Imagine Israel if the Rabbinical Courts Decided Civil Matters… What an Iran it Would Be…

Rabbinical court officials tried to promote beneficial legislation in coalition talks

Despite regulations, the court’s legal advisor sends religious party leaders’ recommendations for legislation that would expand the rabbinical system’s powers, including allowing Jewish law to be used in civil cases, constructing new building to match that of Supreme Court

Senior officials in Israel’s rabbinical courts prepared a document suggesting legislation for ultra-Orthodox parties to use during coalition negotiations after the April 2019 elections.

The document, which goes against existing regulations on the separation of the rabbinical courts and the political echelon, was obtained by Ynet’s sister publication Yedioth Ahronoth.

L-R: United Torah Judaism leader Yaakov Litzman, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and National Union head Bezalel Smotrich (Photos: EPA and Yair Sagi)

L-R: United Torah Judaism leader Yaakov Litzman, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and National Union head Bezalel Smotrich (Photos: EPA and Yair Sagi)

It was sent out from the personal account of the rabbinical courts’ legal advisor Rabbi Shimon Yaacovi two weeks after the elections, in an email entitled “Clauses for the government’s basic guidelines.” It was sent to several members of the ultra-Orthodox parties’ negotiators as well as Bezalel Smotrich, the head of the National Union party.

The document contained suggested legislation that the ultra-Orthodox parties should demanded from the government during the coalition talks.

The most noteworthy item was proposed legislation that states that, “the rabbinical courts will have the authority to decide financial cases according to Jewish law, if all sides in the dispute agree.”

Similar legislative attempts meant to increase the power and scope of the rabbinical courts beyond divorce and conversion, have previously been stopped in the past by the Supreme Court.

Other items in the document dealt directly with employment conditions for rabbinical court staff, demanding they be equal to those of workers in the civil court system.

Yaacovi also recommends that the government commit to assigning a budget for a new rabbinical court building and the chief rabbinate that is of equal standard to the Supreme Court building.

The rabbincal court for the Jerusalem area (Photo: Gil Yohanan)

The rabbincal court for the Jerusalem area (Photo: Gil Yohanan)

The legal adviser also sought to increase his own jurisdiction, recommending that he be authorized to appear before the Supreme Court for any injunction involving rabbinical courts without receiving permission from the attorney general.

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How to Stop Scammers – from the Eyes of the Orthodox – The Yeshiva World Analysis, Interesting Read

“Sadly, immoral individuals have often applied the following 5 step method to ripping off substantial funds from members of our community for years.
  1. Give a large donation to an institution with a wealthy donor base. Do so magnanimously and genuinely try to help out that institution – showing that it is dear to your heart.
  2. Come up with a false, but effective sounding business plan or investment strategy, and casually talk about it to wealthy individuals.
  3. Name drop big company names and or people that have signed on and show false paper work that “proves” the whole scam.
  4. Take investment money from others and, at the outset, pay a hefty return on profits. Do so from other moneys that you are receiving.
  5. Give a significant donation to the cause where a well-liked Rabbinic leader stands behind the institution and develop a relationship with him. You will need to use this relationship in order to attempt to influence him or others around him into helping defend you against those people who realize that you have stolen their money.  Articles in the Jewish media can be squashed.  This will also help you gain more people in which to obtain more money from.
The above, is not a cynical view of the world.  It is, unfortunately, a scenario that has been repeated numerous times.  It is more prevalent than it should be, in this author’s view, because people are almost entirely unaware of a Torah obligation that is incumbent upon all of us.”


Yes, there is a Torah obligation upon all of us to prevent the proliferation of Ponzi schemers and rip-offs within our community.  It is called the obligation to be “chas al mammon yisroel” – a fulfillment of the Torah Mitzvah of “v’ahavata larayacha kamocha.”

The Gemorah in Moed Katan 27b tells us that when Jews were burying their dead in the finest clothing, Rabban Gamliel HaZakain arose and declared that enough was enough. The rising pressures, the “keeping up with the Joneses” in how to dress the deceased was causing enormous economic pressure on the living. “It must stop,” declared the rabbi, and the tachrichim, burial shrouds, we now use became the norm.

To read the entire article click, here

One New York and the “un-” Fairness PAC – de Blasio’s Supporters, the Kingmakers and Hoteliers


Mayor Bill de Blasio is personally soliciting donations for his political action committee – reaping money from sources that include individuals seeking favorable treatment from his administration, an investigation by THE CITY found.

The revelations about de Blasio’s Fairness PAC – which he’s using, in part, to pay for travels exploring a presidential bid – followed the city Department of Investigation’s finding he broke city ethics rules in a previous fundraising campaign.

Mike Casca, a Fairness PAC spokesperson, confirmed the mayor is personally seeking donations for the group. Each donor’s name is run through the city’s database of entities doing business with City Hall, said Casca, adding the PAC won’t accept a check from anybody on the list.

But the so-called Doing Business database, which includes only top executives involved in certain transactions, is hardly complete.

A basic search of other databases – including the list of lobbyists – revealed multiple examples of donors who were pressing de Blasio’s team on active projects while writing checks to his PAC, THE CITY found.

Meanwhile, the mayor is working the phones.

His public schedule for August through December shows a total of 125 hours dedicated to fundraising phone calls. His “Call Time” included 38.5 hours in August, 25 hours in September and 38 hours in October. It’s unclear how much of this time was dedicated to Fairness PAC fundraising.

Casca said the “mayor voluntarily set out a strict standard” in declining donations from entities in the Doing Business database, and criticized the examples uncovered by THE CITY as overly broad.

But Betsy Gotbaum, executive director of the government reform group Citizens Union, said the mayor and his Fairness PAC need to be more vigilant in assessing potential donors.

“They should be extremely careful not to ask anybody – or to double-check to make sure people are not – doing business or trying to get business with the city,” said Gotbaum, a former city public advocate. “[The mayor] should not be asking them.”

Transparency Issues on Conflicts Guidance

A  DOI report filed in October concluded de Blasio had violated city conflict-of-interest rules by personally soliciting donations for his now-defunct non-profit Campaign for One New York from entities with business pending before the executive branch.

DOI found the mayor had twice been warned not to do that – and detailed his pursuit of checks from several developers who, at the time, were pursuing favorable treatment from City Hall.

With Campaign for One New York, the mayor released a letter he got from the city Conflicts of Interest Board spelling out the rules for his fundraising.

With Fairness PAC, the group’s lawyers sought unspecified “advice” from COIB, but Casca declined to provide details.

Casca said only that the PAC’s lawyers did not ask about fundraising because they believed that was covered by the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics and the Federal Election Commission. They “did seek other advice,” which he wouldn’t describe, and dubbed COIB’s guidance to the Fairness PAC as “privileged communications.”

THE CITY reported last week that Campaign for One New York is the subject of an ongoing Joint Commission on Public Ethics probe.

Questions on Vetting Process

A key finding of DOI’s report on de Blasio’s Campaign for One New York fundraising was the group’s failure to adequately check potential donors to see whether they had business with City Hall. In the first three months, during which de Blasio raised $1.37 million, DOI found there was no vetting process.

The vetting procedures for Fairness PAC, which raised $470,000 through the end of 2018, appear far from comprehensive.

THE CITY easily found multiple Fairness PAC donors who – at the same time they were writing checks for the mayor – had lobbyists on retainer pressing City Hall for agency approvals related to their projects, including zoning changes and tax breaks.

To continue reading click here.

Schemes, Dreams, Mayor de Blasio, Donations, Homelessness, Too Much Money in the Wrong Hands

Dear Reader:

The following article by Richard Steier from The Chief is being republished in full with permission of the author. 



Mayor Sidetracked By Schemes and Dreams



    HUCKLEBERRY FINN HE’S NOT: Mayor de Blasio may feel like he’s lighting out for the territory every time he spends a weekend on the presidential campaign trail, but his continuing to accept political contributions from those with ties to notorious developers bruises his image as a reformer and suggests he’s a machine pol in progressive garb. State Sen. John Liu, a 2013 mayoral rival, said Mr. de Blasio had sought abolition of an admissions test for specialized high schools because that was easier than improving education in black and Latino neighborhoods.

    Call me a cynic, but lately every time I hear Mayor de Blasio launch into his spiel about how there’s plenty of money in this city/country/world but “it’s just in the wrong hands,” I can’t help but think of the Podolsky brothers.

    That would be Stuart and Jay, the offspring of Zenek Podolsky. The father launched the family real-estate business with crude-but-chilling simplicity: during the mid-1980s he paid a gang to use intimidation and harassment tactics to clear out buildings under rent control and rent stabilization so he could jack up rents.

    When then-Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau announced seven indictments of unscrupulous landlords in the fall of 1984, including Stuart and Jay along with their father, he stated, “The planned alternative for tenants who refused to move called for the conspirators to bully, burglarize and menace those tenants and to ransack, burglarize and flood their residences.”

    Zenek Podolsky got off with a brief prison sentence, buying leniency by handing over three Upper West Side buildings to the Coalition for the Homeless and testifying against the former head of the Taxi and Limousine Commissioner, Jay Turoff, about a scheme involving the sale of electronic taxi meters.

    Kids Refined Methods

    Stuart and Jay Podolsky got off with virtually no jail time. Andrew Rice, who reported on the Podolsky brothers’ operations early this decade for New York Magazine, found that they stopped emptying buildings by moving drug addicts, prostitutes and strong-arm men into vacant apartments to make longtime tenants’ lives miserable in favor of operating buildings where half the units offered shelter for the homeless under city contracts.

    Ownership wasn’t in their names; they used shell companies that listed their lawyer’s name and that of Alan Lapes, who managed the properties for them. The New York Times, following up on a couple of Daily News articles, reported earlier this month that the city began contracting with the Podolsky companies for buildings for its cluster-site program for the homeless in 2001—the final year of Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s administration. Over a five-year period beginning in July 2013, the Department of Homeless Services paid those companies $189 million for use of cluster-site apartments and single-room occupancy buildings.

    Mr. Rice in late 2013—as Mayor Michael Bloomberg was wrapping up his third term in office—reported in New York magazine that the Podolsky brothers did little to correct their properties’ serious deficiencies, and took extra steps to cover their tracks by having their building managers use fake names when speaking to tenants or DHS employees.

    That would have seemed to be of interest to Bill de Blasio, who at the time the article was published was getting ready to succeed Mr. Bloomberg and had pledged to reform what he called the city’s “disastrous and broken homelessness policy.”

    His tenant-rights advocacy during his time as Public Advocate was burnished by the fact that his office annually published a list of the city’s worst landlords, adopting a tradition begun decades earlier by the late Jack Newfield as an investigative reporter for the Village Voice.

