Above: Menachem "Max" Stark
A Pancake Waiting To Happen: Murdered Satmar Scumlord’s Now-Vacated Unstable Luxury Apartment Building Reportedly Built Using Scammed Plans
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Murdered Satmar developer Menachem “Max” Stark may still be smoldering in his grave – and in hell.
DNAinfo is now reporting the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) approved plans for a dangerous unstable apartment building developed by Stark even though those plans were really for a different building site and structure.
How did this happen?
At this point, no one knows for sure, but in February 11 DOB employees were arrested for taking bribes to remove stop work orders, expedite permitting processes – and to pass inspections.
Stark and a partner allegedly ran a shady real estate development business some say profited by going into bankruptcy and then flipping buildings to relatives or close friends who acted as shell companies, buying the properties at a discount and completing the development while all the while Stark really still owned them.
Stark’s luxury building located at 120 South Fourth Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is truly a nightmare unlike any other. Stark began developing the property but flipped it half-completed to his brother-in-law Abraham Bernat during a bankruptcy in 2013.
The building was not built to code from the get-go and is so dangerous, the Department of Buildings was forced to issue an emergency vacate order for the entire building just before Thanksgiving, leaving residents homeless and lower floor businesses out a livelihood.
But that only happened after Labib Krunfol, a general contractor who is a principal of Krunfol & Krunfol Construction, signed a lease for a retail space in the building and quickly realized something was very wrong.
"We noticed there is something wrong in the basement…We noticed it right away. It's not safe 100 percent,” Krunfol, who planned on opening an organic deli and restaurant on the building’s ground floor, told DNAinfo.
As his team moved to turn the open space into a restaurant, Krunfol and his workers saw a support column was missing underneath his store. They also saw the buildings support beams did not connect to supports in the walls, meaning the building was a pancake waiting to happen.
Krunfol tried to get the building’s plans from Bernat’s Garden Management, to no avail. So he obtained copies of the original plans filed with Department of Buildings.
The first few pages of the filed plans listed the correct address, 120 South Fourth Street. But the bulk of the filed plan’s pages were from a completely different building located 261 North Ninth Street in Brooklyn. Worse than that, the Stark-Bernat building Krunfol was investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in to open his restaurant had extra floors not shown in the plans, and his business was to be located in one of those additional floors.
"How do you give a certificate of occupancy…[the building's] full with people and now they do the evacuation?…We were almost finished and now we find ourselves without money, without store. We have no solution,” Krunfol reportedly said.
DNAinfo looked at the plans Krunfol pulled from the DOB’s files and tried to get an copy for itself directly from the DOB. And then it asked the DOB why the plans they have on file do not match the address of the building.
All a DOB spokesman would tell DNAifo is that “the circumstances under which the Certificate of Occupancy was granted [are] under investigation."
The certificate of occupancy issued by the DOB in July 2014 is different from the building that is actually standing at that address. The certificate of occupancy is for a four-story 18- unit structure. The actual building reportedly stands – at least for now – five stories high and has 20 units.
Stark, a man so hated because he had shafted so many people in business that law enforcement sources said during the investigation of his January 2014 murder that they were inundated with suspects and almost anyone might have killed him, was a pillar of the Satmar hasidic community. Stark was kidnapped on New Years Eve. His body was found smoldering in a Long Island dumpster a day later.
Stark’s brother-in-law Bernat’s Garden Management did not respond to DNAinfo’s request for comment.