KERHONKSON - Satmar leaders heaped praise upon the lieutenant governor and governor Tuesday during visits by Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul to Orthodox Jewish girls’ camps in Sullivan and Ulster counties.
During visits to Camp Bais Rochel in South Fallsburg and Camp Rav Tov in Kerhonkson, Hochul watched camper performances, listened to speeches given by current and former campers, and met with Kiryas Joel Mayor Abraham Wieder and other Satmar community leaders.
Hochul and her entourage were an hour late arriving to Camp Rav Tov. In the meantime, camp staff welcomed press presence and sought to show off their campers’ model behavior. Hochul’s Chief of Staff Jeffrey Pearlman and David Lobl, Special Assistant for Jewish Affairs to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, tried unsuccessfully to have a reporter leave the grounds of Camp Rav Tov until after Hochul visited with campers. Lobl called the campers’ presentation before Hochul, which included chants, songs and thankful speeches about Hochul’s and Cuomo’s support of the Jewish community, “off the record.”
Photos shared on Twitter by the Village of Kiryas Joel’s Twitter account showed the village’s mayor meeting with Hochul and her staff at one of the camps.
Why would Cuomo's staff want to keep the press away from the Hochul meeting with Kiryas Joel leaders?
Well, there is this:
Hochul's visit to the Satmar camps came less than a month after Cuomo vetoed two bills that Kiryas Joel leaders lobbied fiercely against as a threat to the community's expansion plans. Within days of those July 8 vetoes, a Kiryas Joel man who controls Satmar land holdings in Monroe and Woodbury - including some of the vacant tracts contained in a pending 507-acre annexation petition - deposited $250,000 in the governor's campaign account through five limited liability corporations, records show.
Perhaps Cuomo's special assistant for Jewish affairs and Hocul's chief of staff were afraid she wouldn't be able to have an open and frank discussion about how much more Cuomo needs to have donated into his campaign if the Kiryas Joel community wants more payback from him?