    Yet once he took office, the city continued doing business with the Podolsky brothers. Mr. Rice had been told by DHS employees that the Bloomberg administration worked with them because it needed beds and couldn’t be that choosy about the suppliers. The need grew dramatically once Mr. Bloomberg ended a policy of allowing the homeless to jump to the head of the line for Federal Section 8 housing vouchers, which Patrick Markee of the Coalition for the Homeless told New York was “literally the biggest policy mistake of the Bloomberg administration” and a major factor in the explosion of families who were homeless.

    Yet nothing really changed once Mr. de Blasio took office, other than his suddenly being the person forced to talk about the lack of progress in dealing with a “disastrous and broken homelessness policy.”

    Meet the ‘New Sheriff’

    And then on Jan. 10, during the same State of the City address in which he lamented that there was too much money in the hands of the wrong people, the Mayor signed an executive order establishing the Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants.

    “The city’s worst landlords will have a new sheriff to fear,” he declared. “When a landlord tries to push out a tenant by making their home unlivable, a team of inspectors and law-enforcement agents will be on the ground in time to stop it. We’ll use every tool we have: we’ll fine the landlords, we’ll penalize the landlords. But if the fines and penalties don’t cut it, we will seize their buildings and we will put them in the hands of a community nonprofit that will treat tenants with the kind of respect that they deserve.”

    Ten days later, however, Michael Gartland reported in the Daily News that the city’s plan to convert 500 cluster-site apartments in Brooklyn and The Bronx into affordable housing hinged on acquiring 17 buildings “controlled by the notorious Podolsky family.”

    It stated that the Wall Street Journal had recently reported the brothers were under investigation for possible tax evasion.

    The story noted that the Mayor had returned a $4,950 political contribution from Alan Lapes—the property manager used by the Podolsky brothers—but kept more than $10,000 in contributions bundled through the late Robert Hess, who after serving as Mr. Bloomberg’s Homeless Services Commissioner had formed a non-profit, Housing Solutions USA, that was tied to the Podolsky’s.

    In response to the story, the Mayor announced that the deal was being placed on “pause.”

    Less than two months later, however, Mr. Gartland reported that the deal was nearing a conclusion. The biggest news was that the price-tag for the purchase of the 17 buildings, initially reported to be between $40 million and $60 million, had zoomed to $173 million, with the city financing the purchase and then having non-profit groups take over day-to-day management of the properties.

    $143M Wasn’t Enough

    Mr. Gartland quoted an anonymous city official who attributed the jump in sale price to the Law Department’s seeking an appraisal from Metropolitan Valuation Services of the value of the 17 buildings, which came in at $143.1 million.

    That jump in valuation wasn’t enough for the Podolsky brothers: they demanded $200 million. Rather than bring in another appraiser, as they were entitled to do to give them added leverage, city officials decided to virtually split the difference between the appraisal and the brothers’ demands. The deal has since been completed.

    The city could have sought to seize the properties under eminent domain, but Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks, who distinguished himself as a lawyer for the homeless before joining city government, noted that could produce a lengthy court fight that would tie up the properties at a time when DHS sorely needed the additional beds.

    Then The Times reported April 4 that the lawyer for the landlords in the discussions on the deal was Frank Carone, who also serves as counsel to the Brooklyn Democratic Party. Willie Neuman’s story stated that Mr. Carone and his wife had each made the maximum individual donation of $4,950 to Mr. de Blasio’s re-election campaign two years ago, and that the attorney had donated the maximum $5,000 to the Mayor’s Federal political-action committee, Fairness PAC, and helped solicit additional donors for the fund, which has covered the Mayor’s expenses in recent months for his travels to early-primary states as he considers a run for President.

    Both the Mayor and Mr. Carone denied having discussed the Podolsky brothers deal. Mr. Carone told The Times in a statement that “I am proud to say I regularly support people from Brooklyn. So it should be of no astonishment why I am supporting our Brooklyn Mayor as he explores a run for President.”

    Future Considerations?

    No doubt if asked, the two men would deny they have had any conversations about a possible future run for office by the Mayor’s wife, Chirlane.

    Then Mr. Gartland reported April 10 that Human Resources Administration Chief Contracting Officer Vincent Pullo a year ago demanded that a homeless-service provider in The Bronx sign an affidavit swearing that the nonprofit had no connection to the Podolsky brothers. Mr. Rice reported in New York more than five years ago that Housing Solutions had taken over contracts belonging to the nonprofit, Aguila Inc., and its CEO, Jenny Rivera, told The News April 8 that she was providing services to homeless families at Podolsky brothers properties and that the city knew this.

    She said she was forced to sign the notarized affidavit when the city jeopardized her ability to pay her workers by withholding a requested loan. She sent a letter to the Mayor late last month stating, “Under duress, I was coerced into signing this affidavit even though the city knows full well that Aguila manages multiple buildings owned by the Podolsky’s.”

    She received an April 8 response from Homeless Services Administrator Joslyn Carter calling the affidavits “standard representations of the relationship between the entities.”

    But Ms. Rivera showed Mr. Gartland correspondence she had last year with Mr. Pullo in which she sent him a signed lease for the Podolsky buildings and he responded with an e-mail requesting an affidavit asserting that Aguila “has no affiliation with” the Podolsky Family (any and all members)” or Mr. Lapes, their property manager.

    It seemed clear that the de Blasio administration was moving forward on the deal and wanted to have a document indicating that it was not doing business with the Podolsky brothers. There have been no reports of them having made political contributions to the Mayor or his PAC, but they have long been known for making business transactions in the maiden names of their wives.

