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April 12, 2012

Deadbeat Haredi Landlords' Negligence Kills 2 Firefighters

WarningMichael, Yechiel and Nahman Lichtenstein, are New York brothers who habitually collect and neglect real-estate properties in Philadelphia, including the enormous Thomas W. Buck Hosiery building, destroyed in a blaze Monday that took the lives of two firefighters.


Brooklyn brothers who own Phila. building where fatal fire started are deadbeats

How else can you describe Michael, Yechiel and Nahman Lichtenstein, the New Yorkers who habitually collect and neglect real-estate properties in Philadelphia, including the enormous Thomas W. Buck Hosiery building, destroyed in a blaze Monday that took the lives of two firefighters.

City officials said Tuesday that the Lichtensteins owe a stunning $385,665 in unpaid real-estate taxes from 24 of the 31 properties that they own either directly or through various companies.

Their ability to avoid accountability came to an end when the Buck building, at Jasper and York streets, erupted in flames, and the surrounding East Kensington community exploded with anger after worrying for months that something awful would happen inside the vacant, unsealed factory.

The city moved quickly in light of the fire to explain the steps it had taken recently to address the Lichtensteins' neglect of the Buck building.

But it's unclear if any attempts were made to hold the real-estate moguls responsible for other properties that they let rot since going on a real-estate shopping spree in 2005 and 2006.

Take, for example, 5736 Belmar Terrace, a Kingsessing rowhouse the Lichtensteins own through their company YML Realty Inc. Neighbors told the Daily News that the property - which has a relatively small $887 in unpaid real estate taxes - has been abandoned for years, and has served as a de facto headquarters for local thugs.

"The drug dealers set up shop in there," said Shareese Dixon, who has lived on the block for 23 years, as she glanced at the home's white door with the words "Da War" scrawled across it in blue.

Legions of flies were once drawn to the house because of a terrible stench, she said. A broken basement window recently was boarded up, but Dixon said she was certain the owners weren't the ones who did it.

"I haven't seen them around here," she said. "They can just buy them and leave them."

At 60 N. Salford St. in West Philly - another property owned by YML Realty, for which the company has never paid property taxes - the first-floor windows and door are boarded up, and a chipped wooden support beam beneath the porch roof slants precariously inward.

Neighbors said the property has been abandoned for two decades, but someone recently took control of the property and added new windows on the second floor.

There are no records that indicate the house, which has $8,531 in unpaid taxes, has been sold.


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In NYC $385,665 is not a lot for taxes. That could be for just ONE five story corner walk up. How horrible is Philly's real estate market? wow

Hey this is not fair ! I know the owners personally they are straight like an arrow.
The sad reality is that alot of people bought up property in Philly under the pretense that they will profit from a neighborhood
Upsurge.the depressed economy never let that happen
So some landlords just gave up on their buildings
No one ever lived in these buildings since they were bought by the lichtenstiens so to accuse them if being evil is not true
In the past any of their tennats that actually lived in their homes had only praise for them. Not saying that it was the right thing to do to avoid the city
However it is known that this area is a hotbed of antisemitism
The people would rather live in slums than have a Jew help them!

other fine example of frum landlords

but i bet you he went nuts in his house to make sure there was not one specs of chumaz in his house

Yeshivas and the frum communities put no emphasis on on preventing crimes like this. but spent unlimited time and resources teaching stuff like teaching them how much mazha to eat in what time frame at the seder

Negligence Kills 2 Firefighters

According to the article it was the fire that killed them.

Posted by: Maskil | April 12, 2012 at 05:29 PM

you are an idiot negligence caused the fire

can you add

How can you believe an article written by a bunch of clueless individuals who can't even get the basic facts straight?

There are no brothers, it's a father son operation. Michael and Yechial are one and the same.

Furthermore, of the $385,000 in unpaid taxes lies one huge Thomas Lofts which is in court due to a defaulted 11 million dollar construction loan, the unpaid taxes on this property are above $250,000. Its not unusual for a building this size in court to have unpaid taxes. This the "objective" reporters won't tell you.

As for the firefighters who perished in this blaze may god bless their souls and peace to their families.

According to the article it was the fire that killed them.

