No CVA and $2.1M to Silence Allegations… Protecting Child Molesters

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Report: Ultra-Orthodox Jewish School Promised $2.1 Million To Quiet Allegations It Protected A Child Molester

http://gothamist.com/2016/10/24/yeshiva_sexual_abuse_settlement.php

A prominent ultra-Orthodox Jewish school has reached secret settlements worth $2.1 million with two former students who accused their teacher of molesting them, the New York Post reports. The students were two of several who have accused the man, Rabbi Joel “Yehuda” Kolko, of sexually abusing them, dating back to the 1970s. Experts the tabloid consulted said that this is the first known settlement to come out of child molestation cases in the city’s Haredi Jewish enclaves.

The settlements came to light because the school, Yeshiva Torah Temimah in Kensington, allegedly failed to pay $1 million of the total promised, leading the alleged victims to sue.

The accusers’ lawsuits claimed that the yeshiva has received credible allegations that Kolko was molesting students going back 25 years, but allowed him to retain his role as an elementary school teacher and failed to report the allegations to the police. Rabbis at the school investigated claims of Kolko’s abuse in 1985 and found him innocent, according to a decision obtained by the blog Failed Messiah. In addition to five who sued, at least four other alleged victims have come forward since 2005, The Jewish Week reported, but their cases were beyond the statute of limitations for bringing civil or criminal suits. A lawyer for victims told New York magazine that as many as 20 people had contacted him saying Kolko had abused them.

Former Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes reached a sweetheart plea deal with Kolko in 2012 related to the accusations of two alleged victims. The deal allowed Kolko to plead guilty to two misdemeanor counts of child endangerment and avoid jail time. Hynes’s office claimed that the parents wouldn’t allow the boys to testify, but the parents said that was a lie, and that they were shocked by the deal.

Hynes’s office also dismissed claims of witness tampering by the yeshiva and its supporters, including threatening phone calls the father of an alleged victim said traced back to the school, and a lawyer for the school allegedly contacting the victim’s therapist and asking the therapist to pressure the family. The lawyer denied the claim, which the therapist memorialized in a sworn affidavit.

The settlements are a positive step for victims in ultra-Orthodox communities, where going to the secular authorities with claims against fellow Jews can be considered sinful, according to one authority on the subject.

“If word gets out, other schools will think twice if they hear about abuse,” Rabbi Yosef Blau, spiritual adviser to Yeshiva University and victim rights advocate, told the Post.

Victims seeking recourse in the criminal justice system currently must do so before the age of 23, or 21 if implicating an institution, according to New York’s statute of limitations. A bill currently before the state legislature seeks to extend the statute.

To read the article in its entirety click, here.

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Solomon Rechnitz, Netanyahu – Corruption, a Family Business

Netanyahu Corruption Scandal Envelops Wealthy U.S. Haredi Family

shlomo reichnitz

Shlomo Rechnitz, under investigation for money laundering donations to Netanyahu family &/or Likud Party

The only thing better than a nice, juicy sex scandal is a nice, juicy corruption scandal.  Bibi Netanyahu has already had his very own sex scandal.  But it didn’t manage to wreck his career or his marriage.  The brewing corruption scandal threatens to do at leastone, if not the other.

I reported yesterday on an investigation that has caught up Netanyahu, his son, Yair, possibly his wife, Sara, and his former chief of staff Ari Harow.  Today, a Channel 2 news report snares a new player in the scandal, Shlomo Rechnitz.  There’s a baseball saying: you can’t tell the players without a scorecard.  As this criminal probe expands, I’ll try to keep the players clearly identified and offer some background.

robert reichnitz & netanyahu

Robert Rechnitz with pal, Bibi Netanyahu

Rechnitz comes from a wealthy, extended ultra-Orthodox family based in California.  The scion of the family and Shlomo’s uncle, is Robert Rechnitz, a real estate investor who founded the Bomel Companies and an Israeli subsidiary, Bomel Israel.  He has been vice chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition and founded a Congressional lobbying group on behalf of Israel’s Iron Dome anti-rocket system (or should I say, “racket system?) the Iron Dome Tribute.  He even developed a branding slogan: “the Humane Defensive Weapon.”  I always thought the words “humane” and “weapon” were oxymorons.  But not in the topsy-turvy world that is pro-Israel advocacy.

I learned all this not from Wikipedia or Rechnitz’s corporate biography, but from the corporate PR firm Rechnitz hired to polish his image, the Friedlander Group.  Unfortunately, he didn’t hire them to monitor the reputation of his children and close family members.  Because now two of them are in very hot water.

