This blog is my perspective on dwelling in our small village nestled among beautiful forests, farms and open landscapes. Educated in Israel and the US, I have an MS in Computer Science. My viewpoint has been shaped by world travel, friends and benefactors both strangers and people I know.
“One does see so much evil in a village.” Miss Marple (Agatha Christie)
Dereliction of duty is the purposeful or accidental failure to perform an obligation without a valid excuse, especially an obligation attached to one’s job. Websters
In September, I was attacked on the sidewalk next to our home by 21-year-old Jordan Bormann, son of our neighbor, Kimberly (Bormann) Vargas. The strapping young Bormann slammed me backward onto the pavement, causing a brain injury that is slowly healing. A bit harder, he could’ve killed me or left me drooling on myself in a permanent advanced vegetative state. I’ve been exposing Kim Vargas’ drug trafficking and menacing since she moved next door several years ago.
Herkimer PD officer Jason Crippen responded to the “man down” report. In June, I filed a substantial, well-documented misconduct complaint against Crippen with his department, alleging malfeasance over a period of six years. Whatever action his department may have taken based on my complaint, Crippen was the investigating officer that day of my assault, still driving about our pastoral village, armed to the teeth.
Crippen’s report of the incident (below) , found I’d assaulted Kim Vargas, shoving her, and that her son Jordan had rightly leaped to her defense, shoving me back. Crippen stated the incident was 2nd Degree Harassment, of which I was the perpetrator. Had I not been scraped off the pavement and transported, Crippen might have charged me.
Here’s Crippen’s full report, which was reviewed and forwarded by Herkimer PD Chief Michael Jory:
Crippen based his finding of my presumed guilt upon interviews with my attacker, his mother, and two of their neighboring friends, the Snyders:
Officer Crippen’s Witnesses
Crippen didn’t interview the only other person who’d supposedly been on the scene the entire time–my wife Linda Kaidan. He stated that:
Linda Kaiden (sic) was yelling, swearing, and getting in the way of medical. Kaiden was advised by officers to stay away from medical, to calm down, and allow medical to do their job. Kaiden calmed a little, but continued to yell, and make comments to officers, medical, and people at the Vargas house.
Not true. Here’s the video clip:
Kaidan only raised her voice when Kim Vargas lied to the first responding officer, who was not Crippen.
Vargas can be heard asserting that I hit her. Kaidan was there during the assault and responded indignantly to the drug thug’s lie. Despite Kaidan having witnessed the attack and having access to the two cameras that recorded it, none of the officers interviewed her or asked for footage from our obvious, 22 CCTV cameras–cameras whose footage Herkimer PD have requested in the past; cameras whose existence Crippen commented on before, in a separate video.
“You have to wonder how long this sort of murderous collusion has prevailed here in Herkimer.
Despite Crippen’s acrimonious history with me, his superiors apparently didn’t question his report and failed, in the days, to send an officer to interview Kaidan or request footage of the assault. (We get along well with most of the Herkimer PD officers.) Only when I returned from Albany Medical Center, and recovered enough to review the videos of the attack, and file a complaint, did the Herkimer police charge Jordan Bormann. Had Bormann killed me or left me in a coma, Crippen’s report would have prevailed–I’d officially have died in an incident I provoked with my good neighbors, senile dodder that I am. You have to wonder how long this sort of murderous collusion has prevailed here in Herkimer.
Lies aside, here’s what really happened:
Jordan Bormann’s charged with a Class D Violent Felony, with enhanced sentencing required due to his attacking an elder. He’s looking at 2+ years in prison and yet I’m looking at him next door on that porch, eating takeout, smoking dope and leisurely awaiting his Spring trial. (New York bail reform.)
“Case Closed,” Or Be Your Own Cop
Crippens report concludes:
Due to patrol’s knowledge of the several cameras Berry has … there were no arrests made on-scene. Case closed unless Berry brings forth evidence and/or wants to pursuit charges. JCC/240
Reporting Police Misconduct to New York’s Attorney General
The doctrine of Qualified Immunity, which has long protected police nationwide from private lawsuits, is on its way out: NYC has abolished it; abolition is pending the New York Legislature. With qualified immunity gone, it becomes much easier to hold rogue police officers accountable in lower courts. And to attract an attorney on a contingency fee basis.