Posted by: Maskil | April 12, 2012 at 05:29 PM

If you're hit by a car driven by a drunk, can we state that a car killed you, not a drunk driver?

A slumlord is a slumlord, whether or not he is frum: Plus, if a firefighter is hurt or killed while fighting a fire on your property, you are liable. Add to that little responsibility, an additional one: You are required to keep every building you own insured, reasonably safe from fire or collapse and if you are going to default on municipal (property) taxes then you forfeit ownership of the property to the municipal government but remain liable for any or all perils that may occur on said property until such time as the city or the mortgage holder arranges transfer of deed.

I will be willing to bet that the Lichtensteins will be seeing the inside of a great many courtrooms in the future. Frum or not, they will be disposing of their prime properties to pay lawyers and judgements.

Mendy Hecht:

Your argument is specious. If the Torah was given in order to perfect human behavior, where is the effect? The Torah is used as justification for these bad acts.

This is a false dilemma. It is not perfection that is demanded, it is basic ethical behavior. When the halacha is used to circumvent ethics, the result is what pertains today. So, we can see the Torah is not a solution to this problem, and worse, it is used as a shield.

Your argument is specious. If the Torah was given in order to perfect human behavior, where is the effect? The Torah is used as justification for these bad acts.


Mendey's arguement is more than specious – it's form of trolling and squatting done to harvest the email addresses of readers.

Mendy knows he isn't supposed to do this but he does it anyway.

And that's why I deleted his comment.

Posted by: Yaakov | April 12, 2012 at 06:11 PM

are you answering from another post by mendy since i do not see any here


I noted both the email address and the swiftness of your action. I was talking to my wife about what he posted, and I went to read it to her, and it was gone already.

I noticed that you had done this before when he included an email address, and I understand why you did it. It wasn't surprising except in its rapidity. Next time, I won't bother to respond if there's an email address in the post.


It went *poof* when Shmarya concentrated his superpowers on it.

Posted by: Yaakov | April 12, 2012 at 06:11 PM

Yaakov, I feel the real problem is not so much individuals like Lichtenstein's since all groups have sick people like that.

The problem is that people like thise, if they are frum, are not routinely condemned. neither by the people or the leaders robbonum and so on. Neither are they shunned or suffer any shame or any consequences at all from the frum community. They are still honored members , will get to sit with the rebbies and even get shilisha.

In addition the community, will rally around them as if they are holy men, if the government tries to bring these guys or similar to justice.

To me that to me is the real problem By doing all the above they are condoning such actions and will only lead to more people doing it, since it is ok it seems withing the frum community. and really that is all that they really care about.

Imagine if such action will be looked at, as eating cholov stam eating grebroks or not wearing a sheatil, this actions will be reduced greatly


Yes, there is an unhealthy respect for money in the frum world. The pinnacle of anti-Torah behavior is when the Rabbis find halachic excuses for these things.

The irony, to my eye, is that fear of God has been replaced with fear of man and no one seems to have paid attention.

True story
Two partners decided to burn down a building to collect insurance
Two firefighters died [True, the above story is not about arson]
Two partners were convicted-life in prison

I was in the forensics lab fixing instruments, it was like spare no expense-we will avenge our brothers!

@Alter Kocker "I will be willing to bet that the Lichtensteins will be seeing the inside of a great many courtrooms in the future."

Me too, in Bankruptcy court. Which is not unusual in these cases. They will walk off and everyone else will end up holding the bag.

Shmarya's use of the "Warning" graphic reminds me of the utterances of the robot from "Lost in Space".


"straight as an arrow" people pay their taxes.

Also, they did have tenants, some were interviewed in the news accounts.

They noted that while the property taxes were NOT paid, the Lichtenstein's were quick to sue them in court when they fell behind on rent.

And, the Lichtenstein's were made aware of the hazards their unsecured property was causing for the neighborhood a month ago and their response to the neighborhood activist who contacted them was "buzz off if you don't have money to invest."

THAT is not a "straight as an arrow" family.

And the idea that Philly is a "hotbed of anti-semitism" is joke.

Two firefighters are dead thanks to the greed and negligence of the Lichtensteins.

The firefighters tried to save the Lichtenstein's property even though they had never paid taxes on it.

And still the Lichtenstein's don't even have the decency to issue an apology and send condolences to the families of these brave men.