His nephew, Shlomo owns the largest nursing home conglomerate in California: Brius Healthcare Services (brius is the Yiddish version of the word for “health”).  The State of California has investigated his firm numerous times for violations of health regulations.  He was the subject of a class-action suit.  His Pasadena nursing care facility was accused of recruiting felons as patients. Several employees faced criminal charges from that escapade.   He complained once to the Sacramento Bee that the charges against him made him out to be “the Charles Manson of the nursing home business.”  I’m guessing no one from Friedlander was available to accompany him to this interview.  That image really sticks in your mind.

Not to mention the time he announced that his employees, for whom he’d purchased 18,000 Powerball tickets, had won the Powerball jackpot.  The NY Times even featured him in a major story.  Well, it turns out it wasn’t true.  It was all a hoax, supposedly perpetrated by the son of one of the “winning” employees.

Rechnitz is also reported to have bought the anti-Haredi blog, Failed Messiah, written for years by Shmaryahu Rosenberg.  Rechnitz and many of his associates had been skewered in its posts for years.  Though conditions of the sale were not made public, they apparently bar Rosenberg from creating a new blog; or at least one covering the same subject as his old one.  That online property promptly disappeared from the internet.  Clearly, the Haredi community had withstood the slings and arrows of outrageous (mis)fortune from Rosenberg’s pen for too long.  The tycoon stepped in to end the attacks.  Lately, a new iteration of the blog, Lost Messiah, was launched by former readers of the old blog who wished to maintain the service it had done to the Orthodox community and the Jewish world.

Rechnitz appears to be playing a lead role in the Scandal of the Day as a major donor to Netanyahu and the Likud.  His uncle, Robert, was the western chair of American Friends of the Likud, which would mean he both donated and raised massive sums from Orthodox Jews on behalf of the Israel far-right.  As such, the elder Rechnitz would’ve worked closely with Ari Harow, the man in the spotlight of the current scandal.  That’s how Shlomo would’ve come to the attention of the Israeli police investigating the money-laundering operation.  Among Shlomo’s wide and varied philanthropic endeavors was funding Hebron yeshivas, among the most virulently racist and violent in Israel.

I haven’t dug deeply into the background of Victor Deutsch, Harow’s former business partner.  But I wouldn’t be surprised if he too is Orthodox and perhaps a close friend of the Rechnitz family.  If this guess turns out to be true, Deutsch would have excellent motive to benefit Harow and the Likud by the sort of fraudulent business transaction they’re accused of arranging, in selling the latter’s company for $3-million in largely unaccounted-for funds.

Jonah Reichnitz

Jona Rechnitz: show him the money!

Another Rechnitz facing the glare of bad PR is Jona, Robert’s son and cousin to Shlomo.  Jona began his career in real estate working for Lev Leviev’s Africa Israel.  Leviev, who began his own career as a blood diamond merchant to the stars, also maintains vast real estate holdings in the U.S., Britain and Israel.  His company has also built Israeli settlements.  Jona helped manage the Leviev real estate portfolio in New York until they had a falling out.  After that, Rechnitz formed his own company, JSR Capital.

Jona and another wealthy Hasidic Jew have beenswept up in the bribery and corruption scandal which has rocked the De Blasio administration in New York City.  They did favors for the corrupt head of the city prison officers union, Norman Seabrook, and offered gifts and benefits to senior police officers in the precinct where they lived.  Among the crooked deals was a $60,000 payment to Seabrook (paid in a $1,000 Ferragamo hand bag) in return for the union boss’ steering $20-million to a Rechnitz associate’s investment fund.  Seabrook was miffed as he’d been told he could net $150,000 from the arrangement.

Among other favors were all-expenses paid gambling junkets to Las Vegas on a private jet.  Another part of the entertainment provided was a prostitute dressed as a flight attendant whose “services” included far more than providing drinks and snacks.

Presumably, Rechnitz did this so he could gain favorable service response and attention from local police personnel in Brooklyn Orthodox neighborhoods.  But he had even bigger ambitions, which led him and his associate made six-figure donations to various DeBlasio political fundraising vehicles once he’d won the Democratic mayoral primary.

Jona lobbied the City Council and succeeded in gaining a $655,000 “discretionary” allocation to underwrite a “cultural sensitivity” police training seminar hosted by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which was Rechnitz’ pet project.  Presumably, part of the curriculum was learning sensitivity to the special interests of the Haredi community.  You certainly won’t find any sensitivity to the Muslim community in this program.

All of this paints a portrait of a wealthy Haredi family parlaying money into political clout on a local, national and international scale.  Unlike other American families in which wealth is wielded within discrete nuclear families, in the Haredi world extended families (clans) unite to pursue objectives that benefit both their families personally and their extended Orthodox communities.  It’s certainly cleaner and less deadly than the old Italian mob.  But as the Netanyahu investigation shows, it’s no less venal and corrupt.

