The above pages are from the ruling of the Appellate Court in the Murray Huberfeld/Norman Seabrook Platinum Saga. In our opinion it is nothing short of a travesty of justice.
The victims were indeed the retirees who invested pension funds under Norman Seabrook’s guidance and control. The retirees are the very people who stand to gain equitably by compelling Murray Huberfeld to repay some of the losses they incurred on a failed investment from which he stood to gain. Those losses were realized because of the actions of Huberfeld.
And, when the lower court Judge stated that the sentence would have been the same regardless of which guidelines were used, the Appellate Judges should have accepted the lower court Judge’s credibility, integrity and the process he used. It is somewhat disheartening that they did not.
Moreover, the ruling raises questions about the integrity of the process moving forward. The Appellate Court has basically undermined the credibility of the lower court Judge with the following statement, which we find unsettling at best:
Appeal from United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Alvin K. Hellerstein, J.), convicting Murray Huberfeld, after a guilty plea, of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371. We hold that the district court erred at sentencing by applying the commercial bribery sentencing guideline based on an uncharged bribery scheme that the government dropped in exchange for Huberfeld pleading guilty to the wire fraud. Vacatur is warranted because we cannot be confident, despite the district court’s statement to the contrary, that it would have imposed the same sentence had it instead used the correct guideline.
We sincerely hope that the lower court will use another process and come to the same conclusions, the same sentence or even one that is longer, with greater restitution to be paid. The sentencing guidelines allowed the sentence imposed. It should remain. These were not victimless crimes.
Commissioner for Hackney tells Child Sexual Abuse inquiry of inability to enforce safeguarding for Charedi students and it being ‘impossible’ to map unregulated schools
The commissioner charged with engaging yeshivas on child safeguarding has said it is “like playing whack-a-mole” because they up sticks and move once detected.
Independent Child Safeguarding Commissioner of City and Hackney Safeguarding Children Partnership Jim Gamble, a former senior policeman from Northern Ireland, made the comments under oath to public prosecutor Fiona Scolding.
Gamble, who has spent seven years trying to engage yeshivas, was giving evidence via Zoom at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse on Tuesday, with Orthodox Jewish leaders set to respond on Wednesday.
As if the Outrageous Kodak Pivot to Pharma Wasn’t Absurd Enough… We Could Jokingly Commented: “All We Need is a Tax Deductible Donation to a Synagogue”
Kodak came up in an article we wrote in 2018 which is, we believe, relevant to the utter insanity of the recent Kodak transaction. Whomever concocted this folly deserves a prize for one of most creative ways to manipulate the financial markets amidst a pandemic. The greatest victims are Kodak shareholders and those unsavy investors who thought buying Kodak was a good idea. It wasn’t, unless you caught it JUST IN TIME. To do that, you had to be an Insider (with few exceptions).
Yesterday (7/28/20), President Trump surprised a LOT of people announcing that via the Defense Production Act (DPA) the US government is going to give Kodak (NYSE:KODK) $765 million to make pharmaceuticals. The tie to current COVID-19 pandemic issues, for which the Act was invoked, is at best tenuous. Somehow the announcement seems to be more about moving pharma production back to the USA. Which is why it left me, and a lot of others, asking, “why would you pick Kodak?” Seeking Alpha
Trump’s ties to the Orthodox Jewish community is no surprise to those of us researching these topics. He did, after all, commute the sentence of Shalom Rubashkin, heavily tied to both the Chabad and the Satmar communities. This was undoubtedly a favor returned for the bloc vote, and likely other personal and professional benefits for friends and family.
Trump’s daughter and son-in-law have deep, heavily leveraged and big money ties to the Jewish community, most particularly as it connects to Chabad. Ivanka’s former business partner has millions in taxes forgiven by the Internal Revenue Service with many of us left to shake our heads. He was then accused of duping diamond dealers. It should be noted that Ivanka’s former partner denied he owed taxes. But then there’s the odd arson claim involving the same partner.
The Ukranian Oligarchs, the Ties to the US Government, Power and Money
LM began investigating the story of the Ukranian Oligarchs deeply embedded in US political affairs in 2019 as part of the investigation into the arrest of other Ukranian nationals tied to the government. Actually, the investigation started earlier when LM began looking into the Dan Gertler stories in 2016.
More recently, our inquiries have included Rudolph Giuliani’s pursuit of business in the Ukraine. The Magnitsky Act sanctions against Gertler which were toppled by executive order (more on that in a later story) and now a recent investigation into Ukranian oligarchs heavily leveraged in a number of US states who allegedly laundered and stole billions of dollars.
The story about these men and their somewhat intricate ties to high level US Government officials included a number of significant news articles about Arsen Avakov, Ukraine’s Interior Minister and Marie Yovanovitch (who, if you will recall was ousted from her position as the US ambassador to the Ukraine). We posit that Yovanovitch knew what was going on, wanted to put an end to the wholesale purchase of parts of the US to powers that be in the Ukraine and got tossed aside for that reason. Her testimony during the impeachment hearings likely missed far too much about what she knew than it brought to light.
The information we uncovered along the way, we believe, should have been part of the US impeachment inquiry, which itself was unsuccessful; but only because of the political climate. The mistakes of that inquiry were far more about what was ignored during hearings than anything else, namely that likely all the President’s men were playing both sides of the Ukranian double-edged sword to establish relationships and with Ukranian power-brokers thereby yielding themselves significant political power and financial benefits. No politician worth his weight in corrupt political salt would have been immune to the money and power these connections could help wield.
A U.S. company affiliated with the Ukrainian billionaire Igor Kolomoisky that has been accused of participating in an international fraud scheme was raided by the FBI in two locations on Tuesday.
Agents conducted “law enforcement activity” in Cleveland and Miami at addresses that correspond with the offices of Optima Management Group, according to FBI Special Agent Vicki Anderson.
No arrests were made, she said. Photographs published by the Cleveland Plain Dealer show agents taking boxes from the Cleveland location.
Optima was part of an international scheme in which billions of dollars were siphoned from a Ukrainian bank by Kolomoisky to buy U.S. real estate, according to a civil lawsuit filed last year in Delaware. A grand jury in Cleveland is investigating Kolomoisky’s suspected role in the scheme, BuzzFeed News reported.
Optima is controlled by three Floridians accused in the suit of serving as Kolomoisky’s business representatives in the U.S., acquiring assets in their own name with money allegedly diverted from Privatbank, which Kolomoisky co-founded.
In some nursing homes, 100% of the residents are positive for the coronavirus. That’s by design.These facilities have volunteered to devote part or all of their buildings exclusively to treating COVID-19 patients, who bring in more government money. But to make room for them, the original residents can be forced out of the places they’ve called home.
“We’re very concerned for them,” he said. “We’re concerned for the loved ones they go home to, we’re concerned for the grocery store workers they come in contact with. We’re concerned for the community, that this could be the way it’s transmitted out of the facility.”
Terenzini said the town wishes Scott would reconsider the 50% occupancy requirement for hotels, and instead base the occupancy cap on the size of the institution. While he thinks the rule, as it stands, makes sense for small bed-and-breakfast-style inns, he feels large hotels should be more restricted.
“When you have a facility that can host 600 people,” he said, “50% is 300, and that’s still a lot of people, during a pandemic, to come into a small community and stay for a long period of time coming from other places in the country, including some of the hardest-hit places, like New York City, and the surrounding communities in New Jersey and elsewhere.”
Bennington town officials released a statement yesterday detailing actions the town has taken to ensure compliance with Scott’s executive order, including a cap on 75% occupancy at summer camps.
Given the camp’s reported number of 350 campers, the camp is well within occupancy of Southern Vermont College’s campus, which has an occupancy of around 1,000 people, Schirling said.
Some Bennington residents are frustrated that state officials have relied on the camp director’s word, and have not attempted to otherwise verify the number of campers, their negative Covid-19 tests, or whether campers and staff members are socially distancing and wearing masks.
“If there are reasonable grounds to believe someone’s in violation of an executive order, then we send a variety of different entities depending on the circumstances to check in on that,” Schirling said. “There’s been no information coming out of Bennington to indicate that they are not in compliance with the health and safety guidance.”
The town’s statement, written by Bennington Selectboard Chair Don Campbell and Stuart Hurd, town manager, also mentioned a blog post — titled “Jackson NJ Lawbreaker Sets Up Sketchy Summer Camp in Vermont?”— by an organization called Rise Up Ocean County that circulated recently. The group has been under scrutiny by New Jersey officials and anti-hate watchdog groups for anti-Semitic and racist comments that appeared on its Facebook page.
“Earlier this year, the governor of New Jersey identified Rise Up Ocean County as an anti-Semitic group and their Facebook page was taken down due to their hateful messages about the Jewish community,” the statement reads. “The town of Bennington does not condone any hateful rhetoric and strives to create a welcoming and safe environment for all.”
Terenzini said his reluctance about Perlstein and the camp is centered on health concerns and its alignment in timing with Covid-19.
Yesterday the attorney representing Bennington Township was to be in court seeking to withdraw from the stipulated agreement made on July 22nd and approved by the court on July 23rd regarding noise violations occurring on the campus of Southern Vermont College as a result of Camp Zichron Chaim.
Merrill Bent was to ask that each defendant be held separately in contempt stating in her motion that “It is clear that defendants will not adhere to any obligation imposed on them — whether by this court’s order or by contract.”
Bent’s demand was to be “that the court issue an order forbidding the defendants from conducting any summer camp activities on the property, effectively immediately, and order defendants to pay the town the expenses of suit, including its attorneys’ fees.”
But it was not to be.
The defendants, Moshe Dovid Perlstein and Camp Southern Vermont LLC, represented by Carl Lisman, requested and received a postponement with a new hearing date of August 5, 2020. That delay allows the camp to continue to operate for at least the first week of a scheduled three week camp.
BENNINGTON — After receiving a high volume of noise complaints from residents, the town of Bennington is pursuing legal action against Zichron Chaim Inc. and Moshe Perlstein, the operator of a summer camp taking place on Southern Vermont College’s former campus.
On July 15, Perlstein was served a temporary restraining order prohibiting noise on the campus after 9 p.m., but Bennington police reported multiple complaints about excessive noise the same night and the following day.
“I just received another 30 pages(!) of noise complaints from yesterday,” Merrill Bent, an attorney representing the town, wrote to Perlstein’s attorney in an email on the morning of July 17. “Some, but not all, are for loudspeaker noise after 9:00 p.m.”