Shame on them and those who defend them.

Lichtensteins are as straight as a CROOKED arrow

There's a word for this in the English language: censorship

Which - in a private forum is perfectly legal and nor is it particularly unethical.

The rules (albeit unevenly applied - at times) are the rules, and emails are outside them.........

Hey steeviebot!
Get your facts straight THIS BUILDING HAD NO TENANTS!
Nobody ever said Philly is a hotbed for anti semitism
Whoever said they paid no taxes they only owed some
It is not a tenants bussiness whether the landlord pays taxes
He has to pay rent regardless.and like we said before
The tenants they have are from other properties that THEY DO PAY TAXES.
What a rambling idiot!

Where's my posts?

they has email addresses on them genius.

Shmarya says he asked you to stop harvesting email addresses but you continue to proceeds that.

You're primarily thought of as a buffoon on this site so no one is surprised.

Wrong. And before you call anyone a buffoon, get yourself some grade-school English education.

Firstly, there's no rule on the site's home page that specifically bars displaying your e-mail so people can contact you. So Shmarya is a liar, as are you.

Secondly, and this is key, the last two posts on this thread did not have my address. Still, Shmarya deleted them with no fanfare. You know why? They made too much sense. I was winning the argument and he couldn't stand the fact.

You're not winning any arguments, Mendy.

You were banned a month ago or more and you keep posting comments anyway. And you know damn well proper web etiquette bans email harvesting, but you try to do it anyway.

But the game is over. And so are you.

I live a block from the Buck building, I've been inside it, chased out scrappers and homeless and I've secured the gates on numerous occasions. Our community has suffered a great loss and two men are dead due to the negligence of the owners. The community could care less what their religion is. They made no attempt to clean and seal the property, leaving it open to all sorts of criminal activity. The ongoing investigation will prove their negligence, with facts. Defending them only makes you sound foolish.

Accusing the residents of antisemitism is not only stupid but it's dead wrong.

In general, the frumma lifestyle is a very expensive one. Most frumma look the other way regarding shoddy and shady business practices because they 'understand' how expensive the frumma lifestyle is, this includes the MO. It is sad that they miss the point of spirituality but this is the result, people masquararing as pious but are the worst sinners you can have.

Though I tend to disagree a lot with Mendy Hecht, he is a decent,civil person.Banning him does not pass the decency test


He tried to harvest emails.

He knows better but he did it anyway.

Banning him more than passes ant decency test.

Hey Dave, why don't you read a few of the other articles about these deadbeat "holy" men. They specifically tell one tenant that the owners are NOT paying taxes on her property yet they did take her to court for 900$ in back rent. So, no money for taxes, but plenty of money for lawyers and courts to sue those who owe THEM money. They own more than 30 properties in Philly, yet they are behind more than $300k in taxes, and they are suing people for $900 in rent.
And of course Dave, you say in your comment "However it is known that this area is a hotbed of antisemitism
The people would rather live in slums than have a Jew help them!" and the only place you mention is Philly, you never mention Kensington. But even if you did, what sort of excuse is that? Are anti-semites just makign up the fact that the deadbeat Rabbi and his family owe 350k in property taxes? Are anti-semites making up the fact that the deadbeat Rabbis and his family were warned about the property several times and they ignored the warnings? Are anti-semites making up the fact that two Philadelphia frieman died fighting the fire which started in the deadbeats' neglected building?
So, again, stop defending the deadbeat Rabbi and his greedy family and start wondering how you can possibly try to deploy that tired anti-semitism card when two firemen are dead and your deadbeat Rabbi and family were warned about this more than a month ago--and, so perfect that their response at the time was "if you don't have money to invest then buzz off."
How proud you must be to have such decent friends. That tells me a lot about you and your own character Dave.

I thought Michael and Yechiel are one and the same. And since he is a lawyer, he isn't necessarily hiring lawyers to fight his battles. But poor guy could use some mazel in life... maybe they should have put the MRs. Lichtenstein in charge. She is one smart very capable cookie.

Highly doubt this will be a news item in Hamodiah.

Posted by: my opinion | April 16, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Stop commenting under different screen names.

Choose one and stick with it – or, better yet, use your real name.

Otherwise, I'll ban you and delete your comments.

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