Rabbi Nachman Holtzberg, father of Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg who was killed in the attack on Chabad House two years ago, has accused the ultra-orthodox Jewish group his son worked for of “large scale manipulation and falsification of records... to grab” the Nariman House property as well as “pocketing millions of dollars” raised to renovate the badly-damaged building in South Mumbai.
Rabbi Holtzberg’s father accuses Chabad of fraud, embezzlement
Mustafa Plumber and Kavitha Iyer • Indian Express
Rabbi Nachman Holtzberg, father of Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg who was killed in the attack on Chabad House during 26/11, has accused the ultra-orthodox Jewish group his son worked for of “large scale manipulation and falsification of records... to grab” the Nariman House property as well as “pocketing millions of dollars” raised to renovate the badly-damaged building in South Mumbai.
In an affidavit filed last week in Bombay City Civil Court, Israeli national Eliran Russo, who is representing Holtzberg senior as his constituted attorney, said that the New York-headquartered Chabad Lubavitch movement had raised crores of rupees to repair the building in Colaba, made some payments, pocketed huge sums and was not ready to provide any accounts.
As first reported by The Indian Express last week, Nariman House, which became one of the symbols of the global span of the 26/11 attacks, has ended up as the subject of a bitter property dispute between warring factions of the Jewish group, days before the second anniversary of the terrorist outrage. The group went to court last month opposing the renovation work that had been started by representatives of the Holtzbergs, saying the work was not authorized and was illegal. The suit named Russo as the main defendant.
In the days following the attack, I heard from Chabadniks who claimed Gavriel Holtzberg, HY"D, had asked Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky of Chabad's international headquarters in Brooklyn for money for security. Kotlarsky allegedly turned Holtzberg down.
Then, I heard that Kotlarsky and his boss, Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, were using much of the money raised to rebuild Mumbai's Chabad House for other purposes, mostly purposes that were located outside of India.
You can hear Krinsky telling hundreds of Chabad rabbis shortly after the attack that Chabad will need to plan how to deal with all the money it was raising to rebuild Chabad of Mumbai. "I don't want to say utilize," Krinsky said, although that is clearly what he meant.
Now it appears we will see the evidence for this theft as it is presented in a court of law.
Photos: Top, Rabbi Gavriel Hotzberg and his wife Rivka; bottom, the Holtzberg's son Moshe, who survived the attack.
Update 4:00 pm CST – Here is Chabad's official listing of Chabad Houses in Mumbai taken from Chabad.org a few minutes ago. Note it lists Nariman House as being "under construction." Please click to enlarge:
Update 11-24-10 6:20 am CST – It turns out Chabad sued Holtzberg's Mumbai representative first to stop repairs from being made to Nariman House. Holtzberg counter-sued alleging theft and fraud. He says he paid for most of the repairs already done to Nariman House.
Part Two: Is Chabad Stealing Millions Of Dollars From The Fund Meant To Rebuild Terror Ravaged Chabad House And Care For Its Infant Survivor?
Part 3: The New York Times reports that Rabbi Holtzberg claims he waited 1 1/2 years but Chabad did not use the money it raised to rebuild Nariman House, so he raised money on his own and began to rebuild it.