"…I’ve spent hours these past two days listening to Satmar hasidim complain about the Post, the Daily News, Pix 11, other media outlets and FailedMessiah.com. Not once have I heard a Satmar hasid say that what Stark allegedly did to tenants, contractors and lenders is wrong. Not once have I heard any introspection, any attempt to come to grips with the idea that it is wrong to steal, cheat and abuse.…"
Editorial: Who Didn’t Want Menachem “Max” Stark Dead?
Shmarya Rosenberg • Failedmessiah.com
Many Satmar hasidim are angry and upset because the media, including FailedMessiah.com, has reported that murdered hasidic real estate developer Menachem “Max” Stark was not the nicest person to rent from or do business with.
Stark, who was kidnapped late Thursday night in front of his Williamsburg office and found dead in a trash dumpster in Great Neck Friday, reportedly stiffed contractors, defrauded tenants and lenders, ran an ongoing real estate scam and had 17 properties – most of which were poorly run slums.
Hasidim hate the fact that the media reported all this and they especially hate the fact that the Post’s cover today is a picture of Stark wearing a shtreimel with the headline “Who didn’t want him dead?”
But what hasidim and their supporters fail to acknowledge is that headline is based on an actual statement made by a law enforcement source who told the Post that there are so many people who hated Stark, it’s hard to know where to start investigating.
There is really no argument that outside of the hasidic-haredi community, those who knew Stark often hated him. Even inside the hasidic and haredi communities, there were people who knew him and disliked him.
Here’s how murder investigations work.
Because most murders are not random killings, police look very closely at family members, friends and business associates.
Was the murdered man unfaithful to his spouse? Could she have had that or another motive to want him dead? What about in-laws? Brothers? Other family members? Did he sleep with a friend’s wife?
Did he cheat in business? Who did he hurt? Who lost money because of him?
Did he receive threats? If so, how? Who from? Why? About what?
Police work to eliminate suspects – in other words, they start with every one of these people being suspect in some form and work to eliminate each one until all they have left is, hopefully, the murderer.
Yes, sometimes DNA or other forensic evidence, security camera footage or some random bit of information leads to a suspect police never would have thought of otherwise – but that is exceedingly rare.
That a murdered man had enemies is therefore news. That he had literally hundreds? That’s bigger news because the suspect pool is so large. In the same way, if his close friend or family member was a well known public figure and reasonably could be viewed as a suspect, that would be big news.
So what about calling Stark a slumlord?
As the Post clearly reported, the facts support that label. There is ample proof that Stark defrauded tenants and ran vermin-infested poorly maintained buildings.
In fact, what Stark did is apparently defraud lenders, rip off tenants and contractors, and use the proceeds of that misbehavior in part to give lavishly to Satmar hasidic charities.
But Satmar and its allies see none of this. Like with so many other hasidic criminals and miscreants, all that matters to Satmar are those charitable donations and the miscreant’s affiliation – who he hurt, whose lives he ruined, just does not count.
I’ve spent hours these past two days listening to Satmar hasidim complain about the Post, the Daily News, Pix 11, other media outlets and FailedMessiah.com. Not once have I heard a Satmar hasid say that what Stark allegedly did to tenants, contractors and lenders is wrong. Not once have I heard any introspection, any attempt to come to grips with the idea that it is wrong to steal, cheat and abuse.
Even the news that Stark had a sealed arrest for forcible touching of a minor girl did not cause these Satmar apologists to stop attacking the media or, more importantly, to do any type of public introspection at all.
No one had a right to kill Menachem Stark. His murder is absolutely wrong, and those who killed him must be tracked down, arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned for a very long time.
But that does not change the fact that Stark was clearly a despicable man.
And all the charity he gave and his eight children do not change that fact, either.
I don’t want Stark’s children, especially the little ones, to suffer and, assuming his wife was not a party to Stark’s misbehavior, I do not want her to suffer, either.
But that, too, does not change the facts of what Stark was, that he was murdered, and that he had literally hundreds of enemies.
“Who didn’t want him dead?”
That is the question police are asking right now. And when they’re finished answering it, when hundreds of possible suspects have been eliminated, those who did want Stark dead will hopefully be on Riker’s Island awaiting trial for his murder.