“Nothing is so difficult as not deceiving oneself.” ― Ludwig Wittgenstein
On November 4, members of the neighboring gang from landlord Jay Smith’s 332 Pleasant Avenue attacked my wife, Linda Kaidan, as she exited her car in our driveway after a 500-mile drive. One kept shouting “I’m gonna drag her!” before assaulting Linda in our driveway. They broke off their attack on the 68-year-old grandmother and returned to their front yard when the police arrived. Linda counted nine of them, in and around the driveway.
“Those cameras don’t work at night.”
For some time now, we’ve been overhearing that our cameras don’t work at night because the little red lights aren’t always on. The little red lights are the infrared beams that illuminate the dark in the absence of enough ambient light. When there is sufficient ambient light, they don’t come on.
The detail provided by this blind camera is more than enough for me to identify familiar faces:
So yes, the cameras work at night. We’ve forwarded more videos to the police and expect charges to soon be filed. Of course, we’ll just keep, what was it? “Dragging,” on the blog.
On November 11th, someone spray-painted our front door with hate graffiti. Videos of previous criminal trespassing suggest it was one of the several teens who hang out at Herkimer drug thug Kim Vargas’ 328 Pleasant Avenue, adjacent to our house. Surveillance videos show Vargas to very much be their den mother, providing them with food and whatever.
Vargas is the mother of 21-year-old Jordan Bormann, charged with a Class D Felony Assault on a 74-year-old neighbor, sent to Albany Medical Center on 9/30 with a brain injury.
Thanks to New York bail reform, young Mr. Bormann is at home on an appearance ticket, visible to his neighboring victim (me), hanging out on Vargas’ porch, eating takeout and smoking weed as he awaits trial this Spring. Confined to home, Jordan has the Lost Boys of the video to keep him company. (And Democrats wonder why they lost seats in New York.)
The hate sprayer is of the age and size of one of the criminal trespassers caught on a previous video, raiding our property from Vargases. His friends call him Lem. (video-3:26) We’ve seen Lem several times in the driveway of 326-326 ½ Pleasant, the house on the other side of Vargas’. As we walked by there on 11/11, he called my wife a “Crazy fucking bitch.” He might have gone on, but I pointed to my bodycam and he shut up.
The sturdy lad doing hate art may also be Chunky Monkey, caught on camera vandalizing one of our security lights—a light Kim Vargas complained often and bitterly about, lighting up her drug trafficking as it did.
0:01-0:41 The Hate Spraying
0:42-2:16 Previous recent criminal trespass incidents from Vargas’ house.
2:17 Trespasser’s friends on Vargas’ porch encourage him, call him “Lem” as he enters our driveway.
3:37 – End “The guilty flee where no one pursues.” (Proverbs 28:1
This behavior has gone well beyond youthful hijinks and has been reported to the police and the State of New York Attorney General’s Hate Crimes Unit. No one in our family is African American, but several are Jewish. These guys aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed and may confuse a darkly-complected Ashkenazic Jew — my wife–with an African American. Not that they would know what a Jew was. But you don’t need to get your victim’s ethnicity right for it to be a hate crime. For example, I’ve overheard people expressing sympathy for “the old Jew who got beat up in the street.” My wife is Jewish; I’m Icelandic Dane. Doesn’t matter–hate’s hate.
The Herkimer Post is widely read. Lots of folks in this time of change looking for places up here to move to and invest in. If Herkimer doesn’t want the image of a racist community, it needs to track this kid down and charge him.
Things have livened up here on Herkimer’s Pleasant Avenue since I survived a vicious street assault on 9/30. Formerly quiet gang-allied neighbors have grown aggressive, harassing and assaulting my wife and daughter in our driveway. A squad of them went after my daughter Alex and wife Linda on 10/24, 10/25, and 11/4. The pattern keeps repeating: one of us enters our driveway after dark, and the swarm descends from next door at 332 Pleasant Avenue, long a gang haven— trespassing, throwing stuff, menacing, and attacking a 68-year-old grandmother as she defends herself. They scatter as soon as they spot the police. It’s a miracle no one here has been injured as the gangers practice elder abuse. I went down with a brain injury when Kim Vargas’ son Jordan Bormann threw me to the sidewalk and kicked me. (I was videoing his mother, drug thug Kim Vargas accosting my wife.)
