Oorah & Kars4Kids a Scheme, Wrapped Up Like a Gift and Written by the Director of Public Relations…
We owe our readership a great deal for their diligence in getting stories and information to us and in entrusting those stories and that information in our care.
Over the last few days we have been examining a series of articles on Kars4Kids and Oorah, Inc. and the potentially fraudulent activities of both organizations. We had been going on a working theory that the entire organization was one big Ponzi scheme.
We did not want to throw anything out there that might otherwise implicate an organization in untoward activity without a wee bit more information. Today we received a letter which was sent from the “Public Relations Director” of kars4kids.org to their employees and friends. While we cannot attest to the providence of the letter, we can state fairly unequivocally that in our view it represents an effort on the part of Oorah to control the damage of recent press.
On this one, Oorah and Kars4Kids wrote the story for us. This is a hat tip to the Director of Public Relations for making our lives that much easier.
In our experience, where there is smoke, there is almost always a fire.
Date: July 6, 2016 at 10:09:20 AM EDT
Subject: about that story in the news you may have seen…
Some of you may have seen a story about Oorah in the news recently, in the Jewish Week, the NY Post or Vos iz Neias. As many are not familiar with the case and the story as reported in the media is drastically biased and one-sided, we’d like to give you some background on the story. It’s a very long story but we’ll try to keep it as short and to the point as possible. All supporting documents attesting to the truth of these facts are available.
In 2006, we were approached by Sid Stadler, a well-known member of the Staten Island community, good friend of Oorah and “talmid” of Rabbi Chaim Mintz. The shul he had founded and put his lifeblood into (with R’ Chaim’s encouragement and guidance) was dying out and had serious financial issues; he was planning on moving to Israel. He begged Oorah to buy the shul and use it for our community center in Staten Island; his only stipulation was that we allow the few remaining members of the congregation to maintain their Shabbos and Yom Tov minyan. We were very reluctant to take him up on his offer, in part out of concern for the potential conflicts that could arise and sour our relationship. Sid added that in case of any disagreements, he would defer to his revered rabbi, Rabbi Chaim Mintz, who would have final say on all matters related to the shul. After months of his pestering, we finally signed an agreement with Sid, which you can see in full here.
We immediately gave him a $250,000 check, spent upwards of $250,000 on the mortgages and started paying the shul’s utility bills. Sid never gave us the deed to the property, though we tried repeatedly to move the process forward. We invested another half a million into renovations and expansions, turning the building into the beautiful Torah Spot/ Little Star building you can visit today. Meanwhile, the main sanctuary and 2 mikvaos continued to function as before.
As Little Star grew and we needed more space for students, we wanted to use the ezras nashim of the shul during the week, when the shul wasn’t in use. Sid was adamant that this was fitting for kedushas bais haknesses; R’ Chaim heard him out but told him that on the contrary, it was the biggest honor for it to be used for chinuch of Jewish children. He even gave Sid his personal guarantee that the room would be made ready for Shabbos use every week.
Emotionally unable to give up possession of “his” shul, Sid’s attitude to Oorah changed to resentment, spreading rumors among the community that Oorah was trying to take over the shul. Since he was not willing to honor the original agreement and we needed to move the matter forward, we called him to Bais Din Maysharim but he refused to come, insisting we organize a zabla bais din (arbitration panel in which each side chooses an arbitrator who together choose a neutral third) instead. Next he claimed he couldn’t afford the fees involved so we even offered to give him the money for his fees.
When it became apparent that Oorah would win the din Torah, some hockers from a nearby kollel decided to mix in, concocting a new story that Sid never had authority to enter into the agreement with Oorah on behalf of the Young Israel. This is, to put it nicely, utter baloney—Sid’s name even appears as president on the very stationary they used to protest he was not legally their president! Besides the fact that Sid was always the one who took care of the shul’s finances, deposited all the checks, took out the mortgages etc, if you daven in the shul on a Shabbos today, Sid still sits in the president’s seat and carries out all the president’s duties. (agav, he sent us an email, just last week, asking us to take care of flooding in the building!) They also claim they didn’t know about the agreement and would not have agreed to it if they did, another ludicrous contention, considering that they’d have to be blind not to have seen the renovations and signs Oorah put on the building. And no one saw fit to wonder where the money to keep the shul from foreclosure, to keep the lights on and the a/c running came from all these years??
The bais din, led by the Galanter Rav, threw these kollel guys out (who are bnai Torah in dress alone; their actions are utterly reprehensible) after ruling they were not party to the case and for the extreme chutzpah they showed. The bais din’s psak was that the Young Israel owed Oorah $1 million, a conservative estimate of the amount we put into the building. Following the bais din’s directive, we went to court merely to confirm the arbitration award. Now these guys are bringing a countersuit to have the bais din’s ruling overturned in secular court.
As for why you won’t see any comments from us explaining all this in the media, there are several reasons for that. For one thing, we believe in settling our disputes in the appropriate venues (bain din), not the peanut gallery of the press, who anyway will twist anything you tell them. We’re not looking to add fuel to the fire. And as our lawyers will tell you, it is not wise to comment in public media on open litigation as it can have an impact on the case in court.
Director of Public Relations
See here how Yahoo Mintz and his ‘charities’ have long been involved in shady dealings and some of the most notoriuos frum crooks are close relatives of oorah senior staff and closely affilaited
see: http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2009/12/massive-money-laundering-ponzi-scheme-ensnares-oorah-kars4kids-789.html , https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2012/04/24/kars4kids-groups-tax-exempt-claim-draws-scrutiny/
and brother: http://www.oorah.org/who-we-are/whowearepeople.asp
ponzi guys bro is behind the SI school http://www.silive.com/southshore/index.ssf/2010/07/new_jewish_pre-school_set_to_o.html as one of mintz’s loyal gurus when not defedening brother
Another attempted Oorah focefull takeover of Staten island
An omany other scandals: