Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Daas Torah - Issues of Jewish Identity: Menachem Stark - there were many who didn't want h...

Daas Torah - Issues of Jewish Identity: Menachem Stark - there were many who didn't want h...: Guest post from a reliable source:

Friday morning, I got the following whatsaap message from a friend that grew up in Williamsburg.....

"C/p A popular millionaire businessman, a Satmar Hasid, was kidnapped from his Williamsburg office, according to police reports in New York. Brooklyn Police said that Menachem Stark was kidnapped by two assailants at 11:30 p.m. on Thursday. According to video surveillance, the two suspects were waiting outside Stark’s office, which is located in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, jumped on him, threw him into a big white van, and drove away. Police said that numerous phone calls to Stark’s cellphone went unanswered. Due to the snowstorm, police are unable to efficiently search for the victim or the suspects. Police searched Stark’s office, where they were looking for clues. Stark is a strong supporter of the Satmar grand rabbi. Last week, the rabbi's wife held a fundraiser at Stark’s home."

Slightly shaken, I went on the rest of the day without giving it a thought. You see, I don't know Menachem Shtark. I'm not from Williamsburg. I don't live in Brooklyn. I don't even live in New York State. I'm also not Chasidic, and even had i joined them it certainly wouldn't be to their Satmar brand....

Surely, it'll work out fine. I must have figured.....

Well, it didn't. And Saturday night, everyone was talking about the gruesome heinous crime....

I was told his name was Menachem "Max" Shtark. Eager to get some details, I punched into my phone Max. Before I had a chance to put in the rest of his name, my phone suggested a contact I had saved some time ago... Menachem "Max" Shtark.

Naturally, I was thrown off and confused... "Hey, this seems to be him.... But how did he land in my contacts?!?!"

Slowly, a meeting I had with a stranger two years ago in a black SUV started coming back to me...

A business opportunity arose, about two years ago, that looked very promising. Naturally, I was shopping around for tips and advice, and meeting anyone and everyone that would shed some light on that kind of venture. One older person I met with said that he could never have succeeded on his own. He was lucky to have a neighbor, a young entrepreneur who showed him all the ins and outs, and held his hand through every process. This very successful, generous, businessman, refused to take a dime for his advice, but sincerely wanted him to succeed. His name, Menachem Shtark.

This fellow I was meeting felt that he himself couldn't help me. He hardly knows how to run his own business. All he knows is one phone number, Menachem's.  

He suggested I too speak to Menachem. "Don't worry that he doesn't know you from Adam. If he can, he'll help you too!!. He loves to help others. Here is his cell number, call him. Don't think you'll get thru the first time, though, he's very busy. Leave a message and he'll probably call you back. Just be persistent and you'll get thru..."

That night,  I made the call (to a total stranger!!), didn't get thru, and I left a message. The next day I called again and he picked up. He remembered the message I left, and apologized for not having time to return my call.

After asking a few questions, he immediately started making suggestions. When I suggested I come meet him personally, he said "sure, but what for? I'll help if I can, in any way!!" I told him it’s important for me, but he didn't want me to schlep to his office in Williamsburg just to meet him. We agreed to both schedule meetings in Flatbush on the same day and meet there. Only after he finished talking to me, a total stranger, did he attend to the many people coming in and out of his office, and the phones ringing off the hook...

We spoke a number of times on the phone, before we met, but I believe he never even got my name! As soon as I would call he would say "yes, yes, you're the one that wants to open etc...".

We met outside his attorney's office, in his SUV.  Menachem had an infectious smile and a even more impressive can-do attitude. We talked in his vehicle for a very long time. His phone, "bluetoothed" to the car, didn't stop the whole time. Once in a while he would say, "oiy, I really have to take this call". He would answer, apologize that he's in a meeting and promise to call them back as soon as he's done. He gave me all the time I would have wanted, and then some.