Bent, an attorney with Woolmington, Campbell, Bent & Stasny, wrote that the town had no choice but to hold Perlstein in contempt for violating the order. Bent requested a contempt order hearing on Thursday in addition to a hearing on a preliminary injunction that has been scheduled for July 30.
“Can you tell me anything that might help us understand what is going on here?” she wrote. “The Town is at a total loss.”
Bennington resident Mark Nesbit’s property shares a boundary with the former college campus. He can see the camp’s large white tent from his back porch, and he says the noise has become unbearable.
The Covid-19 Immunity language acting as a blockade for the current US Stimulus package is language taken from New York’s Granny Killer Immunity provisions. These are legal provisions which shields nursing home owners, managers and investors and hospitals from liability as it relates to Covid-19. There can be nothing more unsettling from the perspective of the United States and its future than understanding that the Granny Killer Immunity is broad, dynamic and shields even the most egregious behavior of those in charge of the healthcare of some of this country’s most vulnerable population, the elderly. We should all be in a state of outrage, except, of course, those who are profiting from this immunity.
We will not take the time to conduct a wide analysis regarding why the mostly the Republicans in Congress would be holding up stimulus on this issue, except to state that a review of the donors of many of these politicians is broadly entrenched in owners and investors within the healthcare industry. And the Granny Killer provisions that Mitch McConnell demands be included in the stimulus goes one step further to add factories and other industries, making them immune from putting people in danger.
This should be alarming to every US citizen, not just those who frequent this blog. We therefore ask that you kindly review the video and share this post as well as others related to “Granny Killer Immunity Provisions.” They are making investors very rich and tarnish the entire pharmaceutical and medical industry in the US, perhaps creating irreparable distrust.
Both Epstein and Maxwell have been seen in photos with Trump, as well as with other prominent figures such as Bill and Hillary Clinton.
“I just wish her well, frankly,” Trump said Tuesday when asked about the case at a press conference.
Trump said that he met Maxwell “numerous times over the years, especially since I lived in Palm Beach, and I guess they lived in Palm Beach.”
“But I wish her well, whatever it is,” he added.
Prosecutors allege Maxwell helped persuade and transport minors to engage in sexual acts with Epstein and others in the mid-1990s, and at times participated in the abuse herself. Her trial is scheduled to begin in July 2021.
Factoring companies and merchant cash advance providers may be in for a rude awakening in New York. The legislature there, in a matter of days, has rammed through a new law that requires APRs and other uniform disclosures be presented on commercial finance contracts… even if the agreements are not loans and even if one cannot be mathematically ascertained.
The law also makes New York’s Department of Financial Services (DFS) the overseer and regulatory authority of all such finance agreements. DFS can impose penalties for violations of the law, the language says.
The bill was passed through so quickly that unusual jargon remained in the final version, increasing the likelihood that there will be confusion during the roll-out. One such issue raised is the requirement that a capital provider disclose whether or not there is any “double dipping” going on in the transaction. The term led to a rather interesting debate on the Senate Floor where Senator George Borrello expounded that double dipping might be well understood at a party where potato chips are available but that it did not formally exist in finance and made little sense to have it written into law.
The bill, originally introduced in May 2019, resurfaced in March of this year just as the Governor was issuing shut-down orders throughout the state. It, along with many other bills, then went into hibernation. It was brought back to life on July 10th and hurried through the committee process to be made available just in time for a floor vote this week before the legislative session closed for the rest of the year. It passed. All that is required now is the Governor’s signature.
Senator Kevin Thomas, the senate sponsor of the bill, admitted that there was opposition to the “technicalities” of it by some industry groups like the Small Business Finance Association and that PayPal was one such particular company that had opposed it on that basis. Senator Borello raised the concern that a similar law had already been passed in California and that even with all of their best minds, the state regulatory authorities had been unable to come up with a mutually agreed upon way to calculate APR for products in which there is no absolute time-frame. Thomas, acknowledging that, hoped that DFS would be able to come up with their own math.
APR as defined under Federal “Regulation Z”, which the New York law points to for its definition, does not permit any room for imprecision. The issue calls to mind a consent order that an online consumer lender (LendUp) entered into with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2016 after the agency accused the lender of understating its APR by only 1/10th of 1%. The penalty to LendUp was $1.8 million.
Providers of small business loans, MCAs, factoring and other types of commercial financing in New York would probably be well advised to consult an attorney for a legal analysis and plan of action for compliance with this law. The governor still needs to sign the bill and New York’s DFS still has to prepare for its new oversight role.
Passage of the law was celebrated by Funding Circle on social media and retweeted by Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski who sponsored the bill. The Responsible Business Lending Coalition simultaneously published a statement.
JEFFREY EPSTEIN, KROLL ASSOCIATES, DEUTSCHE BANK AND THE ATTACK ON A NEW JERSEY JUDGE
[Edited for corrections – a previous version said that Epstein died at Rikers Island. he died in Metropolitan Correctional Center, New York and mistook UPS for FedEx – thanks for the corrections]
The article that follows, a single excerpt of which has been provided, is a detailed explanation of events related to the attack on a Judge’s family in New Jersey and its connection to Epstein written by Whitney Webb. We believe Ms. Webb’s account to be a closer telling of the truth than anything you will find in mainstream media. Her entire site is worth a click or two.
In our opinion, it is all too coincidental to believe that attorney Roy Den Hollander dressed up in a FedEx uniform, drove from upstate, New York to New Jersey, shot and tragically killed a Judge’s son and injured her husband, targeting her because of his “anti-feminist” beliefs. He would have had to have been wholly irrational in that regard and Den Hollander’s professional career is inconsistent with that story.
That narrative just doesn’t make any sense. Den Hollander has a little known place in historical context as it applies to Jeffrey Epstein. The recent assignment to Judge Salas of a class action lawsuit brought by Deutsche Bank Investors “who allege that Deutsche Bank “failed to properly monitor customers that the Bank itself deemed to be high risk, including, among others, the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein” seem like a more likely motive for the shooting. Deutsche Bank has a long and storied history with Jeffrey Epstein (and Den Hollander). For countless wealthy, politically connected, storied and/or notorious people, there is likely good reason to try at all costs to have this information remain hidden.
We suspect that Den Hollander (who was allegedly suffering from terminal cancer) did not expect to end up dead after the events at the Judge’s home. We do not believe he shot himself.
Similarly, as stated here before, we do not believe that Jeffrey Epstein hanged himself in a jail in New York City. The story is far too outrageous, there were too many mishaps, Metropolitan Correctional Center is too well organized to have been so chaotic that night and he was on suicide watch. Moreover, to date any reference to negligence in the jail has been relegated to crickets. Suicide as an explanation to the death of two men, (who knew each other and are otherwise connection to the entire Epstein Saga) Den Hollander and Epstein is far too convenient.
Den Hollander once worked for security firm Kroll Associates’ Moscow Office where he “managed and upgraded Kroll’s delivery of intelligence and security in the former Soviet Union” from 1999 to 2000.” Kroll Associates had at one point became known as the “CIA of Wall Street” and Jules Kroll had worked for Robert Maxwell, Ghislaine Maxwell’s father.
According to a 1992 article in Vanity Fair, “Maxwell had ushered Kroll and two other men out onto the patio so that their conversation could not be overheard or bugged,” with Maxwell allegedly seeking to hire Kroll to uncover “people out to get him, to destroy his empire, to cripple him financially, and to destroy his life and business in any way they could.”
He also had connections to Deutsche Bank. Ms. Webb has put together a theory and one to which we ascribe. Jeffrey Epstein’s highly organized and influential network are dying or are being murdered because there are countless parties who do not want this story told.
Read on for a far more interesting and informative read than we can possibly provide here.
The alleged gunmen who killed the son of Esther Salas, the judge recently assigned to the Epstein-Deutsche Bank case, worked for a company of corporate spies and mercenaries with ties to intelligence and also to Deutsche Bank.
Covid has caused havoc throughout the world – including the camp industry. We have been waiting and hoping for permission to open our camps and accommodate the thousands that join our sleep away camps every summer. With the camp season rapidly approaching and the lack of any clarity on sleepaway camps from New York State, we are making an effort to accommodate at least a portion of the Camp Agudah summer family. Our senior staff had spent considerable time searching for a suitable campground in states that are allowing overnight camping.
We are excited to announce that, b’ezras HaShem, we have made arrangements for Camp Agudah boys in grades 7, 8 and 9 to attend camp for Summer 2020 at fabulous camp grounds in Camp Agudah New Hampshire! We will be using these out-of-state premises for the entire summer.
With great siyata dshmaya, we were excited to find the Winaukee Campgrounds, a sprawling camp on the Winaukee Lake. These beautiful grounds have plenty of sports facilities along with majestic woods and a cool New Hampshire climate. We are hard at work adding to the existing grounds to make it perfect for Ruach Country 5780. Camp Agudah New Hampshire will be led by Rabbi Avromi Neiman and Rabbi Eliyahu Kaufman, who have agreed to join us. Our Morah D’asra, Rav Yisroel Reisman, Shlita will accompany us. And we are delighted that our talented Chef Avromy Flam will be there. And of course, our talented counselors, and so many others who make Camp Agudah so special.
WE ARE EXPECTING EXTRAORDINARY DEMAND FOR SPACE IN CAMP – BUT OUR CAPACITY IS LIMITED. WE ASK THAT YOU CONFIRM YOUR REGISTRATION AS PER THE BELOW:
Camp Agudah’s Guest House, an iconic structure that dates back to the camp’s original purchase of its current property in Ferndale, N.Y., in 1957, burned to the ground Friday afternoon.
The camp grounds were empty but for a caretaker and two workers. There were no injuries, and the cause of the blaze, which began shortly before 1:30 p.m., is unknown.
The building was used to house married staff members and their families, and the attached head counselors’ office, whose rounded windows (following a 2002 renovation) led to it being popularly known as The Oval Office. Though some additions have been made over the decades, the original structure is one of the few remaining buildings that were on the grounds of the old Upper Ferndale Country Club, which was purchased by Agudath Israel President Mike Tress 63 years ago.
We have done countless stories on predatory lenders and nursing home owners, lobbyists, their attorneys and the tactics they employ to buy favorable treatment from politicians and lawmakers. There is little difference between the below and what goes on in other areas of the country.
New York is prime territory for the morally and ethically challenged, their lobbyists and high powered, publicly connected attorneys. Cleveland, Pennsylvania, Florida, Arizona, these places are most certainly not immune. Politicians looking for another political victory are more than willing to sell their souls for 25K, 50K whatever it takes. The below article sets that in full view.
