Monday, January 6, 2014

Menachem Stark - there were many who didn't want him dead- one story amongst many

Guest post from a reliable source:

Friday morning, I got the following whatsaap message from a friend that grew up in Williamsburg.....

"C/p A popular millionaire businessman, a Satmar Hasid, was kidnapped from his Williamsburg office, according to police reports in New York. Brooklyn Police said that Menachem Stark was kidnapped by two assailants at 11:30 p.m. on Thursday. According to video surveillance, the two suspects were waiting outside Stark’s office, which is located in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, jumped on him, threw him into a big white van, and drove away. Police said that numerous phone calls to Stark’s cellphone went unanswered. Due to the snowstorm, police are unable to efficiently search for the victim or the suspects. Police searched Stark’s office, where they were looking for clues. Stark is a strong supporter of the Satmar grand rabbi. Last week, the rabbi's wife held a fundraiser at Stark’s home."

Slightly shaken, I went on the rest of the day without giving it a thought. You see, I don't know Menachem Shtark. I'm not from Williamsburg. I don't live in Brooklyn. I don't even live in New York State. I'm also not Chasidic, and even had i joined them it certainly wouldn't be to their Satmar brand....

Surely, it'll work out fine. I must have figured.....

Well, it didn't. And Saturday night, everyone was talking about the gruesome heinous crime....

I was told his name was Menachem "Max" Shtark. Eager to get some details, I punched into my phone Max. Before I had a chance to put in the rest of his name, my phone suggested a contact I had saved some time ago... Menachem "Max" Shtark.

Naturally, I was thrown off and confused... "Hey, this seems to be him.... But how did he land in my contacts?!?!"

Slowly, a meeting I had with a stranger two years ago in a black SUV started coming back to me...

A business opportunity arose, about two years ago, that looked very promising. Naturally, I was shopping around for tips and advice, and meeting anyone and everyone that would shed some light on that kind of venture. One older person I met with said that he could never have succeeded on his own. He was lucky to have a neighbor, a young entrepreneur who showed him all the ins and outs, and held his hand through every process. This very successful, generous, businessman, refused to take a dime for his advice, but sincerely wanted him to succeed. His name, Menachem Shtark.

This fellow I was meeting felt that he himself couldn't help me. He hardly knows how to run his own business. All he knows is one phone number, Menachem's.  

He suggested I too speak to Menachem. "Don't worry that he doesn't know you from Adam. If he can, he'll help you too!!. He loves to help others. Here is his cell number, call him. Don't think you'll get thru the first time, though, he's very busy. Leave a message and he'll probably call you back. Just be persistent and you'll get thru..."

That night,  I made the call (to a total stranger!!), didn't get thru, and I left a message. The next day I called again and he picked up. He remembered the message I left, and apologized for not having time to return my call.

After asking a few questions, he immediately started making suggestions. When I suggested I come meet him personally, he said "sure, but what for? I'll help if I can, in any way!!" I told him it’s important for me, but he didn't want me to schlep to his office in Williamsburg just to meet him. We agreed to both schedule meetings in Flatbush on the same day and meet there. Only after he finished talking to me, a total stranger, did he attend to the many people coming in and out of his office, and the phones ringing off the hook...

We spoke a number of times on the phone, before we met, but I believe he never even got my name! As soon as I would call he would say "yes, yes, you're the one that wants to open etc...".

We met outside his attorney's office, in his SUV.  Menachem had an infectious smile and a even more impressive can-do attitude. We talked in his vehicle for a very long time. His phone, "bluetoothed" to the car, didn't stop the whole time. Once in a while he would say, "oiy, I really have to take this call". He would answer, apologize that he's in a meeting and promise to call them back as soon as he's done. He gave me all the time I would have wanted, and then some.

We spoke about a whole host of management issues. Ironically, the one that I remember the most is an issue that’s been deliberately distorted since his death. It’s about the HPD violations (not to be confused with building code violations). The average building has about 50 frivolous, opened violations (that's a fact and even a Post reporter knows that!). Tenants often don't give access to make the repair, or deliberately break it as soon as it was fixed. An inspector can also write up 15-20 violations in one visit, on a spic and span, picture perfect apartment!! It's literally like trying to empty a drowning ship with a pail. Even The City recognizes this absurdity; their policy being that one can have up to 5 opened violations per unit!! Meaning, Menachem was "entitled" to 5,000 violations!!!!

