The former Montex textile mill owned by Rabbi Moshe Rubashkin, the convicted felon who is the newly-elected president of the Crown Heights (Chabad) Community Council and the brother of AgriProcessors Rabbi Sholom M. Rubashkin, burned to the ground yesterday:
The blaze was reported about 7:35 a.m. at Montex Textiles, a brick 41/2-story building that has stood vacant for about 10 years at Sixth and Cumberland streets, officials said. Flames were aggravated quickly by bolts of fabric, large spools of thread and machinery left behind after the mill shut down.
The building was deemed so dangerous that firefighters couldn't go in, fire Capt. Butch Nonnemacher said.…
Eric D. Weiss, director of the city's Bureau of Building Standards and Safety, said officials were scheduled to meet with the building's mortgage holder today to follow up on code violations.
''It's not a well-operated building,'' Weiss said as smoke poured from nearly every crevice in the building. ''In fact, it's poorly operated.''
Among the items considered dangerous by the city, Weiss said, are a roof in disrepair, no running water or electricity and unsecured doors.
But Rubashkin was more than just 'careless' with building maintenance:
In August the property's mortgage holder, Supreme Realty LLC of Brooklyn, won a $4 million foreclosure against Rubashkin in Lehigh County Court, and the building was scheduled to be sold at a Lehigh County sheriff's sale Friday.
Rubashkin, who could not be reached, owed more than $140,120 in school and county property taxes as of last year, according to court documents. In 2002, federal prosecutors charged Rubashkin with bank fraud after he bounced three Montex checks totaling $325,000 at First Union Bank.
He was sentenced to 15 months in prison and ordered to pay $232,937 in restitution.