The victims in the predatory lending schemes are the borrowers, already vulnerable to inducement and sent into an abyss of cash strapped quicksand only to drown in debt and despair. The victims in the power of the nursing home schemes are the patients and their families who often don’t realize they’ve been victimized until the patient is dead.
The federal authorities should get involved. Ohio is not the exception, it’s now swiftly becoming the rule in two industries that are fraught with lacking oversight, vulnerability, financial incestuousness and money that is almost coined.
Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder’s alleged pay-to-play scheme to pass legislation for special interests extended beyond House Bill 6 and its $1 billion ratepayer bailout of a pair of ailing nuclear power plants.
Householder and charged co-conspirator Neil Clark, a lobbyist, are portrayed in a federal affidavit as engaging in an active effort to solicit big, secretive checks in exchange for favorable consideration of bills.
The Perry County Republican talked of adding money from the payday-loan, nursing home and other industries to the $60 million funneled by FirstEnergy to Generation Now, the “dark money” nonprofit Householder allegedly controlled to defend House Bill 6 from a repeal attempt.
An affidavit from an FBI agent detailing the federal racketeering charges against Householder and his alleged co-conspirators reveals that “other” non-energy interests paid nearly $2.9 million into Generation Now, which was not required to reveal its donors.
The first time Joel Engelman sued the rabbi he accused of abusing him was in 2008. He did so, despite having missed the deadline for such lawsuits, in order to name the man — Abraham Reichman — and hopefully protect other children from him.
Now he’s suing again, but his reasons are slightly different: That deadline has been extended, through the Child Victims Act, and he wants to set an example for other child victims of sexual abuse, especially in the Orthodox community.
“I’m hoping others come forward as well,” said Engelman, 35, in an interview. “I see this as an opportunity for survivors of abuse, that they can make a difference in their own lives and in protecting children.”
Now a graduate student and a married father of two living in Toledo, Ohio, Engelman alleges that Reichman, a former principal at United Talmudical Academy in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, sexually assaulted him in 1993 over the course of two months, when he was eight years old. Engelman is also suing the school, for negligence, as well as community leader and lobbyist Rabbi David Niederman and the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg for “fraudulent inducement” — according to Engelman, they “tricked and pressured” him into delaying his lawsuit in the Kings County civil court, until it was too late, and the statute of limitations had expired.
A spokesperson for Niederman denied the allegations. “There is not a scintilla of truth in any of the allegations,” the spokesperson wrote in an email. “In fact, it is a shame that Rabbi Niederman and UJO are even a party here. But, facts are facts and therefore we look forward to the opportunity to tell the real story (or lack thereof) in a court of law.”
Upon learning about the alleged abuse of their son, Engelman’s parents tried to first handle it inside the community — by petitioning leadership in the Satmar community to remove Reichman from his position. In a letter written at the time to Reichman, in Yiddish, his parents wrote: “We wish to let you know that since our son, Yoel Nechemia is a victim of you, you molested him as a child…and because we also know of other children who were victimized (molested) by you at least from 1993 until now — therefore you are a danger to children. We request from you to resign your position as teacher… We do not seek revenge! We seek to remove you from the vicinity of children.”
Between Engelman’s first and second lawsuits, New York State passed the Child Victims Act, which offers a window of time for survivors to sue abusers, even if the statute of limitations has expired. About 1,700 such suits have been filed since the act passed last January, after a long battle with both Catholic and Orthodox Jewish organizations.
Juxtaposing Some of Judaism’s Most Exquisite Characteristics Against the Backdrop of Everything Else….
After receiving email after email of bad news all month, we decided to post something that represents, in our view, the highest form of love for G-d that Judaism has to offer – it’s love of prayer and within that context music.
Since 2016, the LostMessiah site has tried to focus on moral and ethical opinions and analytical journalism, without posting errors, in the hopes of returning Judaism to its honest and ethical roots. As we see it, that is only possible by exposing the flaws.
Covid-19, the nursing homes’ massacres of elderly, the Epstein and Maxwell fiasco, the lack of social distancing, the insistence upon placing ritual over safety (pikuah nefesh), the deed thefts by land owners, the increase in fraud (PPP Loans), the trafficking in PPE and on and on is almost too much to grasp, overwhelming at times. The defense of these behaviors by organizations like the ADL, AIPAC, OJPAC, Agudath Israel and other organizations in the name of hiding under a cloak of anti-Semitism has proven moreso, than at any other time since 2016, just how flawed we are as a people.
This morning’s post is an attempt to get back to basics and to invite those least familiar with Judaism to enjoy something wonderful.
Adon Olam, from the 2017 Hampton Synagogue Thanksgiving Concert provides an illustration of some of Judaism’s great earthly miracles, provided to you to lighten things this Wednesday, July 22, 2020 morning.
The following from Jewish Virtual Library is some information on the prayer, a transliteration of the words for anyone who wants to sing along and a translation for anyone logging onto this site that is either unfamiliar with the the prayer or does not know its translation.
RLUIPA Should Be Revised or Repealed so it Cannot be Bastardized and Used to the Detriment of non-Religious and non-Observant
The below lawsuit filed against the village of Airmont, New York, is a prime example of the use and abuse of RLUIPA (Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act). In theory, RLUIPA was instituted to allow repressed religions a measure of specified and enumerated rights whereby overly burdensome laws that would or might suppress religious practice could be overturned. However, it has been used instead by religious groups to suppress the rights of everyone else, an unintended consequence of drafters who did not consider how it could go awry.
In Rockland County, New York, Orange County, New York, Lakewood and Jackson Township, New Jersey and in other places around the country, RLUIPA has been bastardized to allow for entire communities, school districts, single family zoned towns and districts to be sued by well-served Ultra-Orthodox Jewish groups. It has been manipulated to allow Ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities to be built, fostered, strengthened and funded by the suppressed individuals RLUIPA fails to protect. In other words, the under-served in many of these communities, public school children, blacks, browns and Hispanics and other minority groups, have been the counterbalanced “repressed” to a law that should have never gained the traction it has gained.
The following, a Justice Department investigation into Airmont, New York is one such example. And the lobbyists that are touting that letter are members the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council (OJPAC), a group whose mission is the “counter the defamation and generalization of the Orthodox Jewish Community.” It should be noted that OJPAC appears from the publicity it obtains, its vast media networks, its social media platforms, its website and the attorneys that represent it to be very well-funded; but the 990’s for the organization tell a very different story. That’s an article for a different day.
RLUIPA prohibits the implementation of any land use regulation that imposes a “substantial burden” on the religious exercise of a person or religious assembly or institution except where justified by a “compelling governmental interest” that the government pursues in the least restrictive way possible.
Protection against unequal treatment for religious assemblies and institutions:
RLUIPA provides that religious assemblies and institutions must be treated at least as well as nonreligious assemblies and institutions. 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc(b)(1);
Protection against religious or denominational discrimination:
RLUIPA prohibits discrimination “against any assembly or institution on the basis of religion or religious denomination.” 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc(b)(2);
Protection against total exclusion of religious assemblies:
RLUIPA provides that governments must not totally exclude religious assemblies from a jurisdiction. 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc(b)(3)(A); or
Protection against unreasonable limitation of religious assemblies:
RLUIPA states that governments must not unreasonably limit “religious assemblies, institutions, or structures within a jurisdiction.” 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc(b)(3)(B).
At the bottom of this page is a screenshot of the extraordinary Dollars donated to campaigns since March by the lobbying groups representing hospitals and healthcare workers.
This money has been used to fund the implementation of Granny Killer Immunity Provisions in New York and elsewhere, provisions that provide nearly unqualified immunity to owners and managers of nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities and healthcare facilities. The largest donor, the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA) proudly helped to write the provisions!
While we draw a distinction between hospitals and long-term care facilities, the Granny Killer Immunity provisions do not. They represent a complete and utter lack of accountability on the part of owners and managers, healthcare workers and hospital executives and that is untenable.
It should be abundantly clear that these qualified immunity provisions do NOT protect the elderly and vulnerable in our population who are in long-term care facilities, not from Covid-19 and not from gross or any negligence. As far as the elderly are concerned, there has been an abundance of malfeasance, lack of oversight, lack of accountability, and the list goes on.
Is Ghislaine Maxwell’s Secret Spouse Part of Her Legal Strategy?
Could Jeffrey Epstein’s accused accomplice use her secret spouse to hide money or bargain with prosecutors?
In a video hearing on Tuesday, prosecutor Alison Moe told Manhattan federal judge Alison Nathan that accused Jeffrey Epstein accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell has a spouse “whose identity she declined to provide to Pretrial Services.”
Wait, she’s married? And won’t tell anybody to whom?
Town & Country reached out to a former prosecutor, James Zirin—a former assistant United States attorney, author, and television host—and a family law expert, Frederic J. Siegel— partner at the Connecticut-based family law firm Siegel & Kaufman—to see if this might all be part of a legal strategy.
What reasons could Ghislaine Maxwell have for not revealing the identity of her spouse?
Zirin: The most obvious and benign is that she’s trying to shield the spouse from press inquiry and notoriety. Other reasons, however, could include that he may have knowledge of where her assets are and of crimes that she may have committed.
The investors also claim in New Jersey federal district court that the bank made false and misleading statements about its anti-money-laundering policies.
The complaint alleges that Deutsche Bank AG “failed to properly monitor customers that the Bank itself deemed to be high risk, including, among others, the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.”
Salas was assigned to handle the suit, which plaintiffs led by Ali Karimi filed in US District Court for the District of New Jersey on behalf of investors who bought securities from the bank between Nov. 7, 2017, and July 6, CNN reported.
The company didn’t inform the investors it hadn’t fixed disclosure control problems — and wasn’t keeping tabs on clients like the convicted sex offender and two other banks involved in previous financial misconduct scandals, according to Bloomberg Law.
State lawmakers must act now to right a wrong that was slipped into the final state budget earlier this year; they must repeal legal immunity they granted to nursing homes and other healthcare facilities treating coronavirus patients. They must not let nursing homes off the hook for abuse, neglect, and even death. Now is not the time to strip away the legal rights of nursing home residents.
Here in New York, over 6,000 COVID-19 deaths have occurred in nursing homes, and that number keeps rising.The thousands of deaths of nursing home residents and staff from COVID-19 are not statistics to be ignored or explained away. They are mothers, fathers, grandparents, and spouses with families who love them.
Lawmakers are currently in Albany considering legislation related to the coronavirus pandemic, but they won’t be in town for long. That’s why AARP members must speak up right now for seniors in nursing homes, and we’re asking you to add your voice.
