Thursday, May 19, 2011
NXIVM grilled by HALFMOON planning board over route 9 cult compound and a sad death in Maine
First let me comment on the death of little Camden Pierce Hughes whose lifeless body was found in Maine. Many of you who know Galen and Keith Raniere along with the self-proclaimed mother of Galen NXIVM whack job Kristen Keefe contacted me to express concern for Galen’s safety. As it has been shown the child has been identified and a woman, who Fox news identified as Julianne McCrery, reportedly told a Massachusetts state trooper that she killed her son and was contemplating killing herself.
As I have said countless times I have never met Raniere or Kristen Keefe and have only been told of their parenting skills by those close to them. But what I find chilling is that former and present associates of Raniere and Keefe where so quick to believe that he was capable of harming a child. Scary stuff indeed but I'm glad people are watching out for his well being. Keep that in mind Keith and you never know who might be watching
Read more: here
NXIVM was in the hot seat as cult “Consultant” Keith Burke explained that the 24 hour internet café was just a ruse to allow the owners of the café Sara and Clare Bronfman along with Pam Cafritz under the umbrella of NXV Trust, 457 New Karner Road, Colonie, NY to hold cult meeting and orgies in Halfmoon. Anyway here are the complete minutes of the meeting
11.029 OB Apropos, 1475 Route 9 – Change of Use Mr. Keith Burke, representing the owner of Apropos, stated the following: I am here tonight representing the owners of Apropos. I have submitted the additional requested information from our last meeting. I’m hoping that that addressed the questions that you had about the activities. Mr. Watts stated the following: We have people here in the audience tonight who are not privy to this information. So, you are making a presentation for a change of use for your facility so why don’t you tell us what your proposed uses are going to be. Mr. Burke stated the following: The uses are at the desire of the owners, which is Claire Bronfman, her sister Sara Bronfman and Pam Cafritz. They originally intended to open up the facility as an Internet Café but unfortunately that has not prevailed. At the discretion of the owners, for individuals that would like to go into the facility and have a birthday party, a social evening and as I have said in my note to you, there are events that are associated with seasonal times such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s etc. Nothing would be scheduled in the facility other than the owners who would typically use it once a month themselves to have a business meeting, which is typically on a Sunday afternoon or early evening. Other than that, it is just a facility that is used at the discretion of the owners and it would be a private use. Mr. Watts stated the prior use that you were approved for was as an Internet Café and this is a new use this way. So, if you wanted to go back to being a 24-hour Internet Café, you would come back before this Board with a new application. Mr. Burke stated yes sir. Mr. Higgins stated the following: I have been at all of these meetings and this is the first I’ve heard the other 2 names as far as owners. Is this owned by a corporation or is the deed in all 3 names? Mr. Burke stated the following: From my understanding, the deed is in all 3 names. I think it is owned by a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC). Mr. Higgins asked and are all 3 members listed as members of the LLC? Mr. Burke stated yes sir. Mr. Watts stated the application that we have here indicates the property owner is NXV Trust, 457 New Karner Road, Colonie, NY. Mr. Burke stated right. Mr. Higgins asked so they’re the members of the trust, the trustees of the trust and the beneficiaries of the trust. Mr. Burke stated I don’t know all those answers for you and I believe that they’re owners and beneficiaries of the trust. Mrs. Murphy asked Mr. Williams if the Planning Department had an authorization showing that these people have the authority to ask for this use. Mr. Williams stated yes it is in the file and it was signed by Claire Bronfman. Mrs. Murphy stated so you do have the owner authorization. Mr. Watts stated we have the owner authorization as Village Hall LLC (Apropos) and it authorizes Keith Burke to bring this application before us and it was signed by Claire Bronfman. Mr. Burke stated right. Mr. Ouimet asked so, wouldn’t that be the applicant; Village Hall LLC? Mrs. Murphy stated and that is who is here. Mr. Ouimet stated right and that with the change of use 04/11/2011 Planning Board Meeting Minutes 13 request as titled. Mrs. Murphy stated yes. Mr. Watts stated the following: Yes, you have the business; the project name and then you have the