Yes, this blog post headline is sadly real.
I was fired on July 21, 2020, for seeking the truth about whether or not holding this year’s Cedarhurst, New York, sidewalk sale would be legal.
At least, I think I was fired. I never received a termination letter or anything in writing.
Nevertheless, I’m definitely out of a job, thanks to Cedarhurst’s Deputy Mayor, Ari Brown.
For over ten years, I was the Executive Director of The Cedarhurst Business Improvement District, and the centerpiece of my position was the annual Cedarhurst summer sidewalk sale.
Last year, close to 85 merchants participated in the four-day event, every parking lot in the village was packed, and thousands of shoppers participated.
Year after year, it was an event I had always been proud of organizing, promoting, and running.
But to bring thousands of people to Cedarhurst smack in the middle of a pandemic and an array of emergency laws and executive orders established as a result?
Not so much.
And unless the event was legal and permitted, I wanted no part of it.
Do I need to explain why?
To be fired for doing my job legally and responsibly? Well, that’s just flat-out WRONG.
To be fired for seeking the truth? WRONG.
To be fired for wanting to ensure that the Cedarhurst Business Improvement District and the Village of Cedarhurst didn’t sponsor an illegal public gathering? WRONG.
And get this one:
I get fired, and a few days later, the Cedarhurst Business Improvement District and the Village of Cedarhurst then decided NOT to move ahead with the August Sidewalk Sale.
So WRONG on so many levels. But based on the questionable character of some of the players, not surprising.
We are fighting against a deadly virus.
I mean, seriously, do I need to remind anybody of that?
Health officials have warned against large gatherings. The larger the crowd, the greater the chance that someone in it will have the virus. As the size of the crowd increases, so do the chances of COVID-19 exposure.
When I was instructed to start work on the annual sidewalk sale in early July 2020, I didn’t know whether the event was legal or not.
Under the present circumstances, it sure didn’t seem like inviting thousands of people to descend upon a quarter-mile shopping area was the safest idea.
So, I got permission from my boss to make some calls to New York State and Nassau County to get a written statement as to the legality of the sidewalk sale.
Seemed like a no-brainer, right?
Call your state and local government during a PANDEMIC and get the go-ahead. Or not.
Well, so much for a no-brainer.
Over a two-week period, I made at least twenty attempts to get someone in the State or County government to put something in writing.
No one wanted to put anything in written form.
Heck, no one wanted to give me their last names.
I had plenty of people willing to tell me verbally that the event was not allowed, would be reported, and a fine would be issued.
But not one of those government officials had the guts to put it in writing.
Why not? I didn’t get it. Were they afraid of certain Cedarhurst Village officials? And if so, what were they afraid the officials would accuse them of?
It seemed that the only one who had the guts to put anything in writing was me.
And once I sent a written report to Deputy Mayor Ari Brown about my findings, things got u-g-l-y.
I heard a lot of nasty lies and rumors spread about me by Deputy Mayor Ari Brown. He spread false rumors about my mental health, lied when he claimed I was unwilling to do my job, and falsely accused me of redacting and tampering with my workplace databases.
As if that weren’t enough, Deputy Mayor Ari Brown also made false claims about my being fired from my Executive Director position years earlier, as well as accusations that I lied about what state and county representatives told me regarding the 2020 Cedarhurst Sidewalk Sale.
BTW: ALL UNTRUE. And all of which I can prove to be untrue.
And as incredible as it may sound, Deputy Mayor Ari Brown also made accusations against my daughter (yes, my daughter) concerning what I will refer to as Zoomgate.
There’s even supposed to be a taped conversation between a certain Cedarhurst store owner and Ari Brown proving that despicable and untrue things were indeed said about me by the Deputy Mayor of Cedarhurst.
According to the store owner who taped him, he allegedly promised to give her my job, which she ultimately got.
I didn’t see anywhere in my Executive Director job description that said it was okay to kill people.
Okay, maybe that’s a stretch. Or maybe it’s not.
Because it’s no stretch that increases in new confirmed COVID-19 cases were reported in 43 states this past week. And hospitalizations from the disease also increased. And COVID-19 deaths rose for the second straight week.
So why wouldn’t I question whether throwing a sidewalk sale party was legal or not?
Apparently, questioning the legality of the event was not allowed.