Drawing a Distintion Between Hospitals and Nursing/Rehabilitation Facilities and the Imperative of Abolishing “Granny Killer Immunity” Provisions
The following article was copied form the New York Law Journal and has been republished in its entirety without permission. A request to have it removed or reduced in scope would be honored. We are not profiting from this site.
As an opinion comment, we are honing in on the following statement which was not highlighted in the text:
“The immunity protections recognize the real-time decisions hospitals and their workers made during an extraordinarily challenging pandemic,” said Brian Conway, a spokesman for the association, in a statement.
We wholeheartedly disagree with Brian Conway since the nearly unqualified immunity includes nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities most of which are not run by doctors who have at the heart of their profession patient care. Where those facilities are concerned, the immunity protections are nothing more and nothing less than “Granny Killer Immunity Provisions.” They afford nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities and their owners nearly unqualified immunity for what can only be called willful and wanton neglect of human life.
These types of laws allow recklessness in decision making particularly where nursing home and rehabilitation facilities are concerned, a wholly different environment than hospitals. A distinction should have been made when the provisions were drafted. In our opinion money and donations by top supporters and their attorneys made these provisions possible.
In the nursing home world, owners (which include private equity investors and publicly traded equity shareholders) are not held to a standard of patient care or the same medical standards of hospitals. In the United States, oversight is shoddy, at best, completely lacking at worst. It is a business and treated as such by everyone, including politicians. The bottom line for nursing home investors is money and the qualified immunity provisions have given their equity greater value, while diminishing the value of human life.
Most of the nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities are private institutions that have as their singular and wholly directed goal – profit. Money over morality is the mantra of the pandemic. Barring precious few of the nursing homes throughout most of the country, the lives of the patients is secondary to the profit earned by the owners of these homes. Profit is not in short supply, particularly when many of the owners of these homes, particularly in New York and surrounding states, were auctioning off PPE to the highest bidders.
As such, we wholeheartedly implore those mentioned in this article to work to repeal these provisions where nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities are concerned. Owners and managers should not be immune from the decisions that led to the death of tens of thousands of elderly and will lead to the death of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands more.
Why take care of human life, a costly obligation, when immunity lets you off the hook when someone dies? Granny Killer Immunity protections should be, nay must be extinguished and owners and managers must be held accountable.
Assistant U. S. Attorneys Emily W. Allen (619) 546-9738,
Andrew Young (619) 546-7981, and Oleksandra Johnson (619) 546-9769
SAN DIEGO – Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, former director at Chabad of Poway, and five of his associates pleaded guilty in federal court today and Monday to fraud charges, admitting that they participated in a complex, years-long, multi-million dollar tax-evasion scheme and other financial deceptions involving theft of public money.
According to his plea agreement, while Rabbi Goldstein was director of the Poway synagogue, he received at least $6.2 million in phony contributions to the Chabad and affiliated charities and secretly refunded up to 90 percent of the donations to the “donors.” After Rabbi Goldstein provided these donors with fake receipts, they illegally claimed huge tax deductions for these nonexistent donations, and the rabbi kept about 10 percent – more than half a million dollars over the course of the fraud – for himself. Tax losses to the IRS were more than $1.5 million. At least 20 taxpayers were involved in this and related tax-evasion schemes.
This case was under investigation for more than two years before Rabbi Goldstein was shot and wounded during the April 27, 2019 attack on worshippers at the Chabad. In that case, federal civil rights and hate crimes charges are pending against John T. Earnest of Rancho Peñasquitos.
The rabbi was aware of the investigation at the time of the shooting. FBI and IRS agents had searched his home in October of 2018, and he began cooperating with the investigation shortly after that time.
According to his plea agreement, Rabbi Goldstein has agreed to cooperate with ongoing investigations of uncharged co-conspirators and to forfeit $1 million in proceeds and pay restitution of $2.5 million.
“This case has brought us all a great deal of anguish because of the attack on Chabad of Poway,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer. “But whatever a defendant’s dire personal circumstances, or stature in the community, we will always seek justice, first and foremost. We cannot, and will not, sweep serious criminal conduct under the rug. We cannot look the other way because a perpetrator of crime has suddenly become a victim of crime.”
“This case shows the FBI’s dedication to untangling the web of fraud in a complex, multi-million dollar charitable donation scheme that violated the trust of the Chabad of Poway and defrauded the United States government,” said FBI San Diego Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Omer Meisel. “The FBI is committed to holding those accountable who use their position and stature in the community as a disguise to commit fraud. All the defendants in this case, including Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, have admitted their guilt in these fraudulent schemes and will no longer be able to use deceit and lies to cheat those who were intended to receive charitable funds and taxpayer dollars.”
Below our comments is a selection of excerpts from a report published by Assembly Member Ron Kim and some members of his staff. The entire report (part 3) can be found at the link here. In conjunction with Kim’s analysis, which we think may oversimplify the problem, we have posited our analysis of the steps needed to be taken so that the moral and legal imperative that creates a system that values life over profit gets actualized.
1) statewide and interstate oversight – if there is problem in one facility no owner who holds any title to that facility should be able to license another facility, not in that state nor any other. This requires carefully recorded ownership records, a completely transparent process whereby management and ownership cannot be clouded by smoke and mirrors to allow for a clean slate once a facility gets overrun by violations and improper care.
2) penalties for each death that occurs in a facility that is not from natural causes or a “first do no harm” approach to the quality of care of patients – the facilities with the highest rates of death have a trail leading to inadequate staffing, problems within the facilities and absentee owners or private equity owners who view profitability over life as the gold standard in their market-making.
3) accountability – there should be NO QUALIFIED OR ANY OTHER IMMUNITY for the deaths that occur in nursing facilities, not in any state, not because of Covid-19 or any other “force majeure”. The deaths during Covid-19 were the result of a series of decisions by the owners/managers of these facilities, not only Governor Cuomo. They could have set up Covid-19 specific floors. They could have quarantined patients. They could have rented space or worked with other facilities. The choices that were made led to many (though not all) of the deaths, particularly in those facilities with the greatest loss of life during Covd-19. And the pandemic has only just begun. It is a foregone conclusion that the facilities owned by those with the greatest loss of life, have shared ownership in Florida, Texas and Arizona and the death-toll has only just started being tallied.
4) financial and legal responsibility to families – The nursing homes with the worst overall records prior to Covid-19 had the highest numbers of deaths, with few exceptions Continue reading →
Comedian Elayne Boosler visited her cousin Dorothea Buschell in Brooklyn’s Hamilton Park Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in August 2018. Photo: Courtesy of Elayne Boosler
The following story, one partially told on Facebook and to The City by comedian Elayne Boosler, is a developing story and one we will cover in depth. When we started this blog in 2016 one of our goals was to draw attention to the deplorable treatment of the elderly and most vulnerable at the hands of nursing home owners and managers. Our intent was to uncover the depth of the depravity of some owners and managers of many of the world’s nursing homes, particularly those in New York and New Jersey, who choose profit over care, bottom lines over human life and lined pockets over dignity.
There can be no greater example of that choice than the story of Elayne Boosler’s elderly Jewish cousin who died in the care of an Allure nursing home, which had in 2015 obtained custodianship over Boosler’s cousin, despite the existence of a living relative. Ms. Boosler’s story is shocking insofar as her cousin was not only denied a dignified death but a dignified burial. While Covid-19 may have played a role in the absurdity of the story that follows, it does not tell the whole story and cannot be used to mitigate the responsibility of the owners/managers of the nursing home that not only deprived Ms. Boosler’s cousin of her family, but of a Jewish burial.
There can really be no greater indignity and no more astonishing tragedy.
When Ms. Boosler’s cousin died (allegedly) of Covid-19, instead of being buried in a Jewish cemetery with all of the Jewish rites and customs which had been provided to the nursing home, she was interred in a Christian cemetery at an astronomical fee.
Boosler’s story is not surprising to those of us who have been following nursing homes in general and Allure in particular. What is surprising, however, is the ease with which nursing homes can obtain guardianship over the elderly in their care. As legal guardians, these nursing homes and long-term care/rehabilitation facilities have access to finances, decisions, medical choices and ultimately the life and death of those in their care. And most do not do the due diligence required before obtaining guardianship. Or, they simply falsify statements and records. Moreover, it is not even clear that such due diligence is ever required or if there is any oversight, particularly in New York where the systems in place have run amok.
Once guardianship is obtained whether legitimately or otherwise, as this story suggests, decision-making authority on burials and interment among all of the other life-shattering decisions, rests in the hands of the court-appointed guardians. They are free to throw caution and care to the wind.
The Boosler story, raises questions about New York’s Guardianship Services, which in the Boosler case, remains something of a mystery. We are hoping that some law enforcement agency will take the bull by the horns and look into this case as it is neither unique nor surprising. We are hoping that Boosler’s status as a entertainer will light a fire under those who should be investigating the treatment of the elderly in nursing care and long-term facilities.
There is money to be made in human life and in death and apparently once guardianship of a family member is “signed-over” to a nursing home moral and ethical compasses can shift. The elderly deserve better.
Comedian Elayne Boosler says her elderly Jewish cousin, who died last month, inexplicably got saddled with a pricey Christian burial package while in a Brooklyn nursing home.
“Now my beautiful Jewish cousin is clutching rosary beads after a fake funeral that never — couldn’t have — happened because of coronavirus,” Boosler, who grew up in Sheepshead Bay, told THE CITY from her California home.
She noted that her first instinct was to “go for the funny and try not to bleed on my audience, if you will. Also, going for the joke is how I distance myself and my emotions.”
But she confessed she hasn’t slept in days.
“I am horrified at how she must have died,” she said, “at how she was swindled and at how she is now far from her family in a strange grave.”
‘Are You Sitting Down?’
The ordeal began, Boosler recalled, when her cousin Harriet Saltzman phoned her from Florida on April 14 and said, “Are you sitting down? Pull the chair closer to the table in case you fall over.”
Saltzman told her that she had been trying to reach their mutual first cousin Dorothea Buschell at the Hamilton Park Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, to wish her a happy 83rd birthday.
When no one answered in Buschell’s room, Saltzman said she began leaving voicemails at the main number, but no one returned her calls for weeks.
Finally, on April 14, a frazzled staffer who happened to pick up the phone said, “Oh, no one called you yesterday? Uh, she died this morning.”
“And then Harriet said, ‘Why would someone have called yesterday if she died this morning?’,” Boosler said.
Buschell died April 13.
By the time Saltzman called, Buschell’s body had already been transferred to Forest Green Park cemetery in Morganville, N.J. — not her intended, already-paid-for, family plot in New Montefiore Cemetery in Farmingdale, L.I. She was buried on April 15.