property owner. I’m not an expert in corporate law so you may have the business operated by one entity and the property owned by a separate entity, which I believe is what we probably have here. Mrs. Murphy stated the following: Which is fine. I just wanted to make sure that they had the owner authorization form. Mr. Berkowitz asked what occurs at a typical business meeting? Mr. Burke stated the following: I don’t attend them and it’s not my business. It’s between Claire, her sister Sara and Pam Cafritz. I can’t answer your question in precise terms. Mr. Berkowitz asked would it only be the 3 of them in a business meeting or would there be more people at a business meeting? Mr. Burke stated it would not be a large meeting; it would be a small gathering. Mr. Berkowitz asked would that be 90 people or 5 to 10 people? Mr. Burke stated no, it would be about a half of dozen people to as many 10 people. Mr. Nadeau stated the following: What type of business are they in? Is it real estate? Mr. Burke stated they do have other properties that they won collectively, so they could be discussing that. Mr. Nadeau stated that’s what I’m saying; is it a real estate business? Mr. Burke stated I’m probably really not the person to answer that for you. Mr. Nadeau asked but aren’t you representing them? Mr. Burke stated the following: If they would be talking about the Apropos facility of maybe an upcoming event and somebody wanted to use it, how are you going to use it and how are they going to set it up. I could give you something in that order. Mr. Nadeau stated you’re representing them but you don’t what type of business they are? Mr. Burke stated I’m representing them for the application and the events that I know they take place at their authorization with the facility. Mr. Nadeau stated I’m confused. Mr. Watts stated the following: In the application that was submitted and it’s in the file, the narrative stated “as for the number of people that attend these events, that can range from as little as 5 to a maximum of 90+. The facility has a permitted parking space for 91 vehicles and no event will exceed the parking capacity and all attending will park in the allotted space”. So, is there going to be 90 people; at one point you gave us higher numbers and then you gave us lower numbers? So, as long as the parking isn’t spilling out onto Route 9. Mr. Nadeau stated in the application there’s nothing there that says it’s a birthday cake company or a real estate company. Mr. Watts stated the narrative stated that there are social events such as Sunday brunches, birthday parties, and evening dinners. Mr. Nadeau stated typically when we have an applicant, they tell us what their type of business is and I’m a little confused, as we don’t know what it is. Mr. Roberts stated the following: This is the second time this poor guy is going through this with us and I feel that he is confused. How come the owners aren’t here to answer our questions? I think that would clear up everything. Mrs. Murphy stated the following: I don’t think you’re telling me that they’re operating a business from this site. They are doing professional business meetings and there is no business being run from this site. Mr. Burke stated correct, there is no business being run at this location. Mrs. Murphy asked would there be any outside storage? Mr. Burke stated no. Mrs. Murphy asked would there be any manufacturing? Mr. Burke stated no. Mrs. Murphy asked would there be any light industrial work being done? Mr. Burke stated no, nothing of that nature at all. Mr. Berkowitz asked is their business a business meeting? Mr. Burke stated like I said, the owners will have a meeting typically once a month there. Mr. Roberts asked about what? Mrs. Murphy stated the following: We don’t care what their meetings are about. It is a conference room that they are using for meetings. We care about how many people are going to be there and we care that it meets the fire code. Mr. Roberts asked would those meetings be open to the public? Mrs. Murphy stated the following: Mr. Burke is saying no. It’s a private meeting for a business. Most people pay money for that type of thing but Mr. Burke is saying that they are going to offer it for free. The business is the four walls that they allow people to use for birthday parties and for meetings. I guess the word “business” is what’s throwing us off; it’s a meeting hall. Mr. Burke stated that is correct. Mr. Roberts stated so I guess it would be social gatherings. Mr. Burke stated correct. Mr. Ouimet stated but they’re not in the business of renting this “hall” for any particular 04/11/2011 Planning Board Meeting Minutes 14 purpose; be it birthday parties, Thanksgiving Dinner, Easter Dinner, a business meeting or whatever? Mr. Burke stated no. Mr. Ouimet stated so; they are not in