Kars4Kids’ Reps Hit With Summonses for Taking Courtroom Photos: Officials
ST. GEORGE — Representatives for the charity Kars4Kids were hit with summonses after being accused of taking photos in a courthouse during a hearing regarding the organization’s legal fight with an Eltingville synagogue.
Bentzion Turin, general counsel for Kars4Kids, and Rabbi Yehoshua Weinstein, director of outreach development for Oorah Inc. that runs the charity, were issued disorderly conduct summonses in Staten Island Supreme Court for taking pictures Wednesday, said Lucian Chalfen, director of public information for the court system.
It’s illegal to take photos inside a New York court without permission from a judge.
The pair were in court for a hearing over claims that Congregation Oorah, started by Oorah Inc., told the IRS it’s operating a synagogue at 374 Ridgewood Ave. to run services and hire a rabbi.
The synagogue is actually being run by the Young Israel of Eltingville for these purposes, according to court papers.
In the hallway before the hearing and inside the court room, Turin and Weinstein were spotted taking pictures of various people with their cellphones, Chalfen said.
Judge Charles Troia saw the pictures on their phones and issued the summonses, Chalfen said.
It’s unknown why Turin and Weinstein were taking photos.
Turin did not want to comment for this story.
Israel Vider, Oorah’s and Kars4Kids’ lawyer, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Oorah, which takes in millions a year through donations to Kars4Kids, has been in a legal battle over the synagogue with Young Israel since 2007, The Jewish Week reported.
Struggling to pay its bills, Young Israel entered an agreement to put Oorah on the deed of the Eltingville building in exchange for $250,000 and let Oorah operate a school on the site.
Young Israel would still use it for daily services, The Jewish Week reported.
Young Israel later said Oorah tried to push them out of the main sanctuary and took its claim to a religious court, which ruled Young Israel owed Oorah $1 million, according to Jewish Week.
Young Israel took the case to Staten Island Supreme Court and filed court papers in October, arguing Oorah was using the building to avoid public disclosure that’s required of nonprofits and get tax-exempt status as a religious organization.
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