“We do not retreat—retreating is how Rust Belt Herkimer became a pirate haven.
If this continues, one of us will be injured. We do not retreat—retreating is how Rust Belt Herkimer became a pirate haven. These folks aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed and may not know what a Class B Violent Felony verdict would do to their lives—the sort of verdict young Mr. Bormann is facing. No more probation-only: it’s a mandatory multiyear prison sentence. Used to be, beating up old folks in New York was a misdemeanor blood sport, just youthful hijinks. No more. And if you kill or permanently injure one of us oldsters, you won’t be seeing the Outside for a very long time. Open Season on the elderly in New York is now closed. The Herkimer Police responded promptly. Hopefully, they’ll soon shut this dangerous game down.
The video is of all three incidents, somewhat edited. Those familiar with South Herkimer gangdom will recognize Kylee Figueroa, Joyce Barton’s daughter. (The Bartons left town about a month ago, leaving their trash and Kylee behind.) The young woman trespassing and assaulting my wife is also from 332 Pleasant, probably the colorful Kyle Stone’s younger sister. (She’s the one shouting “I’m gonna drag her!” meaning my wife.) 10:07
Don’t know who the ball-hugging, object-throwing trespasser is. Probably from somewhere here on our Pleasant Avenue. (There are people still living who swear it was once pleasant.)
Sorry, I couldn’t join the fray, but am still recovering from a subdural hematoma, courtesy of Jordan Bormann. (I get to see him each day as he lounges on his mother’s porch, 15 feet away, eating takeout and smoking weed. His trial’s tentatively scheduled for April. Until then, he gets to lounge at home, courtesy of New York bail reform. Don‘t worry, I’m protected from my violent mercurial assailant by a restraining order and his ankle monitoring device.)
Frankly, I think this is all about rage at the loss of drug and child trafficking income here in the ‘hood. We’ve lived here for 9 years and trafficking’s never been this light. Plus, our attackers keep checking in with mother-of-the-year Kim Vargas, who may be incentivizing their behavior. The dynamics of the Mohawk Valley are rapidly changing, fueled by an influx of affluence, itself catalyzed by climate change and the chip fab construction boom.
Things are quickly changing here, hopefully for the better.
Texas has been troubled by significant flooding, drought, and tornados making it unattractive in terms of climate change safety! It is anticipated that the new Micron facility in Clay New York will bring 50,000 new jobs to New York State. US-based supply chain safe DRAM production reduces risk while improving our local economy.
There is limited availability of homes nationwide! Even before IAN caused massive devastation in Florida, Pewtrusts.org reported that it might take 10 years to catch up on housing shortages. Massive construction of housing projects in NYS will be needed to provide homes for those who move here!
Greedy investors are motivated to grab available properties in Central NY. Some may use street gangs to harass vulnerable owners into moving! If you feel that this is happening to you don’t give in or you will be giving up your personal goldmine! We recommend an easy solution that is totally legal. Try Halt II Dog Repellant. Legal in New York State it repels dogs of all kinds 🙂 Also, take lots of photos and post them on YOUTUBE. Use hashtag gangBgone#. Giving up your nest egg is idiotic and will result in far more economic insecurity for your family!
On 9/30/22, 21-year-old Jordan Bormann savagely attacked his 74-year-old neighbor, leaving the elderly veteran unconscious and bleeding on the sidewalk in front of his home. He was diagnosed with a brain injury. Bormann is charged with a violent felony against an oldster, a local blogger who was videoing a confrontation between Bormann’s drug peddler mother and the victim’s wife.
The apple didn’t fall far from the tree: Bormann and his mother Kimberly (Bormann) Vargas, moved into the rental house next to the victim’s two years prior to the heinous attack. Mother Kimberly immediately began harassing and threatening the elderly homeowners, objecting to their surveillance cameras, their security lights and their activist blog, where they posted her alleged drug trafficking activities. She’d call the police and falsely report them for harassment and trespassing–charges given the lie by their surveillance videos.