“Because they figured it was the virus that she died from, there was no autopsy,” Saltzman wrote Boosler in an email. “She was double bagged, put into the coffin, doubled bagged again and shipped.”
Saltzman noted that Forest Green “will not be able to dis-inter her for a while because of the pandemic, and they will call me when they are ready to do it.”
The Plot Thickens
In a phone interview with THE CITY, Boosler added, “But wait. There’s more. Much more.”
The saga began in either late 2016 or early 2017, Boosler recounted, after Buschell, an artist who had taught English on U.S. Army bases in Italy for a quarter century, landed in Hamilton Park after a series of mini-strokes.
On April 28, 2017, she was sold an irrevocable $15,000 pre-need funeral plan which she never signed — and which Boosler stressed Buschell never would have consciously agreed to since she already had a family plot.
Jeffrey Epstein confidante Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested Thursday morning in New Hampshire, law enforcement sources say
Maxwell will face charges that she conspired with the disgraced financier to sexually abuse underage girls
Epstein, a friend to presidents and captains of industry, died by suicide last August while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges
Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite and heiress who became a confidante of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein and was later accused of involvement in his alleged sexual crimes, has been arrested by the FBI, two senior law enforcement sources tell News 4 New York.
She was arrested in Bedford, New Hampshire around 8:30 a.m. on charges she conspired with Epstein to sexually abuse minors, and is expected to appear in a federal court later today, the sources say.
The six-count indictment in Manhattan federal court alleges that Maxwell helped Epstein groom girls as young as 14 years old, going back as far as 1994.
“In some instances, Maxwell was present for and participated in the sexual abuse of minor victims,” the indictment says.
The daughter of media baron Robert Maxwell, Ghislaine was a one-time girlfriend of Epstein’s and was at the high-flying investor’s side for decades.
But she was also alleged to have helped Epstein groom teen girls for sex with the rich and powerful. One of those teens, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, leveled that charge against Maxwell in a 2015 defamation suit, as have a number of other women.
In early April, state inspectors completed a survey of Magnolia Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Riverside as part of a federal effort to make sure nursing homes were protecting elderly residents from the coronavirus.
Their one-page report concluded: “No deficiencies.”
The next day, April 8, a fleet of ambulances lined up outside Magnolia to evacuate all 83 residents after the staff refused to show up for work, terrified of the deadly infection already spreading within the facility.
Similar scenarios played out across California this spring, survey records show. Time and again, inspectors sent to assess nursing homes’ ability to contain the new virus found no deficiencies at facilities that were in the midst of deadly outbreaks or about to endure one.
Nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities and elder care institutions are not burdened by appropriate oversight. In reality, they largely report to no one. And, with combined ownership on the real estate side and on the management/operations side in the hands of private equity firms and publicly traded companies, the flow of money is endless and nearly untraceable.
These homes churn owners, in some cases so they can change oversight records, wiping the slate clean when abuse and neglect results in patient death. They collect money from the government in the form of payments, reimbursements and for some even PPP loans or SBA loans, which should trigger government oversight. But sadly oversight is simply in short supply.
And alas, with front-facing ownership changes, history gets scrubbed. It is all a shell game; and one that traffics in human life. With Covid-19, these homes can profit from death.
In many states, the owners of these facilities are largely exempt from liability, even in the case of gross negligence – a highly profitable exemption. And the politicians who have collected donations can look the other way as the owners profit and those most vulnerable die. Humanity be damned.
A nursing assistant at a Prescott nursing home says she was told to continue to work with patients after informing her supervisor that she was symptomatic for COVID-19 — and also after she later tested positive for the disease.
Now, the state is investigating.
The facility, Granite Creek Health and Rehabilitation Center in Prescott, a skilled-nursing facility with more than 100 long-term residents and rehab patients from the local hospital, had been spared until early June from the pandemic. But as certified nursing assistant at the facility told Phoenix New Times, things spiraled out of control quickly after an employee tested positive for the novel coronavirus on June 9.
New Times is not disclosing the name of the worker based on her request for anonymity. Sick with COVID-19 and still trying to beat back the virus in home quarantine, she doesn’t want to return to Granite Creek and doesn’t want publicity.
“The state surveyor told me that they’re keeping my identity secret and calling me by the code name ‘Hero Worker’ LOL,” she wrote in an email on Tuesday. “I am still concerned that it being known that I reported this could affect my ability to find another job once I’m recovered.”
Mike Rasmussen, the facility’s administrator, confirmed on Tuesday that 16 staff members and 25 residents at Granite Creek have tested positive. He acknowledged in an email that the company would allow a COVID-positive staff member to come to work, and might ask but would not require that a sick staff member come to work.
A Brooklyn foster care agency prioritized placing Jewish kids into Orthodox Jewish homes over safety, resulting in a girl’s sexual abuse at the hands of a deviant dad, a new lawsuit charges.
The alleged victim, who used the pseudonym Jane Doe in court papers, says she was abused in the 1980s while in the care of OHEL Children’s Home and Family and Services. The agency allegedly ignored obvious warning signs that emerged when she was around 7, including her loss of weight and an extreme change in behavior.
“OHEL’s case workers didn’t just fail to protect me. They falsely branded me a liar. They told me never to talk about being abused because no family will let a liar into their home,” the woman, who is now in her 40s, said in a statement.
The woman immigrated to the U.S. from the Soviet Union when she was 3 with her mother, who suffered from bipolar disorder. In less than two years she was placed in the care of OHEL, which the suit charges puts “undue emphasis” on connecting biologically Jewish children with Orthodox Jewish foster homes.
OHEL CEO David Mandel said the company trains staff on how to respond to allegations of sexual abuse and thoroughly vets prospective foster parents.
“The complaint in this case was filed today. It involves alleged conduct from 35-40 years ago. As stated above, OHEL takes any such allegations seriously,” Mandel said in a statement.
The agency placed the girl in the Elizabeth, N.J. home of Moshe Aharon Jacobs, who lived with his wife and two daughters, the suit states. Jacobs allegedly violently sexually assaulted the girl while in his care.
Jacobs now lives in Israel, according to the suit. He could not be reached. The alleged victim claims she told an OHEL case worker she’d been repeatedly sexually abused and could not sit comfortably. The worker agreed to transfer her out of the house — but only because “she had lied” and could no longer live in the home, the suit states. The “liar” label followed her while she remained in OHEL’s care, the suit states.
A three-week-old infant, born to a Charedi family in Haifa, was brought to the Bnei Zion medical center in Haifa in serious condition. It is believed that the infant contracted the Herpes virus during his Bris Milah. The infection caused serious contamination in the young boy’s brain that caused seizures. Lab results showed that the infant was suffering from herpes.
Head of the Pediatrics Department in Bnei Zion, Professor Yitzchak Serugo said: “The infant has been hospitalized in serious condition. It appears that he has a brain infection that is causing prolonged seizures and a serious infection of his skin.”
The baby was rushed to the hospital by his parents who noticed the infection a number of days after his bris. During his time in the pediatrics department, the herpes virus was discovered in his spinal fluid, his brain, and on the lesions on his skin. The infant seized for the first three days after being hospitalized in spite of receiving anti-seizure medication.
According to Professor Serugo, the infant is receiving anti-viral treatment to remove the virus from his brain but will have to undergo continuing treatments for the next six months in order to eradicate the disease completely.
We have written about predatory lenders many times. They are one of several pet peeves of ours. Most are merciless, without any compassion and a mantra: “it’s all about money not mizvas [good deeds].” We hope to see the entire business get tanked. In our opinion, the merchant cash advance business is nothing more than vultures eating the carcasses of poor and unsuspecting victims, sometimes threatening their families and often destroying their lives and others. It is a scheme of epic proportions, with intertwined credit card swiping businesses, investment businesses, brokers, lawyers and collection agents.
There is nothing worse than the financial havoc they wreak, all under the guise of quick and easy loans. They destroy small businesses but make a huge fortune in the process.
And, behind the scenes, the investors in many of the MCA loan companies are interrelated groups of people who hire the same attorneys, use the same brokers, have access to the same personal information of the Borrowers, have a network of go-to persons and politicians, judges and jurists, it is big business. The entire structure is not for the financially faint of heart.
First, the merchant banks convince a company (Company A) to use their credit card swiping system (thereby giving the merchant bank access to Company A’s receipts and invoices). Then, they share your information with potential “funding groups” all hidden under the same umbrella. Next, Company A has a bad month or two, Covid-19 strikes, who knows? Those behind the scenes at the merchant cash advance company notice that Company A is getting charge backs or business has slowed. In other words, the merchant cash advance company sees that their credit card swiping client is becoming vulnerable to liquidity problems.
So, the merchant cash advance company sends a broker in to offer assistance, not effectively a loan but a purchase of invoices. In other words, the broker suggests that Company A borrow money against the receipts, selling it as quick and easy cash. It is characterized not as a loan, but as a purchase of receipts, thereby avoiding any and all usury laws, banking laws, regulators and the list goes one. Company A is desperate.
Cash-poor Company A needs the money and a conventional bank loan will not work. The merchant cash advance company offers “low interest” rates (not actually low interest but Merchant A is too cash-strapped to chart the numbers). The merchant cash advance company promises quick money, no credit reports, a few days from application to cash, all fees get tagged to the Loan (increasing the principal amount) but the draw of few out-of-pocket fees are weighed against desperation. So, Company A takes the bait.
What poor Company A does not know is that the fees tagged (or capitalized) to the principal amount increase the loan by about 20% (another 20% for interest purposes). There is a daily or even a weekly draw and there are fees each time a draw is made, directly from the merchant company, increasing payments.
NOTE TO READER: THIS IS POSTED BECAUSE IT IS SIMPLY HILARIOUS – NOT AN ENDORSEMENT. IT WAS SEEN IN BNEI BRAK, ISRAEL. NO WAY TO KNOW WHY IT NEEDS TO BE FLAVORED, IF IT IS KOSHER OR WHAT IT IS USED FOR.
WE DO NOT ADVISE FOR OR AGAINST GETTING YOUR “HAPPY HOME GEL.”
Given the freedom of protesters to march in NYC, many without masks and without deference to Covid-19 and social distancing, we cannot really understand the decision to weld Brooklyn parks closed. Parents and children within those neighborhoods should be afforded a place to go out and children, a place to play.
Having said that, breaking into them and trespassing on the part of politicians is nothing short of illegal, should not be tolerated and those who had the audacity to cut the chains should be arrested and charged. This is no way to set an example from New York’s respected lawmakers. This is not a form of social peaceful disobedience, it is simply breaking the law.
Worse still, there are many more videos showing a veritable form of F-U to the decision-makers who welded those gates shut, something that also should not be tolerated.
At a time where this entire country is preciously long on lawlessness and defiance, it might be time for our Jewish lawmakers to be setting a good example. This is apparently not such a time.
We do not believe that the gates should have been closed. Instead, rules of social distancing and mask wearing should have been enforced. We recognize the paradigm: if it is not enforced at protests, why should it be enforced in parks? It should be enforced equally.
But, more to the point, perhaps the enforcement of social distancing should come to to someone stepping up and doing the right thing. Only one man in the picture is wearing a mask (beside the paid fence-cutter) which is also unacceptable.
This was a poor example of defiance and one that sets the stage for the entire neighborhood to break the law. It is sad, unfortunate, and those who cut the gate open should be prosecuted as lawbreakers.
A group of Brooklyn politicians representing orthodox Jewish neighborhoods have defied Mayor Bill de Blasio’s coronavirus closure of playgrounds and staged a series of protests this week in which they broke the locks and attempted to open various playgrounds.
That group, which includes State Senator Simcha Felder, Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein, and Councilman Kalman Yeger gathered at Dome Playground in Borough Park and Kolbert Playground in Midwood this morning to break the chains at both places. They were joined by radio host Heshy Tischler, who declared at Kolbert, “Welcome to our park everybody. Come on in. We’re going to open up every single park in the entire city, no matter if you’re Jewish or not.” (City parks have remained open during the coronavirus PAUSE, but playgrounds were closed.)
“The only way you’re getting these chains back Mr. Mayor, is if you’re coming to get me,” Tischler said after they opened up Dome Playground.
Local leaders in Midwood use a grinder to open the chain and lock in Kolbert Playground, defying the city’s rule that playgrounds must remain closed due to coronavirus. They say kids need somewhere to play as we head in to summer. @NY1pic.twitter.com/w3I6geJKEk
“The only way you’re getting these chains back Mr. Mayor, is if you’re coming to get me,” Tischler said after they opened up Dome Playground.
Asked about the playground protests at a press conference Tuesday morning, de Blasio said, “We’re not going to allow people to take the law into their own hands, it just doesn’t work. So people are not allowed to open up a playground that is not yet available to the public. It’s for a reason.”
While the mayor said he was sympathetic to parents dealing with kids who have been cooped up for months because of the coronavirus pandemic, he said there would be no changes in policy with playgrounds until phase two begins. Phase two could start as early as next week (June 22nd), although he cautioned that he thought it would take longer than that.
One reporter pointed out that many children are already playing together out in the streets, so wouldn’t it be safer if they were able to do so in playgrounds? De Blasio stressed that kids should not be playing with other kids who aren’t in their households, and reiterated that the playgrounds would be figured out in phase two. “I’m hopeful we’ll be able to open things up, but we’re not there yet,” he said. “The minute you say okay, let’s open the playgrounds, then a lot of kids come in contact with a lot of other kids, and adults come in contact with other adults, then the disease starts spreading, and that’s what we don’t want, this is the thing that’ll take us backwards.”
Felder, Eichenstein and Yeger released a joint statement attacking the mayor for not opening playgrounds despite their pleas, and vowed to continue cutting locks as long as they had to.
Granting broad immunity to nursing homes that failed to put in place reasonable protections for vulnerable residents during the pandemic represents an appalling abuse of the rule of law.
About 20 states already have granted nursing homes immunity from civil lawsuits stemming from the coronavirus pandemic and now the U.S. Congress is poised to do so. What’s the rush?
There has been no serious investigation into how nursing homes performed in the pandemic and there is plenty of reason for concern.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reported Friday that 31,782 nursing home residents have died from COVID-19 as of May 31, which is about 33% of the nation’s known coronavirus deaths. The highest number of deaths occurred in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, which were among the first to grant civil immunity to nursing homes.
A grant of immunity effectively eliminates civil legal redress for and on behalf of nursing home residents who died due of COVID-19 due to negligence and abuse.
Nursing homes with urgent needs for personal protective equipment say they’re getting gowns that look more like large tarps — with no holes for hands — and surgical masks that are paper-thin as part of the administration’s initiative to bolster supplies for vulnerable populations amid the pandemic.
“It would be funny if the stakes weren’t so high,” a Washington state official told CNN.
In late April, President Donald Trump announced an effort to shore up supplies to nursing homes, whose residents and staff have been among those most at risk of Covid-19. The Federal Emergency Management Agency was at the helm of the effort to send additional shipments to nursing homes.
“Too often, the only signs of FEMA’s much-hyped promise of PPE shipments—an allotment of gowns, gloves, masks and goggles based on staffing size of the provider—are scattershot delivery with varying amounts of rag-tag supplies,” said Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge, an association of nonprofit providers of aging services, in a statement.
“As FEMA’s own deadline for shipment approaches, many nursing homes still don’t know if and when they’re going to receive anything,” she added. Sloan was among the attendees at the event where Trump initially announced the FEMA shipments.
Kiryas Joel wedding calls into question state’s order on large gatherings, religion
A high-profile wedding celebration is calling into question the state’s executive order when it comes to large gatherings and religion.
Thousands of people packed inside the Village of Kiryas Joel’s main synagogue on Garfield Road last Tuesday.
Video of the event given exclusively to News 12 shows people sitting shoulder to shoulder and without masks, on rows of bleachers and on the floor, during a Hasidic custom called a mitzvah dance, following the wedding of Grand Rabbi Aron Teitelbaum’s granddaughter.
Catering halls statewide have not yet reopened, causing many people to postpone their weddings, but Village Administrator Gedalye Szegedin says the event was held at a synagogue and falls under Phase 2 guidelines, allowing houses of worship to reopen.
Szegedin also compared the event’s size to recent protests saying, “Sometimes social gatherings are unavoidable and spontaneous as we’ve seen the multiple large protests all over the streets of the U.S.”
According to the New York state website, whether protesting or at a wedding, New Yorkers are required to wear masks and maintain a 6-foot distance in public.
Places of worship are permitted to reopen – but at 25% occupancy – with all social distancing protocols in place.
Village officials say despite the turnout, the synagogue was at 25% capacity and that masks – whether worn or not – were made available to everyone.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has repeatedly said it’s up to local officials to enforce the executive order, which can include misdemeanor charges and fines up to $10,000.
County officials say it’s up to state police to investigate and that the governor has been notified of the apparent loopholes.
News 12’s calls to state police have not been returned.
Sitting on the stoop of his apartment building in Crown Heights early last week, Yehudah Webster took out his cellphone and began recording himself. Being a community organizer for the group Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, he had been conducting virtual meetings from his apartment all day and stepped out for some much-needed air.
The unlawful killing of George Floyd was a tragedy for the black community. But as the trauma of recent days has shown, it psychologically scarred people of all colours. Something snapped in us all. As the Chief Rabbi wrote last week: “This is an essential wake up call for each and every one of us.”
That’s why I was determined to put George Floyd on the front page of last week’s Jewish News, the first non-Jewish news story to lead the newspaper since 9/11. The question was, how? How should a Jewish newspaper contribute to a painful debate on racism that isn’t about antisemitism?
We will be posting on the African American/Persons of Color/Jewish relations issues more. The death of George Floyd and the commentary coming out of the Jewish community, which we believe in large part diminishes that death as “another act of racism” has left us a little unsettled, if nothing else.
For now we are starting with an editorial written on a Facebook Site – The Diary of an OTD Girl. For those who do not know, or are new to this site, OTD means “Off the Derech” or someone who has lost his or her way. This is a reference to someone who has left Orthodoxy. It is an otherwise rather derogatory reference, which is as seen by someone who is still Ultra-Othorodox, as an assumption that someone who has left is somehow lost. We would argue that many who have left have in reality been “found”.
We are in awe of this writer. She has courage beyond the capacity of language. We do not, however, assume that she feels similarly about this page.
We are posting this without permission to re-post and will therefore only post a portion of her editorial. Please see her Facebook page for the rest of her opinion which is listed on Facebook as public. Please be supportive, our one ask. Her words are nothing if not honest and her experience as a former member of the Ultra-Orthodox community is both painful and profound. One can learn a lot from her.
This isn’t going to be an easy post to write or read. And yes there will be people who will call me names for saying what I am. But this is my opinion and I need to speak up.
Before I say what I want I’d like to mention that the community I come from which is hasidic and Ultra Orthodox is incredibly racist. They don’t see black people as the same. They’re looked at as less than. As sub-human. The same way the Palestinians are looked at as sub-human.
The things I heard growing up are about as racist as anything you can imagine. There will be those who will say this isn’t true. But I lived that life and know for a fact that it is absolutely the case. Jews I was brought up with are some of the biggest racists. The inflammatory language used about black people is vile.
Even now as the world sees how unfairly black people are being treated there are Jews who justify it by using terms such as “they’re animals” or “they are tigers escaped from the zoo. What do we do to tigers who escape? We kill them”. And so many more that I cannot possibly write here.
I am in no way condoning the looting or rioting, much of which has been done by white people. What I’m talking about are regular black folk going about their lives and being constantly targeted simply because they’re black.
Over the last couple of weeks as people worldwide have been protesting the murder of a black man in broad daylight by 4 police officers. Feelings and emotions are high and there’s been a lot of anger at the police brutality particularly in America but indeed across the globe.
What has infuriated me are the number of Jews who have somehow made this about them. It’s not about YOU. Guess what? There are things that affect others. It’s not always about Jews.
I’ve had countless conversations, some very heated, where jewish people have tried to say that they understand racism because they have experienced antisemitism. Antisemitism and racism are so different. And to compare the two is ridiculous.
I’ve been accused of being antisemitic for using the Black Lives Matter frame on my Facebook page. Why? Because apparently this movement is antisemitic. I’ve asked several times for proof of this or links to data but as yet haven’t received any. That’s because this is nonsense.
I’ve also been told that jews have suffered more because 6 million Jews were killed in 6 years whereas that hasn’t been the case for black people.
This isn’t about who has suffered more. It’s not a competition. Yes Jews died in WW2. But that hasn’t got anything to do with what’s going on right now in 2020. Police brutality against the black community, for decades, does not affect Jews.
There are reports of a synagogue and kosher shop being targeted. This isn’t okay. But that’s done by bad people who are using this opportunity to be hateful. They are not the people who are protesting because they want long term changes to be made.
Jews can leave their homes and not have to worry that they will be a target by racist police. Black people have to be aware of this ALL the time. Never has there been a police officer who has strangled a Jewish person to death on the streets of America.
