I have tried to maintain an “arms length” between my secular writings and opinions and those of the Religion I am a major part of. That is why my wordpress and eblogger accounts do not have my name but nicknames. Although my secular writings do not violate the IRS standards, I have been cyber-stalked for at least four years by an Attorney named Daniel Vincelette who apparently believes that I am not entitled to free speech and operates under the delusion that the Constitution does not apply to either myself or him.
Daniel Vincelette is a religious bigot representing a Town that has an open history of bigotry towards minority religions. He makes his living attacking religious groups and non-profits engaged in charitable works. He is the worst sort of lawyer, the type who argues directly against the law in the apparent hope no one will check his legal citations. He has the ethical standards of a cobra and in fighting our legally mandated property tax exemption he has singled me out as his target. None of the other priestesses in our tradition have be subjected to his “investigations” despite that fact we all have equal standing in our tradition because we are horizontally organized. He tracked down this blog, my other, very personal “Telling My Stories” blog and the personal webpage I have maintained as a sub-domain on our primary domain for over a decade, which I own personally and donated the space to our Religion. He scours every word I write on the internet hoping to find anything to discredit me personally and has introduced parts of all my blogs and personal page as “evidence” on several occasions. This has had a very chilling effect on what I write, how much of my own stories I am willing to tell because this unethical individual has made this very very personal.
He doesn’t have a case and he knows it so he has attempted to make this about me rather than the facts of the case in current litigation. He just keeps throwing mud hoping against hope no one will notice that none of it is relevant and something might stick by way of continued character assassination. Apparently he learned this from TGs online. He has repeatedly attacked my clergy credentials despite having multiple copies of my certificate of recognition by the State of Ohio. He also totally ignores the fact that under New York Law, my “credentials” are solid automatically by virtue of being the founder of our movement! He continually questions my educational background and constantly tries to hold us to “Christian” standards in our 501(c)(3) standings knowing that we meet every standard and for a year this current case has been in litigation, he and his associates have stonewalled giving any actual reason for our continued denial of what is mandated by New York law. But during the course of this stonewalling they have let slip the actual reasons, pure mysogyny and bigotry and have done so on the record.
All of this has a transgender element to it.
New York Tax Law, Article 4, Title 2 states the following:
§ 420-a. Nonprofit organizations; mandatory class. 1. (a) Real
property owned by a corporation or association organized or conducted exclusively for religious, charitable, hospital, educational, or moral or mental improvement of men, women or children purposes, or for two or more such purposes, and used exclusively for carrying out thereupon one or more of such purposes either by the owning corporation or association or by another such corporation or association as hereinafter provided shall be exempt from taxation as provided in this section.
Please note this is inclusive rather than exclusive on only one of the mandated exempt classes. Very specifically so as in “or two or more such purposes” but Vincelette maintains that our housing women in need somehow violates the “exclusive religious use”. For the first three years this has been the basis of his “legal opinions” which clearly show as evidence he is aware of the charitable housing use of the property for years prior to our incorporation and the signing over of the property to the Religious corporation! Apparently he thinks no one knows he’s lying about the law or can look it up. He is obsessed with the fact that we housed newly transitioned transsexual women in need under the apparent delusion that this is not charitable work. He actually provided proof we were doing this charitable work from the day we first acquired the property to “prove” we are not engaged in exclusive religious activities!
In 2009 the Town changed tactics and claims, once again contrary to the law, that we failed to apply for building permits for work that did not require them and failed to apply for a “change of use”, the requirement that was not part of the building and zoning code of our Town. This was accompanied with the statement that a 130+ plus year old building would be required to be brought up “fully to code” which, given the nature of the code and the construction of the buildings, nothing more than an open attempt to place us in a position that a sound historic building be condemned and thus denying us use and forcing us to move. This just happens to be in direct violation of a Federal law, The Religious Land Use and Institutionalize Persons Act of 2000 which was enacted to prevent exactly this sort of abuse by municipalities of zoning codes.
So, we have two equally illegal reasons given for denial of exemption, both openly contrary to law. In court last fall Vincelette’s associate handling the case at the time denied, on the record, the existence of the Town Assessor’s memo regarding the zoning issues despite it having been introduced twice into the record before that. She then revealed the actual reason, again on the record. Mind you, she was so sharp she did not know which county Supreme Court she was in or which Town she was representing at the opening of this hearing.
During the Dec. 2 hearing, Pulver (the Judge hearing the case)asked Smith (acting attorney for the Town of Catskill) for the precise arrears amount owed by the Maetreum, to which she responded that “the issue we are looking at isn’t so much the dollars and cents of exactly what the taxes are, which I don’t have off the top of my head, the issue is opening the floodgates. Once you relax the requirements, and if you stretch them too far, then you’re going to have just a multitude of organizations who under the spirit of the law go —”
At that moment, the official court transcript shows Smith was interrupted by Pulver, who again asked how much the amount of taxes owed was. Smith said she didn’t know and did not further qualify her statement.
The issue was “opening the floodgates”….in other words recognition of a Federally registered 501 (c)(3), New York Religious Law incorporated minority religion. The other word for this is religious bigotry towards a non Judeo-Christian religious organization to send a message to any other minority religious group they would fight against their rights to the death if they tried to claim their rights under law. Interestingly enough, this actually would qualify as an act of terrorism under the Patriot Act. It also violates at least three other Federal criminal laws directly.
Any doubt this is what is going on was totally erased when I had an informal discussion with the new “Code Enforcement” officer for the Town who told me, in no uncertain terms in front of two witnesses, one a reporter, that we were targeted because we didn’t “keep our heads down” as a group “that was different”. He then went on to explain that he would find something, anything and we had “a big yellow flashing light over our property” for having the nerve to seek justice under the law.
Print this out Vincelette and place it on the record. At this point we have an additional iron clad Federal Religious Discrimination suit against you and Catskill and we will pursue it if need be.
Vincelette’s newest strategy is to “outspend” us knowing we have limited funds because he is well aware he has no defense. You can help us by paypaling a donation, fully tax deductible, to firstname.lastname@example.org
In the recent past Catskill allowed a Pagan bookstore owned by a lesbian couple to be driven out by local Baptists and a minority Christian group that had owned property directly across the street from us to be driven out as well with false accusations of child labour law violations. This spring they rolled over and allowed Wal-Mart to bully them into millions in property tax exemptions in addition to the sweetheart deal they got in the first place. Smith spoke the truth. This has nothing to do with the money (except to us) and everything to do with an agenda of open bigotry.
Shame on you Catskill, the rest of us should boycott everything inside your borders. And Daniel, in the ancient world we Cybelines were known not only as physical and spiritual healers and seers but also for the ability to curse. We are not Christians, remember? I’ve danced with the Witch of the Catskills who protects these mountains from those like yourself….fair warning. Look up the legend.
footnote: a little preliminary number crunching would indicate our annual exemption would average each household in Catskill about 1.36 dollars a year, the legal bill for denying us the exemption stands currently at around 4.64 dollars per average and the Wal-Mart give away raised property taxes an average of 356 dollars per year. We will gladly provide every property owner in the Town of Catskill a quality cup of coffee at our Cafe if they feel cheated. From public figures given at Town Meetings, the entire budget for fighting challenges such as ours has been spent to defeat our exemption this year.