    The level of desperation felt by the administration to secure properties that could be used for affordable housing could be seen in a New York Post report last Thursday that noted the Podolsky buildings had hundreds of unresolved Housing Code violations of the sort associated with the most troubled Housing Authority developments, from vermin to peeling lead paint to broken locks. Among just four of those buildings—three in The Bronx, one in Brooklyn—there were 188 open violations cited by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, with 30 of those classified as “immediately hazardous.”

    The ‘Not the First’ Excuse

    It’s true that the city’s extensive dealings with the Podolsky brothers, despite what Mr. Morgenthau 35 years ago described as a kind of terror campaign against their tenants, dated back two Mayors.

    But a key component of Mr. de Blasio’s rationale for his first mayoral run in 2013 was that he would be more sensitive to the needs of the less-fortunate in the city, and less-solicitous of the wealthy, than both Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Bloomberg.

    That has been true for his most-prominent campaign issue, improper stop-and-frisks by police, although sharp scaling-back of abuses began during Mr. Bloomberg’s final two years in office even before a Federal Judge ruled that the NYPD had been conducting the program in a way that violated the U.S. Constitution.

    But the lead-paint contamination suffered by hundreds of children in Housing Authority apartments because of a four-year-plus stretch in which no inspections were conducted was treated by the Mayor as less a public-health concern than a political problem. He noted the Bloomberg administration didn’t do inspections in its final two years, and he kept HA Chair Shola Olatoye in her job even after it was revealed that she had lied to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2016 about inspections having been done. Even a subsequent lie before the City Council late in 2017 about the training given to the employees who eventually did the inspections did not prompt him to jettison her immediately; she hung on for two months after that misrepresentation came to light.

    Six months later, she became vice president of business development for Suffolk Construction, a Boston-based contractor seeking to expand operations in New York.

    It was an impressive landing for someone who had been tarnished both by the deteriorating conditions in some HA developments and her lies about efforts to correct them. Some of the mystery about her rebounding so well was dissipated when it was announced that a Boston fund-raiser for Mr. de Blasio’s PAC April 5 was being hosted by her boss, Suffolk CEO John Fish. Notwithstanding his claims that he’s a reformer, Mr. de Blasio has demonstrated more than a few times that the expressway to his good graces is paved with political contributions.

    Dubious Schools Crusade


    Continue reading

    2000 Pages, a Political Power Broker,$26M in Faulty Rent Assumptions and de Blasio

    City overvalued Podolsky portfolio by $26M, uncovered docs show

    The city’s $173 million purchase of 21 buildings from the Podolsky brothers has attracted scrutiny because of the sellers’ past, their political connections and the price tag itself. A late Monday document dump is poking even more holes in the official version of events.

    According to 2,000 pages of documents subpoenaed by City Comptroller Scott Stringer, City Hall overvalued the buildings by $26 million using faulty rent assumptions, the New York Post reported.

    The city’s $173 million purchase of 21 buildings from the Podolsky brothers has attracted scrutiny because of the sellers’ past, their political connections and the price tag itself. A late Monday document dump is poking even more holes in the official version of events.

    According to 2,000 pages of documents subpoenaed by City Comptroller Scott Stringer, City Hall overvalued the buildings by $26 million using faulty rent assumptions, the New York Post reported.

    To continue reading click here.

    The Satmar-Ruled Brooklyn pt. 4 – Lee Ave. The Modesty Committees -“Gut’s polizei” – And Even Hynes Knew (2013)

    Modesty in Ultra-Orthodox Brooklyn Is Enforced by Secret Squads

    Faceless heads model on Lee Avenue in Brooklyn, where women’s clothing stores have been warned not to use mannequins.CreditCreditTodd Heisler/The New York Times 


    The Brooklyn shopkeeper was already home for the night when her phone rang: a man who said he was from a neighborhood “modesty committee” was concerned that the mannequins in her store’s window, used to display women’s clothing, might inadvertently arouse passing men and boys.

    “The man said, ‘Do the neighborhood a favor and take it out of the window,’ ” the store’s manager recalled. “ ‘We’re trying to safeguard our community.’ ”

    In many neighborhoods, a store owner might shrug off such a call. But on Lee Avenue, the commercial spine of Hasidic Williamsburg, the warning carried an implied threat — comply with community standards or be shunned. It is a potent threat in a neighborhood where shadowy, sometimes self-appointed modesty squads use social and economic leverage to enforce conformity.

    The owner wrestled with the request for a day or two, but decided to follow it. “We can sell it without mannequins, so we might as well do what the public wants,” the owner told the manager, who asked not to be identified because of fear of reprisals for talking

    In the close-knit world of ultra-Orthodox Judaism, community members know the modesty rules as well as Wall Street bankers who show up for work in a Brooks Brothers suit. Women wear long skirts and long-sleeved, high-necked blouses on the street; men do not wear Bermuda shorts in summer. Schools prescribe the color and thickness of girls’ stockings.

    The rules are spoken and unspoken, enforced by social pressure but also, in ways that some find increasingly disturbing, by the modesty committees. Their power is evident in the fact that of the half dozen women’s clothing stores along Lee Avenue, only one features mannequins, and those are relatively shapeless, fully clothed torsos.

    The groups have long been a part of daily life in the ultra-Orthodox communities that dot Brooklyn and other corners of the Jewish world. But they sprang into public view with the trial of Nechemya Weberman, a prominent member of the Satmar Hasidim in Brooklyn, who last week was sentenced to 103 years in prison after being convicted of sexually abusing a young girl sent to him for counseling.

    Mr. Weberman, an unlicensed therapist, testified during his trial that boys and girls — though not his accuser — were regularly referred to him by a Hasidic modesty committee concerned about what it viewed as inappropriate attire and behavior.

