- Rich Klein
EDITORIAL: Some Power Brokers In Sullivan Got Played By Sherry Li/ Lianbo Wang
Updated: Jul 20, 2022
"We have letters from locals all the time telling us not to let them do it," Cellini said. "(But) you don't turn away a developer that wants to spend millions of dollars in your community. You've got to listen and work with them." - Quote from former Town of Thompson Supervisor Tony Cellini.
Sherry Li, presenting her project for the first time n May 2013 at a meeting in the Town of Thompson.
Some power brokers and others in Sullivan County got played royally by Sherry Li and Lianbo Wang, who are now being held by the feds for their elaborate financial scheme that ripped off many.
The pair behind their fantasy project known as "China City of America" and, later, "Thompson Education Center" sponsored multiple events held by the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce, Partnership for Economic Development, Boys & Girls Club of Wallkill and scholarships for Liberty students. They also said they set up a nursing program and announced an agreement with Garnet Health (then Catskill Regional Hospital).
But it was all dirty money from what the FBI is calling an illegal scheme in which the pair raised some $27 million from investors and siphoned much of it off for their personal use.
On a personal note, Li was a client of mine in my public relations business very early on in her introduction to Sullivan back in 2013 and five years before the launch of The SullivanTimes. We parted ways after a few short months when I started asking questions about her background as a developer - and she stiffed me out of $6,000 for my labor.
I didn't go away quietly and later discovered that she also did not pay local attorney Jacob Billig and other service providers for their services, including LeChase Construction who had been retained to build their massive home in Fallsburg. Of course, Fallsburg officials allowed that to happen despite warnings from the public, including the vocal Basha Kill Area Association, on multiple issues.
Li and Wang threw money around in Sullivan, purchasing influence that started in Sullivan and then they worked their way up to being among the biggest contributors to candidate Donald J. Trump. They gave $600,000 to the Trump Victory Committee and $55,000 to then-Governor Andrew Cuomo, who was running for re-election.
Separately and quietly, I started two Facebook pages to defeat their project because I knew the pair could not be trusted after lying to me and many others. Through some research, I learned that they made most of their wealth in China through a previously-owned electronics company and tried to hide that from the public.
But to some local officials and business leaders, they didn't question what I was saying: that there was no record anywhere in the U.S. of Li ever building anything in her time in the U.S.
-Editor Rich Klein