Ramapo: An Unsure Governing Body?

Ramapo Jehovah's Witnesses Governing Body

In October 2019, the Jehovah’s Witnesses revealed at their Annual General Meeting (AGM) that they intend to build a 1.5 million square foot audio/video production facility at 155 Sterling Mine Road, in Ramapo, Tuxedo, New York.

This is a site totalling 249 acres. In addition to audio and video facilities, the complex will include offices, residences and underground parking. There will also be a visitor center and a fitness area for the residents, bethelites.

What most people may not know is that the Ramapo facility was one of three locations for the new world headquarters that were being considered by the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses as they were making plans to move out of Brooklyn, New York.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses bought the large site in 2009 from Loterdan Properties with the option to sell it back within a 2 year period if they changed their mind. However, this agreement caused a serious legal wrangle between the Jehovah’s Witnesses, (which included the Governing Body, the US Branch Committee, the Legal Department, Design Build Department, Real Property Department), and Lorterdan Properties.

After all was said and done, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, under the direction of the insightful and learned Governing Body, found themselves stuck with a large property development that they didn’t want and couldn’t sell.

It took from 2011 to 2019 for God’s appointed delivery men to suggest the inevitable and most obvious solution. After all, if you can’t sell the property, and the business model of Jehovah’s Witnesses is moving more into audio and video, it’s as suggestive as offering milk to a baby.

From left to right: Leon Weaver Jr, Harold L. Corkern, Alex Reinmueller.
From left to right: Leon Weaver Jr, Harold L. Corkern, Alex Reinmueller.

Below are various communications between the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the U.S. Branch Committee, Publishing Committee, the Legal Department, Treasurer’s Office, the Design/Build Department, Real Estate Study Group and the Real Property Department (Property Search Group).

