Diamonds and Diamonds and Israel and HAP – Eran Polack

Loose-diamonds

HAP co-founder committed fraud in $10M diamond heist: Israeli court

HAP Investments’ Eran Polack lied about being a victim of a $10 million diamond heist, an Israeli court ruled in September, after more than $5 million of the supposedly stolen inventory was recovered in his possession.

Polack, who co-founded HAP with two partners, was enmeshed in a long-running insurance case in Israel, in which he claimed to have been robbed of $10 million worth of diamonds in his office in Hong Kong in 2010. In September, an Israeli court threw out the claim, finding that more than $5 million of the stolen inventory had been with Polack all along, and that Polack lied about how the robbery went down, if in fact there was one.

“The defendants have successfully proven fraudulent intention,” the judge wrote. “Not only that the plaintiffs gave false testimony, but that they knew it was false, and did so with the intention of unlawfully recouping funds from the defendants on its basis.”

Polack is not facing fraud charges, as this was an insurance case, but the claim was thrown out and Polack is required to pay the insurer’s legal costs and attorney’s fees, in addition to $215,000 in legal fees.

Channel 10 News in Israel reported that Polack resigned from HAP following the ruling, and quoted a statement from the firm that, “Polack requested to leave his position as chairman and CEO soon after the ruling.”

However, in a statement to The Real Deal, a spokesperson for HAP denied that was the case. “Eran Polack was, and is, a founding partner and CEO of HAP Investments LLC and its affiliates in the United States,” the spokesperson said, and added that he intends to appeal the court’s decision.

According to Israeli court documents, Polack traveled to Hong Kong in February 2010 to sell about $10 million worth of diamonds. On the day of the alleged robbery he met with two men, identified only as “Africans,” at his office building in Hong Kong, to discuss the deal, documents show. At the building, Polack claims, the two men attacked him at knife-point and forced him to open his office, then ran off with the diamonds, leaving him bound.

Polack had increased his insurance policy from Menora Insurance days before leaving to Hong Kong in preparation for the deal, the documents show. After the heist, he filed a claim for 1,898 stolen diamonds worth a total of $9.5 million. Menora denied the claim on account of inconsistencies in Polack’s story, and followed up with a complaint accusing him of fraud.

Over the course of the next few years, more than $5 million worth of the stolen inventory was discovered in Polack’s possession, according to the documents. Three of the most valuable gems, worth a combined $2.5 million, had allegedly been bought on consignment in Hong Kong days before the robbery and Polack later tried to sell them. Polack removed another 41 gems from the list early on, deducting their value from his claim, after they too were found in his possession. In both cases, he was caught because he went to get the diamonds certified and reinsured, the documents state.

Polack’s story about the Africans was suspect from the start, according to Menora, who pointed out a list of inconsistencies and abnormalities, like the fact that the office was unfurnished, that he dismissed his secretary early that day and didn’t tell his partner about the meeting. But the key piece of evidence was CCTV footage that contradicted the crux of the story. In elevator security footage that was entered as evidence, Polack is seen taking the keys to his office out of his bag, proving that he allowed the two strangers inside voluntarily without accompaniment, which is not allowed by the policy.

According to the court, the robbery might have happened, only not under the circumstances described. “The motive for telling the wrong story is clear,” the judge wrote, since Polack knew that he hadn’t followed the security procedure and wouldn’t get the insurance money unless he fudged the details. Raising the stakes further was the fact that Polack was a middleman, and not all the stolen diamonds were his.

Dovid Levi, a victim of the theft, told Channel 10 news in Israel that back in 2010, Polack promised to return the money once the insurance paid up. “Then suddenly, I hear he’s running around New York, investing in real estate.”

HAP was founded by Polack, Amir Hasid and Nir Amsel, and they are funded in part by private Israeli investors. They are developing several multifamily buildings in Harlem, including a 20-unit condo building at 329 Pleasant Avenue, designed by Karim Rashid. The firm’s biggest New York City project to date is a $387 million development in Chelsea at 215-227 West 28th Street, where they plan to build a 21-story building with 199 units. HAP is also developing a 42-story mixed-use tower in Jersey City.

See article in its original post, click here.