Menachem explained to me at that meeting, that he did it differently. He felt a responsibility to focus on clearing the violations, regardless of the hardships involved. He hired two extra secretaries just to be on top of violations. 

That's how he managed to have only 148 in 1,000 units!!! (That's less than 0.15 per unit, what a slumlord!!!)

Sitting in his SUV, I asked him if he would be my partner. He said "no, do it yourself, I'll help you". When I was persisted, he said "What? You’re afraid I won't have time to help you? Don’t worry I'll be there for you, do it yourself!!". (BTW, it would have been very profitable for him too.)

I explained to him why I needed him as a partner, and he said, he would have to discuss it with his partner and get back to me. "Either way", he was quick to add, "I'll be there for you!!!"

We were in touch a number of times after that (I think he never did get my name) and the deal fell thru for totally unrelated reasons...

Unfortunately, that was the only time I met this special man.

To The Post: I didn't really know Menachem, and apparently people like you and his savage murderers did want him dead, but to answer your question...

I, for one, most definitely didn't want him to dead!!!

I'm not one to jump to call people anti-Semites, and i certainly will not play the motive game. But, the damage you have wrought by playing into those ridiculous stereotypes will be felt tomorrow morning. No, not every landlord/ manager are a zillionaire, trying to rip-off or cheat. And, for crying out loud, tenants are not some hapless, hopeless, indigent, natives being exploited and frozen, etc. You know that, and shame on you for implying otherwise. Hundreds of young hard working Orthodox Jewish fathers, trying to make an honest living, will have it that much harder thanks to your nonsense. 

(BTW, having met Menachem, I have no doubt he hired a competent exterminator. Those complaining about vermin almost certainly didn't let them in to spray. Just another of the many difficulties, us zillionaires encounter regularly.)

To Mrs. Shtark and their eight precious children: I know you will probably never read these lines. You never met me, and probably never will. It's my fervent hope that you will always stand tall, and proud of your husbands'/fathers' accomplishments. You know better than anyone else, what a loving, caring, generous, and upbeat husband/father you had. Please always remember that.

You can be sure; the family won't be the only ones to remember the great guy he was...

Everyone will...

Even strangers.

Yehi Zichro Baruch

37 comments :

  1. Thank you. Beautifully written. Thanks for this insight into a man who most of us were not privileged to have known.

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  2. 15% of units in violation of the building code: that looks like a lot to me...

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    Replies
    1. Each citation can be 5 violations. So three unites can be fifteen violations. Very common for landlords with many apartments. That isn't 15% of units in violation. But the number of violations are 15% of the number of units. Much less than 15% of the units have any violation. This is normal in the residential real estate market in NY among real estate owners.

      Delete
    2. It's not the building code.

      It's HPD, or Housing Preservation and Development.

      You see, in a progressive city like NYC, there are literally 10 agencies handing out violations.

      The context is pretty clear, it's OK to have up to 5 violations pier unit. That would translate to 5,000 violations in Menachem z"l's case.

      Better landlords keep it at 1 per unit. That would have been 1,000 in Menachem z"l's case.

      0.14 per unit is plain crazy!!!

      The post had to know this, they just wanted to make him sound like a slumlord to the uninformed reader.

      Delete
    3. It's not the building code.

      It's HPD, or Housing Preservation and Development.

      You see, in a progressive city like NYC, there are literally 10 agencies handing out violations.

      The context is pretty clear, it's OK to have up to 5 violations pier unit. That would translate to 5,000 violations in Menachem z"l's case.

      Better landlords keep it at 1 per unit. That would have been 1,000 in Menachem z"l's case.

      0.14 per unit is plain crazy!!!

      The post had to know this, they just wanted to make him sound like a slumlord to the uninformed reader.

      Delete
    4. It's not 15%, it's .15% which is ridiculously low...

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    5. Marty, mathematics are clearly not your strength.
      0.15 per unit = 15% per unit

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    6. No, Anonymous. Math clearly isn't YOUR strength. 0.15 violations per unit does not mean 15% of all units were in violation. If I wanted to say that 15% of all units were in violation, I would say "The rate of units in violation was 0.15". 0.15 violations per unit is far less than 1 violation per unit which the author of the article was saying is far less than average.

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    7. On average, it is equivalent. 1 violation per unit would mean that 100% of units have violations, on average.