The day of the assault, Kim twice threatened the victim’s wife with physical violence–in keeping with her history of threats and harassment. Bullied from Vargas’ porch as they were in their adjacent driveway, the couple sallied forth, the wife confronting Kim, her husband filming, Jordan’s friends heckling him and his wife as Jordan watched. (If you don’t confront bullies, they just escalate.)
With a role model like Kimberly Vargas, how else would Jordan turn out? Watch Kimberly strut her foul-mouthed stuff over the two years she’s lived next to us, the elderly couple: threatening violence, harassing our mentally ill daughter. Just a few brief highlights of her despicable behavior:
Jordan Bormann is of an age where he’s responsible for his actions and will be held accountable for them in court. He’s facing a mandatory minimum of 2 years, a maximum of 7, for a Class B Violent Felony.
As I told the District Attorney’s staff and the court, I hope his sentence sees him sent far away from his mother’s reach, where he can receive effective counseling and learn a vocation. To be just given probation would leave him where he is now, 15 feet from our house, lounging on his mother’s porch, eating takeout and smoking weed. He won’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of a decent life if he’s returned to his mother Kimberly’s foul clutches. To reinforce my suggestion to the court, I included a copy of this video with my Victim’s Impact Statement, which is reviewed prior to sentencing.
You can imagine what I think of New York’s crazy gone-today-here-tomorrow bail law.
Boy-next-door Jordan Bormann–far right, on porch railing. He’s with his heckler friends.
11/2/22 Correction. The name of my assailant is Jordan Bormann, not Jordan Harris. (I worked with Harris at Harvard. He never beat me up.)
On September 30th, in the Herkimer tradition of beating bloggers, I was the victim of a vicious unprovoked street attack by Jordan Bormann, son of longtime Herkimer drug thug Kimberly (Bormann) Vargas. Jordan Bormann, a strapping young adult, charged me as I was photographing his drug-dealer mother’s usual harassment of us, hurling me violently backward onto the public sidewalk and seriously injuring me. As I lay unconscious, he cursed me, kicked me and shoved my wife away when she tried to help me.
I sustained a subdural hematoma (deep brain bleed) and was taken first by medevac to Little Falls Hospital, and then by ambulance to Albany Medical Center for neurological treatment. A subdural hematoma can be fatal.
It’s taken me several weeks to recover enough to compile video evidence of the attack, file a police complaint and write this post. As I write, the Bormann-Vargases are next door on their front porch, partying and smoking substances legal and illegal.
The initial police investigation was conducted by an officer against whom I previously filed an extensive misconduct report. After interviewing my assailant, his mother and their friends, he determined me guilty of provoking the assault; seems young Mr. Bormann was just defending his mom. Not interviewed was my wife, present the entire time. Footage from our two CCTV cameras covering the attack was not requested. Happily, I was not arrested for littering the public pavement with the copious amount of blood from my wound.
We’ve been writing about Kim Vargases’ drug dealing, threats and harassment for several years. In response, Vargas often calls the Herkimer Police with bogus complaints. On September 30th, she called them to complain that we’d stolen her cat. Her cat, the malnourished Shadow, often lounges on our porch railing and is delighted to be fed the good stuff. Astoundingly, the police often respond to Vargas’ absurd complaints, as they did that day, a Friday.
The Varga’s porch, as on most nice days, was filled with aggressive pondlife harassing us as we went about our lives in our adjacent driveway. While the police were present, Vargas told an officer on camera that she would “punch that bitch [my wife] in the face before I move.” The officer made no remark. Obviously, Vargas’ son Jordan Bormann comes by his violent behaviors honestly.
We have several videos of the attack. Below is a portion of an audio video, covering from the time of the police responding to Vargas’ 911 cat call to the moment just before the first responders arrive to scrape me off the pavement. It ends with my wife dashing into our house to get her cellphone, evil laughter following her.
0:01-0:44 My cellphone video. Typical harassment from pondlife on Vargas’ porch. Police arrive, police leave. Usual attempts to drive us from our property and then from the public sidewalk.
0:45 Action has moved down the public sidewalk. (Suspect Vargases believe they’re off camera.) Vargas invites Kaidan to “Hit me!”
04:02 Jordan Bormann charges me as I’m filming, hurls me backwards onto the pavement, knocking me unconscious, lacerating my scalp and causing a subdural hematoma (deep brain bleed).
