Rabbi Joel Landau of San Francisco Identity Stolen by Joel Landau of Rivington?

rivington house

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/health-firm-linked-rivington-scandal-steals-rabbi-identity-article-1.3092909

Health care firm with ties to Rivington nursing home accused of stealing San Francisco rabbi’s identity

A California rabbi says his identity has been stolen in an apparent effort to promote a controversial health care firm tied to the Rivington House scandal and run by a man of the same name.

Rabbi Joel Landau of San Francisco had his photo and biography used in a series of online posts he says he had nothing to do with — some promoting the Allure Group, run in New York by a different Joel Landau.

Allure is the company that got a deed restriction lifted on the lowest East Side nursing home Rivington House — then sold the building at a huge profit to a condo developer, sparking a series of investigations.

“For some strange reason, someone is using me to blog,” Rabbi Joel Landau said. “Anyone who does a little bit of research on Allure sees that they’re embroiled in some less than savory things.”

City fires official at center of Rivington deed restriction flub

One post published on the Times of Israel website discusses the growth of the healthcare sector, before citing Allure as a company that “managed to position themselves as the best possible alternative for elderly patients, providing them with affordable quality care” and linking to the website of Allure principal Joel Landau.

Posts were also published under Rabbi Landau’s picture about Israel technology and Jewish immigration in Boston, and a Twitter account was created in his name that linked to the various posting.

“None of that is mine,” said Landau. “Absolutely, positively nothing. Zilch.”

“It’s a really bizarre story,” he said.

A call to Allure on Sunday was not returned.

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/health-firm-linked-rivington-scandal-steals-rabbi-identity-article-1.3092909

 

Echo Therapeutics Inc, one in a String of Platinum Decimated Companies…. Answering Some Questions.

The below is an article that was posted in Valuewalk. The author asks some obvious and reasonable questions. Taken in a vacuum, one might wonder. However, when viewed through the looking glass of Platinum corporate savagery, the answers to those questions take on a whole new perspective.

Our comments are in red. – LM

Echo Therapeutics Inc (ECTE) – A Stock With No Revenue And A Short Catalyst

Platinum Partners is the largest investor in Echo Therapeutics (common, warrants, pref and debt). Below is the author’s take on the stock itself, but it raises some bigger questions regarding Platinum such as:

  1. why was platinum (a $1 billion fund) repeatedly investing in such a micro cap stock. Because as part of Platinum’s strategy, Platinum acts as the savior “institutional investor,” proceeds to increase value through name recognition, to take control, divest the company of its most valuable assets and equity and then to tank the stock and leave nothing for investors. Most likely in bankruptcy, Platinum repurchases the company at a substantial discount or holds onto the assets and sells them.
  2. How did Platinum value its investment in the warrants and preferred as there is no “market” for these illiquid investments. The value is an arbitrary number intended to guide other investors who view Platinum’s investment as a benchmark. As you know there were some questions about how Platinum valued some of its other investments. See Black Elk and Optionable, Echo Therapeutics and dozens if not hundreds of others. They all follow the same pattern of setting a benchmark, enticing other investors to increase capital thereby increasing value and then tanking the company by divesting it of its assets through a series of tender offers, mergers, special purpose vehicles or strategic partners. In Echo’s case it was a Chinese partner who made promises of Chinese FDA approval to appear legitimate.
  3. Did Platinum invest in ECTE while at the same time preventing Platinum investors from withdrawing from the fund (aka failing to honor redemption requests). Most likely or they created a class of shares in which they too were investors and then voted one class over the other thereby diluting the equity for the second class. That was followed by removing the value through a series of tenders, mergers, corporate takeovers, strategic partnerships…

Echo Therapeutics Inc (ECTE) – An Overvalued Stock

Echo Therapeutics (ECTE) has no revenue, is losing money, is facing delisting from the Nasdaq exchange, needs capital, recently filed a shelf offering (very late in the day on a Friday!) and faces competition from much larger industry competitors. According to the latest 10Q, the company had only $42k of unrestricted cash (not much cushion for a company that burns over $1mm per quarter) yet boasts an equity market cap of almost $35 million (using the 20 million shares, which includes convert pref,…most data sources like yahoo and Bloomberg use only 11 million shares outstanding). The company also expects to have negative cash flows for the foreseeable future as it funds its operating losses and capital expenditures. Echo Therapeutics is up 25% YTD and up 100% from its 52 week low. This was not the case initially. The software had value. The company was a Platinum target from start to finish.