    The details were startling: a witness for Mr. Weberman’s defense, Baila Gluck, testified that masked men representing a modesty committee in the Hasidic village of Kiryas Joel, N.Y., 50 miles northwest of New York City, broke into her bedroom about seven years ago and confiscated her cellphone.

    The Brooklyn district attorney, Charles J. Hynes, who prosecuted the Weberman case, has now received allegations that members of a modesty committee forced their way into a home in the borough, confiscating an iPad and computer equipment deemed inappropriate for Orthodox children, officials say. Allegations have also surfaced that a modesty committee threatened to publicly shame a married man who was having an affair unless he paid the members money for what they described as therapy.

    They operate like the Mafia,” said Rabbi Allan Nadler, director of the Jewish studies program at Drew University in Madison, N.J.

    Rabbi Nadler, who testified at Mr. Weberman’s trial, said that modesty committees did not have addresses, stationery or business cards, and that few people seemed to know where their authority originated, though it was doubtful, he said, that they could continue operating without the tacit blessings of rabbinical leaders.

    “They walk into a store and say it would be a shame if your window was broken or you lost your clientele,” he said. “They might tell the father of a girl who wears a skirt that’s too short and he’s, say, a store owner: ‘If you ever want to sell a pair of shoes, speak to your daughter.’ ”

    In Israel, there have been similar concerns. Though no modesty committee was overtly involved, there has been anger over ultra-Orthodox zealots who spit on and insulted an 8-year-old girl for walking to school through their neighborhood in a dress they considered immodest.

    In Brooklyn, Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who has represented the heavily Hasidic neighborhood of Borough Park for 30 years, said that he had never met a modesty committee member, but that “there are a lot of independent operators that believe they are protecting God and have to do this kind of stuff, and that’s sickening and gives us all a black eye.”

    “If you want to advocate modesty,” he added, “do your thing, but when you stuff it down my throat physically, that undermines us and hurts us.”

    Hasidic leaders contend that the modesty committees are nothing more than self-appointed individuals who, indignant at some perceived infraction, take matters into their own hands.

    “These are individual people who decide to take on this crusade,” said Rabbi David Niederman, who as president of the United Jewish Organization of Williamsburg is a sometime spokesman for the Satmar Hasidim. “You see posters telling people do this and do that. It does not represent an authorized body.”

    But many Hasidim say they have seen or heard how a shadowy group of men seeks to pressure parents to rein in children who wear dresses too short or stockings too thin, or who chat on cellphones with friends of the opposite sex. One family reported being harassed because the wife had stepped outdoors with a robelike housecoat rather than a long dress.

    While many of the rules of conduct are announced on Yiddish broadsides posted on trees, lampposts and walls, residents of Hasidic neighborhoods say some store owners have received rough verbal warnings from a modesty committee to stop selling magazines that carry photographs considered too revealing, or articles that dispute the Satmar Hasidim’s belief that Israel should not have existed until the Messiah’s arrival.

    The Central Rabbinical Congress of the United States and Canada, in addition to certifying foods as kosher and adjudicating matrimonial and commercial disputes, does at times remind the Satmar community of the community’s modesty rules. It is made up of scores of rabbis, but it has an address — it is housed on the second floor of a Williamsburg row house — and it signs every decree it issues.

    “We give out proclamations,” said Rabbi Yitzchok Glick, its executive director. “We don’t enforce. It’s like people can decide to keep Shabbos or not. If someone wants to turn on the light on Shabbos, we cannot put him in jail for that.”

    But Hasidim interviewed said squads of enforcers did exist in wildcat form.





    To read the remainder of the article in the NY Times click here.

    Paul and Robert Adler, Rockland County, New York, Lawsuits, History and Palisades Center Mall, NY

    The following was submitted to us by a source in Rockland County, New York and is being republished with permission by the page.

    Former Democratic Party Rockland County Chairman, Paul Adler, And His Brother, Robert, Named In A Lawsuit Brought by A Third Brother, Larry, And Their Three Sisters

    1 – Summary:

    Paul Adler along with his brother, Robert, (and an individual not related to the Adler family, Rose Marie Pelatti), are defendants in a lawsuit brought by their brother Lawrence Adler and their three sisters, Arlene Adler, Judy Adler and Elizabeth Adler Scaccio.

    It is alleged that on multiple occasions Robert Adler and/or Paul Adler stole, or in the alternative, borrowed money from Thelma Adler, the Estate of Harry Adler, or other Trusts and Family Entities and did not document these transactions with the Family Entities.

    The lawsuit claims the total amount due and owing to Plaintiffs amounts to at least $10,981,911.

    2 – Background:

    Paul Adler was the chairman of the Democratic Party organization in Rockland County when he was charged with public corruption after prosecutors said he had enriched himself by almost $375,000 through a series of real estate transactions tainted by fraud, bribery and extortion.

    Recently, the impending lawsuit against him by family members was presaged in a amazingly frank and personal Facebook post by Larry Adler in September 2018 (see images below). The lawsuit subsequently appeared on the Rockland County Clerk’s website in December 2018.…/clerks-office/court-records/

    In the Facebook post dated September 5, 2018, Larry Adler speaking presumably about his father and his brothers Paul and Robert wrote:

    “In an effort to continue to honor him, his known desires, and his legacy – and after more that a year of patience, discussions, and pleas with our brothers – my sisters and I will be pursuing legal justice against our brothers Robert and Paul for their actions against our mother, family entities, and us.

    Dad (and Mom) would be sickened to know what his two older boys did – and didn’t do – for their mother and family in his absence. He would be shaken to his core to hear their words that ‘what they did was morally questionable but legally ok’.

