the Peekskill Democratic Party picking Judge Loehr as a political favor instead of another Democrat judge who even Republicans agreed was best suited for the position.”

You would think that this horrible incident would bring sympathy and concern by council members Rainey, Talbot and McKenzie – nothing can be further from the truth. When the incident was discussed at the Monday July 17th Council meeting, the Democratic council members seemed more suspect of the police than anything else. McKenzie thought Loehr’s action were just fine! Rainey and Talbot did not seem concerned at all about the victims.

They are obviously attempting to cover for their friends – especially Loehr.

Wait, there is more!

Seems Judge Loehr has recently violated a very important rule for judges related to politics – they are not permitted to attend political fundraisers or show any blatant affiliation to political events. Just a week before the attack on July 7th, Democratic City Council candidate Ramon Fernandez held a fundraiser at 420 Simpson Place in Peekskill. Guess who showed up to the event alongside Councilman Noodle – yup, Judge Melissa Loehr! Thanks to one of our readers we were provided the proof via the photograph below.

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Peekskill City Councilman and mayor candidate Andre Noodle Noo Rainey and Peekskill City Court Associate Judge Melissa Loehr attend a political fundraiser together on July 7th in Peekskill.

So, when Noodle said in the July 17th council meeting that he “will speak with the judge” we are sure he will. He probably does that a lot.

Speaking of candidate Fernandez and his fellow Hispanic council candidate, Vanessa Agudelo – why are they so silent? Why is council candidate Colin Smith actually on social media defending Loehr and the criminals?! Outrageous. Looks like they have fallen in line with the Democratic Party bosses and put politics before the people – even before their own community. Disgraceful but not surprising.

It is time to clean up Peekskill. Loehr (and Judge Johnson for that matter) should resign and allow law and order to resume in Peekskill. Putting Fernandez, Agudelo and Smith in office will further degrade Peekskill. Although Councilman Noodle will unfortunately remain on the council when he loses his election for mayor, Peekskill has an opportunity to right the ship and elect members to work with Mayor Catalina to do the right thing for all citizens of Peekskill.

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McKenzie Property Tax Scandal Exposed, Doesn’t Pay and Hides Facts from Public

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We thought we already knew why Vivian McKenzie couldn’t run for mayor – there were too many issues she didn’t want to become public. At least we thought we knew all the reasons – you’re not going to believe what we discovered!

Before we dive into the latest scandal there is a question we at InsidePEEK have been asking ourselves – what is it with these Peekskill Democrats? Why does the illegal, unethical and malfeasant behavior persist? Why do they think they can get away with such behavior? We refer to a comment by one of our readers who posed the same question – “They have been allowed to get away with things for too long. They had full control and hid everything.”

McKenzie has been in hot water before. She should have been forced to resign over her illegal exposure of a city employee by sharing a confidential email with the press. Thanks to having the majority on the council and friends in high places she got away with it – and that’s the problem. Being protected by equally unethical and power hungry ‘friends’ has emboldened McKenzie, Claxton, Rainey, Talbot and others to put themselves over the constituents they represent.

https://insidepeekblog.wordpress.com/2016/02/09/mckenzie-forwarded-emails-to-political-operative-violated-employee-confidentiality/

This time McKenzie has gone too far – and she has a newly exposed friend who helped her.

InsidePEEK has learned that Councilwoman Vivian McKenzie owns 3 properties in Peekskill. One is her 979 Main Street business, Kathleen’s Tea Room, and also 2 homes (McKenzie was recently overheard admitting one of the homes is in her sister’s name but really owned by her). People are allowed to own real estate, we at InsidePEEK realize that. BUT – the owners are required to pay the taxes on that real estate – even council members. McKenzie doesn’t seem to think so.

Last fall the City of Peekskill conducted an “In-REM” sale of property. The process is basically a seizing of property that has been delinquent in paying property taxes for at least two years. The law allows the City to follow a specific legal process to take title to the property so it can be sold with the City recouping its lost tax revenue.

It just so happens that McKenzie’s Main Street commercial property turned up on the “In-REM” list for not paying taxes – or did it?

