Criminal Mischief Charges to Be Mediated
The dispute over damage to private property in Mahwah is slated to be settled through mediation. The two sides in the dispute – the Ramapough Lenape Nation and residents of the nearby affluent housing community the Polo Club – will participate in a private mediation session in an attempt to resolve claims that a tribe member tampered with private property.
The Polo Club is located next to the tribe’s property on Halifax Road.
The accused tribe members appeared in court recently in answer to the charges. The two men, Ramapough Chief Dwaine Perry and Steven D. Smith (Owl), were both involved in the criminal mischief event.
According to the charges, Smith is accused of tampering with the surveillance camera used by the Polo Club. He is accused of trying to redirect the camera to a different view. Perry allegedly drove Smith to the property.
Following a private sidebar with attorneys representing Smith and Owl, the judge stated in light of private attempts to resolve the issue, mediation should be used to work through the problem. The parties were then asked to agree on a mediator to help them resolve the dispute.
If the issue is resolved through mediation, the Polo Club could then ask the court to dismiss the complaints. However, if mediation is unsuccessful, the dispute would proceed to trial beginning on September 14th.
Perry stated he is happy the issue will be mediated and stated he is positive that an impartial third party will be able to establish the “charges are ludicrous”.
The history between the tribe and the Polo Club has been speckled with problems. Many residents of the Polo Club have complained of noise and domestic disturbances over the years. The issues came to a head in May when there were reports of vandalism.