      You say that 500% are tolerated, that looks like a lot to me...

      Delete
  3. This is pure anti-semitism. In the UK, they even do not say this when gang members get killed. I am surprised that this was allowed in NY of all places.

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  4. In Europe this type of anti-semitism is a normal and frequent occurrence in the media and public life that it mostly goes unremarked since it is so common in Europe.

    Even in Israel this type of media anti-semitism against Hareidim is par for the course and completely accepted in public life and media.

    In America this is unusual for a mainstream media outlet to express this level of anti-semitism. So when it does happen, as it did yesterday in the Post, it is remarkable and condemnable.

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  5. Sh'koyach for writing this! I also didn't want him dead. The New York Post went wayyyy overboard here. There may have been more than a few whom he borrowed money from. He may not have been a Tzaddik by any stretch of the imagination, but that certainly doesn't give the Post to demonize and villify him they way that they did: http://bit.ly/1lsDlqU

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  6. Sh'koyach on this! I also didn't want him to be dead. Menachem Stark may not have been a Tzaddik by any stretch of the imagination, but that didn't give the Post any right to demonize and villify him the way they did. http://bit.ly/1lsDlqU

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  7. It's not the building code.

    It's HPD, or Housing Preservation and Development.

    You see, in a progressive city like NYC, there are literally 10 agencies handing out violations.

    The context is pretty clear, it's OK to have up to 5 violations pier unit. That would translate to 5,000 violations in Menachem z"l's case.

    Better landlords keep it at 1 per unit. That would have been 1,000 in Menachem z"l's case.

    0.14 per unit is plain crazy!!!

    The post had to know this, they just wanted to make him sound like a slumlord to the uninformed reader.

    ReplyDelete
  8. To put this in context...

    The city has a program to remove old violations...

    Conscientious managers take advantage if this program...

    The stated goal upon completion of program: to bring it down to 0.5-1 violations per unit!!!

    To slander him in the area that he was far ahead of anyone else is fascinating!!!

    It also makes the job of a Post reported pretty simple. Anyone that owns real estate in NYC, that's in the news, just go to the HPD website. See how many violations he has, and presto, he's a slumlord!!!

    Not to mix race into this, but...Keeping the populace in perpetual violation, is a trick honed by the Soviets.

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  9. Asher Pihem Diber ShavJanuary 7, 2014 at 2:25 PM

    The post headline is Ironic.
    The people who didn't want him dead were the ones who killed him accidentally, and then were forced to abandon the body in a dumpster. Here are a few pointers for the educated sleuth.

    He wasn't killed by a tenant or super, or for what he did to someone," a revenge killing", because if he was they would have beat him or bruised him with a knife or bat, or another blunt object.

    He was obviously greeted by someone he recognized to try to lure him into the van. Then when he didn't come he was jumped by two additional guys. If it was mafia, they would have all jumped him. No one would be luring him anywhere. He was not a 6 year old boy.

    They used a minivan, not a cargo van. They obviously aren't professionals. Minivans have windows, have multiple exits, are impossible for the task they were trying to perform.

    They came to the heart of Williamsburg, and not to shoot him and run, but to kidnap him. They must have felt very comfortable in the area. Not Italians.


    Conclusion: Max Stark was killed by mistake after an "Epstein style" abduction with a purpose of forcing him to agree, or do something. He was accidentally killed. When they realized that they messed up, they threw him in a dumpster and lit it on fire to try to hide the evidence.

    Killers: either local chassidic businessmen and their henchmen, or Israelis.

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  10. I looked up the website of advocate.nyc.gov which lists the the landlords with the most violations, in brooklyn alone there are 382 named, and not menachem nor his partner are on that list.

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  11. Written extremely well and its 100% true, I knew him personally for the past 30 years

    Re HPD violations, having open violations does not mean that it wasn't corrected - it only means that he didn't go thru the process of removing them officially from the system which nobody does only once in a few years like if you're selling or refinance

    יהא זכרו ברוך

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  12. Thank you for writing, person above.

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  13. If you look up the website advocate.nyc.gov, they have a list of the worst building landlords with the most violations, in brooklyn alone the list has 382 names/corp. And not menachem and not any of his partners/companies are on that list, so I guess in brooklyn alone (excluding other boro's) there are 382 poeple we want dead.