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A Platinum Gilded Friendship – Mark Nordlicht and Rob Astorino going back 2013

Astorino 2013

FRIENDS OF ROB ASTORINO

Dear Reader:

As the current criminal trial against Norman Seabrook and others plays out, our previous statements connecting the dots to Mark Nordlicht, Platinum Partners, Echo Therapeutics, Jona Rechnitz, Africa Israel, Black Elk and the current bankruptcy should become more and more obvious.

Anyone who thinks that each movement of Platinum and its ever Philanthropic Partners are exclusive of one another is simply missing the big picture. If someone would take a diamond in exchange for a wide angle lens, perhaps the creditors of Platinum Partners and Echo Therapeutics, the COBA members defrauded of millions  might actually get justice and some of their money back. There are no coincidences. And we believe, it’s all a diamond in the rough.

Mark Nordlicht knows his way around paying money for what he wants. Let’s not be naive. Neither you nor him were born yesterday.

LM

The Allure Group – $48.4M Refi for Crown Heights Nursing Home

No Mr. Landau – No picture of you here!

rivington house

Firm tied to Rivington House scandal scores $48M refi in Crown Heights

The Allure Group just landed a $48.4 million loan to refinance a Crown Heights nursing home.

Maryland-based Andrews Federal Credit Union provided a new loan of $13.4 million, which is being consolidated with $36 million in previous debt, records filed with the city’s Department of Finance on Thursday show. The remaining principal on the previous loan is $34.9 million.

Allure purchased the facility at 810 St. Marks Avenue — known as the Crown Heights Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation Center — in 2014 for $13 million.

Representatives for Allure declined to comment on the refinancing.

Allure, which is led by Joel Landau and specializes in nursing homes, was at the center of the Rivington House controversy. The company purchased 45 Rivington Street in 2015 for $28 million. After succeeding in getting a deed restriction on the property lifted, the company sold the nursing home to Slate Property Group for a $72 million profit. Last year, the city admitted that it didn’t have a legal case against Allure for flipping the property.

Earlier this month, Allure prevailed over a lawsuit filed by residents of CABS Nursing Home in Bedford-Stuyvesant. CABS filed a lawsuit against Allure last year, claiming the company forced out residents soon after buying the facility in 2015. The lawsuit was dismissed Oct. 4, though the nursing home has filed a notice of appeal.

See THE REAL DEAL.

At Least Wieseltier had the decency to be “Profoundly Sorry” – Offenses Against Women

leon-wieseltier4

Leon Wieseltier Admits ‘Offenses’ Against Female Colleagues as New Magazine Is Killed

 

Leon Wieseltier, a prominent editor at The New Republic for three decades who was preparing to unveil a new magazine next week, apologized on Tuesday for “offenses against some of my colleagues in the past” after several women accused him of sexual harassment and inappropriate advances.

As those allegations came to light, Laurene Powell Jobs, a leading philanthropist whose for-profit organization, Emerson Collective, was backing Mr. Wieseltier’s endeavor, decided to pull the plug on it.

“Upon receiving information related to past inappropriate workplace conduct, Emerson Collective ended its business relationship with Leon Wieseltier, including a journal planned for publication under his editorial direction,” the organization said in a statement on Tuesday. “The production and distribution of the journal has been suspended.”

A spokesman said Emerson Collective would not elaborate further on the nature or source of the information it had received. But stories about Mr. Wieseltier’s behavior are now surfacing in the aftermath of revelations about Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual assaults and harassment of women.

Over the past week, a group of women who once worked at The New Republic had been exchanging emails about their own accounts of Mr. Wieseltier’s behavior in and out of the magazine’s office in Washington, according to one person who has seen the confidential chain and was granted anonymity to describe its contents.

 

…..

“For my offenses against some of my colleagues in the past I offer a shaken apology and ask for their forgiveness,” he wrote. “The women with whom I worked are smart and good people. I am ashamed to know that I made any of them feel demeaned and disrespected. I assure them I will not waste this reckoning.”

See the article in its entirety here.

The Mayor, Astorino, anyone else for sale?

rechnitz

De Blasio donor’s shocking testimony: $100K bought me the mayor

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Rechnitz — appearing in the bribery trial of former city corrections-union chief Norman Seabrook — first dealt with questions about pay-to-play allegationsinvolving him and Mayor de Blasio, the NYPD and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.

He said he and businessman pal Jeremy Reichberg targeted the cops in the beginning, doling out gifts and cash in lieu of favors.