  1. March 30 2005 Property Research
    (Property Search Group to U.S. Branch Committee)
  2. January 18, 2006 King’s College Property
    (Property Search Group to U.S. Branch Committee)
  3. January 25, 2006 King’s College Property
    (Property Search Group to U.S. Branch Committee)
  4. February 21, 2006 King’s College Property
    (Property Search Group to U.S. Branch Committee)
  5. March 22, 2007 Declination of King’s College Property Offer
    (Property Search Group to U.S. Branch Committee)
  6. September 22, 2008 Negotiation concerning Lorterdan / Sterling Mine Road Property
    (Property Search Group Meeting Minutes)
  7. October 24, 2008 Property Search Matters
    (Governing Body to U.S. Branch Committee)
  8. November 20, 2008 Ongoing Property Search
    (Governing Body to U.S. Branch Committee)
  9. December 11, 2008 Sterling Mine and Touro Property Matters
    (Governing Body to U.S. Branch Committee)
  10. January 15, 2009 Property Search Update – Touro and Sterling Mine Road Property
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Harold L Corkern / Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body)
  11. January 21, 2009 Property Search – Touro and Sterling Mine Road Properties
    (Governing Body to U.S. Branch Committee)
  12. January 26, 2009 Sterling Mine Road/Lorterdan – Introduction to Town of Ramapo
    (Property Search Group Meeting Minutes)
  13. February 10, 2009 Property Search Update – Week of February 3 to February 9, 2009
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Harold L Corkern / Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body)
  14. February 11, 2009 Property Search
    (Governing Body to U.S. Branch Committee)
  15. February 13, 2009 Property Search Strategy Session
    (Property Search Group Meeting Minutes)
  16. February 17, 2009 Property Search Update – Week of February 10 to February 16, 2009
    (U.S. Branch Committee to the Governing Body)
  17. February 18, 2009 Property Search Update
  18. February 24, 2009 Property Search Update for Week of February 23 – March 1, 2009
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body)
  19. March 2, 2009 Property Search Update for Week of February 23 to March 1, 2009 (Draft)
    (U.S. Branch Committee to the Governing Body)
  20. March 17, 2009 Property Search Update for Week of March 9 – 15, 2009
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Harold L Corkern / Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body; cc Alex Reinmueller, Daniel Rice)
  21. March 26, 2009 2:08 pm Watchtower – Ramapo PILOT (E-Mail)
    (David Everett to Robert (Bob) Pollock Jr; cc Richard J Sarajian, Daniel Ruzow, Daniel Rice)
  22. March 26, 2009 4:03pm – 4:35 pm RE: Watchtower – Ramapo PILOT (E-mail)
    (Robert Pollock Jr to Richard Moake, Jeff Baker, Daniel Rice, Lon Schilling, Kris Van Tessel; Response from Daniel (Dan) Rice)
  23. March 27, 2009 10:58 am – 1:37 pm FW: Message from Mayor Wright
    (Richard Moake to Daniel Rice, Robert Pollock Jr; Response from Robert Pollock Jr)
  24. March 28, 2009 2:32 pm – 2:35 pm RE: Message from Mayor Wright
    (Daniel Rice to Robert Pollock Jr, Richard Moake; cc Lon Schilling, Jeffrey S. Baker, Kris Van Tassel; Response from Richard Moake)
  25. March 31, 2009 Property Search Update for Week of March 23 – 29, 2009
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body; cc Alex Reinmueller, Daniel Rice)
  26. April 7, 2009 Property Search Update for Week of March 30 to April 5, 2009
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Harold L Corkern / Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body; cc Alex Reinmueller, Daniel Rice)
  27. April 14, 2009 Property Search Update for Week of April 6 – 12, 2009 (Draft)
    (U.S. Branch Committee to the Governing Body; cc Alex Reinmueller, Daniel Rice)
  28. April 16, 2009 Property Search Update for Week of April 6 – 12, 2009
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body; cc Alex Reinmueller, Daniel Rice)
  29. April 21, 2009 Property Search Update for Week of April 3 – 19, 2009
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body; cc Alex Reinmueller, Daniel Rice)
  30. April 28, 2009 Property Search Update for Week of April 20 – 26, 2009
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body; cc Alex Reinmueller, Daniel Rice)
  31. May 7, 2009 Property Search Update for Week of April 27 to May 4, 2009
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body; cc Alex Reinmueller, Daniel Rice)
  32. May 12, 2009 Progress Update
    (Property Search Group Meeting Minutes)
  33. May 13, 2009 Property Search Update for Week of May 5 to 11, 2009
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body; cc Alex Reinmueller, Daniel Rice)
  34. May 27, 2009 Property Search Update for Week of May 12 – 26, 2009
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body; cc Alex Reinmueller, Daniel Rice)
  35. June 2, 2009 Progress Update
    (Property Search Group Meeting Minutes)
  36. June 4, 2009 Property Search Update for May 12 – 26, 2009
    (Governing Body to U.S. Branch Committee)
  37. June 4, 2009 Property Search Update for Week of May 27 to June 2, 2009
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body; cc Alex Reinmueller, Daniel Rice)
  38. June 10, 2009 Property Search Update for Week of June 3-9, 2009
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body; cc Alex Reinmueller, Daniel Rice)
  39. June 12, 2009 Potential development of a third site outside of New York City
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Harold L Corkern / Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body)
  40. June 18, 2009 Property Matters
    (Governing Body to U.S. Branch Committee)
  41. June 18, 2009 Meeting with Representatives of Touro College
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Harold Corkern / Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body)
  42. June 23, 2009 Update on Negotiations with Touro College (Revised)
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body; cc Alex Reinmueller, Property Search Group)
  43. June 25, 2009 Update on Negotiations with Touro College
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Harold Corkern / Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body)
  44. June 30, 2009 Property Search Update for June 24 – 30, 2009
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body; cc Alex Reinmueller, Daniel Rice)
  45. July 1, 2009 Touro Negotiations – Acceptance of Revised Offer
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body; cc A. Reinmueller, D. Rice)
  46. July 7, 2009 Property Search Update for July 1 – 7, 2009
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Harold L Corkern / Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body; cc Alex Reinmueller, Daniel Rice)
