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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A Peek at the 2017 Peekskill Local Election… and Water Meters

Water Meters

The weather may be saying otherwise, but Spring has come to Peekskill and in an election year for local offices that means politics becomes a major focus. This will be the first local election since we launched InsidePEEK so we are looking forward to bringing the tidbits and facts not covered by the media – and we will do so right up until Election Day.

Let’s begin by looking at the local offices up for election in 2017. On the Republican side, Mayor Catalina is in his second 2-year term and has already announced he is running for a third. Councilmen Joe Torres and Vincent “Boo” Vesce are completing their first 4-year terms. So far, Torres has expressed he is running for re-election while Vesce has remained non-committal on his plans. Drew Claxton is the only Democrat whose term is ending this year and she has also remained non-committal on her plans but we have received numerous messages that she will not be seeking re-election. This is significant since that would mean that the entire Democratic slate would consist of new candidates. We use the word ‘new’ very loosely, as you will soon understand.

Through multiple sources InsidePEEK has learned that the Peekskill Democrats are having a tough time finding candidates. It seems their illegal and unethical ways have made many people wary of getting involved. That leaves them with having to look back at past failed candidates and office holders.

Let’s look at what we have discovered so far:

Conventional political wisdom is to have a sitting council person (whose term is not up for election) to run for mayor. That way, if they lose, they don’t lose their council seat – we have been told it is considered “a safe seat.” That leaves the Dems three choices for a mayoral candidate; McKenzie, Rainey or Talbot – all bad candidates for various reasons. Early on, the choice by both the party and herself was McKenzie but she has realized too many unethical moves and with the probability of sensitive information becoming public during a campaign, she has backed out. Because of Talbot’s cluelessness and lack of knowledge of everyday issues, the party never considered her. For example, a recent council meeting was cancelled because she was going to have to preside over it due to Claxton and Catalina’s absence. The Democrats were petrified she would screw things up so they had the meeting cancelled. Safe politics for them, bad government for Peekskill citizens.

That leaves only one option – Andre Noodle Noo Rainey. It looks like he will be the Democratic Party nominee for mayor. Be prepared to see and hear a lot from him soon. He spends most of his time in the Kiley Center with children but sooner or later he will have to address adult issues if he wants to run for mayor. He is also going to have to answer for his questionable actions. A number of readers have reached out to us claiming they will be coming forward with information, photos and even legal documents (such as Restraining Orders) if he decides to run. InsidePEEK will bring any and all credible and factual evidence forward at the appropriate time.

Well, if the prospects for mayor aren’t bad enough for the Peekskill Democrats just look at who will be running this year for common council! At the top of the list is former failed council member Marybeth McGowan. Multiple sources have made it clear she is running and she has been showing up to meetings and events for the last month or two as she attempts to get herself known to the public again. She lost her election four years ago and wants revenge. Plus, as with most of the Democrats in office, she needs her position back to help circumvent the city laws and codes for her trolley business. She was able to pull some strings as a councilwoman to get a new home for herself and the trolley but she needs more. So, being in office will give her the leverage to get the trolley hired for more city-related events. More on that soon.

The Dems are also looking to rehash another failed former council member – Andy Torres. They feel, as with McGowan, that Andy was caught up in the anti-Mary Foster wave four years ago. They need a Latino candidate and like that Andy doesn’t ask questions and just votes the way they tell him to. Like McGowan, he will have to defend the votes he took in the past that devastated the financial stability of the city and wasted $11 million in reserves.

Let’s also look at the latest debacle caused by the all-Democratic Foster Administration (which includes Claxton, McGowan and Andy Torres) – THE NEW WATER METERS!

In their infinite wisdom, the Foster Administration decided to make every homeowner replace their water meters with new technology. Fair enough, but they failed to do the research required to do it properly to the BENEFIT of the homeowner instead of to their DETRIMENT. Now, as the Foster-Claxton-McGowan-McKenzie-Torres plan is being implemented, homeowner’s water bills are blowing up into the thousands of dollars! Why? Because while replacing existing meters the city is discovering that the remote electronic read-out connected to the meter is inaccurate. They claim the interior meter reads correctly but the attached remote outdoor meter (the one the city reads to determine billing) is inaccurate. Many if not most of these meters (which were installed by the city) have been in place for decades. The Democrats solution? Make every homeowner pay the difference! That’s right – go back as many years as possible to calculate the discrepancy and unfairly bill the homeowner – which in some cases runs into the thousands of dollars! They are also making condo owners pay for the meter itself!

