by CrownHeights.info Staff
Court papers reveal shocking new revelations surrounding the sale and attempts to demolish Anshei Lubawitz, Borough Park’s oldest synagogue.
On Nov 2nd, Supreme Court Justice Wayne Saitta extended the restraining order against the demolition of the synagogue until Nov 16th to review these documents.
Crownheights.info reported in August, citing affidavits from petitioners, that the synagogue was sold without the approval or knowledge of the members, and that the synagogue continues to be a beautiful, loved and well maintained building, where people have been praying daily since 1914. According to the New York Landmarks Conservancy, Anshei Lubawitz is the oldest surviving purpose built synagogue in Brooklyn that is still in synagogue use. The synagogue appeared in Oscar Israelowitz’s 1982 book, Synagogues of New York City – including a photo of the synagogue interior on the back cover.
A prominent Brooklyn broker assessed the property in June and concluded that the purchase price of $3.1 million is grossly inadequate and does not represent the actual fair market value of the Property. But court documents reveal that the agreement between developer Moses Karpen and the alleged board members of Chevra Anshei Lubawitz is far worse than synagogue members thought when they filed their petition. The documents show that absolutely no funds were actually delivered by the Developer to the Synagogue, Section 3.1 of the Operating Agreement (Vaysman Ex. 6) provides that “as partial consideration for [the Synagogue’s] contribution of their fee simple ownership of the Premises to the Company, [the Synagogue] shall have a stated capital of $3,100,000.”
The structure of the transaction provides no security to the Synagogue that at the end of the day, the Developer would actually deliver the promised new space. In other words, the Synagogue has contributed its entire asset (fee title to the Synagogue property) to Karpen in exchange for a minority interest in his LLC.
The Operating Agreement goes on to vest complete control over the LLC in the hands of the Developer. Even “Major Decisions” can be made exclusively by the Developer, with no input from the Synagogue, since the Synagogue has only a 19% interest in the LLC, and such “Major Decisions” can be made by a member (such as the Developer) that holds at least a 75% membership interest. See Operating Agreement, Section 5.5.
“The building is historic, in good condition, and has been used by worshipers for more than a century. We cannot allow it to be demolished for another housing development. And for what? To line the pockets of the individuals engaged in this deal” a longtime Borough Park resident told CrownHeights.info.
A newly-discovered recording reveals conclusive evidence that the board’s Application to the Attorney General was inaccurate. The board told the AG that on April 3, 2016, it was “RESOLVED by majority of vote of twelve for, one against, by the members, and of unanimous three votes for by the Trustees that the organization sell the real property at 4024 12th Avenue, Brooklyn New York, to 4024 12th Ave LLC for 3,100,0000, and it is further RESOLVED that the terms, as discussed, are fair and reasonable…”.
The recording of the meeting confirms that no such approval was obtained, and that there was no discussion or mention of 3.1 million dollars. Yet two days after the April 3rd meeting, the alleged board signed an agreement with the 4024 LLC authorizing the sale of the property, with a contract that was prepared two months earlier, in February.