And refusing to work on the sale event unless I knew it was legal was also impermissible.
And that’s why I lost my job.
Honestly, I really didn’t want to write this blog post.
But the character assassination by the Village of Cedarhurst Deputy Mayor Ari Brown against me was devastatingly vicious and wholly untrue.
To be clear, I would have been willing to let the false accusations go if Ari Brown would have apologized.
But Ari Brown had no intention of apologizing. He wanted me out. Plain and simple.
Anyway, it’s too late to apologize.
Because Ari Brown went out of his way to engineer my removal as Executive Director with untruths and false accusations.
For certain men, their actions aren’t a matter of principle. Their actions are a matter of power and of winning—at any cost.
Even if it means trying to ruin someone’s reputation, in this case—mine.
My grandmother would always say that the only thing you have is your reputation and your good name and to never let anyone take that away from you.
That, my dear deceased grandmother, is easier said than done.
But I’m working on it.
All I can do at this point is be proud of having done my due diligence.
And I can tell my grandkids that during the pandemic, I sought the truth in order to protect a village, the merchants, the shoppers, and the community at large.
And for that, I was fired.
I’ll take it.
I’ll proudly wear that badge of honor.
16 thoughts on “2020 Cedarhurst Sidewalk Sale: I Was Fired for Seeking the Truth”
Seriously? Did you file a defamation of character against this individual? And a formal complaint against the governmental official? You don’t have to sit back and let them besmirch you for their own satisfaction.
Yes Joanne, I am discussing all of my options, including whether or not to sue this village official personally for defamation. And last week I filed a complaint with the Department of Labor. As someone who knows me well, you know I am not one to sit back and let anyone get away with trying to ruin my good name or my reputation. In the end, that’s all we have.
So sorry to hear about your ordeal. As someone who worked with you for several years, I know that you handle this situation in a professional manner and made the right recommendation given the current situation.
Thank you, Robin. It has been an extremely upsetting and stressful situation. How anyone can get away with trying to ruin someone’s reputation is beyond my comprehension.
Fight the injustice! I am sickened by this but, sadly, not surprised. Strength in what is right, true and just! XXOO
As always Carissa, thank you for your kind words. They mean a lot to me.
Terry, I am very proud of you. Having been a business owner and participant in many Cedarhurst Sidewalk Sales, you did the right thing. Besides the legalities, you would have been putting many lives in danger. This is no time for that kind of gathering.
Thank you so much, Beverly. As a successful merchant in Cedarhurst for many years, your opinion means a lot to me. My main concern through those many painful weeks was to make sure the event was legal and that people were safe. I’m at peace with my actions although incredibly stressed out and hurt about what occurred.
I am so sorry for you! Terri. Where are we now? Where will we be tomorrow? When common sense, rational thought, and honest debate are discarded as mindless dribble despite the facts, the world has always resorted to violent confrontation. The question will be, of what side of the line do I stand?
I can’t answer for what side of the line you stand on. I can only speak for myself. I stand on the side of truth, dignity, morals, and a firm conviction that the side of the line I’m standing on is the right side. Regardless of the outcome.
Omg, what did you do wrong? If you had held the sale they would have attacked you for that! You did the right thing! Get em!!!
Thanks, Jenny. What I did wrong was to question the authority of the Village of Cedarhurst Deputy Mayor Ari Brown who was trying to pressure me (more like bullying me) into doing his bidding. When I said I couldn’t work on the sidewalk sale because I didn’t know if the event was legal Ari Brown defamed me and used untruths to convince Cedarhurst BID board members to remove me from my job. And make no mistake about it, I would do it all over again.
I’m sorry that happened, and saddened that someone like this is in a position of power (and abuses it). Sadly, he’s kept right on track now, a year later.
Thanks for your kind words. I have to say that I was devastated by Ari Brown’s lies and defamatory actions against me. Not only is he right on track a year later, but unless Cedarhurst residents do the right thing, and vote him out, he’ll be Mayor. My in-laws were Holocaust survivors and it makes me sick to see that Ari Brown would have the audacity to compare a vaccine to what my in-laws had to endure. And they were the lucky ones.
Ari Brown is a sick man and a liar. I am amazed at how he has held a public position for so long as a sociopath and active lawsuits against him!!!