We spoke about a whole host of management issues. Ironically, the one that I remember the most is an issue that’s been deliberately distorted since his death. It’s about the HPD violations (not to be confused with building code violations). The average building has about 50 frivolous, opened violations (that's a fact and even a Post reporter knows that!). Tenants often don't give access to make the repair, or deliberately break it as soon as it was fixed. An inspector can also write up 15-20 violations in one visit, on a spic and span, picture perfect apartment!! It's literally like trying to empty a drowning ship with a pail. Even The City recognizes this absurdity; their policy being that one can have up to 5 opened violations per unit!! Meaning, Menachem was "entitled" to 5,000 violations!!!!

Menachem explained to me at that meeting, that he did it differently. He felt a responsibility to focus on clearing the violations, regardless of the hardships involved. He hired two extra secretaries just to be on top of violations. 

That's how he managed to have only 148 in 1,000 units!!! (That's less than 0.15 per unit, what a slumlord!!!)

Sitting in his SUV, I asked him if he would be my partner. He said "no, do it yourself, I'll help you". When I was persisted, he said "What? You’re afraid I won't have time to help you? Don’t worry I'll be there for you, do it yourself!!". (BTW, it would have been very profitable for him too.)

I explained to him why I needed him as a partner, and he said, he would have to discuss it with his partner and get back to me. "Either way", he was quick to add, "I'll be there for you!!!"

We were in touch a number of times after that (I think he never did get my name) and the deal fell thru for totally unrelated reasons...

Unfortunately, that was the only time I met this special man.

To The Post: I didn't really know Menachem, and apparently people like you and his savage murderers did want him dead, but to answer your question...

I, for one, most definitely didn't want him to dead!!!

I'm not one to jump to call people anti-Semites, and i certainly will not play the motive game. But, the damage you have wrought by playing into those ridiculous stereotypes will be felt tomorrow morning. No, not every landlord/ manager are a zillionaire, trying to rip-off or cheat. And, for crying out loud, tenants are not some hapless, hopeless, indigent, natives being exploited and frozen, etc. You know that, and shame on you for implying otherwise. Hundreds of young hard working Orthodox Jewish fathers, trying to make an honest living, will have it that much harder thanks to your nonsense. 

(BTW, having met Menachem, I have no doubt he hired a competent exterminator. Those complaining about vermin almost certainly didn't let them in to spray. Just another of the many difficulties, us zillionaires encounter regularly.)

To Mrs. Shtark and their eight precious children: I know you will probably never read these lines. You never met me, and probably never will. It's my fervent hope that you will always stand tall, and proud of your husbands'/fathers' accomplishments. You know better than anyone else, what a loving, caring, generous, and upbeat husband/father you had. Please always remember that.

You can be sure; the family won't be the only ones to remember the great guy he was...

Everyone will...

Even strangers.

Yehi Zichro Baruch


  1. Joel kestenbaum , Fortis property purchased the mortgage on 212 -218 N 9th St Brooklyn NY from Broadway Bank, The property was further transferred on 08/16/2013 to a new Corporation named FPG 218 NORTH 9th PROPERTYLLC. C/O FORTIS PROPERTY GROUP LLC 45 Main Street Brooklyn NY 11201 Joel kestenbaum is notarized as the President / Owner by a Notary named Shem Tov Mayer on 05/05/12 Notary# 01MA5069188 NYS Kings County . Joel Kestenbaum purchased the Mortgage on the building owned by Israel Perlmutter & Menachem Stark. King County Block 2313: Lot# 5 and lot # 7 . The Mortgage was defaulted on and the National Bank was subsequently shut down by the FDIC . Joel Kestenbaum as a first mortgage holder wants to own the property that is worth over $50 million and didn’t want any fights with Permutter or Stark in the foreclose process, Rumors are that Kestenbaum was in arguments with them regarding this property and is a possible suspect .

    1. Please follow comment rules "no anonymous comments.

      You mean its a rumor in your circles.
      All I can say is, only someone who is capable of committing such horrors himself can sugget it on others.


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