04:06 Bormann shoves my wife Linda away as she tries to come to my aid, then curses and stomps me.
05:00-End Vargas and male thug from porch ignore my wife’s repeated direction to leave me alone. Linda dashes into the house to get her cellphone, denouncing the twosome hunched over me as “Monsters!” Evil laugher follows her.
More to come: A longer higher quality video, clips and a critque of the initial police investigation by Officer Jason Crippen.
Find your own flood vulnerability quickly with your cell phone. Herkimer Village is384 feet above sea level. 384 –230 = 154 ft between you and sea level 🙂. You can find your exact elevation with a GPS Altitude or Elevation App.
If you want to avoid living in a flood zone stay away from the coast and also beware of creeks and rivers.
We moved to Herkimer from Sarasota, FL over 8 years ago to avoid coastal flooding!
In his 40’s a former resident of a burned-out building in downtown Herkimer, David Bond may have fled to the fields adjacent to the railroad tracks by West Canada Creek. Earlier this year, there was a neat and shipshape tent on the banks of that river. Were these sad remnants his?
The crushed gray tent curled and disheveled pages of several books, a sleeping bag, and camping implements lying next to the train tracks behind the H&R Block Building on West State Street are testimony to an event of much anger and anguish!
Where do you go when you are homeless? Does anyone care? With climate change devastation we should help the homeless and provide secure temporary housing for them. It is not ethical to leave them to die or be beaten up by those more fortunate.
Homelessness is growing. We hope that the State of New York will create safe temporary encampments for the needy in inland regions like central, northern, and western New York. We should do this quickly using low-cost materials like high-wall tents and shipping containers. The homeless themselves can help create safe refuges while learning valuable skills.
Lack of effective action will result in more crime, disease, violence, and waste of funds.
“Misuse of power, possessed by virtue of state law and made possible only because the wrongdoer is clothed with the authority of state law, is action taken under color of state law.” United States v. Classic, 313 U.S. 299, 326
Herkimer police officer Jason Crippen, again! Suddenly he’s in our driveway and faces, hectoring and lying and rude. Summoned, per Herkimer normal, by yet another thug playing the victim. This time it’s our latest neighboring drug trafficker, Kim Vargas. We’ve written a lot about her harassment and trafficking.She’s a peach.
“I can’t decide if he’s complicit or just an idiot.”
We’ve been subjected to Crippen’s abuse of power multiple times over the last six years. In all instances, Crippen has malfeasantly supported our criminal neighbors, using his office to intimidate us and deny us the protection of law. It’s obvious when you speak with him that Crippen’s not the sharpest tool in the shed. As I said to a state police investigator when he raised the subject of Crippen’s conduct, “I can’t decide if he’s complicit or just an idiot.” There’s enough material in this post for you to decide for yourself. Certainly, the performance Crippen puts on here would discourage anyone but a criminal from calling the Herkimer police.
Here’s his pattern: Crippen responds to a 911 complaint from one of our trafficking gang neighbors. He advises us that their accusations are valid, that we’re in violation of criminal law, and threatens us with arrest. He either ignores anything the complaining thugs have done to us or says their actions aren’t subject to criminal law.
On one occasion, Crippen refused to accept a complaint from us while he was manning the desk at the Herkimer police station. The complaint was carefully written and supported by video evidence. (See below, “Another Crippen Encounter”.)
This most recent incident on 6/16/22 is classic Crippen. The video should be used in police training classes as an example of intimidation under the color of law.
Our Latest Thuggish Neighbors, the Kim Vargases
Kim Vargas has lived next door at 328 Pleasant Avenue for two years–the Doolen gang’s most recent placeholder. Afternoons she holds court on her front porch, along with her supposed brother-in-law, a heavy-set, low-browed antisemite. The two chain-smoke the day away. A bong is sometimes shared. In the afternoon small children come and go–Vargas’s latest lie is that she’s a licensed daycare provider. She’s not.
The porch people’s chain-smoking quickly fills their porch ashtray. In the morning, we often find cigarette butts heaped in our driveway, next to Vargas’s patch of paradise.