  47. July 10, 2009 Tax Re-Assessment of Sterling Mine Road Property in the Town of Ramapo
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Harold L Corkern / Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body; cc Legal Department, Alex Reinmueller, Daniel Rice)
  48. July 15, 2009 Tax Re-Assessment of Sterling Mine Road property in the Town of Ramapo
    (Governing Body to U.S. Branch Committee)
  49. July 16, 2009 Property Search Update for July 8 – 14, 2009
    (U.S. Branch Committee (W. Maxwell Lloyd / Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body; cc Alex Reinmueller, Daniel Rice)
  50. July 17, 2009 Purchase of the Former Touro College Property in Tuxedo Park, New York (Town of Warwick)
    (U.S. Branch Committee (John Kikot / Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body; cc D. Rice, A. Reinmueller)
  51. July 22, 2009 Property Search Update for July 8 – 14, 2009
    (Governing Body to the U.S. Branch Committee)
  52. July 24, 2009 Meeting with Town of Ramapo Supervisor on July 16, 2009
    (U.S. Branch Committee ( Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body; cc Philip Brumley, Alex Reinmueller, Daniel Rice)
  53. July 23, 2009 3:47 pm – July 31, 2009 8:34 am Lorterdan Tax Exemption (E-Mail)
    (Kris Van Tassel to Richard Moake; Richard Moake to Kris Van Tassel; Kris Van Tassel to Jeffrey S. Baker (Storm King), Robert Pollock Jr, Daniel Rice, Lon Schilling; cc Judd Wilson; Robert Pollock Jr to Richard Moake; Richard Moake to Robert Pollock Jr; Kris Van Tassel to Jeffrey S. Baker (Storm King), Robert Pollock Jr, Daniel Rice, Lon Schilling; cc Richard Moake, Judd Wilson)
  54. July 31, 2009 Necessary Filing in Warwick
    (U.S. Branch Committee ( Leon Weaver Jr) to the Publishing Committee)
  55. August 4, 2009 Necessary Filing in Warwick
    (Publishing Committee to U.S. Branch Committee)
  56. August 4, 2009 Inquiry Seeking Permits for the Property in the Town of Warwick
    (Lon Schilling to U.S Branch Committee c/o Leon Weaver)
  57. August 5, 2009 Property Update for July 15 to August 4, 2009
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body; cc Alex Reinmueller, Daniel Rice)
  58. August 11, 2009 Property Update for August 5 to August 11, 2009
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body; cc Alex Reinmueller, Daniel Rice)
  59. August 18, 2009 Property Update for August 12 to August 18, 2009
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body; cc Alex Reinmueller, Daniel Rice)
  60. August 19, 2009 Meeting with Town of Ramapo Supervisor on July 16, 2009
    (Governing Body to U.S. Branch Committee)
  61. August 26, 2009 Town of Ramapo – Community Benefit Agreement
    (Property Search Group (Daniel Rice) to U.S. Branch Committee c/o Leon Weaver; cc Legal Department, Alex Reinmueller)
  62. August 26, 2009 Town or Rampo – Community Benefit Agreement; Ramapo Property – Repurchase Agreement
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Harold L Corkern / Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body)
  63. August 27, 2009 Agreement With Township of Ramapo
    (Governing Body to U.S. Branch Committee)
  64. September 15, 2009 Invitation for Town of Warwick Officials to Visit Patterson Bethel
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body; cc Alex Reinmueller, Daniel Rice)
  65. September 29, 2009 Ramapo Property – Tax Status of Seven Acre Property in the Town of Tuxedo
    (U.S. Branch Committee ( Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body; cc Alex Reinmueller, Daniel Rice)
  66. October 9, 2009 Approval for agreement/payment to Town of Ramapo
    (Property Search Group (Robert A. Pollock) to the U.S. Branch Committee (Harold L. Corkern))
  67. November 5, 2009 Please find enclosed the weekly property update
    (U.S. Branch Committee ( Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body; cc Alex Reinmueller, Daniel Rice)
  68. November 11, 2009 Zoning Change Proposal to Ramapo Town Board
    (Governing Body to U.S. Branch Committee)
  69. November 20, 2009 Ramapo Property – Submission of Zoning Change Proposal to Ramapo Town Board
    (Legal Department (Philip Brumley) to U.S. Branch Committee c/o P. LaFranca; cc Real Property Department, Treasurer’s Office)
  70. December 2, 2009 Property Search Group
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body)
  71. January 12, 2010 Property Update for January 6, 2010, to January 12, 2010
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Harold L Corkern / Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body; cc Alex Reinmueller, Daniel Rice)
  72. April 06, 2010 Property Update for March 24 to April 6, 2010
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Harold L Corkern / Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body; cc Alex Reinmueller, Daniel Rice)
  73. June 10, 2010 Property Update for June 2 to June 8, 2010
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body; cc R. Devine, A. Reinmueller, D. Rice)
  74. September 9, 2010 Projected Occupancy for Future Facilities
    (Governing Body to U.S. Branch Committee)
  75. October 4, 2010 Ramapo Property
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body; cc Real Estate Study Group)
  76. October 7, 2009 Ramapo Property
    (Governing Body to U.S. Branch Committee)
  77. November 3, 2010 Property Update for October 27 to November 2, 2010
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body; cc R. Devine, A. Reinmueller, D. Rice)
  78. January 25, 2011 Property Update for January 19 to January 25, 2011
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body; cc R. Devine, A. Reinmueller, D. Rice)
  79. April 5, 2011 Lorterdan Properties at Ramapo I, LLC
    (Richard D. Moake to Barry R. Mandelbaum, Esq)
  80. April 6, 2011 8:29 am to 8:33 am Legal Department 895 – Draft Letter to Lorterdan Properties at Ramapo I, LLC
    (Branch Committee Inbox to Legal Inbox; Jeremy Blankenship to Daniel Rice, Robert Pollock Jr; cc Leon Weaver Jr)
  81. April 6, 2011 Draft Letter to Lorterdan Properties at Ramapo I, LLC
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body; cc Legal Department, D. Rice, R. Pollock)
  82. April 6, 2011 Approved Letter to Lorterdan Properties at Ramapo I, LLC
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body; cc Legal Department, D. Rice, R. Pollock)
  83. April 26, 2011 Ramapo Property – Denial of Tax Exemption
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body; cc Legal Department, Real Property Department)
  84. May 04, 2011 Update on Ramapo Property Repurchase Agreement
    (U.S. Branch Committee (Leon Weaver Jr) to the Governing Body; cc Legal Department (Richard Moake), Design/Build Department (Robert Pollock), Real Property Department (Daniel Rice))

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