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This Might Be the Most Embarrassing Thing to Happen to a US City

AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib

This might be one of the most embarrassing things to ever happen to city leaders in America. Apparently, it's not just old people getting duped by Nigerian prince scams—government officials are just as susceptible, it seems. 

In Newark, New Jersey, local officials failed to do basic due diligence—a quick Google search would have even sufficed in this situation—before inviting representatives from Kailasa to city hall for a cultural trade agreement ceremony, complete with document signings and photographs. 

The problem, of course, is that Kailasa is a fake Hindu nation set up by a notorious scam artist and fugitive from India. 

Days later, the Newark City Council rescinded the agreement, with one council member calling it "an oversight." Residents, meanwhile, were stunned over the "very embarrassing" incident. 

"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," Shakee Merritt, a Newark resident, told WRGB Albany. 

"Kailasa" does have a detailed website and, according to the India Times, the fake nation has been attempting to legitimize itself by dealing with various diplomats across the world.

The fake country was reportedly "founded" by the fugitive Swami Nithyananda, and claims to be off the coast of Ecuador after Nithyananda purchased an island from the nation, but Ecuadorian officials have denied this.

Newark City Hall has insisted no money was exchanged in the "Sister City" deal, according to CBS News. Newark city officials reportedly told CBS News that, based upon the revelation of the deception, the official ceremony is now "groundless and void." (WRGB Albany)

In a statement to CBS News, Newark City Hall called it a "regrettable incident," though it said it "remains committed to partnering with people from diverse cultures in order to enrich each other with connectivity, support, and mutual respect."


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