 

To see the article it’s entirety, see Titan Olam, click here

Gutnick – a Chabadnik, a Diamond Dealer and… Through and Through…

Weddings, Loans, Diamonds, History and Stock Affinity Schemes – A Carousel of Who’s Who in Chabad

Lost Messiah, July 14, 2016

Diamond Joe’s bankruptcy filing reflects a colorful cast of characters, listed as creditors and shareholders. The relationships are incestuous (we may mean that quite literally).  See the attached PDF.here We opine that he is anything but bankrupt, rather his money has been in meticulously careful and calculated transactions, transferred or “loaned” to other entities, either within his immediate family or without, within his Chabad family or without or within his Jewish “charitable” family or without. We have been fairly certain that following the money leads back to New York and to Israel, to Singapore and to India and we would not be surprised if we found links to Angola. For now… that is only speculation.

Diamond Joe Gutnick seemed to have had a penchant for giving loans or taking loans from Chabad Synagogues. According to Chabad belief, giving loans is a Mitzvah. We are not even going to go on a rant about that; but will let it be. “Rabbi” Gutnick’s $10M loan from a Chabad Synagogue presided over by his son-in-law’s father,  another major Chabad Rabbinical figure Rabbi Krynsky, seems a bit odd. However, Gutnick’s daughter is married to Rabbi Krynsky’s son, so perhaps not. After all, Rabbi Krynsky was referred to by Newsweek as one of the most influential rabbis in the US. Or, maybe the loan can be attributed to Chabad’s charitable lending as a generally accepted practice (no comment). 

In March of 2008, Failed Messiah published an article entitled “Gutnick, Chabad, Aish, Alleged Stock Market Affinity Schemes.” That article was one of many on the subject of Gutnick, Chabad and its rather shady financial practices and Gutnick’s involvement.

In that article, Rosenberg lists a veritable treasure trove of names, which we had been trying to piece together, involved in Gutnick-related schemes. For instance, we had asked one of our sources if there was a connection between Murray Huberfeld and Diamond Joe. If one goes on the theory of diamonds, New York, Platinum Partners, and Leviev, certainly there must be a connection. We were thinking Chabad, perhaps, but were not so sure.

Rosenberg seems to have substantiated our theory, the most relevant we have highlighted in red:

“It allegedly worked this way:

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Passaic’s Orthodox Rabbis Ban Child Molester Stefan Colmer from their Synagogues

There is little to be said that could do this article and the blog to which it refers justice. We suggest you read it. Please also keep http://www.protectjewishkids as a point of contact for reporting.

FRUM FOLLIES by Yerachmiel Lopin

Stefan Colmer 2016 Stefan Colmer

The following email was just sent out to members of a large orthodox synagogue in Passaic, NJ, a sizable orthodox Jewish Community.

From: R. Y. Eisenman <rabbi@ahavasisrael.org
Subject: Important
Date: Tuesday, June 7, 2016, 10:02 PM

Please be aware that Stefan Colmer, whom I spoke publicly about a few years ago and who was subsequently arrested, convicted and imprisoned for sexually abusing minors, has moved back to his home on 38 John Street [Passaic, NJ].

Congregation Ahavas Israel, together with all the Shuls in the Passaic-Clifton area has prohibited him from entering our premises; he is also not allowed in any of the Yeshivas. Mr. Colmer’s picture and the details of his criminal record can be found here.

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We, Yes We, Will Not Stand Down!

LostMessiah and our contributors, April 14, 2016

LET THIS BE A LESSON TO ANYONE TRYING TO SHUT DOWN FREE SPEECH!

Memo to Shlomo Rechnitz and his Henchmen:

You may have thought you could shut us up when you shut down Failed Messiah but all you did was stir a hornet’s nest. We will not be quiet. We will not go away. We will not be silenced!

LONG LIVE LOST MESSIAH!!

A Message to Eiruv Rav/Diversified Holding….

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Eruv Rav, Diversified Holding, the new owner of FailedMessiah.com

Eiruv Rav Publicly Attacks LostMessiah – Perhaps We Struck a Nerve?

On Facebook, Eiruv Rav seems to have gotten their knickers in a twist by our activities on this site.

From a FB post:

Who is this stupid plagiarist? Literaly copy and pasting entire articles. He/she seems to have bought the “lostmessiah.com” domain to run his/her illegal operation. Fits that it’s a Shmarya enthusiast. The copy and paste skills are a unique indicator of the Shmarya demographic.

