Menachem "Max" Stark personally owed tens of millions of dollars in defaulted real estate loans and owned vermin-infested drug dens and slums, along with several tonier buildings in Williamsburg that were allegedly poorly maintained and had many of the health code, safety, building code and fire violations that plagued his other buildings.
Menachem "Max" Stark (photo: Eli Wohl/Vin News)
Kidnapped Satmar Hasidic Slumlord Found Dead And Half-Burned In Great Neck Trash Dumpster
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
A Brooklyn hasidic real estate developer and slumlord who was allegedly kidnapped outside his Williamsburg office late Thursday night has reportedly been found half burned and dead in a trash dumpster in Great Neck.
The slumlord, Menachem “Max” Stark, was allegedly kidnapped outside his office at 331 Rutledge Street by two men driving a light colored Dodge minivan in the middle of a large snowstorm.
Stark personally owed tens of millions of dollars in defaulted real estate loans and owned vermin-infested drug dens and slums, along with several tonier buildings in Williamsburg that were allegedly poorly maintained and had many of the health code, safety, building code and fire violations that plagued his other buildings.
Stark and his partner, Israel “Sam” Perlmutter, were referred to as criminals on consumer websites like Yelp.
Stark’s charred body, burned from the waist down (one hand was also burned), was found in the dumpster alongside Fernando Cerff’s Getty station in Great Neck.
“[At about 7:00 am] in the morning, [the dumpster] was smoking. We threw snow on it [without looking inside, thinking a cigarette had lit some trash on fire], and it stopped,” Cerff told the New York Post. But by mid-afternoon the stench of charred flesh wafted from the dumpster, and Cerff called police. “The smell. It made me sick,” Cerff said.
Cerff told the New York Daily News that police told him Stark's body had been wrapped in fabric and then set on fire.
Police complained that Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath) and its restrictive laws that prohibit telephone use, radio use, etc., slowed their investigation.
“It’s a little hard to get ahold of some people,” a police investigator told the Post – a real problem when most of Stark’s business contacts, friends and family are also hasidic Jews.
Stark was reportedly known inside his hasidic community for frequently loaning money to hasidim who were in financial crisis. He also allegedly gave generously to hasidic charities and ran an open home.
But tenants often considered Stark to be a crude, disgusting thug who ridiculed them, condemned them to live in unsafe conditions and squalor, and who got rich off of their suffering.
On Yelp, one former tenant wrote that Stark and Perlmutter embody “every terrible stereotype and characterization you can possibly imagine when the phrase ‘New York City slumlords’ enters your head.”
Others called the hasidic slumlords “awful” and “disrespectful.” The two are “assholes on the phone when you call with any issues (especially Max, whose actual name is Menachem Stark), especially if you are a woman,” one tenant wrote.
“…[W]e think he’s a scammer. And he f—ed over a few people,” a law enforcement source reportedly said.
Update 6:51 pm CST – Stark is scheduled to be buried in Kiryas Joel tonight – meaning a full autopsy may not have been done:
Video footage of the alleged kidnapping:
Update 7:21 pm CST – Rabbi David Niederman, Executive Director of United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, reportedly issued the following statement:
“The community mourns the death of our beloved community member Menachem Stark, and our prayers are with his family who loved and cared for him immensely. Menachem Stark was a charitable man, donating to institutions and needy individuals alike, and everyone in the community is devastated and feels this loss on a personal level. We are saddened and dumbfounded how people can commit such heinous crimes against anyone, but especially against such a generous person who wouldn't hurt a fly. Every resource must be expended to apprehend the criminals responsible and we call on anyone with information about this crime to come forward. The community thanks the New York and Nassau County Police Departments who have worked around the clock on this case.”
[Hat Tips: Ruthie, Devorah.]