InsidePEEK has discovered that although McKenzie’s property was on the ‘internal list’ it never made the list distributed to the council and the public. Normally, the entire list of delinquent properties is discussed by the council and staff to determine which, if any, properties were legally able to be retained by their owners through a process of paying back the taxes in arrears by a prescribed date by law. Somehow, McKenzie’s property that should have been listed wasn’t. Why? How?

It turns out McKenzie had her friend, City Comptroller Ann Scaglione, remove her property from the list before it was made public! We at InsidePEEK are not sure if that is illegal, but we are sure it is unethical. But that is not the whole story.

Bridgewater-header

How could this agreement happen without three members of the council knowing? Was the down payment made?

Scaglione, without the Republican council members’ knowledge, made a private agreement with McKenzie. The issue of making such an agreement may or may not have been done according to the specific legal process, but it was not done according to the city’s established process, nor by the ethical standards of treating a council member as every other citizen would be treated. Did the City Corporation Council need to approve the agreement? Did she even know of the agreement? It is a legal document but there is no signature by the Corporation Council on the document. We find that odd in this day and age, especially for a municipality. The City’s lawyer should have initiated the document. On top of that – did the City Manager know? Did he approve such a deal? We hope Mayor Catalina will be able to obtain all the facts and expose the entire scandal and the employees involved. The Democrats once again abused their power in office to take care of one of their own. Remember, Scaglione was hired by Foster and the all Democrat council to help deceive the public on the City finances. And speaking of City finances – it is rumored that Scaglione was telling fellow staff that she is looking for another job to get out before those deceptions come to light. More on that we get the details.

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Why didn’t the Corporation Council sign this agreement? Did she even know about it? Did the City Manager know? Is it legal?

That is all bad enough but it is not the full story!

InsidePEEK has obtained a copy of the City’s agreement with “VG Bridgewater Inc.” (the legal name of McKenzie’s holdings). In the agreement, McKenzie agrees to pay the City back over two years for a total of over $24,000 in unpaid taxes – does everybody in this position get this type of agreement? We are not sure about that.

Wait, there is still more!

InsidePEEK has also obtained a copy of the pay schedule to the City. At least they did that much. It contains a shocking revelation – McKenzie may have defaulted on her November 2016 payment! She has one payment left at the end of May. Will she pay it on time?

Bridgewater-PaymentsHL.jpg

Did McKenzie default on her agreement and get away with it? How can we believe the payments were not only made according to the agreement but whether they were ever made at all?

Here is the final, and maybe the most disturbing thing in this whole sorted story – while in default herself and side-stepping the disclosure process, McKenzie publicly never said anything while she voted to seize fellow citizen’s property for not paying property taxes. How could she do that in good conscience? She hid her own circumstance while willingly not affording others the same benefits she used for herself. A most shameful act. This raises another question – was her vote a serious conflict of interest? Does it open up the City for a legal challenge by those who lost their homes and disqualify the vote? We do not know but perhaps we will learn soon.

A side note regarding McKenzie is the excessive garbage throughout the downtown. It is unsightly, dangerous and embarrassing for the city. McKenzie has berated members of the public over it and continuously complains about it. All while she remains the worst culprit of the problem! The garbage in front of her business is troubling. InsidePEEK was sent photos by one of our readers who pointed out her hypocrisy on the issue. Does she have an illegal apartment above her business? The explosion of these apartments has happened in the downtown ever since the zoning change two years ago. The honest businesses downtown are suffering because of business owners like McKenzie and the misinformed and destructive policy decisions made by her and her fellow Democratic council members.

The bigger question is what can be done with McKenzie? Is there a legal process to have her removed from office once and for all? She has become a liability for the City and her political party. Her business is suffering from her actions along with her nasty demeanor and treatment of the public at meetings. She should resign and move on to take care of her business and family. But then again, if she leaves office how could she continue to protect herself from the law? A difficult situation indeed.

Peekskill Democratic Majority’s Latest Target – The Volunteer Firefighters

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The Peekskill Democrats are at it again. It has been well documented over the last decade by actions, policies and public comments that the members of the Peekskill Democratic Party, especially those in public office, have utter contempt for local law enforcement. They treat the police as the enemy, and have gone so far as to appoint their friends as local justices just to prevent criminal convictions and fines imposed on their friends and family. InsidePEEK has reported on this pattern repeatedly over the previous year – most recently for their vote against accepting a donation of a new drone for the Police Department.