Lost Messiah says they “hope to be a source of information, a call for unity amongst the Jewish communities,” I guess in the same way that Saddam tried to build Iraq-Kuwait unity. Moron

So we must ask ourselves: what is meant by that comment? Who is the Iraqi and who is the Kuwait in this scenario? And, while the current Facebook picture for Eiruv Rav has changed from its original iteration, initially it was clear that Eiruv Rav is owned by Diversified Holding, the same entity which purchased the FailedMessiah site. Today… not so much.

So, either that page was a lie when it initially joined FB or the folks at Diversified (FailedMessiah’s owners) are trying to create a ruse. Either way, onward we go. And no; we will not be purchased, not now, not in 3 years from now. Since we likely will not be able to read a lawsuit, we are not concerned about getting served…. public domain and all…

We remain thankful to Shmayra and aspire to be at least partially as accomplished as he was. For the folks at Eiruv Rav, if you are true to whatever mission you seem to be trying to impart, and are not actually Diversified (something we doubt), you might want to consider not shutting YOUR eyes to the abuses and frauds within your community, which Shmayra was trying so hard to uncover. 

To Eiruv Rav and Diversified, when you cut a rose in just the right spot, it grows a dozen more roses and far more thorns. You may want to keep that in mind…

 

ArutzSheva – Rubashkin Case Gets New Life

Rubashkin Crime Family – Getting New Life for an Old Case, Opening Doors for New Investigations into Family Finances?

LostMessiah, March 28, 2016

As Rubashkin again appeals to the Courts for a review of his sentence, claiming, amongst other things that the prosecution withheld evidence and further that he had little choice but to take the sentence, we ask ourselves whether the courts and investigators did enough to locate the many millions in family assets owned and operated by Sholom Rubashkin. Evidence has been uncovered to link an Israeli slaughterhouse to Rubashkin’s Agriprocessors, which FailedMessiah reported in 2015. Not only, in our view, has he opened himself up to scrutiny, again; but he has opened the doors to a new review of his family’s assets and the activities of at least one of his children, Sholom Rubashkin (Junior) who treats his tenants, much like Rubashkin treated his cows.

From an article posted a few hours ago by ArutzSheva, entitled “Rubashkin case gets new life“, the following:

“Sholom Rubashkin, 56, serving his seventh year of a controversial 27-year prison sentence in the United States for offenses connected to his running of a slaughterhouse in Iowa – the largest kosher meat-packing plant in the country – may now have reason to be encouraged.

A motion filed this week by his attorneys brings powerful evidence of government misconduct and abuse of power in the case – highlighted by government figures’ denials under oath that are directly contradicted by many testimonies.

The motion – a Merits Brief – supports the “2255 petition” that was filed in 2014 calling for judicial relief and resentencing for Rubashkin. A “2255 petition” is one that allows a convict to re-open a conviction and submit additional evidence that could not be brought during a regular appeal. The petition, and now the Merits Brief, purport to show that the government misconduct caused Rubashkin’s sentence to be even more severe, by two years, than the unusually harsh punishment requested by the prosecution.

Rubashkin, a Chabad hassid and father of ten, was the CEO of the Agriprocessors plant when it was cited in 2008 for issues involving animal treatment, hiring illegal workers, and others. In November 2009, Rubashkin was convicted of 86 charges of bank fraud and the like, mainly having to do with a $35 million bank loan that he could not pay back – due to what government elements called Rubashkin’s “fraudulent business practices.” The 27-year-sentence was then calculated based on the high loss caused to the bank.

However, the 2255 petition and the Merits Brief show that it was in fact the government’s actions that purposely caused Agriprocessors’ value to drop to a fraction of its value, thus preventing Rubashkin from selling his company at a fair price and then paying back most of the loan.

The main point brought out in the new evidence is that several would-be buyers of Agriprocessors were scared off by a government rule known as “No Rubashkins.” That is, potential buyers were told that the government would not accept any involvement of a member of the Rubashkin family in the future operations of the plant. This rule, and the warnings associated with it, caused many of the potential buyers to drop out. In the end, the plant that was originally valued at nearly $70 million was sold for only a fraction thereof – $8 million.

Though both the prosecuting attorney and the government’s star witness Paula Roby (liaison between the bankruptcy trustee, the Agriprocessors bidders, and the prosecutors) later denied in writing or under oath that a “No Rubashkins” policy existed, many would-be bidders have submitted affidavits that it existed very intensely. For instance, Roby testified that a $40 million offer from an investor named Soglowek fell through because the latter “realized the company was not worth the amount he had offered for it.” In fact, however, “that is untrue,” according to a sworn statement by Mr. Soglowek. He recounted that he was actually intimidated by the government’s forfeiture threats and warnings of “very bad consequences” if he employed any Rubashkins.”

For the remainder of the article click, here.