Soon, “We had the police going for us — and now it was time to get into politics,” Rechnitz said.

In his first meeting with de Blasio fundraiser Ross Offinger after de Blasio won the Democratic primary in 2013, Rechnitz and his pals — including Brooklyn businessman Jeremy Reichberg and Fernando Mateo, president of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers — made the rules clear, Rechnitz said.

“We’re going to be significant contributors, but we want access,” Rechnitz, 34, said the group told Offinger. “When we call, we want answers.

“We’re one group, and we expect a lot of access and influence.”

And they got it, Rechnitz said.

De Blasio soon visited Rechnitz at his office and handed the real-estate investor his personal cell-phone number and e-mail address.

“He said, ‘Keep in touch’ and [that] he really appreciated my friendship,” Rechnitz said.

Next thing you know, Rechnitz was talking with the mayor once a week, and Rechnitz was calling Offinger every time he had a problem that needed to be fixed, including a massive water bill for a friend, violations over a renter’s subletting one of his residences on Airbnb and a request to delay his wife’s school’s closing by a month.

Prosecutor Martin Bell asked Rechnitz whether Offinger did “in fact have the sort of pull” that Rechnitz and his friends were expecting in exchange for their contributions.

“Yes,” Rechnitz replied.

Bell asked, “How did you come to realize that?”

Rechnitz said, “Whenever we would call him for access or for a favor, we were getting the response that we expected and the results we were expecting.”

Rechnitz said he secured a spot on de Blasio’s inauguration committee thanks to his efforts to raise $100,000 for his mayoral campaign.

Rechnitz was also offered a spot on the mayor’s transition committee, but he turned it down after de Blasio rejected Reichberg for a vacancy due to diversity issues, he said.

In just one hour of testimony, Rechnitz painted a picture of a city — and beyond — completely ruled by money.

Rechnitz said Astorino gave him and Reichberg positions as police chaplains in exchange for their financial contributions — even though neither of them are rabbis or priests.

This landed them parking placards, among other perks.

Rechnitz also told a story about the time Astorino approached him with a picture of a Rolex watch and asked for helping procuring it.

“I told him I’d be happy to give it to him,” Rechnitz said, prompting Astorino to agree to pay for between $1,000 and $2,000 of the watch, with Rechnitz paying for the rest.

The government witness estimated the watch was worth as much as $10,000.

When it came to the cops, Rechnitz said, he and Reichberg were running the show — doling out gifts and cash to cops in exchange for favors, including ticket-fixing and police escorts to funerals.

He named a slew of cops — everyone from Phil Banks to James Grant to Eric Rodriguez — and talked about the time the cops, together with the Port Authority, shut down large portions of the Lincoln Tunnel so Rechnitz’s boss — an Israeli billionaire known as the “King of Diamonds” — could get to his Manhattan hotel faster.

Mayoral spokesman Eric Phillips denied the felon’s claims.

“These are nothing but re-heated, re-packaged accusations that have been extensively reviewed and passed on by authorities at multiple levels,” Phillips said. “The administration has never and will never make government decisions based on campaign contributions.”

A rep for Astorino called Rechnitz’s testimony “total contrived nonsense.

“Rob Astorino went shopping in the city for a second-hand watch several years ago. Mr. Rechnitz, who was in no trouble at the time, offered to help and took him to a store near his office,” said Astorino’s re-election campaign spokesman, William O’Reilly.

“Mr. Astorino was then offered the used watch for free. Mr. Astorino promptly declined and insisted on paying for it, which he did. He has the credit-card receipt to prove it, which he provided to the authorities prosecuting Mr. Rechnitz.

“Although this transaction occurred almost 18 months ago, Rob Astorino has never been accused of any wrongdoing by any federal or state prosecutor for any reason – he did nothing wrong,” O’Reilly said.

“Furthermore, Mr. Rechnitz never spoke with Rob Astorino about a volunteer chaplaincy for himself or anyone else.

The NYPD declined comment.

Ben Brafman, lawyer for former NYPD Chief of Department Banks, said, “I don’t have any interest in commenting about Mr. Rechnitz, but I do point out that Chief Banks has never been prosecuted for any wrongdoing.”

