Sykes’ gang head Stanley Sykes returned briefly to his old Herkimer drug and child trafficking lair this week. It was seemingly for a harmless picnic and a cheery fire with his gang members at 341 Eureka Avenue—341 anchors one end of Herkimer’s historic drug and child trafficking lot the Sykes gang used to control. They don’t appear to be trafficking out 341 anymore—some are barracked there, courtesy of the gang’s longtime landlord, Herkimer’s Jay Smith.
The gang’s Wednesday social event was a venue to harass us and assert dominance over the tenants in the lot’s other two houses, 332 and 334 Pleasant Avenue. The gang appears to now only fully control 341 Eureka Avenue.
The Sykes gang took over 332 Pleasant Avenue’s massive beloved fire bowl for the occasion and gathered kindling from behind 334 Pleasant. No one was going to deny them permission. They had two of their weaponized kids vandalize our fence on camera as Stanley Sykes serenaded us with the mighty horn of his signature red Honda SUV, parked as close to our yard as he could get without knocking down our fence.
Stanley himself left just after sunset, leaving some of his crew that had come with him gathered about the fire bowl with a mix of gang and non-gang locals.
Then the police came. A lot of them:
Video Timeline: 0:01-0:10 Stanley Sykes arrives at 341 Eureka Ave.
0:11-0:38 Carrie Ann Bass’s son Harvey, Stanley’s grandson (long hair), and Stanley’s putative son Eric harvest our fence for kindling.
0:39-0:54 Harvey gleefully waves his trophy for all to see.
0:55-1:09 Stanley contributes to fire. Seems jubilant.
0:10-1:35 Gang members frolic as they build fire at 332 Pleasant.
1:36 -1:43 Stanley Sykes leaves. (Possibly relocated back to Utica where from which he now operates.)
1:44-2:00 Mix of gang and non-gang members at fire behind 332 Pleasant.
2:01-2:12 Herkimer police officer seemingly warning that open fires are illegal in Herkimer. We are a small, close-set and highly-flammable village. Typically, violators are required to bank and their douse fire.
2:13-2:24 Same officer, different cameras.
2:32-2:43 Officer gone. Did someone say something they weren’t supposed to?
2:44-258 Lots of cops have appeared. Questions being asked. Seems to be a person of interest.
2:59-3:09 Police leave via 341 Eureka
3:10-3:35 Police return. Arrest made.
3:54-End Midnight debriefing among locals at 332 Pleasant Avenue.
Things began reasonably enough in the early evening. But as the hours wore on, the crowd grew, the music soared, the booze flowed and the sparks flew high. To be fair to the folks who live at 332, they got the lot of them to kill the music, then took their kids in. Most places that would have signaled the end of the evening. But no. People I recognized were soon outnumbered by people I didn’t, and still they came.
What began with five or so folks with some kids grew to more than dozen adults, gathered about a blazing fire bowl the size of the mother ship. Sparks soared high. The police appeared shortly after 1 am, shut down the festivities and ordered the fire doused. (A large federal surveillance drone was also in attendance.)
5/18/19 “Herkimer police shut down the festivities and ordered the fire doused.” The crowd is much smaller than it was a few seconds ago.
Herkimer Village A Tinderbox
Herkimer Village is a tinderbox of close-set very old houses. In January, we were all tragically reminded of how deadly this can be when three small children died in a fast moving house fire just a few blocks away.
Herkimer does not allow open fires of any sort within 100 feet of any house, vehicle or structure. Period. (A grill is not a cover—it’s a grill.) The Herkimer police these days are quick to respond to reports of open fires and large crowds. Call them. The neighbor’s being ticked at you is better than you and yours going up in flames.
Herkimer Fire Law, Section 1-14(B)
Camp fires and fires used solely for recreation purposes [are permitted[ when such fires are located at least one hundred (100) feet from any dwelling, structure, or vehicle and are properly controlled and supervised by the Herkimer Fire Department.
In March, in flagrant violation of New York law, two rogue CPS workers, Sara Riente and Lisa Bates, abused their positions and took a malicious hand in a child custody court battle in another state. They acted so brazenly, so unprofessionally and so illegally under the color of authority that we think this sort of malfeasance has long been tolerated in Herkimer County.
“Herkimer! Protect My Precious $on!”
We were recently subjected to false allegations of child abuse by our son-in-law, an Indian national, as he tried to gain sole custody of our two-year-old grandson. He’s a very glib professor at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. The kid’s not his natural son. According to our daughter’s court filings, in which she alleged spousal abuse and neglect, her husband never bought the child clothes or toys, never allowed stuff we sent to reach him, and referred to child as “the little bastard.” Here’s our grandson Avram in our home last January, with first-ever new clothes and toys:
Had our grandchild remained here with his mother, the good professor might have ended up paying $1,000+ a month in child support until the child was 21. He seems to have done the math, as his feet barely touched the ground on his way to his attorney’s office to file for sole custody. To protect his “son”.