The Right Response To Outrageous Behavior Is Outrage
On June 16th, wife Linda had had enough of the butts and spoke to Vargas firmly, in words typically used by Vargas, to drive home her point. Vargas, horrified by the foul language coming from our driveway, called 911, falsely stating that she was a licensed daycare provider and that children were in danger. Vargas is not a licensed daycare provider. You can cuss in your driveway all you want.
“Crippen…stepped into his familiar role of intimidation through misrepresentation of the law
Children in danger, Officer Jason Crippen immediately responded, followed shortly by two other Herkimer PD officers, seemingly as adult supervision. (The sight of Crippen armed with pistol and taser is as worrying as the sight of Vargas caring for children.)
6.16.22 Herkimer Police was officer Jason Crippen confronted by Stephen Ames Berry and Linda Kaidan in their 330 Pleasant Avenue driveway. Kaidan repeatedly challenged Crippen to follow through on his threat to arrest her for child endangerment: she’d used the word fuck in her driveway within hearing of children, speaking to neighboring drug thug Kim Vargas (on porch) in words Vargas typically uses in front of children.
Crippen quickly stepped into his familiar role of intimidation through misrepresentation. Below are listed highlights drawn from our video. (A detailed timeline is in the video’s description on our Herkimerpost.com YouTube channel.)
Here’s my bodycam video preceded by a brief street cam clip.
Caught In The Act: Highlights of Crippen’s Attempted Intimidation
Twice threatened to arrest Kaidan for child endangerment for saying “fuck” in her own driveway 6:35 7:26
Crippen states to Berry that “your reports of child trafficking were reported to the Herkimer and State Police and found false.” (They weren’t reported to either agency-the FBI has sole jurisdiction over child trafficking matters.) 10:37
Not everyone’s a pigheaded blogger and filmmaker with a well-established social media presence. Confronted by a belligerent, bullying Crippen, most folks are going to fade. No wonder the local gangers strut about with such an air of entitlement.
Below is my complaint about Crippen to Chief Jory. There’s at least one other current complaint about Crippen in the police database, according to the Herkimer Times Telegram, but you won’t be able to read it: After the Village refused to make its police complaints’ records available, as required by New York law, it was sued by the Gannet Organization, owner of The Herkimer Times Telegram and the Utica Observer. Rather than releasing the records, The Village of Herkimer hired a law firm to keep this public resource from the public.
Herkimer Village won the first round in its attempt to avoid fully complying with New York’s Freedom of Information Law as it pertains to police discipline reports. The matter is on appeal.
We wondered the other day, as we tottered over Herkimer’s heaving stretches of ancient broken sidewalks, how our impoverished Rust Belt village justified spending an unpublicized amount of money to flout state law. But then, to quote The Herkimer Post, “‘It’s Herkimer,’ folks say with a shrug.”
Herkimer Only Releasing Recent Substantiated P0lice Conduct Complaints: Jason Crippen’s Released
Interviewed by the Herkimer Telegram’s Donna Thompson for her excellent coverage of Herkimer Village’s FOIL non-compliance, Herkimer Police Chief Michael Jory expressed his support for the law. One reason for that may be that, as it stands now, bad apples can be passed from Herkimer County police agency to police agency, inflicting their bad behaviors on unsuspecting communities, with the county’s police chiefs unaware until the complaints start coming in.
Herkimer Village won’t release any unsubstantiated complaints made about officers, and then will only release substantiated ones filed since the FOIL was amended. This means the copies of complaints of the two officers it did release were substantiated complaints. One of those officers was Patrolman Jason Crippen. Perhaps someday we’ll get to read it, or them.
It took the Village a year to provide those records to Gannet-Herkimer Telegram. Which can publish them as it sees fit. But only here on the doughty Herkimer Post can you read the most recent complaint against Herkimer’s Officer Jason Crippen. Or you can request a copy from the Village, and if it’s substantiated, wait a year or so to receive it. (All our PDFs are downloadable.)
As I noted to Chief Jory in my complaint, in a heated part of my exchange with Officer Crippen I refer to “other complicit cops.” To the best of my knowledge, those who abused their authority to intimidate us are gone. Since Chief Jory took command, all of his officers but Crippen have been very supportive of us and often gone out of their way to offer encouragement and advice during some very stressful incidents, treating us as concerned citizen partners.