Catskill New York



In the Decision rendered by Judge Platkin of Albany Supreme Court of New York against the Maetreum of Cybele some absolutely astounding logic was used in the ruling.

Apparently, and actually against established caselaw, providing “affordable housing” for women who probably otherwise be homeless or escaping abusive living situations is not charitable.  Let’s look at that because in direct sworn testimony no fewer than three priestesses of the Maetreum told the court, verified by the introduction of our “housing contract” into evidence, that we do not charge individuals we house on an emergency basis at all and never ask them for money. Now that’s “affordable” isn’t it?  Further, that anyone not housed on an emergency basis has signed an agreement stating their reason for living at the Maetreum is spiritual seeking in nature and that they have discussed those motives with one of the priestesses.    In other words, clearly charitable works aren’t charity… that a written statement of spiritual intent is not religious.

Another point was that only a minimal part of the property is “dedicated exclusively to religious services”.   Part is used to further the exempt activities of charitable housing of women in need, part is used to further educational work, specifically towards the Herstory of women and furtherance of the rights of women which happens to be part of our religious mission and also part of the exempt uses of a property under the section of New York law dealing with religious property tax exemption.  And actually, once again in both sworn uncontested testimony during the trial, it was made clear that other than the rooms specifically used as bedrooms, the entire property is used in furtherance of our religious mission at all times.

Although no legal standard in New York, as far as my own research bears out, has ever been established by law or court decision as to how many members of a congregation are required to be a “legitimate” religion serving a legitimate “public benefit” apparently we do not have enough congregants.  Once again in both sworn testimony and affidavits considered part of the evidence, it was established that our website receives more than 5 thousand hits each month, more than (at the time of the trial) 250 people following our postings on Facebook and hundreds of people have attended services at the Maetreum over the years, including a number of local women, women and men from all over the US, women from Europe, Australia and Canada, this somehow does not meet a standard that actually does not exist in law.  Not to mention our New and Full moon celebrations average more participants than the Episcopal church not 300 yards from our property at their weekly services.  They are exempt, we’re not worthy

The next point is astonishing in it’s alleged internal logic.  That our services are somehow “irregualar” in formal ritual and that because “prayer, meditation or spiritual activities (are) common in many homes” this somehow translates to our doing so “falls short of demonstrating that the property’s actual use is in the furtherance of religion”.  Read that one again…..it is amazing in it’s logic.  Engaging in regular prayer, meditation AND spiritual activities are not practising religion?  Because some secular households do so?  This one alone rips the veil off of what is going on here.  Nothing we do would be considered religious enough by this court, nothing at all when regular evening services are not practising religion.  By the way, as to the irregular nature of our rituals, once again in both sworn direct testimony and evidence provided without being contested, the court was aware we hold regular, open to the public and announced services every single new and full moon as well as the four equinoxes and solstices. We have never skipped a single new or full moon in all the years we have been incorporated.  That means roughly every two weeks there is a formal, open to the public ritual on the property in addition to our regular weekend activities virtually every weekend dedicated to some part of our religious mission.  Our schedule of our “irregular” services is promoted on Facebook, normally on the large “church” style sign at the front of the property AND published on our website.

Also astounding in the decision was the claim of “the absence of comprehensive, on site religious duties for the priestesses”  Our published organizational model which was introduced as evidence in direct form and as part of a book I wrote clearly outlines the duties of our priestesses even down to conflict resolution within the household, not to mention the myriad other duties spelled out… in detail.  Further, in claiming a legal precedence we cited does not apply, the judge had to rule my own direct testimony was somehow suspect when it was not even challenged on cross examination!  When the amount of personal time I spend was exactly the same as the Rabbi in that case, especially when you factor in time spent care-taking the property which has also been ruled by prior courts as part of exempt work.

The last point is simply unbelievable in it’s leaps of illogic.  Because prior to the Maetreum acquiring the property, the group that donated the property to the Maetreum had planned to use it for the charitable purpose of providing housing for women (and transsexual women as well) in need and because I alone of the original purchasers of the property am also a priestess (with exactly zero remaining personal financial interest due to the law)  that charitable use is somehow not only not charitable but also suspect!  We actually were not allowed to address any use of the property outside the years 2009 through 2011 by the judge and he uses what the property was used for BEFORE it belonged to the Maetreum of Cybele, a legally incorporated entity separate from the prior owners, to rule against us!

Charity is not charity, prayer, meditation and spiritual activities are not religious, duties of clergy clearly spelled out are not spelled out, activities every week and formal ones every two weeks are “irregular”, some mythical standard of number of regular congregants was not met.  We are a “legitimate” religion but actually exist to wrangle a tax exemption (not legitimate)  I am personally a liar with no actual evidence provided to justify saying that.  This is the basis of the decision when you parse the actual language beyond the wild and totally unsupported opinions of Dan Vincellete, attorney for Catskill in his closing alleged argument submitting in writing so as to avoid reaction.  Arguments already found invalid, not accurate, not based on actual law, completely unsubstantiated and probably discriminatory by another Judge.  I leave the motives behind this decision up to the speculation of my gentle readership.

BTW, the Goddess is pissed off.  It’s not nice (or wise) to fool (with) Mother Nature you know.


Ops Danny Boy, One Too Many “Motions to Dismiss”

It is no secret that I am associated with the Maetreum of Cybele and it’s legal case against the Town of Catskill for discrimination regarding our property tax exemption.  I have also tried hard to keep my actual name off this blog because the Town Attorney is a slimeball who has repeatedly attempted to use any and every thing I ever wrote on the internet to discredit me.  Several transvestite activists have deliberately linked my actual name to my opinion pieces to aid him in this.  Slimeballs of a feather flocking together.

Well ole Danny Vincelette filed one too many motions to dismiss and totally pissed off the Judge in the case with his clearly bullshit and illogical and downright dishonest claims.  In a seventeen page decision on his last motion and our counter motion, the Judge systematically ruled on each and every rationale to deny our exemption……and repeated over and over we were clearly discriminated against!  He did not grant our motion for summery judgment because, as he said last week in a hearing before this decision was written, he wants us to finally have our day in court.  He knows we will decimate Danny boy in court.  I believe he also wants this to finally be a decided court case establishing once and for all that religious discrimination by local governments is a no go, at least in New York.  Not to mention leave zero legitimate reason to appeal.

We have to file for our 2011 property tax exemption by Monday.  This time we can cite settled law countering all the bullshit reasons they have used in the past.  If we are denied this time, we will go both straight to the New York Attorney General’s office, where we have a religious discrimination complaint on hold, and file a Federal law suit in Federal court as well as criminal complaints with the US Attorney General’s office under three separate federal criminal laws.

They can no longer use BS zoning and building code reasons.  They can no longer claim our Phrygianum is “just a residence”  They can no longer attack our legitimacy as a religion.  The judge ruled that the Town of Catskill has stipulated we are legitimate and use our property for charitable and religious purposes as is required.  The Judge was so kind as to provide multiple legal precedences for each and every point.

Surrender now Danny boy….it’s over and if you continue, so will your career be over.  Read that decision carefully because the Judge handed us the basis of filing criminal complaints against you personally on a silver platter…and ethical bar action.  Sucks to be you and defeated by a crippled old lady and a shiny new attorney with zero prior court experience eh?

Our attorney is awaiting your call to arrange the terms of your surrender.


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 centralhouse@gallae.com

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.