Now they are setting their sights on one of Peekskill’s most respected and VITAL organizations, the Peekskill Volunteer Firefighters. InsidePEEK has been barraged with emails regarding the attempt by the Democratic majority on the Common Council to oust the Peekskill Fire Chief, who has been dedicated firefighter for decades from a respected long-time Peekskill family. They claim it is a conflict for the Chief to continue because his son is becoming a member of the career firefighting staff. InsidePEEK has discovered that the Democratic Council Majority told the City Manager to demand the Chief’s resignation or the son cannot be hired for a career position. Why do this?

Come to find out Drew Claxton and Kathie Talbot were part of the Council during the Mary Foster administration that created a convoluted and poorly thought out nepotism policy. It has been the goal of Foster, Claxton and the Democrats to find a way to get rid of the volunteer firefighting force and they see this as an opportunity to make that happen. The new firehouse was the original vehicle to fade out the volunteers but that has taken too long to come about so this opportunity presents itself for them to take advantage of.

Their grand plan may have backfired on them in a big way.

Social media has been on fire since the Chief’s resignation came to light a few days ago. The general public is outraged about this issue, and rightfully so. InsidePEEK has received a record number of comments from our readers over this and they clearly show the backlash about to be brought against the Democratic Majority. InsidePEEK predicts they will not succeed in their attempt to have the Chief resign. Especially since it has been shown the policy as written does not apply in this specific case. The Chief is elected by the members of the department and has no direct supervision or influence over his son as a career firefighter.

It seems strange what Claxton, McKenzie, Noodle Rainey and Talbot see as a professional “conflict” requiring someone’s resignation from their elected post.

Hmmm, let’s look back over this past year: Claxton, McKenzie, Noodle Rainey and Talbot got caught holding an illegal meeting and taking an illegal vote to pass an illegal budget, they lose in court and violate the City Charter – did anyone resign? Nope.

Claxton got caught committing serious fiscal improprieties, illegally obtains grant funding for a building she owns and is the personal residence of her son, does not pay the money back when caught, admits she improperly signed the documents to obtain the ill-gotten funds – did she resign? Nope.

McKenzie gets caught red-handed sharing confidential emails regarding a Personnel issue, thus illegally exposing an employee to the press. The employee is humiliated in public and found to not have committed what McKenzie accused him of, violating his constitutional rights to due process and privacy – did she resign? Nope.

Noodle Rainey is discovered to have an outstanding warrant against him from an upstate New York town/college for purposely not paying a restaurant bill and fleeing the area. Once made public, Noodle’s Democratic Party “friends” went to the location and made a deal to pay the money owed and a fine to satisfy the authorities – did he resign? Nope.

These are just a few of the violations made by these elected officials who found no need to follow the ethics or criminal laws of the city –but – they want a sitting Volunteer Fire Chief to resign his position (with just 18 months left to serve) over the hiring of his son – who has earned the career position through taking a test and graduating from the fire academy. He has commendably accomplished this on his own. His father had nothing to do with his hiring and will not be directly supervising him in his job.

InsidePEEK agrees with Mayor Catalina who is upset over this situation and is calling on the Common Council members to vote to keep the Chief in place. Councilman Torres and Vesce support allowing the Chief to finish his term. Only one Democrat on the Council will be needed to make that happen. Only one Democrat will be needed to have the guts to go against their party and do the right thing for Peekskill. We’ll see if Claxton even shows up for the meeting. She misses so many and always seems to miss meetings where ‘controversial’ votes are required. Maybe she and her Democratic colleagues will be shamed enough to agree to let the chief stay.

According to a number of our readers – if the Chief is ultimately forced to resign, then the volunteer firefighting force is prepared to turn in their gear and walk away. That will be a very dangerous and expensive scenario for the citizens of Peekskill.

Noo News -Arrest Warrant Issued

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There is a well-known saying, ‘people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.’ It can also be a wise bit of advice – just ask Councilman Andre Noodle Noo Rainey in Peekskill.

