The city of Newark became the latest victim of a Sister City scam, when they partnered with the Hindu nation of the United States of Kailasa.
New Jersey’s largest city held a formal signing ceremony at City Hall with fake delegates on January 12th, which entered them into a “broad-based, long-term partnership” with what turned out to be a nation that doesn’t exist.
“I pray that our relationship helps us to understand cultural, social, and political development and improves the lives of everybody in both places,” Newark Mayor Ras Baraka remarked at the time.
Less than a week later, Newark City Council discovered that Kailasa is not a country that can be found on any map, and is actually the creation of scam artist and self-appointed guru Swami Nithyananda.
Nithyananda, who’s real name is Arunachalam Rajasekaran, founded a Hindu cult that operates temples and ashrams in several countries.
He is the subject of Discovery+ 2020 docuseries “My Daughter Joined a Cult,” and fled India in 2019 after being accused of rape and abduction.
The same year, he founded Kailasa, which claims to be a “borderless service oriented nation,” which is operated through a group of NGOs, and “recognized by the United Nations,” according to Kailaasa.org.
The website also denied that Nithyananda was a rapist or a scammer.
“All such allegations are absolutely false,” the country’s FAQs page read.
“Many prominent human rights advocates have given independent reports and legal opinions attesting this.”
Fox News host Jesse Watters jabbed at Newark for falling for the sister city scam on his show Wednesday night.
“Newark thought Kailasa was a Hindu nation just off the coast of Ecuador,” he began.
“No one in the entire Newark government thought to themselves, “There’s a Hindu island off the coast of South America?”
“No one at the city council in Newark thought, “Hey, I’ve never heard of this country. What’s their food like? What’s their clothing look like? Are there beaches or rainforests in Kailasa? Let me just do a Google search before we get these guys into a room and make them our sister city.”
“No — instead, they ran with it. Not only did they get duped, but they got duped by a self-proclaimed fake kind of Kailasa, a serial rapist,” he continued.
During the same broadcast, Watters revealed that there are more than 30 American cities that have fallen for Nithyananda’s grift, including Richmond, Dayton, and Buena Park, Florida.
When Watter’s staff reached out to many of the cities, most of them confirmed that they had been duped into signing agreements with the fake nation.
“Our proclamations with Kailasa are not an endorsement. They are a response to a request and we do not verify the information that is requested,” Watters said that Jacksonville, North Carolina told Fox News in a statement.
“If someone wants a proclamation, someone gets a proclamation. They’ll just say you’re an exotic Hindu Island and they’ll name a street after you,” he joked.
Watters noted that two members of Congress, Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA), and Rep. Troy Balderson (R-OH), fell for the scam as well.
“Now this congressman may not have graduated from college, but you don’t need a degree as [CNN’s] Don Lemon says ‘Google it,'” he concluded.
“All you need is five minutes to realize that Kailasa’s fake.”
A spokesperson for Newark said that the agreement was only in effect for six days, before it was “rendered baseless and void.”
“Although this was a regrettable incident, the city of Newark remains committed to partnering with people from diverse cultures in order to enrich each other with connectivity, support, and mutual respect,” the spokesperson noted.