The city of Newark is admitting it got scammed.It was about to become a Sister City with a Hindu nation, but there was one problem – the nation doesn't exist.As CBS2's Ali Bauman reports, the city only found out about the fraud after it held an official ceremony for it.What started off as a seemingly well-intentioned partnership has turned into a giant embarrassment for the city of Newark.Earlier this year, Mayor Ras Baraka invited what he thought was the Hindu nation of Kailasa to Newark's City Hall for a cultural trade agreement, but it turns out Kailasa is no nation at all; it's a fake.Though it has a detailed website, "Kailasa" has no real government. It's the brainchild of Swami Nithyananda, a notorious scam artist and fugitive from India who has been on the run from rape charges since 2019."Whose job was it to do a simple Google search? No one in City Hall, not one person did a Google search, so maybe we need a transformation of City Hall 'cause not one person said, let me go and Google and figure out this was a fake city," Newark resident Shakee Merritt said.
Chad Halpern, U.S. Ambassador to Bulungi since 1996, has been asked to return to Washington to face allegations that the West African nation does not exist."While nothing has been substantiated as of yet," President Clinton told reporters at a press conference Monday, "it appears Ambassador Halpern may have made the country up."According to Clinton, suspicions first arose last month when Côte d'Ivoire president Henri Konan Bédié attended a formal state dinner at the White House. When Secretary of State Madeleine Albright asked Bédié for an update on the fighting between Côte d'Ivoire's army and Bulungi's Mukka-Lukka rebels, Bédié replied, "I am sorry, I do not understand of what you speak."Albright then explained to Bédié that Ambassador Halpern had recently informed her that the fighting between Côte d'Ivoire and Bulungi had reached a breaking point, with Côte d'Ivoire's army advancing all the way to the Bulungian capital of Yabba-Dabba."After dinner that night," Clinton said, "Secretary Albright and I made the decision to look up Bulungi in an atlas. Unfortunately, we were unable to locate it. We also looked for it in a large dictionary, under several different spellings, but again, we were without success."Ambassador Halpern, 24, of Laguna Beach, CA, was appointed to his post by President Clinton after a chance meeting at the Laguna Beach McDonald's where Halpern worked at the time. After discussing Bulungian politics with Halpern for more than two hours, Clinton was impressed enough to name him ambassador.
City of Newark falls for Sister City scam
I'm only interested in this story because it reminds me of an Onion article from a long time ago.