    In our recent times, where more and more people are standing up for themselves and others that have been wronged … and where the truth is disregarded, we are not going to be bullied or quieted about the truth.”

    3 – Paul Adler And The Palisades Mall:

    Federal prosecutors accused Mr. Adler of having threatened local politicians with the loss of their jobs if they did not cooperate with him on several deals, including one involving the controversial and gigantic Palisades Center mall in West Nyack.

    In one secretly tape-recorded conversation, he argued that he had not assumed the party chairmanship to ”lose money,” said Mary Jo White, the former United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

    ”If you can’t help your friends, then why get into some of these positions?” Mr. Adler was quoted as saying in an eight-count complaint filed against him.

    Adler eventually spent time in a federal prison and has since returned to the real estate business in Rockland County.…/rockland-democratic-leader-arrest……/former-democratic-leader-admits-a……/no_memoryno_shame.htm

    4 – The Lawsuit:

    So what is it that Paul and Robert Adler are accused of doing that caused their brother to indicate he and his sisters will not longer be “bullied or quieted about the truth”?

    The lawsuit states that Paul and Robert managed their father’s (Harry) estate after his death and until their mother’s (Thelma) death and they also managed various trusts that were set up by Harry’s will.

    Here are a few of the allegations in the lawsuit as described in the paragraph numbers as noted below …..

    57 – At Harry’s death, the HATRT (trust) owned the following assets:

    100% of stock of 303 Erie Street Realty Corp., a New York Corporation and Family Entity

    Property at 16 – 18 Bobby Lane West Nyack, NY 10994

    64 – In December 1995, the stock of 303 Erie Street was sold to Pyramid.

    65 – The proceeds of sale of the stock equaled approximately $3.25 million.

    66 – The stock sale proceeds were due to be paid over to the Remainder Trust.

    67 – The stock sale proceeds were not paid over to the Remainder Trust.

    68 – In December 1995, the Bobby Lane Property was sold to Pyramid.

    69 – The proceeds of the sale of the Bobby Lane Property, approximately $500,000, were to go to the HARTR (trust), however Robert and Paul caused an unearned “commission” to be paid to Paul from the proceeds of the sale.

    The Unauthorized Transactions:

    73 – Shortly after Harry’s passing, Paul Adler and Robert Adler began to misuse, misappropriate, and/or convert assets of the Trusts, and Thelma Adler personally, by forming various commercial entities (the “Non-Family Entities”) and using these assets for their personal benefit or the benefit of their family members.

    74 – At the time of formation of the Non-Family Entities, Robert and Paul were in the fiduciary relationship with the Thelma Adler and the beneficiaries of the HAT, HATUCT, HATGST and HATRT and other Family Entities, which required Robert and Paul to act in the best interest of the Trusts, including growing in investing the principal to produce income for the benefit of the beneficiaries.

    75 – Additionally, at the time of the transactions, Robert Adler held a Power of Attorney for Thelma Adler.

    76 – Robert used the power of attorney granted by Thelma to make transfers from her to himself and/or caused the transfers of money.

    77 – The use of these funds did not benefit Thelma Adler personally, or the beneficiaries of the Estates, Trusts or other Family Entities.

    78 – Moreover, Paul and/or Robert did not request or obtain a majority vote to authorize the use of the funds pursuant to the terms of Harry’s Will for any of the transactions appearing below.

    The Non Family Entities:

    79 – Paul and Robert formed the following Non-Family Entities of which they are each 50% owners:

    a. Harry A’s Estate Corp.

    b. Let’s Lease Associates / Let’s Lease Group, LLC (“Let’s Lease Group)

    c. RRIS, Corp.

    80 – Harry A’s Estate Corp., was created on or about March 11, 1994.

    81 – In order to fund the purchase and operation of a commercial property located at 50-56 Snake Hill Rd., West Nyack, New York, Robert and Paul took the following funds from the name persons and entities:

    (Three sources of withdrawal are indicated in the lawsuit with a total of six withdrawals amounting to a total taken by Robert and Paul of $565,968).

    82 – Despite contributing all of the required equity for the purchase of the property, and despite supporting most, if not all, of the development and/or operational costs, none of the Estates, Trusts or Family Entities own any interest in Harry A’s Estate Corp.

    83 – Most of the transactions were taken in 1994, however, most of the amounts repaid did not occur until 2010-2012 approximately 16-18 years later.

    84 – $719,932 has been repaid.

    85 – Additionally, despite already owing money to Trusts, Estates and Family Entities, Robert and Paul refinanced the property, took the proceeds and used it for their own benefit.

    86 – If Robert and Paul classify the funds they took as loans, Robert and Paul owe ….. interest and unpaid principal.

    88 – Using the statutory 9% interest rate running from the date of the taking, Robert and Paul owe at least $342,987 in unpaid interest and at least $405,212 in unpaid principal.

    (The lawsuit then speaks about the Let’s Lease Group)

    89 – Let’s Lease Group was created on or about January 29, 1998.

    90 – In order to fund the purchase and operation of four parcels of property across from the Palisades Center located at 11 – 21 Bobby Ln., West Nyack, New York Paul and Robert took the following funds from the named persons and entities:

    (Six sources of withdrawal are indicated in the lawsuit with a total of twelve withdrawals amounting to a total taken by Robert and Paul of $1,690,000)

    91 – Despite contributing all of the required equity for the purchase of the property, and despite supporting most, if not all, of the development and/or operational costs, none of the Estates, Trusts or Family Entities own any interest in Let’s Lease Group.