Rainey has readily adopted the all too familiar tactics of the Peekskill Democratic Party – to personally attack anyone they do not agree with and to do so is such an organized and extremely vicious manner. Rainey has recently launched a slanderous and vile social media tirade against a community member that Mayor Catalina nominated for a position on a local board. InsidePEEK has received multiple examples of these posts by a few of our readers. This local resident has a record of community outreach and has personally helped many residents in need. According to one reader – this person is even a relative of Rainey’s! Political power, real or perceived, can cause someone to feel superior and untouchable, causing serious miscalculations and missteps. This is precisely what has happened to Rainey. He feels he is above criticism and scrutiny for his own actions – and even above the law!

InsidePEEK has learned that Rainey is avoiding arrest for an outstanding warrant against him for a theft he committed in Morrisville, NY (Madison County) just east of Syracuse. Thanks to a ‘courtesy card’ given to him by a policeman friend, Rainey was able to avoid arrest for this outstanding warrant when pulled over recently for speeding upstate. When the attending officer searched Rainey’s name in the police database the outstanding warrant information showed up. Thanks to the officer’s loyalty to the ‘courtesy card’ he allowed Rainey to leave – but refused to return the card. So, Rainey’s ‘stay out of jail’ security is gone. It is now just a matter of time until he is picked up.

When Mayor Catalina learned of this unlawful behavior and arrest warrant, he called on Rainey to do the right thing and resign gracefully before the City Charter must be imposed to remove him. There is also Rainey’s Las Vegas history (yet to be exposed) that forced him to move to Peekskill in the first place.

It has been suggested that Rainey’s inexperience and child-like thinking has enabled him to be manipulated and used to carry out the Democratic party’s agenda. One reader even referred to Rainey as “a tool of the democrats to carry out controversial and destructive attacks against their enemies while shielding themselves from blame.”  If this is true, then he truly has been used by the Peekskill Democratic Party leaders and council colleagues.

This adds another notch to the long list of disturbing and illegal activity by members the Peekskill Democratic Party. A list that Jacob Marley would call “ponderous in length” and growing. Now that it is 2017, a local election year, how will the Democrats defend these illegal and unethical acts? We are told that McKenzie has recently decided against running for mayor due to her and her family’s history. Who will be their candidate for mayor then?  Paglia or Talbot as has been suggested? InsidePEEK has learned that desperation is starting to impact the Peekskill Dems and the party may need to rely on former failed candidates to run for office again due to the lack of viable and/or willing candidates. We will find out soon.

McKenzie, Talbot Vote Against Police; Claxton Absent Again

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All they could do was look down in shame as they voted.

At the December 12th Common Council meeting the members had an agenda item to accept a donation of an “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle” aka a drone for the Peekskill Police Department. Seems like a good idea, right? Not to Kathy Talbot and Vivian McKenzie. They voted NO to accept this important asset for the police. Drones have been deployed by police agencies all across the country. They save lives, make policing safer, more efficient and assist in helping with many actions, including searching for missing persons. Perhaps that is why Talbot and McKenzie voted no – they don’t want enhanced police in Peekskill. The only reason Claxton didn’t vote no is because she wasn’t there – AGAIN. More on that later.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to the citizens of Peekskill. The Peekskill Democratic Party has been notoriously against the police for a long time now. Claxton has made sure of that. So, for the pattern to continue is just more of the same.

McKenzie wants to be mayor and has been desperately working on making herself increasingly more visible by being a disrespecting voice of opposition to Mayor Catalina in every meeting. Her past skeletons of ‘challenges’ with law enforcement will surely come out if she chooses to run for mayor in 2017 as has been reported. It looks like she needed to keep her ‘street cred’ with her supporters with such an ill-advised vote.

Talbot has become nothing more than a serial protester. Give her something to protest and a sign to hold and she will surely be there. InsidePEEK has been informed that she still takes her cues from former mayor Mary Foster and receives regular texts during meetings from her giving direction for comments and questions. When it came time to vote on the drone donation she paused at first – she knew it was the wrong thing to do but eventually voted against it. It is time she stops getting a pass from criticism because of her ignorance and simple nature. She was elected to make Peekskill a better place to live, not a less safe one.

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The backdrop to the meeting was an issue all too familiar in Peekskill – the absence of Drew Claxton. It came to the forefront during the work session prior to the council meeting over the scheduling of the ground breaking ceremony for the new central firehouse. Claxton wants the event planned around her schedule so she can TRY to be there. After a long and embarrassing discussion, it was decided the scheduled date and time for the event would not be changed.

