One Time Political Operative for St. Lawrence Arrested for Burglary and Assault

July 5, 2010 An article in the July 1st Journal News reported that "a 34-year-old local businessman has been charged with forcing his way into a Kaufman Court home and assaulting the couple living there. Jacob Wagschal, owner of JW Developers on Sunrise Drive in Monsey, faces a hearing in Ramapo Justice Court on the morning of July 15. An argument over a parking issue apparently caused a confrontation between Wagschal and a family living on Kaufman Court, according to a spokesman for the police department. The male homeowner told police that Wagschal was carrying a cane and hit him in the face, and then punched him several times in the chest." Wagschal is familiar to our readers as one of the individuals connected with the fraudulent signs put up the night before a recent election. These signs directed Preserve Ramapo supporters to vote on the line containing the St. Lawrence slate.

In the 2007 election, Preserve Ramapo was alerted to the existence of 500 signs that had been printed mimicking the group's colors and design. These signs instructed voters to go to Row A to vote for the candidates. Preserve Ramapo candidates were on Row G.

Here's part of what happened that night.

"At about 3 am, Ramapo police officer Brian Whitmore came upon two individuals at Hillside Ave. and Saddle River Road putting up the fraudulent signs. Working out of a black pickup truck, Shmuel Orliansky and Naftalie Lipshitz had apparently been covering Saddle River Road as Whitmore had seen 30 to 40 of these signs on that road and Route 45. Whitmore asked Orliansky what he was doing, and Orliansky said he was working for Preserve Ramapo putting up signs. When Whitmore told him that these werenít Preserve Ramapo signs, he replied that he didnít know and that he was told to put them up. Asked who told him to do this, he couldnít give a name. At that point, Ptl. Paolucci arrived and told Whitmore that Preserve Ramapo workers were driving around, and Whitmore called Rudy Dent to have him come to the scene to see if Orliansky was working for them.

(Sign at the top was one of those posted by Orliansky and Lipshitz. After being stopped by the Ramapo Police, Jacob Wagschal showed up to explain the Supervisorís role in this.)

Before Dent arrived, a black 2007 Cadillac Escalade pulled up, and the driver said he was a friend of Orliansky. This was Jacob Wagschal, a Monsey developer, and he had received a cell phone call. He asked the officer what was wrong with the signs, and Whitmore told him they werenít Preserve Ramapo signs, and they needed a permit. His response is quoted here exactly as it appeared on Whitmoreís report: "Wagschal stated to myself and Ptl. Paolucci that he was involved in all elections and that he was a close friend of Christopher St. Lawrence and that he asked him to put up signs and that they were covered under the Christopher St. Lawrence permit. He also went on to tell us that it was a trick because it says instead of and that they hope some people will end up voting that way. He went on to tell me that someone in California lent them the site." When Whitmore insisted that they needed a permit for these signs, even though Wagschal was working for St. Lawrence who had a permit for his signs, Wagschal backed away from his story and "now denied saying that he worked for St. Lawrence and that he didnít ask him to put up the signs."

You can read the full story, "Monsey Developer Says St. Lawrence behind Election Fraud Scheme" here.

Current Legal Problems
In his most recent run-in with the law, Wagschal has been charged with several felony counts including first-degree burglary, second-degree attempted assault, and a misdemeanor count of fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon. The mandatory minimum sentence for the burglary and "B" violent felonies is 5 years.

The Journal also reported the possibility of alcohol as a factor.

Judge Arnold Etelson set bail for Wagschal at $1,000, and he issued an order of protection to keep the accused assailant away from the couple.

Wagschal is due in court July 15, and we will follow up on the events as they develop. Itís important to note that it is not up to the victims whether or not to press charges. In a case such as this, the prosecutor can prosecute the case even if victims or witnesses are uncooperative.

Michael Castelluccio
Preserve Ramapo  
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