    92 – Most of the transactions were taken …. in 1998-1999.

    93 – $669,167 has been repaid.

    94 – Additionally, to make up the remainder of the purchase price of the property held by Let’s Lease Group, Robert and Paul mortgaged the property to three of the sellers.

    95 – Robert and Paul then caused the HATRT (trust) to take an assignment of the mortgage, with a principal amount of $390,458.

    96 – Robert and Paul then did not honor the terms and commitments of the assigned mortgage, and did not make the required monthly payments to the HATRT, therefore causing further damage to the HATRT.

    97 – Moreover, in negotiating the lease of the property, Robert and Paul did not disclose that the purchase of these properties were not for the benefit of Family Entities or for the benefit of the beneficiaries of the family Trusts.

    98 – Robert and Paul used the same attorney that represented the Family Entities and Trusts in their sale with the same individuals and company.

    99 – Upon information and belief, this façade misled a tenant into believing that the benefit of the transaction was for the Family Entities or Trusts, and thus that the transactions were authorized.

    100 – If Robert and Paul classify the taken funds as loans, Robert and Paul the persons and entities … interest and unpaid principal.

    101 – Because Robert and Paul did not document the loans indicating the amount taken, the interest rate and the correct application of payments, the full amount of unpaid interest and principal cannot be determined without an accounting.

    102 – Using the statutory 9% interest rate running from the date of the taking, Robert and Paul owe at least $2,019,002 in unpaid interest, based upon a 9% interest rate running from the date of the “loan” and at least $1,525,458 in unpaid principal.

    The lawsuit continues in part:


    226 – Defendants Paul Adler and Robert Adler intentionally undertook control of the assets of the (trusts) HAT, HATUCT, HATGST and HATRT, the Estates of Harry and Thelma Adler and other Family Entities and engaged in unauthorized transactions including:

    a- Stealing funds from the Trusts and Family Entities to use for their own benefit or for the benefit of their Non-Family Entities,

    b- Stealing funds from the Estate of Harry and Thelma Adler, the Trusts, and other Family Entities to fund trusts left for the benefit of their own families, and

    c- Stealing funds from the Trusts to fund independent real estate developments.

    227 – In the alternative, Defendants Paul and Robert borrowed funds from the Estate, Trusts, and Family Entities without the required vote or approval of the Co-Trustees and documenting such loans.

    228 – Defendants Paul and Robert have either not repaid the loans, or have repaid the loans without any interest, or without the proper payment of interest to the detriment of the Plaintiffs.

    230 – Upon information and belief, Defendants Paul and Robert continue to engage in unauthorized transactions from the funds of the Trusts, further harming the Plaintiffs’ interests therein.


    234 – Instead of abiding by their duties, Paul and Robert stole the Trusts’ funds to invest in properties which they would have been unable to purchase without use of the Trusts’ funds, thereby benefiting themselves in violation of their fiduciary duties.

    239 – Defendants Paul and Robert have engaged in several actions in violation of their fiduciary duties, including:

    a. Stealing funds from the Trusts to use for their own benefit or for the benefit of the Non-Family Entities, or in the alternative, borrowing funds which have not been repaid or have been repaid without interest;

    b. Stealing funds from the Trusts to fund trusts left for the benefit of their own families, or in the alternative, borrowing funds which have not been repaid or have been repaid without interest;

    c. Stealing funds from the Trusts to fund independent real estate developments or in the alternative, borrowing funds which have not been repaid or have been repaid without interest;

    d. With respect to Robert, using the power of attorney for Thelma Adler as a way to make undetected transfers of funds for his benefit and with disregard for the benefit of Thelma and other beneficiaries;

    e. With respect to Paul, knowingly participating, aiding and abetting Robert’s misuse of the power of attorney granted to Robert for personal gain:

    240 – Additionally, on multiple occasions Robert Adler and/or Paul Adler stole, or in the alternative, borrowed money from Thelma Adler, the Estate of Harry Adler, or other Trusts and Family Entities, did not document these transactions with the Family Entities.

    251 – At Harry’s death, Harry’s gross the state was valued at approximately $8.1 million exclusive of the amounts placed in the HAT.

    252 – Currently, the balance remaining in the Estates, Trusts and Family Entities bank accounts is approximately $1.75 million collectively.

    253 – Moreover, of the twenty-six (26) assets in Harry’s estate upon his death, only seven (7) assets remain, while Paul and Robert Adler, in conjunction with Rose Marie Pelatti, have increased their collective assets from virtually nothing to owning twenty-one Non-Family Entities and/or real estate developments.

    254 – The growth of Paul and Robert’s assets are solely as a result of the unauthorized withdrawls of funds from the Estates, Family Entities and Trusts as family money has entirely funded Paul, Robert and Rose Marie’s scheme.

    257 – Upon information and belief, Defendants continue to engage in unauthorized transactions from the funds of the Trusts , further harming the Plaintiffs’ interests therein.

    The plaintiffs state:

    220 – In conclusion, based upon the limited amount of information in Plaintiff’s control, the total amount due and owing to Plaintiff’s amounts to at least $10,981,911.

    (The investigation is continuing and a full accounting has only been undertaken by the Plaintiffs, based upon the information in their control. This number only represents the Plaintiffs’ current belief as to the amount owing. However, it is anticipated that more will be uncovered as due and owing. This number was calculated by using a 9% interest rate running from the date of the “loan” and using the correct application of principal and interest based on the amounts and timing of the payments made by Paul Adler, Robert Adler, and/or Rose Marie Pelatti and their related entities.)