To Mayor Catalina’s credit he was prepared for the discussion because in the few days leading up to the meeting there had been a series of angry emails from Claxton over the issue. The irony of the evening was almost comical – Claxton was absent from the meeting! InsidePEEK has been informed that this has been an issue during Claxton’s entire tenure. She misses many council meetings throughout the year – especially when controversial votes are to be taken. Seems she didn’t want to go on record voting against the drone but knew she couldn’t vote in favor of it (it would alienate her from many in her political party). So, she avoided the vote altogether – something she has done many times. During the work session McKenzie loyally attempted to continue the lie exposed months ago about Claxton’s health. Her health had nothing to do with her absence.

Catalina reeled off event after event that Claxton did not attend. As is her habit, she misses most community events – year after year. Catalina read from a list of important events from the previous year that council members are expected to attend – Claxton attended NONE of them. In fact, the Democratic members of the council missed most of them too. So why was the scheduling of the firehouse groundbreaking so important? They never cared about attending events before. Catalina never got a satisfactory answer, just snide remarks and disrespectful interruptions from McKenzie. It was another embarrassing moment for Peekskill.

At least one good thing happened on the 12th – the four remaining council members voted in favor of the drone. So, in spite of the Claxton-McKenzie-Talbot anti-police stance, the police department will be getting that drone.

ClaxtonGate – Break-in at Peekskill City Hall

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The Drew Claxton corruption case took a bizarre turn Thursday when a break-in of the Building Department offices was discovered in Peekskill City Hall.

Something else happened too:

The predictable game of semantics is also in full force by Claxton and Democratic Party operatives. InsidePEEK has received numerous tips that in a desperate attempt to change the narrative of the corruption story certain political forces are working overtime to squash any further reporting or investigations from continuing. Pressure is being put on the reporters and law enforcement agencies to downplay the facts and seriousness of the corruption.

Even the Westchester DA office’s comments are manipulated for political spin. The Journal News reported two days ago that the Westchester DA’s office was looking into the Claxton case. That is how all investigations take place. Once a possible case is brought to their attention the DA’s office begins the process of gathering the information and determining a course of action. That is how it is always done. Now, there are those who will use this process to their advantage by playing the semantics game claiming that no actual investigation is taking place. Of course there is, that is why the DA’s office said there was. It just happens to be in the early stages of it.

Back to the break-in:

According to City Hall staff, sometime during the overnight of Tuesday, January 19th and early morning of Wednesday the 20th the door leading into the Building Department was pried open by force. InsidePEEK is curious about the timing of this break-in, which occurred the very night when the Mayor requested during the Council Worksession that the documents be secured. In looking at the photos of the door it is obvious that some sort of heavy screwdriver or pry bar was used. Whoever did the break in also knew what they were doing.

The questions remain – who and why? What was taken … or added to the files? Whose files were the target? All questions that may never be fully answered.

InsidePEEK believes this may very well be related to the Claxton case but not necessarily to her specifically. Based on all reports the documentation that is fueling the Claxton corruption charges are mostly from sources not in City Hall. Although there are some Building Department records that show the absence of work done at Claxton’s Fremont Street building and questionable Bean Runner activity that has not been reported on yet, there may be other people involved. The documents related to Claxton are most likely already in the possession of the investigators. It is too late to alter them.

According to preliminary reports in the press there are a number of other individuals who may be involved in the same misuse of grant funds. Could this break in be related to one or more individuals nervous about their funds being exposed? Is it a City of Peekskill employee or an employee acting for a friend or family member? Anything is possible at this point.

The Peekskill Police Department is investigating and hopefully will come up with some of the answers. This brings up another important question – why wouldn’t the security cameras inside City Hall record anyone involved in this incident? Is there a way to enter this area of City Hall by avoiding being caught on camera? That would take intimate internal knowledge of the coverage areas of the City Hall cameras.

Many more questions than answers at this point. InsidePEEK will bring any further information to our readers as the investigation progresses.

Read the Journal News story on the break-in. Use the links below to read online or download the pdf version:

http://www.lohud.com/story/news/investigations/2016/01/21/break–reported-peekskill-building-department/79111420/

Journal News story pdf version

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