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Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Oorah on Tax Exemptions

Written By Editor on 7/22/14 | 7/22/14


After years of legal proceedings spanning two different municipal administrations, the New Jersey based Jewish organization Oorah has declared victory in what its attorney John Privitera called a, "landmark decision," on Friday evening over the Town of Jefferson.

It came in the hours following the New York State Supreme Court Third Appellate Division's unanimous ruling that the charitable entity was entitled to property tax exemptions at its facility located at the old Deer Run Ski Lodge near the Schoharie/Delaware county line on State Route 10. 

The not-for-profit summer resort/weekend camp getaway for underprivileged children praised the Supreme Court of Appeals in a press release issued over the weekend, quoting camp director Avraham Krawiec as stating, "we were confident in our decision to fight this injustice to the very end."

In response to the ruling, Town of Jefferson Supervisor Sean Jordan told the Schoharie News that, "The Town recognizes the recent decision rendered by the New York Supreme Court of Appeals, and will respect their decision as well as continue to pursue what is in the best interests of the Town, just as Oorah will understandably do what is in their best interests.

Oorah, which - in addition to its Jefferson site - has a camp located in the Town of Gilboa, has owned the property in question since 2010. The charitable organization has alleged animosity on the part of officials that have worked to deter them; namely, former Supervisor Dan Singletary, who was defeated by Mr. Jordan in the midst of the Fitzmaurice Report fallout last year. 

The Town of Jefferson has maintained that Oorah had failed to supply sufficient documentation before its Board of Assessment Review on multiple occasions, an argument that had been twice received favorably by Judge Eugene Devine of the Schoharie County Supreme Court in past cases. 

However, to the extent that previous decisions had found the religious organization to be not entitled to tax exemptions as written in federal law, the New York State Supreme Court of Appeals ruled Friday morning that they had been in, "error."

Mr. Jordan would later comment that both sides are "working amicably" to resolve other issues concerning building code statutes, and that, "The overall goal is to create an environment where the two sets of interests can coexist." 
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