Our daughter had barely filed her child support payment application before her husband reported her and us for child neglect and abuse with New York. Herkimer Child Protection Worker Sara Riente promptly came to our house, spent fifteen minutes investigating our grandson’s safety, offered no criticism and left. She made one even shorter followup visit a month or so later.
In March, we received letters from from NY Child Welfare exonerating us of our son-in-law’s baseless accusations: “Unfounded” was the official finding. Yet this was not the end of the matter. Riente and her colleague Lisa Bates then came to our son-in-law’s aid in his Michigan custody case, giving him a document that was as damning of our family as it was illegal:
“At this time Avram does not meet the [standards of abuse or neglect]. [However] it does appear that it would be in the child’s best interest to be in the care of the parent who can provide access to regular medical care, a stable and sufficient and living environment and age appropriate supervision and care for a young child. Based on the evidence gathered during this investigation, this Department’s decision would be that [the mother] is not providing the above-mentioned care.”
Herkimer CPS Workers Go Rogue
Apparently dismayed at finding our grandchild healthy, well-fed, well-clothed and safe with people of whom they seemingly disapproved, Herkimer CPS workers Riente and Bates went rogue, colluding with our son-in-law: at his request, they wrote him an “official”Herkimer County Social Services letter, falsely stating that “it is the opinion of this Department” that our grandchild would be better off with his father. Our daughter only became aware of their poisonous letter when she received a copy of her husband’s court filing, in which it was offered as evidence of her unfitness as a mother and of our home as [not] stable and [in]sufficient.
Bogus Herkimer Social Services’ Letter A Key Exhibit
In their venomous letter in support of our daughter’s husband, Riente and Bates threw aside all pretense of impartiality and professionalism. They miscast their libelous opinions as “the finding of this Department.” Seemingly not liking the “Unfounded” decision they were required to support under state law as child protection workers, they magically morphed into Herkimer county workers to express a different “official” finding, subverting the law they were supposed to uphold. Our son-in-law’s attorney cited their letter as key evidence that our daughter was an unfit mother and ours “not a loving home, Your Honor.” Their treachery helped lose her custody of her son.
CPS Workers’ Defamatory Letter In Support Of Plaintiff
Here’s Riente and Bates’ letter to my son-in-law, Somangshu Mukherji. I’ve redacted just about all the confidential information they malfeasantly revealed, except for their conclusion on page 2, in which they dispute the lawful conclusion New York law compelled them to reach. They falsely present their scurrilous opinion as an official finding of Herkimer County Social Services.
Despite our daughter’s request that the Michigan court disregard the Herkimer CPS’ workers letter as a violation of New York law, the court did not exclude it.
After several court appearances, our daughter lost custody of her son and he was returned to his father in Michigan–a process that was yet another instance of Herkimer County employees playing fast and loose with the law.
Reporting Herkimer County Child Protection Workers’ Malfeasance
You can also sue. In a case like our daughter’s, where the evidence of malfeasance is low-hanging fruit, an attorney might take the case for damages on a contingency fee basis. Herkimer CPS workers are probably not worth suing. New York State is a sovereign entity and can rarely be sued. But Herkimer County can be.
This is New York, not Alabama. We have laws to protect us from illegal actions such as those of Herkimer’s rogue CPS workers. Make the law work for you.
Child protection workers who engage in lawless vendettas against struggling parents and families simply because they disapprove of them should find another vocation.
This May Amazon posted a $7,250 DIY guest cabin/home that most anyone can build in 8 hours. All available supplies were immediately sold out. When 2 people share such a space each would have a one time rent just under $303 a month for the first year and no rent thereafter. Though initial reviews indicated that purchasers were critical of the product, they illustrated the strength of demand.
Great lack of affordable housing likely factor
The amazing popularity indicates the desire many people have to own their own home in a time when housing is not affordable for 50% of the population. Such a tiny property can lead to economic freedom from the rent treadmill. It also ensures housing security in a time when so many are homeless.
New off the shelf market will spark business opportunities
Food for thought about the living small market in general ties into real estate, cooperative housing and products supporting multi-use spaces in home construction and renovation. People need affordable homes. When they live tiny, they pay less for housing and use less energy.
Rewards for homeowners, investors and affordable housing seekers
If you are a homeowner think about adding this inexpensive space to your backyard for guests or as a workshop. If you are an investor, think about how you can make it easy for individuals to finance tiny home living.
Amazon shows us that it’s possible to live better for less and that profitable home products can fuel an industry that has great positive impact on how we live. It’s important to think of the tiny home as a place to begin. It’s a springboard for new ideas and learning from experience.
Think about how you can participate in this new housing trend that contributes to affordable living, green energy and many new related industries.