The fact that all this has to be said saddens me. Why would we need to discuss this as a black/Jewish issue. It’s not a Jewish issue.
We are posting a notice circulated by UJA Federation of New York’s CEO, Eric S. Goldstein. We have mixed feelings. It is very well-intentioned. We are thankful that a decision was made to postpone the virtual “Celebrate Israel” parade. However, we take issue with the very fact that it took the brutal, racist and synchronized killing of George Floyd to compel UJA Federation to rise to the challenge of confronting racism against others.
We have posted about the savage beatings of black men in New York’s neighborhoods at the hands of our own, the Shomrim, (a/k/a Williamsburg Safety Patrol) several times. It is nothing short of police brutality when they don police gear and drive police vehicles. Consider Taj Patterson, a gay black man who was savagely beaten at the hands of Brooklyn’s Shomrim. He case against them was nixed.
Taj Patterson, now 28, was attacked by roughly 20 members of the WSP as he was walking home from a party on December 1, 2013. He sued the WSP, members of the patrol, and the city in the federal and state courts. His argument is that because the city funds the patrol and has given the patrol other benefits, the WSP is effectively an adjunct of the NYPD but its members have never been adequately trained. Given the political power of the Orthodox Jewish community, which established the patrol, the patrol is allowed to operate outside the law with impunity, Patterson has argued.
We failed to get traction from any Jewish organization. We have posted about the corruption within the Shomrim organization for the last nearly 4 and 1/2 years; and organizations like UJA Federation have ignored our pleas for Jews to take some responsibility. Crickets.
We are well aware that Goldstein is in a tough position as he must be sensitive to the needs of a Jewish community he represents in some dignified fashion. Walking a fine line of language and its limitations is not easy. We, however, believe that the death of George Floyd, is long past the time to take notice of racism when our own Shomrim, not just in New York but in other areas of the country, take legal liberties with black lives. Taj Patterson is but one example.
We offer our condolences to George Floyd’s family for the tragedy that befell him. A country that is drowning in hate will hopefully be transformed by the resulting peaceful protests and discussions like those suggested by Goldstein. We, as Jews, only hope it is not simple lip service.
We recognize that most Jews live a life of white privilege; and we will thus never be able to step into the shoes of a person of color, nor should we be blind to the hypocrisy.
We are at a loss to express how deeply sorry we are for the role we play in our own brand of racism and hope this sparks change.
Two weeks ago, it would have been hard to imagine anything but Covid-19 dominating the headlines. Yet after 11 days of protests for the horrific killing of George Floyd, protests that have spread to all 50 states and to cities across the globe, we’re reminded of our collective need to deal with a virus of another strain.
George Floyd, an unarmed black man, spent 8 minutes and 46 seconds held down by a police officer while three other officers watched. Pleading for his life, he said, “I can’t breathe.” Those words were a cry for help, and they’ve since become a call to action for all of us.
As a society, we’re still grappling with the consequences of racism and injustice that have cast a long, harsh shadow on this country since its earliest days. Covid-19 has also laid painfully bare the systemic healthcare, housing, and economic inequity that has resulted in communities of color being disproportionately affected by the virus.
There’s no easy solution to the problems we’ve faced for centuries. But there is a way forward, beginning with an internal reckoning we all need to do, each within our own communities. For us, as a first step, we must work to make Jews of Color feel more comfortable at our own communal tables. Well beyond that, our Jewish community must be more present in addressing the state of racial inequality in our country.
Last January, when UJA and our partner JCRC-NY organized the 25,000 person “No Hate. No Fear.” march to fight anti-Semitism, we asked neighbors of all colors and faiths to join us. And they did. We can do no less — our obligation now is to stand with the black community in peaceful protest, calling out racism and bigotry.
This Sunday, JCRC-NY had been planning to hold a virtual Celebrate Israel parade, which has been postponed. Instead, together with JCRC-NY, we’re convening a virtual conversation on June 7 at 1:00 pm with black community leaders on racism in America. You can register here.
We invite you to listen and to learn so that our community can be part of the solution, and take real and long-overdue steps toward ending racial injustice.
תחילת השבוע נערכה שמחת החתונה של נכד הרבי מהרי”י מסאטמר, בן לבנו הגה”צ רבי חיים צבי טייטלבוים, אב”ד סאטמר בירושלים • מיקום החתונה נשמר בסוד בשל התפשטות נגיף הקורונה, ולחסידים ניתנה הזדמנות להשתתף בשמחה במעמד ‘לחיים’ קצר שנערך בסיום החתונה בביהמ”ד הגדול של החסידות בויליאמסבורג
Secret Loaction: The Satmar Rebbe married his Jerusalem grandson.
View the gallery. At the beginningof the week, the wedding of the great-grandson of the Rebbe from the Satmar, son of the High Court Rabbi Chaim Zvi Teitelbaum, Rabbi of the Satmar in Jerusalem was held. The wedding location was kept secret because of the spread of the Coronoa virus and the followers were given the opportunity to participate happily in a short “life” class held at the end. The Wedding was held at the Great Court in Williamsburg [NY].
“This is the Satmar Rebbe holding a huge wedding in Williamsburg earlier this week. He also signed a letter to Governor Cuomo asking for further openings and promsing full compliance with safety regulations.
Similar false promises are made by Haredi politicians and Agudah press spokesmen. They are hypocrites and their lies will cost more lives especially of their elderly members.” https://www.facebook.com/yerachmiel.lopin
Norman Lamm leaves behind a complicated legacy. For many, Lamm was “an architect of and a spokesman for Modern Orthodoxy” and “the premier expositor of our community’s worldview.” But for the alleged victims of abuse at Yeshiva University High School under his administration, the legacy is more challenging. The Forward reported that Lamm told them that he “dealt with credible allegations of improper behavior against staff by quietly allowing them to leave and find jobs elsewhere,” what plaintiffs against YU have called a “cocoon of callousness,” Marci Hamilton notes
It is sad to see that YU has chosen the Roman Catholic bishops’ approach to the scourge of child sex abuse: Keep as many secrets as possible for as long as possible, and, thereby prolong the suffering of the victims, the believers, and the institution itself
When Cardinal Law died, the New York Times obituary headline read, “Bernard Law, Powerful Cardinal Disgraced by Priest Abuse Scandal, Dies at 86”. Law had been known for his advocacy for civil rights and immigrant justice, but his legacy was defined by his cover-up of abuse. The NY Times called Penn State Coach Joe Paterno’s legacy “complicated”. Yet the same paper’s obituary for Norman Lamm read, “Norman Lamm, 92, Dies; Rescued Yeshiva U. From Brink of Bankruptcy”, with his cover-up of alleged abuse at his institution mentioned later. Ironically, the civil complaint alleges that publicity of the abuse “would have jeopardized YU’s much publicized $100 million fundraising efforts”, the very thing for which Lamm is lauded in his obituary.
Admirers of Lamm note that he acknowledged his mistakes in his retirement apology. Norman Lamm wrote “I too must do teshuvah”. The Jewish sage Maimonides taught that a sin between people requires not just confession but also making amends.
Kevin Mulhearn, the lawyer representing the men allegedly abused by teachers at YUHS during the tenure of Norman Lamm notes Lamm’s letter was, “’a positive first step, but only a first step,’ and that the entire university, not just Lamm, must ‘make amends.’”
A few months after Lamm penned his apology letter, his lawyer Joel Cohen was in court arguing that Lamm was not mentally competent to be deposed regarding the abuse he had just apologized for covering up.
There was a heated online debate regarding when Norman Lamm lost his mental faculties, but I prefer to think he was competent to pen his apology and that it was heartfelt. If so, then we have a path forward to honor his legacy, past, present, and future.
To rectify the past, Yeshiva University needs to make amends. They are currently being sued by dozens of plaintiffs for alleged failures to protect children from abuse suffered from the 1950s to 1980s. YU should offer restitution now without dragging these men through the pain of litigation. This new lawsuit was only possible thanks to the New York Child Victims Act (a similar suit was dismissed in 2013 due to the statute of limitations). Halacha (Jewish Law) has no statute of limitations, and YU could have made moral amends back in 2013 without hiding behind New York law. One of the plaintiffs, Jay Goldberg notes,
It is still the culture of Yeshiva University and the culture of modern orthodoxy in Judaism that it is a scar for us to come forward, it is with shame. And it shouldn’t be.
To sanctify the present, Yeshiva University must release the full Sullivan and Cromwell research. Despite promising at the outset of the investigation that they would release the findings, the report they published was short and non-specific, but referred to hours of interviews. Penn State set the example by releasing the full report on allegations of not only abuse, but institutional cover-up and Coach Joe Paterno’s involvement. Shmuel Herzfeld notes the YU summary report refers to those who knew about the allegations in the plural as “members of the administration” and he asks,
Are any of these administrators…still working for Yeshiva [University]?
Hamilton notes, “Without providing full factual disclosure, YU perpetuates the harm to the victims, and keeps secrets that can only hurt it in the future, when other victims of previously unnamed perpetrators come forward, which they surely will.”
To safeguard the future, Yeshiva University needs to set a positive example of child protection for Modern Orthodoxy, in keeping with Lamm’s legacy as a leader of the movement. The anti-harassment policy I can find is not clear on mandated reporting of abuse. The reporting protocol for sexual assault includes six different reporting pathways, none of them being law enforcement (mandated reporting to law enforcement is at the end of the policy). Hamilton observes, “This hard-to-follow path is guaranteed to have employees throwing up their hands in confusion, or worse, it is likely to result in reports that get lost in the cracks of the bureaucracy”. The Australian Royal Commission on child abuse recommends institutions empower children and the community to participate in the safety process. In my opinion, the YU faculty handbook and student handbook fail to empower staff and students to know how to speak up when they witness abuse.
Cardinal Bernard Law and Penn State Coach Joe Paterno were not abusers. They were both great men who did wonderful things, but their legacies have forever been sullied by cover-up of child abuse. We need to be aware of the power of our speech, and how glowing praise of Norman Lamm is emotionally impacting those plaintiffs who are still in pain and still suffering, not only from the alleged abuse but from Modern Orthodoxy’s communal indifference to past, present, and future allegations of abuse.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joel Avrunin is a leader in building technical sales teams, with a passion for technology, teambuilding, coaching, and helping people develop their careers. Experiencing the heartache of being a father to a victim of clergy child sex abuse has motivated him to be a vocal proponent of robust child safety and anti-grooming policies in our schools, houses of worship, and summer camps. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and children, where he enjoys long runs down the Atlanta Beltline and hikes in the North Georgia mountains with his family.