Mayor Catalina and the two Republican Councilman, Joe Torres and Vincent Vesce think it is unfair and unacceptable to bill homeowners for a mistake made by the city – especially to go back decades. It is not the homeowners fault that the city installed supposedly inaccurate remote meters. Catalina, Joe Torres and Vesce are demanding that the council vote to prevent the unfair back-billing and move forward with the new meters with more accurate readings for the future. InsidePEEK agrees with this approach and urges the Democratic Council members to support Catalina’s proposal.

The water meter issue is just one of many failed and unvetted ideas that the Democratic Council Majority have put in place over their years in power. It is hard to believe that bringing back the same failed candidates will help them in the election. They already have a huge challenge proposing Peekskill have a Mayor Noodle.

Is it possible they even bring back Mary Foster? We have been told she can be seen daily in every coffee house from Croton to the new Kurzhal’s in Peekskill. She makes the rounds, with her usual coffee cup in hand, going as unrecognized by the average resident as she was while in office. Nah, they couldn’t be THAT desperate.

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.

Claxton Thinks She Can Ignore The Law

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Since when does the guilty party in a theft get to determine their own method of making restitution and punishment – or lack thereof? Is a bank robber who gets caught allowed to just give the money back and go on their merry way? Of course not. Does someone who gets caught cheating on their taxes get to just pay back the money without any penalty or any criminal charges? No way.

Well, that is what Drew Claxton and The Preservation Company (TPC) want you to believe they can do after getting caught knowingly distributing and accepting funds illegally. They want everyone to think since they admitted to the wrongdoing and offered to pay back the ill gotten funds that all will be forgiven and law enforcement will say thank you and leave them alone. Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way.

Peekskill Mayor Frank Catalina, an attorney, knows that something is wrong with this picture too. To his credit he first reached out to The Preservation Company to work out a path forward for all involved. Instead, he was greeted with political attacks and insults from The Preservation Company, Drew Claxton and other individuals connected with the Peekskill Democratic Party. Catalina correctly attempted to protect the City of Peekskill and collect as much information as possible to get a clear picture of what had occurred and if there was any exposure to the City.

Now, The Preservation Company and Claxton want everyone to think that just by paying back the NYS agency originally providing the grants and then Claxton reimbursing TPC will make everything go away. These are funds that were disbursed 8 years ago! In a recent press release addressing this issue, Mayor Catalina points out that there are actually NYS laws that must be followed under these types of cases. Not only must the illegal grant funds be repaid but interest must also be paid – 8 years’ worth.

InsidePEEK joins Mayor Catalina in asking about the terms on Claxton’s repayment of the funds. Why would Claxton pay TPC instead of directly to the State? Is it a one-time payment or over a period of time? How long? By paying TPC directly is Claxton now attempting to avoid paying interest? Did the TPC payment made to the State agency include interest? TPC President Alan Steiner may be a Putnam County Judge but he is not the judge on this case. Steiner, TPC and Claxton are obviously trying to get out in front of all the investigations underway and also counter the seemingly daily bad press and revelations of new wrongdoing. It won’t work.

Catalina reminds everybody that several investigations are currently underway. We know that the Westchester District Attorney’s Office is conducting a thorough investigation. The NY State Attorney General’s Office is conducting an investigation into the agency involved in the grant and may also be looking into TPC and their parent company Hudson River Healthcare (HRHC). They may also be looking into Claxton. Since there is extensive fraud involved the US Attorney may also be investigating. The NYS Comptroller’s Office announced this week they will be conducting intensive audits throughout the agencies involved in distributing grant funds.

All these investigations take time – many months at least. The Claxton corruption is just the beginning. It is a very tangled web indeed. The Journal News recently reported that Peekskill Democratic District Leader Lynne Nayman, a former TPC employee was a recipient of her own grant and TPC Director Jeannette Phillips’ daughter, also an employee of TPC, received a grant improperly. Emma McKinney, HRHC’s own ‘Credentialing Supervisor’ received two grants and stated to the Journal News recently, “we are all under the same umbrella.” That is some big umbrella – HRHC, TPC and the Peekskill Democratic Party. There are many more still to be named. More grants, more violation of the rules and more embarrassment for the City of Peekskill.

All this while we wait for the results of the recent lawsuit brought by a private citizen against the Democratic Council Majority for their illegal meeting and budget vote in December. Then there is the ongoing investigation of Councilwoman Vivian McKenzie for illegally sharing a confidential email containing privileged employee information with her political mentor Mike Morey (who then immediately shared it with the press).

These issues won’t be settled anytime soon. With more information yet to be exposed to the public and investigations with no end in sight, the citizens of Peekskill will unfortunately have to live with the microscope on their community. All the more reason Claxton should step down immediately. She should put the community first, not herself.

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