This time, the issue is rent.
Two different sources tell me the same basic story.
Before the raid, a bed (not a room – a bed) in a house in Postville rented for $225 per month. That bed now rents for $400. At ten beds per house that equals $4000 per month in rental income.
To compare that to a much larger city with a much hotter housing market, a comparable home near where Sholom M. and Getzel Rubashkin lived in Saint Paul, Minnesota rents for about $1500 to $1800 per month.
When homes sold in Postville for $30,000, a comparable home in Saint Paul in this very nice neighborhood sold for close to $300,000 – ten times the Postville price.
A room – not a bed, a room – in a house in this Saint Paul neighborhood now rents for $300 per month – $100 less than Postville.
Worse than that, Postville landlords have added on extra rental fees and their rents are drawn off the top of workers' paychecks, so workers may starve but the vastly inflated rent is automatically paid.
Who are these Postville landlords?
Nevel Properties, a company owned by the Rubashkin family, and GAL Investments, owned by another Chabad-Lubavitch family.
UPDATE: 7-29-08 1:30 pm CDT – To add to the list of highly questionable Agriprocessors business relationships, I'm told One Force Staffing, a staffing agency under contract to Agriprocessors, rents entire homes from GAL Investments. It then rents beds – again, beds, not rooms – to workers it recruits for Agriprocessors.
One Force charges these workers $400 per month for a bed in Postville, Iowa – about four times that bed's real value.
Agriprocessors pays One Force a set amount per worker. One Force then pays that worker – after deducting taxes, other added employment fees, and the inflated rent.