the business of renting the space either for compensation or for gratis? Mr. Burke stated the following: That is correct. They’re not in the business of renting the facility. Mr. Higgins asked approximately, what would be the hours of operation? Mr. Burke stated when I’ve attended, they would usually start around 7:00 to 8:00 pm and it would be over by the midnight range. Mr. Watts stated the application stated that you would be open 24 hours a day, which is what we previously approved with the Internet Café. Mr. Higgins asked are you going to be open 24 hours a day? Mr. Burke stated when I’ve been there, the usually have a dinner and a social that starts at 7:00 pm and it’s usually over by midnight. Mrs. Murphy asked is that a business social? Mr. Burke stated no, it’s a private event. Mrs. Murphy stated the following: They would be meeting the fire code, they are meeting the parking regulations, they’re not having outside storage and nothing that he is proposing is a use that is not allowed in that area. You don’t normally ask someone what the content of the business is? Mr. Roberts stated but we do ask what their business is. Mr. Nadeau further stated every applicant that comes in I ask what type of business they would be running. Mrs. Murphy stated they would be running a meeting hall. Mr. Ouimet stated but they’re not. Mrs. Murphy stated the following: We don’t care if the business is for profit or not. As long as they’re in compliance with your code, which having meetings, having private gatherings, etc. it fits in your code and they meet your parking requirements. The code now has enough to determine the type of structure necessary to be in compliance with Building Code. They’re not serving alcohol, they’re not preparing food, and they’re having the food catered so the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) is going to have separate rules for them. There is adequate sewer, there is water on-site and your obligations have been meet. We don’t need to know exactly what it is they’re meeting about. Mr. Roberts asked Mrs. Murphy if she feels the Board has heard enough to act on this proposal. Mrs. Murphy stated the following: When you have a Internet Café, they were there for the internet but you don’t know what they were doing in meetings in the back because that didn’t matter. As long as you knew they were going to have meetings in the back. Now the meetings are in the front. Mr. Roberts asked would the kitchen be used for a source of catering? Mr. Burke stated yes, the kitchen would be used if a caterer came in and used the kitchen but it is not used by people who are not in the business of catering. Mr. Higgins stated so the preparation of food would be off-site, the caterer would bring it in and then just serve it out of the kitchen. Mr. Burke stated that is correct. Mrs. Murphy stated yes, that what the allegation says. Mr. Ouimet asked so if we were to approve this application, we would approve merely the fact that they can use this space for what they’ve come to us to say they want to use it for? Mrs. Murphy stated right and there are no outside activities permitted. Mr. Ouimet stated and we’re not approving the use of the kitchen? Mrs. Murphy stated the following: Unless there is a caterer. The caterer was mentioned in the application and the NYSDOH has been there and there is a NYSDOH approval. Mr. Ouimet stated the following: Okay, the NYSDOH has been there and they got an approval to run a vegetarian restaurant and an Internet Café. Now they have withdrawn that and they’re now saying that they are not running an Internet Café and we are not running a vegetarian restaurant. They want to use the structure to hold gatherings. So, are we being asked to approve the whole ball of wax or just the gatherings? Mrs. Murphy stated just the gatherings. Mr. Ouimet stated so in essence we’re not approving the sale of food, we’re not approving an Internet Café and we’re not approving a 24-hour open operation. Mr. Nadeau stated we would be approving the 24-hour operation. Mrs. Murphy stated they could have meetings until 3:00 am in the morning if they want. Mrs. Murphy stated they cannot have outside gatherings, they can’t sell alcohol, they cannot store things outside and they are not selling food. Mr. Roberts stated so; they have fulfilled their obligations? Mrs. Murphy stated the following: I can’t answer that for you. You, as a Board, have to determine whether or not you are comfortable with this proposal. Mr. Watts stated with our review of this, we are fulfilling our obligation as the Town of Halfmoon Planning Board when we approve or disapprove 04/11/2011 Planning Board Meeting Minutes 15 this application. Mr. Berkowitz stated the following: Could they have activities at this location that were bought or paid for at another site? For