To make it an even more attractive short candidate, consider that its largest shareholder is Platinum Partners, the fund that one of its executives has been accused of paying bribes to a union boss in exchange for an investment and the same fund that yesterday the FBI raided on reportedly as part of an investigation into Platinum’s valuation of its hard to value illiquid assets. It has also been reported that Platinum will be liquidating some or all of its funds (which makes the short even more interesting). Finally, it has been reported that Platinum failed to honor redemption requests from investors and that Platinum has defaulted on a $30 million loan from New Mountain Capital…in other words, Platinum appears to have some very serious problems and their future is uncertain. Platinum Partners gets involved to give the company seeming legitimacy, name recognition, institutional investor interest thereby enticing other investors.

Furthermore, Platinum’s investment (and ECTE’s market cap) are larger than it might initially appear as most of Platinum’s investment is in the form of convertible Preferred stock, so the number of shares outstanding is, theoretically larger than it appears on the cover of the 10q. In addition there are Blockers limiting the number of shares that the preferred can be converted into, so the ownership table in the proxy table understates Platinum’s true ownership, although the footnotes give more accurate information. Precisely why their pattern of corporate savagery works.

Echo Therapeutics is trying to develop a non-invasive (aka no needles), wireless, continuous glucose monitoring system. You can see the latest presentation at http://echotx.com/investors/investor-relations/ . The company has been developing its products for several years now but still has no commercially viable product. It probably doesn’t help that they spend more on SG&A than they do on R&D and that they compete with companies with significantly greater resources. ECTE does talk about getting approval from the Chinese FDA (we have our doubts) and the company does put out press releases on things that we believe are of limited real value. Promises of Chinese FDA approval was a ruse to add seeming legitimacy to its choice of strategic partner, also a Platinum related entity, in China. Meetings were held in China, thereby removing the US entrepreneurs and board members from earshot. To reiterate, the supposed FDA Approval in China was a ruse intended to make the entire scheme appear legitimate, reasonable and even value enhancing.

To avoid delisting from the Nasdaq, by the July 5, 2016 ECTE will need stockholders’ equity above $2.5 million (last quarter it was negative $4.7 million) and to provide projections that it can maintain that amount through June 30, 2017 (remember the company loses money and lost $2.6 million last quarter). ECTE could, theoretically meet the Nasdaq requirements by doing one of 2 things, neither of which would be good for current shareholders: 1) Raise equity through a recently filed (but not yet effective) $25 million shelf, although it is unclear if ECTE has enough time to pursue this option and who would buy the stock or 2) Have Platinum convert some/all of its preferred stock into common stock, although given Platinum’s other problems I’m not sure how focused they are on ECTE at the moment.

In addition to being ECTE’s largest shareholder, Platinum has the right to nominate one director to ECTE’s Board. Platinum’s designee is ECTE’s Chairman, Michael M. Goldberg. Goldberg’s previous biographies indicate he used to work for Platinum. However his employment by Platinum is not mentioned in the bio listed in ECTE’s SEC filings and we wonder why. (Note: Mr. Goldberg is also Board Director for ticker NAVB, another Platinum related company whose stock has cratered recently.) Each and every member of the Platinum team from start to finish is a Platinum person, friend, family member, financial colleague and co-conspirator. This is part of the same Platinum pattern. Platinum Controls all aspects of the entity it takes over. It is carefully planned, reflecting savvy, a clear understanding both of the markets and of investor behavior and a willingness to destroy the most vulnerable, those who began the venture and did not know enough to prevent Platinum from stepping in.

Besides Michael Goldberg, Echo Therapeutics has 2 other non-employee directors, one of whom is Mr. Goldberg’s first cousin. Couldn’t ECTE find a qualified director who was not related to an existing Board member? To be clear, we don’t know either of the Goldbergs nor are we suggesting they have done anything wrong. However, their ties to Platinum (and each other) are red flags for us. They should be huge red flags, warning signs a cause for running in the opposite direction.