John Meringolo, lawyer for James Grant, whose own corruption trial is set for April 30, said, “It’s just all made up against Grant, it really is. Grant’s done nothing wrong. After Jona’s testimony today, we’re certainly going to call Mayor de Blasio to testify and prove that Jona’s lying about having the mayor’s office on speed dial. He’s lying about the mayor the same way he’s lying about Grant.”

Andrew Weinstein, lawyer for another officer tainted by Rechnitz, Michael Harrington, added, “Jona Rechnitz’s entire existence is built upon lies and deception. Any suggestion by Mr. Rechnitz that Mike Harrington was in any way complicit in his [Rechnitz’s] life of crime is but one more lie from a pathetic wannabe who is desperate to implicate others in an effort to save his own skin.”

Click here to see the article in the NYPost

YAFFED.Org – Speaks out against Kalman and Yeger

This was submitted to us by a frequent reader and we tip our hats to that reader.

We note that we are posting this without the prior knowledge of Yaffed’s Naftuli Moster.

This post should not be deemed to imply that we have the support of either Yaffed or Mr. Moster, nor should it be assumed that they are readers of our posts.

Please see the video.

A PLATINUM TESTIMONY – Pay-to-Play – Jona Rechnitz and Mayor de Blasio

 

THE DAILY NEWS

Major de Blasio donor brags about closeness with mayor, says he expected influence for funds at Seabrook trial

 

One of Mayor de Blasio’s biggest donors took the witness stand Thursday to boast about his closeness to the mayor and make clear he had expected “lots of access” to Hizzoner.

The embarrassing testimony came from Jona Rechnitz, who’s pleaded guilty to corruption charges and is the star witness in the trial of disgraced jail union boss Norman Seabrook.

“I was giving money `to the Mayor of New York in exchange for favors,” he said to describe one element of the criminal offense to which he pleaded guilty.

Rechnitz described a meeting he and another donor, Jeremy Reichberg, had with de Blasio’s key fund-raiser, Ross Offinger.

Embattled de Blasio donor to testify against Norman Seabrook

“We expect a lot of access and influence,” Rechnitz said the group told Offinger. “We’re going to become significant contributors.

He said Offinger, a longtime de Blasio aide and the chief rainmaker for the mayor’s non-profit, Campaign for One New York, replied, “Okay. How much do you think you guys can get together?”

Norman Seabrook says $20G was casino prize money, not bribes

Rechnitz, who is cooperating with prosecutors in the hopes of winning lighter jail time, raised $41,000 for the mayor before his 2013 election, donated $50,000 to Campaign for One New York, and wrote a $102,300 check as part of the mayor’s 2014 failed effort to flip the state Senate to Democratic control.

Offinger, Rechnitz testified, returned with his hand out after de Blasio was elected mayor.

“He would call when they needed money,” he said. In return, “I would call whenever I had an issue.”

“I would be a ‘yes’ man,” he added. “I always gave money.”

Witness in Norman Seabrook bribery case is ‘serial liar’: defense

In court he revealed that de Blasio — who has strained to distance himself from Rechnitz — even came to his office before the election.

The then-candidate “told me to call if there’s anything I need. Always be in touch.”

Rechnitz was one of several donors who got tremendous access to the mayor. De Blasio routinely ordered his minions to intervene on donors’ behalf.

Emails show de Blasio responding, “I’m all ears” when Rechnitz suggested a candidate for buildings commissioner, and City Hall intervened when he was cited for running an illegal hotel.

Norman Seabrook says $20G was casino prize money, not bribes

In response late Thursday, de Blasio’s press secretary, Eric Phillips, mocked the credibility of the mayor’s major donor.

“These are nothing but re-heated, re-packaged accusations that have been extensively reviewed and passed on by authorities at multiple levels,” he said. “The administration has never and will never make government decisions based on campaign contributions.”

Rechnitz was cooperating with the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s probe of de Blasio that result in no charges but the finding that the mayor had intervened on behalf of big donors.

Rechnitz also admitted he “straw donors” — an illegal scheme to avoid laws limiting how much contributors can give to politicians.

Ex-correction union head Seabrook must face corruption charges

The law prohibits donors from masking their identity by giving to campaigns through other donors. Rechnitz said he did just that by having people in his office write checks for which he would reimburse them.

He described Offinger as a kind of bag man, dropping by his office to pick up checks.

“I told him to hold on and I’d walk out, get a few checks from people and then bring them in,” he said.

Please click here for the original article.