instances, their main office is located on New Karner Road; so if somebody pays for something at New Karner Road, could they transfer that up to Apropos? Mrs. Murphy stated as long as they’re underneath the 90 maximum attendees and they’re not cooking for them. Mr. Ouimet asked so, are we saying that whatever we approve will have the maximum occupancy of 90? Mrs. Murphy stated yes, that is in their application. Mr. Ouimet stated they have said 90+. Mrs. Murphy stated they have to give a firm figure. Mr. Burke stated I’m not sure what the fire code is for that facility but I think it is in access of 90+. Mr. Roberts stated you have to give us a number. Mr. Burke stated there would not be an excess of 90 people. Mr. Watts stated the following: Well, it could be whatever you want but our fire code people would go to the site and based on the size of the building and they can tell you what the maximum load is. We look at that at any facility and that is part of our fire inspection. Mr. Ouimet stated so, if it’s going to be more than 90 and it has parking for parking for 91 vehicles, how much can it be and when does it exceed the allowed parking area? Mr. Watts asked on what basis did we calculate the parking? Mr. Williams stated the fire code is 1 person per every 15 SF, so it would probably be up in the hundreds. Mr. Ouimet asked how many parking spaces do they have. Mr. Berkowitz stated they could have 5 spaces for 5 buses and they could have 500 people in there. Mr. Williams stated if they have 91 parking spaces, then you are assuming that all 91 people that have come there bring their own vehicles. Mr. Ouimet stated the following: The site has 91 parking spaces, so they can’t park any more than 91 cars there. We have no idea how many employees or how many owners representatives will be there. How many people would be serving or monitoring whatever meeting or function or party or catering function or whatever is going on. So, we don’t know how many of those spaces would be dedicated to staff. Consequently, how many spaces are going to be designated to other people who don’t normally associate with staff? It’s kind of like a cloud. Mrs. Murphy stated the following: If the Board wants to pick a number based on the parking, then that is a reasonable process for you to go through. Because you can articulate a reason as to why you’re limiting the number based on the parking. For instances, the Elk’s have 800 different organizations come in there and have meetings. You don’t ask them what organizations are coming, how many people they’re going to have and what they’re going to serve. You don’t do that so, I don’t see why this would be any different. I can see saying 90 is your limit because you have 91 parking spaces. You can say 85 is your limit because of the 91 parking spaces. Mr. Roberts stated Mr. Burke just said 90. Mr. Ouimet stated I don’t want to suggest an artificial limit because the applicant is coming to us saying that this is what they want to use their business for. Mr. Higgins asked what was the occupancy when we had it approved for the Internet Café? Mrs. Murphy stated but that didn’t happen. Mr. Higgins asked who puts up the occupancy signs saying that this can be occupied by a certain number of people? Mr. Watts stated the following: Our Code Enforcement Officers do that. When we had Apropos, we had 5 full-time employees and 4 part-time employees. Code Enforcement goes to the site and they look at the restrooms and the facility and they make sure that everything is in compliance. Mr. Higgins asked so, after this is approved by this Board, would the Code Enforcement people go to the site and would they put up the maximum occupancy sign on the wall? Mrs. Murphy stated in this particular application, it would make sense. Mr. Watts stated the following: If we give approval to this I would say, that we give the approval and indicate in the approval process that should we have issues where they exceed the parking and we have parking issues, that the Planning Board has the authority to re-visit the maximum capacity of this building. If I see or we get complaints that there were cars out on Route 9 or they are parked over in Crescent Commons or wherever, I’m sure we’ll hear from people. I would be willing to revisit the issue as Code Enforcement and Planning. Mr. Roberts stated like I said, a few minutes ago Mr. Burke said 90, so why don’t we stay with the 90 and put a parking contingency in there as well. Mr. Watts stated that’s fine. 04/11/2011 Planning Board Meeting Minutes 16 Mr. Roberts made a motion to approve the change of use application for Apropos with a condition on no outside storage or activities, a maximum of 90 attendees at any one event and the Planning Board retains the right to to re-visit the site/use if parking ever becomes an issue.