As Governor Andrew Cuomo faced a spirited challenge in his bid to win New York’s 2018 Democratic primary, his political apparatus got a last-minute boost: a powerful healthcare industry group suddenly poured more than $1m into a Democratic committee backinghis campaign.
Less than two years after that flood of cash from the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA), Cuomo signed legislation last month quietly shielding hospital and nursing home executives from the threat of lawsuits stemming from the coronavirus outbreak. The provision, inserted into an annual budget bill by Cuomo’s aides, created one of the nation’s most explicit immunity protections for healthcare industry officials, according to legal experts.
GNYHA – a lobbying group for hospital systems, including some that own nursing homes – said it “drafted and aggressively advocated for” the immunity provision. The new law declares that top officials at hospital and nursing home companies “shall have immunity from any liability, civil or criminal, for any harm or damages alleged to have been sustained as a result of an act or omission in the course of arranging for or providing healthcare services” to address the Covid-19 outbreak.
Prior to the budget language, Cuomo had already temporarily granted limited legal immunity to doctors and nurses serving on the medical frontlines. But the carefully sculpted passage buried in the state’s annual spending bill expanded that by offering extensive immunity to any “healthcare facility administrator, executive, supervisor, board member, trustee or other person responsible for directing, supervising or managing a healthcare facility and its personnel or other individual in a comparable role”.
New York is now one of just two states to shield those corporate officials from both civil lawsuits and some forms of criminal prosecution by the government, according to an analysis by Syracuse University law professor Nina Kohn and the University of Houston’s Jessica L Roberts.
“New York is an outlier and has the most explicit and sweeping immunity language,” Kohn said.
Cuomo’s administration said the new immunity provision – which is a narrow version of a broader proposal championed by the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell – is necessary.
THE FOLLOWING STORY REALLY TELLS ITSELF. IT’S SIMPLY DOLLARS OVER DECENCY, PROFIT OVER PROPRIETY AND MORAL BANKRUPTCY OVER HUMANITY
This story could be told in two separate parallel lines – one is the side of money, profit and a system of ownership devoid of morality. It is the tale of a family empire that owns nursing homes in numerous states, collects government funds for much of the care they allegedly provide, earns private money or insurance/long-term care funding for each body (live or dead) in its care. But, that would not necessarily be the right story to tell here as this family is not alone.
This story is not the exception within the business of nursing home ownership. Sadly, just another tale…. We send our condolences to the families. We plead with governmental entities, attorneys general and those in political power to pay attention. The Shofar is sounding but no redemption to be had. Generally speaking, few nursing home magnates can escape the lure of incorruptibility.
The other story is the telling of a failing governmental system of Nursing Home oversight. If an ownership conglomerate has a few poorly run nursing homes in one or two states, they will likely be consistently horrendous places in every state in which that conglomerate has an interest. This is with the exceedingly rare exception, though to be clear there are exceptions.
Generally speaking though, why favor reduced bottom lines and humanity when it is not as financially lucrative, particularly if the government is not paying attention; and if the beds are getting filled? We are not here to do good deeds, are we?
For our comments, we will leave the family ties to anyone who wants to look, no judgement, no opinions… well….
To the oversight, we need to say very little. People are dying. Bodies are piling up. It was to be expected, whether by Covid-19 or something simpler. It was not implausible.
In 2016 the Chicago Tribune laid out the problem with the Esformes nursing homes. Like yesterday’s story about the Nursing Home in Riverdale, NY, the Esformes family empire’s failings got largely ignored.
Those of us who have been sounding alarms since 2016 could provide anyone listening with the names of the most dangerous and reckless nursing home conglomerates in the United States. We could tell you who owns what, the number of violations of these homes, horror stories told by the nurses and healthcare workers, the way in which the slate gets swept clean, all of it. It is savage.
We, who have been looking for the last 4 or 5 years are a collective treasure trove of information. All someone needs to do is ask or pay attention.
From 2016 story in Chicago Tribune:
“Ex-employees allege nursing home tried to mislead inspectors on abuse”
Records show that some of those federal health-care dollars went to Weinfeld’s uncle, nursing home magnate Morris Esformes, whose son and close business partner, Philip Esformes, is being held without bond in a Miami federal detention cell on charges that he orchestrated a $1 billion Medicaid kickback scheme in Florida.
Morris and Philip Esformes in 2012 sold the Burnham home and three other Chicago-area facilities to companies run by Weinfeld and Weinfeld’s brother-in-law, Daniel Weiss, but those homes continued to pay consulting and real estate fees to companies managed by Morris Esformes, state records show.
Within three weeks, the Bria of Geneva nursing home went from one case of COVID-19 to two dozen residents dead and at least 75 infected. Delayed testing and gaps in nursing home data obscures the true toll of the crisis.
While other Illinois nursing homes may have seen larger overall numbers of cases and deaths, almost none have experienced an outbreak on the scale of the one here, with more than two-thirds of the residents infected with the virus and one-fourth killed by it. The situation at Bria of Geneva illustrates the price of insufficient and delayed testing and how a lag in public reporting of cases and deaths in nursing homes obscured the breadth of a crisis that has disproportionately hit the state’s vulnerable elderly population.
The first resident at Bria of Geneva tested positive April 17. At the time, Illinois public health officials had instructed nursing homes that they did not need to test everyone when there were positive cases. That guidance changed soon after, when state officials acknowledged that more testing was needed in nursing homes to identify asymptomatic residents and staff members and prevent large outbreaks. Still, it took another week for Bria to obtain enough supplies to do widespread testing.
State public health officials first released coronavirus case data on nursing homes April 19. It showed no cases at Bria of Geneva, even though the outbreak was underway. In some of the Public Health Department’s weekly updates since, the number of deaths has been undercounted or becomes outdated almost as soon as it’s released, according to a comparison of state data with a tally from the Kane County coroner’s office.
THE COVID-19 NURSING HOME FATALITY REPORT 5.13.20 – SOME THOUGHTS, DOLLARS FOR LIFE…
To every child, brother sister, mother father, aunt, uncle, daughter, son who lost someone at one of these homes, our condolences go out to you. We know quite well the pain you feel and the anguish. It is for this very reason that we would like to see something change in the nursing care and rehabilitation industry, dramatic changes, that put life before bottom lines and profit.
We commend the nursing facilities and homes with very few deaths. The numbers on the chart and the photo shots below speak for themselves.
To the ones with the highest fatality rates, we have a few comments, just some thoughts and opinions.
We would be willing to bet, with very few exceptions, that the Nursing facilities with the highest Covid-19 deaths or deaths not confirmed but attributed to Covid-19 share some or all of the following characteristics: 1) Ownership, 2) Management, 3) Historical Implications (previous history of neglect), 4) Number of High Level Political Donations and 5) Profitability.
What is certainly true as of the date of this printing, Governor Cuomo has given nursing homes a pass, also with very few exceptions, for the deaths from Covid-19.
Common sense would have dictated moving healthy non-infected residents to a single location or a location by coordinating between nursing facilities in close proximity. It would have been an effort to keep people alive.
The Deaths at the Hebrew Home and Nursing Homes Like It Were and Have Been Preventable. But, Money, Political Clout, and Other Factors Have Allowed Problems to go Ignored.
The story of neglect, poor oversight, non-responsive administrators and multiple lawsuits at the Hebrew Home in Riverdale was originally written in 2016 in a Three-Part investigation by Frank G. Runyeon. The story received only minimal attention and was largely ignored at that time, despite many years of shameful status quo in New York State Nursing Homes in general, and Hebrew Home related specifically. All information was and has been publicly available.
With respect to the Hebrew Home, four years later, 2020, will be ascribed to Coronavirus emergencies coupled with of the abject failures of the New York State governing authorities, the Department of Health the other entities responsible for keeping our elderly safe.
Many of the New York State’s nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities are highly profitable churning mills for filling beds and neglecting elderly. And because of a complete lack of oversight and accountability, there is blame to go around but Governor Cuomo has reduced the need to think twice. Money in, bodies out, little concern.
In New York, the legislators, the institutions and the Attorney General can all shoulder some of the blame for allowing Governor Cuomo to cater to his big-money donors and their long-term care/rehabilitation facility campaign donations, enabling understaffing and subpar oversight and enforcement.
You all have blood on your hands. Is it not about time to do something?
More than 110 people have died at the Hebrew Home in Riverdale in just two months — many with suspected COVID-19 symptoms but not appearing in official state tallies — and whistleblowers at the facility claim it’s a cover-up.
While the nursing home said 25 residents died at the home, or in hospitals, from confirmed and suspected COVID-19 in March and April, two insiders told The Post that 119 residents have died in the home alone in those two months.
The state Department of Health, meanwhile, lists only 18 deaths at the home as of May 8. The state does not include nursing-home residents who die in hospitals in its official count.
The staff was also ravaged — with at least 71 workers confirmed to have the virus, documents reviewed by The Post show.
There were 11 resident deaths on two days alone in April, according to internal records seen by The Post which did not list the cause of death. That two-day total was higher than the nine residents who died in all of January, two insiders said.
In March, as the coronavirus gripped the nation, veteran emergency room doctor Ming Lin was growing concerned. Lin felt his facility, PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham, Washington, was unprepared for the pandemic, so he went to his superiors for help.
Frustrated by their response, Lin took to social media, criticizing the hospital’s operations in a series of posts.
Days later, the hospital removed Lin from the rotation in the emergency department. He had worked at PeaceHealth for 17 years.
Under typical medical industry practice, Lin’s case would have been subject to peer review, experts said. But Lin’s employer wasn’t PeaceHealth. It was TeamHealth, a physician practice and staffing company that provides the hospital with emergency room services. TeamHealth is owned by Blackstone Group, a finance giant.
When a private staffing firm teams up with a hospital, the right to due process can disappear. Lin’s case was never heard.
“One of the objectives is to point out any deficiencies in the system that may harm the patient,” Lin told NBC News. “Because private equity has taken over health care, it has made that difficult.”
The health official responsible for overseeing nursing homes in Pennsylvania — where nearly 70 percent of the state’s coronavirus-related deaths have occurred — moved her elderly mother out of one of the facilities as deaths skyrocketed, a report said.
Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said Tuesday that her 95-year-old mother requested to be moved out of a personal care home, a local ABC affiliate reported.
“My mother requested, and my sister and I as her children complied to move her to another location during the COVID-19 outbreak,” Levine said, according to ABC27.
“My mother is 95 years old. She is very intelligent and more than competent to make her own decisions,” she added.
After criticism from some state lawmakers for the move, Levine argued she’s working to ensure the health and safety of all state residents, according to the report.