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  14. Strange that the author of this post had such an intensive relationship with the murder victim, less than two years ago, and still would not remember his name... If I called someone for advise on a regular basis, met a few times, even wanted to become a business associate with this person, less than two years ago, i would remember his name.

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    Replies
    1. He said he only met him once or twice, not an intense relationship.

      Delete
    2. He said he talked to him quite often and planned a business partnership with him...

      Delete
  15. Is Daily News something you take seriously in NYC?

    http://m.nydailynews.com/1.1567726

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  16. I know the author personally...

    He says every word is true. He insists, he didn't exaggerate one bit.

    The point of the piece is that he didn't have an "intense relationship" with Menachem z"l, and he wanted to help.

    Funny you should question that part, I was there for that part!!...

    Motzei Shabbos, after Avos Ubanim,a few of us came back to Shul to learn. After a quick "coffee room", discussing the tragedy, we sat down to learn....

    Two minutes later, he (the author of this piece) exclaimed out loud, "oy, I must know this guy!!!..."

    The few of us in shul crowded around him, as he started to recall...

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    Replies
    1. That's not what he writes here... He said he found him on his cell phone...

      Delete
    2. Right!!

      Sitting down to learn with his chavrusah, they started with the "did you hear...."

      As they were exchanging thoughts, he punched Max into his phone....

      (Feminist, something is bothering you about the story. Spell it out, I might be able to help you. I was there.)

      Delete
    3. "something is bothering you about the story. Spell it out, I might be able to help you. I was there."

      Just what I said: I would remember the name of person when I had the kind of contacts described above.

      So there seems to be a bit of vague regarding the intensity of the contact and the question how well the writer knew the victim...

      Delete
    4. That's his whole point!!

      He didn't really know him, in fact he didn't know him at all!! Nonetheless, he displayed an extraordinary graciousness of his time and expertise...

      To a stranger, from a different community/world.

      Additionally, that was the reputation he heard before he meet him.

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    5. Well, that would not disprove the points made in the editorial. The editorial suggests that this person had two faces, one for the community, where money was spent, and one for the rest of the world, where money was made...

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    6. Why do you hate men so much? Maybe you should change your name, it is so offensive and asinine. You go so much out of your way to spew. I suggest you move to the Malvinas Island.

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    7. don't worry. I'm not in the usa. so you are safe as long as you stay there...

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    8. Do i look concerned? You still didn't get the point.

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    9. "this person had two faces, one for the community, where money was spent, and one for the rest of the world, where money was made..."

      Huh?!?!

      Firstly, the guy in this story wasn't at all "from the community".

      Secondly, Menachem z"l was in business. He had supers, contractors, sub contractors, suppliers, tenants, banks, brokers, etc. etc.

      If you are implying that he didn't give his charity to the outside world, your probably right.

      Most people don't give that much charity period. That doesn't make them less an asset to a productive society!?!

      As a Chasidic Jew it sounds like HE DID give generously, at least to their causes.

      A nice big added plus.

      Delete
  17. Dear Mrs. Stark and the entire family,

    I had the pleasure of dealing with your husband and family leader
    "Max" for almost every month since 2001. I was the first tenant in his new
    building at 315 Seigel St and I am still here after all these years. We
    often spoke about building up the neighborhood when it was not safe to even
    walk around here. He answered my call and was always there to assist and
    help with any needs I had as a tenant. On many occasions, he would call me
    to walk around with him collecting the rents and was always interested in my
    business and how my family was doing. Max and I were the same age. After
    hearing that he had a new born, I immediately called to wish him my best for
    the
    new baby and he replied, I would need to get busy to catch up to him.
    I had my first born in the building and he and Sam were nice enough to stop
    by to see my son.

    Max was a Stand Up guy, a good friend and a very good landlord. I wanted to
    take the time to let you know that the world will not be the same without
    him. Especially our street here at Seigel. Max was a pioneer of the
    neighborhood and his memory will always be remembered here by our tenants in
    the building. God Bless his soul and may he be in peace until we will all
    join him some day in the heavens.

    If there is anything I can ever do for you or your family, please call me
    anytime.

    Sincerely,

    Eric Ortense
    apt 214
    315 Seigel St

    ReplyDelete
  18. There are fascinating stories about Menachem here....
    https://m.facebook.com/iknewmax?refid=17

    Don't know if they are all true, how can I? One thing I'd certain, the famous Chofetz Chaim test applies here....

    They'll never say such things about me and you!!!

    ReplyDelete

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