Not surprisingly, ECTE has failed to attract much interest from institutional investors. If ECTE is such an interesting investment, why have so many sophisticated investors avoided it? Our opinion is that Platinum owns shares when the company is functioning with moderate returns, dumps those shares into the market, tanking the stock, which serves to make a company appear less financially viable. They then enter as the “legitimate institutional investor” at a lower market price, take over a majority of shares and proceed to acquire control in seemingly legal contracts and transactions then divest the company of its most valuable assets under the guise of  trying to rebuild a company. In reality the entire path from start to finish is a well orchestrated ballet, with a chorus of additional dancers waiting at the sideline to step in and steal the show.

Based on the latest proxy as of April 2016 we estimate Platinum’s investment to consist of 783k common shares, 5.6 mm shares (theorectically convertible from preferred stock) and 2.8 million warrants. Clearly exiting its position will be challenging considering the company needs to sell shares too to raise cash and the trading volume is limited. No surprises. It was orchestrated in similar fashion in EVERY other deal that Platinum has entered (see Objectionable, Black Elk and others).

Echo Therapeutics is an overvalued stock where we believe both insiders and the company will need to sell large numbers of shares and we don’t see how either can occur at these prices. Echo Therapeutics can be saved if the Receiver in Bankruptcy sees the company through the looking glass of Platinum’s involvement and facilitates its recovery by denying Platinum and its partners any involvement.

Mark Nordlicht – WTA – A Platinum Swindle, “Loans”? “Donations”?

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Westchester Torah Academy – Case Number 68936/2016

According to court papers, WTA owed Nordlicht over $3 million and was trying to get a bank loan to pay him off. Financing for WTA has been denied; Nordlict is calling the Loans; and the children who attend that school are collateral damage.

Putting together the pieces of a puzzle of circuitous loans, investments, promissory notes, tax deductions, it looks like Mark Nordlicht (of Platinum fame) needed to reclaim the money he “donated,” “loaned,” to WTA presumably to pay his lawyers. WTA, now in a precarious financial position, had to withdraw the petition once Nordlicht was arrested.

Apparently desperate for cash, and despite what appears to be a schematic for fraud and theft from unwitting investors which included friends and people who trusted him, Mark Nordlicht now appears to be forcing Westchester Torah Academy to take on millions of dollars in debt in order to repay him for a “loan” he made to the school to acquire a new property.  The “loans” looked conveniently like “donations” before Mr. Nordlicht got himself into financial hot water.

Keep in mind of course, nobody has any idea where he obtained the money that was “loaned,” “donated,” whatever to WTA. Platinum Partners, perhaps? In court papers filed in late December 2016 , WTA filed a petition (see above links) to take out a mortgage on property that would have resulted in Nordlicht receiving proceeds of over $1 million on account of a promissory note he entered into with the school.

It appears that without creating yet another venture (Ponzi Scheme), Nordlicht has turned his attention to a day school. One can only wonder why the school would go along with this calamity of an arrangement, particularly given that Nordlicht was the primary source of funding (loans, donations – who knows what) of the school and it is unclear how the school will continue to function without his “donations” somehow called loans, somehow generating promissory notes – doesn’t add up.

Not surprisingly, once Nordlicht was arrested the NY Attorney General opposed the school’s application to obtain the mortgage. If WTA cannot operate in a responsible manner (and who knows what else the school “owes” to Nordlicht) it is good that at least someone is paying attention.

We are hoping the new Attorney General will next investigate the school and how it was funded. Our guess, this is yet another piece of the Platinum Partners pattern of pilfering.

Off the Books Entitlements, Section 8, Bilking the System in One of the Most Gentrified Neighborhoods

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NY Daily News Photograph.

Hasidic neighborhood in South Williamsburg is a top beneficiary of Section 8, but some question whether law is strictly followed

From the NY Daily News

Little boys in yarmulkes peer from apartment balconies, watching the men below toss bread into a bonfire.

The annual spring ritual marks the first day of Passover in the Hasidic Jewish enclave of South Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where daily life is built on ancient laws and religious devotion. But the insular community depends on outside money to survive — federal subsidies to help many low-income Hasidic families cover the rent.

New York City’s 123,000 vouchers make this the largest Section 8 voucher program in the country. Reluctant landlords and rising rents are making vouchers nearly impossible to use in many areas of the city. Tenants, especially larger families, are often relegated to the edges of Brooklyn and the Bronx. That’s why this cluster of Hasidic households stands out.