    The complete lawsuit can be downloaded from this link:…/1HNyBR4us-6WMzFcbIKejJYOu9…/view…

    5 – Paul Adler’s Past History As Reported In Various News Media:

    The Palisades Mall case was not Adler’s first interaction with the justice system. Prior to his Federal conviction and prison sentence we are informed by the NY Post that Paul Adler has been in hot water before – but always emerged clean enough to re-enter politics.

    “He’s had many brushes with the law,” sighed one associate who knows him well.

    Adler became a political activist while still a teenager, and was soon hired as an aide in the state Legislature.

    He moved through a series of political and lobbyist positions, but the scent of scandal seemed to follow him wherever he went.

    He was an Albany-based lobbyist in 1987 when he went on trial in Manhattan in a case stunningly similar to (the later federal charges in Rockland County,)

    Adler was accused of helping arrange a sweetheart deal for the renovation of a lower Manhattan building that overbilled the state by $20 million.

    Adler fought the case and won an acquittal in state court. The two men tried with him, a real-estate developer and a former state official, were acquitted of the most serious charges but convicted of lying to state authorities.…/hillary-buddys-bubble-bursts-high-rid…/

    According to the Rockland County Times in an article titled ‘The Return of Adler’ we read that a decade after doing time in federal prison on corruption charges, Paul Adler is all-the-way back.

    While he never completely lost his influence behind the scenes, in the past few years Adler has reestablished himself publicly as a major fixture in Rockland County’s power grid of business, philanthropy and politics. The once malignant aura of Adler has abated, apparently, and he is now at ease flaunting his connections with the highest levels of power in New York and beyond.

    How high does his influence reach? Lest we forget, Adler was reported in NYC newspapers as the man whom brokered the infamous Clinton pardon of the New Square Four: Benjamin Berger, David Goldstein, Jacob Elbaum and Kalman Stern.

    Those were the four who took the fall for New Square’s scheme to defraud $30 million from federal, state and county taxpayers through the RCC Judaic Studies Program.

    Adler was known as the go-between for the Clintons and New Square at the time.

    Ultimately, following a special meeting with the grand rabbi, Hillary received the New Square bloc vote and The Four were “coincidentally” pardoned by President Bill Clinton.

    Adler’s big connections couldn’t get him off the corruption charges, however. The feds nailed the former party chief in 2000 for failure to report taxes on wages from a consulting job for the Pyramid Group during construction of the Palisades Mall, as well as mail fraud, for bribing a Clarkstown official with a job in return for favored votes on a land swap, and other charges. In 2002, he pled guilty to the two charges mentioned, and served over a year in federal prison.

    For several years following his release, Adler was known to be a mover and shaker behind the scenes in Rockland County, but he maintained a low public profile. That low profile has steadily become not-so-low in the last three years. His big coming out party may have been when he was named the 2011 Philanthropist of the Year by the Rockland Development Council.

    While we haven’t seen Adler cavorting with the Clintons recently, it seems Governor Andrew Cuomo is unashamed to be in his close stead. At a recent Tappan Zee Bridge event held in Tarrytown, attended by Governor Andrew Cuomo, House Rep. Nita Lowey, and other political luminaries, Adler helped People to People Executive Director Diane Serratore to gain a one-on-one audience with the governor.

    Serratore posted a picture of Cuomo and herself to Facebook and wrote, “Honored as all get-out to speak with Governor Cuomo at a recent event held in Tarrytown. Thank you, Paul Adler!”

    Only two years ago when Adler donated a mere $500 to David Carlucci’s political fund, Gannett’s Politics on the Hudson blog reported that the act “raised eyebrows.” Now, in the blink of a political eye, we see Adler as an open escort to none other than Governor Cuomo, and this is an apparently casual and uncontroversial occurrence.

    More and more, the outer reality is growing to reflect the inner truth: Paul Adler is one of the most powerful men in Rockland County. And at a mere 52-years-old, Adler is in the prime of political life.

    It would seem Adler worked his way back into the good graces of Rockland’s insider community through philanthropy. One positive philanthropic work Adler accomplished in recent years was bringing money in for the JCC headquarters in West Nyack.

    But Adler remains controversial. Just as he had his hand in the Palisades Mall cookie jar in the 1990s, Adler is rumored to have been a key player in making the Provident Bank Ballpark project come to fruition in the Town of Ramapo.

    At this time Adler serves on the board of directors of the following organizations: Rockland Community Foundation, Holocaust Museum & Studies Center, Nyack Branch of the NAACP, Rockland Jewish Family Services & State of Israel Bonds.

    Adler’s Facebook profile notes that in 2013, “Paul was awarded the prestigious Prime Minister’s Award by State of Israel Bonds for his three decades of service.” The business community also has recognized Adler, as he received the 2012 Pinnacle Award for Service to the Rockland Business Association.…/14/the-return-of-adler/

    Adler is presently a VP at Rand Commercial Services and has been the focus of public criticism over the controversial proposed sale of the Grace Baptist Church in Nanuet. The pastor of the church was the subject of some public ridicule when he claimed he was unaware of Adler’s felonious past when he was engaged as the church’s agent to sell the property. Subsequently, confusion about the sale spread when it became known several widely divergent appraisals were involved with the attempt to sell the church.…/nanuet-grace-baptist-ch…/1999533002/

    We await to learn the eventual outcome of both the Adler family’s court battle and the eventual settlement of his sale of Grace Baptist Church. Paul and Robert Adler‘s response to the lawsuit is due in mid-February 2019.

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