NJ to Gadhafi: Libyan, go home
posted at 10:30 am on August 25, 2009 by Meryl Yourish
Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi wants to pitch his tent at a Libyan-owned estate in Englewood, NJ. But the residents want nothing to do with the man who gave a hero’s welcome to the Lockerbie bomber.
Plans to set up a tent and allow him to stay at a Libyan-owned estate in the upscale community of Englewood, New Jersey, located 12 miles north of Manhattan, were attacked Monday by neighborhood residents and public officials, particularly after the hero’s welcome Libya extended last week to the lone man convicted in the 1988 bombing of Pan American Flight 103.
Why is Gadhafi coming to America? To address the UN next month. Last year Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, this year the Gadhafi—who’s next? Idi Amin is dead, but I’m sure that they could find someone equally as evil.
Even Shmuley Boteach doesn’t want him there.
Shmuley Boteach, an orthodox Jewish rabbi, family counselor and star of the mainstream television series “Shalom in the Home,” lives next door to the Libyan estate.
He was initially supportive of the idea of Gadhafi coming to the US, but that changed after the release of al-Megrahi.
“I don’t want him as a neighbor,” said Boteach. “The events of the past few days have changed everything. Gadhafi has shown his true colors.”
The fight has been joined by Senator Frank Lautenberg. But I’m going to make a prediction: The State Department is going to allow the dictator in NJ, even though when the estate was bought, then-mayor (and now Congressman) Steve Rothman fought having the dictator stay there.
Rothman was mayor of Englewood 26 years ago when the city learned the Libyan Mission to the United Nations had purchased the Palisade Avenue estate. He said local officials worked out a deal with the US State Department limiting its use to the recreational activities by the ambassador and his family. Gadhafi was expressly forbidden to live there, he said.
Adding insult to injury, the Libyans pay no property taxes to the town, either. So if the dictator does stay, Englewood will be paying for the extra police that will be needed to protect him.
Soon after the purchase, Libya sought to be exempt from local property taxes, prompting a long court battle with the city. A federal appeals court in Philadelphia ruled in favor of Libya in 1985. Englewood officials estimate that the estate would have generated more than $1 million in property taxes by now.
I can’t believe I’ve found yet another reason to loathe the UN. I didn’t know that their ambassadors could purchase property in the U.S. and not pay taxes. It’s just us citizen schlubs who have to do things like that.
I’ve got a simple slogan for the people of Englewood: Libyan, go home.