The neighborhood is home to one of the highest concentrations of Section 8 housing vouchers in the city, according to federal data analyzed by WNYC and the Daily News. In several of its census tracts, Section 8 tenants compose more than 30% of residents, a level reached only in scattered pockets of the Bronx.

Continue reading

Bribery, Guns and 32 Months

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DNA INFO

Brooklyn Businessman Sentenced to 32 Months in NYPD Bribery Scheme

MANHATTAN — A Brooklyn businessman who bribed NYPD officers in exchange for expediting gun licenses for clients was sentenced to nearly three years in prison Thursday.

Alex “Shaya” Lichtenstein, 45, had pleaded guilty to bribery and conspiracy charges after paying tens of thousands of dollars in cash bribes since 2013 to Sergeant David Villanueva in the licensing division, who then shared some of the money with Officer Richard Ochetal.

“By engaging in an egregious scheme to trade cash for gun licenses, Alex Lichtenstein and his co-defendants in the New York City Police Department corrupted the sensitive process of evaluating gun license applications in New York City,” acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon Kim said.

“Today’s sentence shows that individuals who so brazenly abuse the public’s trust in law enforcement — whether they are the officers receiving bribes or the citizens paying them — will be held to account for their crimes.”

Lichtenstein — who served as the leader of the Borough Park neighborhood patrol, Shomrim — made off with between $150,000 to $250,000 from his clients, some of whom had criminal convictions and a history of domestic violence.

He was finally banned from the licensing division in 2016 after rumors spread about his client fees and he then tried to bribe another officer who recorded the Brooklyn businessman offering a $6,000 bribe.

Lichtenstein was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and was ordered to forfeit $230,000.

TO READ THE ARTICLE IN ITS ENTIRETY CLICK HERE.

A Platinum Story -de Blasio Unscathed

 

The Real Deal

De Blasio won’t face federal, state charges in fundraising probe

News comes just days after Preet Bharara was fired

Mayor Bill de Blasio won’t be facing federal or state criminal charges for fundraising activities tied to his now defunct Campaign for One New York, officials announced on Thursday.

“After careful deliberation, given the totality of the circumstances here and absent additional evidence, we do not intend to bring federal criminal charges against the Mayor or those acting on his behalf relating to the fundraising efforts in question,” acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim announced on Thursday.

The investigations hinged on whether de Blasio solicited donations from developers and others who had business before the city in exchange for political favors. In October, the New York Time’s reported that Jona Rechnitz, the real estate developer at the center of the NYPD corruption scandal, was cooperating with authorities. The mayor was accused of giving a retired police official a high-level position in his administration after Rechnitz called him and requested the appointment as a “personal favor.” The federal investigation was conducted by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office led the state probe.

In his announcement, District Attorney Cyrus Vance stated that there wasn’t enough evidence to prove that the mayor violated state election laws in his efforts to help Democrats take over the Republican-controlled state Senate. The investigation focused on whether he wrongfully sidestepped contribution limits to individual candidates by directing donations to upstate county committees. Vance said, however, that the actions “appear contrary to the intent and spirit of the laws that impose candidate contribution limits.”

Kim noted the unusual nature of announcing that his office wouldn’t pursue criminal charges, saying that, in this case, it was appropriate to not “unduly influence the upcoming campaign and Mayoral election.” The announcement comes just a few days after President Donald Trump fired Preet Bharara from his post as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

The decision not to prosecute clears what was a black cloud over the mayor’s re-election campaign. It remains to be seen if potential Democratic challengers who were waiting on the sidelines as the investigation dragged on will now step aside. Meanwhile, Republican mayoral candidate and Cushman & Wakefield executive Paul Massey announced Wednesday that he raised twice as much as de Blasio since Jan. 12.

Continue Reading here.

Following the Platinum Property… Murray Signing over Quit Claim Deeds to Miami Property to Laura

IF ONLY THE AUTHORITIES WOULD PAY AS MUCH ATTENTION AS OUR READERS!!! TO THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE PAYING ATTENTION, THANK YOU!!!

 

Murray Huberfeld, Signing over Property to his Wife… For Love and Affection

https://www2.miami-dadeclerk.com/OfficialRecords/StandardSearch.aspx?

 

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