An unfortunate and cringe worthy series of events have led to the posting of signs in Crown Heights warning people not to buy the home located at 682 Montgomery St. Why should they not? Here is Mr. Malka’s story.
The story begins while Jacob (Yakov) Malka lived as a tenant in 682 Montgomery St, with the house being owned by Cusbert Carter.
The house had been placed in a legal limbo, following the passing of Mr. Carter. With the limbo lasting a long time, the family had already agreed to sell the home to Malka, just waiting for the legal set time to pass so it could be sold.
Just as the the legal limbo was lifted, and the house able to be sold, the unexpected happened.
As Mr. Malka was heading to Israel to marry off his daughter, he phoned the family of Mr. Carter, explaining his situation, and letting them know that he will sign the papers as soon as he returned.
Yet without warning, the home, which was never on the market, and never officially for sale, was sold to another Crown Heights family, Zushe and Esther Wilhelm, under the name 682 Montgomery LLC.
The Wilhelm’s, who buy and flip houses for higher prices, bought the house at $999,999 according to public records.
Just a few months later, in the beginning of 2018, the Wilhelm’s began legal proceedings in civil court to evict Mr. Malka from the home.
Malka approached Rabbis Osdaba and Segal about the eviction case, and received a ruling requiring the Wilhelm’s to remove the case from court. The ruling was not followed, instead, at the insistence of the Rabbonim, the civil court proceedings were put on hold, but not removed.
Feeling that he had been wronged, and the house should have been his as Bar Metzrah (a neighbor has first rights to buy), Yakov Malka took the Wilhelm’s to the Crown Heights Beis Din to settle the disagreement.
Crown Heights Rabbonim, Rabbis Bogomilsky and Segal settled the case in arbitration and ruled the following:
- Since the defendant (Zushe and Esther Wilhelm) claim they paid the owner $1,500,000, if the Plaintiff (Mr. Malka) will pay the defendants $1,500,000 plus 5% of the total purchase price $1,575,000, and all this within two months from the date appearing at the top of this ruling, the house shall be transferred to the Plaintiffs ownership.
- If the Plaintiff cannot obtain this sum of money, then the ruling of Bar Metzrah does not apply and the defendants can remove the plaintiff from the house.
- If the defendants (Zushe and Esther Wilhelm) do not agree to this compromise, the plaintiff (Mr. Malka) who resides as a renter in this house, can stay for as long as he wishes, and the defendants can not evict him, obviously as long as he pays rent every month. Nor can they sell this house in the future to others, because this renter has precedence over everyone because of the rule of Bar Metzrah.
- The purchaser must provide to the certified accountant of the Beth Din, Rabbi Shmuel Eidelman, documentary proof of legal and official documents for the purchase sum paid, and for additional expenses actually involved in acquiring this house (and also if, after the acquisition, they invested any sum of money in arranging the house or repairing it, etc.), and after Rabbi Shmuel Eidelman certifies [the above sums], the purchaser (the defendants) can claim these sums from the renter if he fulfills section A (above).
Immediately following the arbitration, problems began to arise. With the eviction case still in court, Malka was unable to apply for a mortgage.
At the same time, the Wilhelm’s were required to provide legal proof of the price of purchase, which is recorded on legal paperwork as $999,999, and claimed in Beth Din as $1,500,000. The paperwork was not provided, claimed Malka.
Soon after, Malka says, he received an email from the Wilhelm’s, accepting the third section of the ruling, and taking him on as a tenant.
Over the past year, the home has not been up kept, claimed Malka, with the home receiving multiple violations. This has led to him withholding rent, Malka admitted.
Recently, despite the ruling of the Rabonim, the house has been put up for sale by the Wilhelm’s, for a whopping $1.8 Million.
Malka also received a 30 day notice of eviction.
Feeling no recourse, Malka placed signs around Crown Heights warning the community not to buy the house. He says he feels it’s important for the community to be aware of the events, and why the prices of homes in the Crown Heights community have become unaffordable.
CrownHeights.info attempted to contact Rabbi and Mrs. Wilhelm, but they refused to comment on the story.
(This article was formulated from a phone interview with Mr. Jacob Malka, and legal documents acquired by CrownHeights.info.)