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Maimon Kirschenbaum Responds: Negative Commenting Has to Stop

Dear Crownheights.info Readers:

As many of you have probably seen yesterday on this website, the NY Post ran an article about me and my business. The article certainly portrayed me and my business in a less than positive light. But I can live with that. My business is very controversial, and I have brought lawsuits against some very wealthy and powerful individuals. Therefore, it was no surprise when one of the defendants in my lawsuits succeeded in having a tabloid run a story about me containing many extreme exaggerations and misrepresentations regarding me and my motives, in an effort to clear his name in the press rather than in a courtroom, where law and reality govern. But the underlying merits of the article are not the subject of this letter.

I found it extremely difficult this morning to explain to my coworkers, colleagues, and clients why on a website geared towards members of my own community there are comments attacking me more viciously than in the general public. In all fairness, they were few as compared with quantity of comments on some of the other “hot button topics” addressed in this website. Nevertheless, over the years, I have seen too many community members, including shluchim, rabbis, and regular businessmen be viciously disparaged by commenters on the various websites. Given that I was the target this time, I will take this opportunity to share my feelings on the matter.

Rabosai, this has to stop. There is an astounding lack of perspective evident when people in a community anonymously sell out their own community members in a public forum. It is especially shocking when it happens in our beautiful community. The Crown Heights that I know is filled with people that would do anything in the world and have each other’s back at all times. Of course, there is machlokes in our community unfortunately, but on an individual level, we are a group of people with very strong loyalty to one another. Tzedaka and good deeds are the hallmarks of Chabad both in Crown Heights and throughout the world.

The negative vicious comments targeting our own people go directly against the grain of what we are. It is downright ugly. I am no spiritual authority, but from my perspective, the “negative internet comment crisis” is at least as troubling as the other crises lamented on this website. We are hurling cheap insults at our neighbors, families, friends, etc. Where on Earth does this come from, and how is not too disgusting to be allowed in our community? If there is some tenet of Chabad philosophy that supports this behavior, I personally request that a Rov or Mashpia explain it to us. Because, as far as I know, it goes against all that is Chabad and all that is Jewish.

I have very thick skin, and I am not very insulted by the comments. I am also very proud of my work, BH. I feel no need to apologize for my lawsuits, and I can handle this relatively negative publicity. In terms of the insult, we know what the Alter Rebbe said about David Hamelech and Shimi Ben Gaira, “For Hashem told him to curse me”. So I probably had it coming. But that doesn’t change that the people that engaged in bad behavior engaged in bad behavior.

There is a time, place and manner for everything. If someone disagrees, or wants to ”give me mussar” for what I do, it should be rather simple. Come sit down with me at a farbrengen and tell me your thoughts. My information is pretty easy to locate on the internet, and you can find a way to reach me and tell me what you think. This is the case with everyone else that you are thinking about anonymously lambasting in your comment. If you are simply too cowardly to voice your opinion directly and to stand behind it, you probably should not be making the point.

In short, there are several reasons to refrain from anonymous comments attacking members of our community: (A) Some people are deeply hurt by these comments; (B) You are letting the world know that you are willing to sell out members of your community (most of whom would never do that to you) for the cheap thrill of writing something nasty on the internet; and (C) It is cowardly to make a statement that you cannot stand behind with your name.

I would like my children and your children to grow up in a community where they know that everyone is looking out for each other. This will provide them with sense of security and confidence. They will in turn have a strong desire to remain part of the community. There is so much discussion about what causes children to drift, R”L. Please stop and think about what kind of effect open negativity and nastiness has on our community and what message it sends to our children about their community.

“Hareini mochel l’chol mi shehichis osi oh shehknit osy.” If there is one good thing I can do for my wonderful community this year, let it be to encourage people to stop trashing each other on the websites!

Ksiva V’chasima Toiva, and much success to everyone b’gashmiyus ubrichniyus. Barchenu avinu kulanu k’echad, as one!

Maimon Kirschenbaum

74 Comments

  • 1. Negative commenter wrote:

    I am one of those critical commentators, I think your article is well written and makes lots of good points, I have heard you!
    I still believe that one should critical comments about the leadership in our community and other important issues, it’s the only way that there is a chance things get changed.
    Having said all that, I have asked around about you and apparently you are one of the good guys, perhaps you can help our community by taking a more active role in its leadership next time we hold elections for the Vaad.

  • 2. Try find the Good in Others. wrote:

    Thank You for bringing this to light. I have often wondered about the open animosity which seems to constantly crop up in the comments section at the end of articles. It wonders me if this is what people are thinking as they walk down the street glaring at each other without the glimmer of a smile or softening of the face or a Good Shabbos. Are the people of Crown Heights a vicious malicious group? I hope not… I truly hope not and I hope the comments are the thoughts of a very concentrated few and not the representation of the community as a whole.

  • 3. ch mom wrote:

    beautiful and to the point! now if everyone would just follow what you wrote, things would be great. problem is, there are those that get their ‘kicks’ out of putting down people, and they will probably have something negative to write. ksiva vechasima tovah to all in our community, and worldwide.

  • 4. THE WRITER RAISES AN IMPORTANT POINT wrote:

    THE WRITER BRINGS OUT AN IMPORTANT POINT REGARDING INTERNET COMMENTS. I WOULD LIKE TO EMPHASIZE AND ADD TO THAT THE FOLLY OF BELIEVING AND PASSING ON UNVERIFIED INFORMATION. I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE WRITER HAS DONE OR NOT DONE TO RECEIVE SO MUCH NEGATIVE FEEDBACK. BUT UNTIL I ACTUALLY SPEAK WITH HIM I DON’T CONSIDER MYSELF INFORMED ENOUGH TO MAKE ANY COMMENT WITHOUT APPEARING TO BE A FOOL. IN FACT THE TONE AND GENERAL QUALITY OF SUCH EMOTIONALLY DRIVEN COMMENTS NOT BACKED BY SOUND LOGIC AND FACT TEND TO REFLECT MORE NEGATIVELY ON THE COMMENTER THAN THE TARGET OF THEIR UNCONSTRUCTIVE RAGE. I DON’T BELIEVE THIS PROBLEM CAN BE RESOLVED UNTIL AND UNLESS BLOGS RECOGNIZE THEIR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AND SET LIMITATIONS TO SLANDER AND NEGATIVITY.

  • 5. Impressive wrote:

    Mr Kirschenbaum,

    Your article is very well written. You are articulate and state your case sincerely and professionally. Wishing you a Kesivah Vechasimah Tova, I am sorry for any hurt that your family has experienced. Unfortunately people do not understand how the law works, and not only that they are jealous of your success.!

  • 7. Huh? wrote:

    What a leftist weasel!
    Instead of answering the allegations against him, he goes on to attack freedom of speech.

    fact #1 – the workers in these restaurants were not chained to the tables. they were obviously happy to work for what they were getting.

    fact #2 – kirschenbaum saw an extortion opportunity, based on his family’s experience in the restaurant business, and convinced these naive workers to sue the hand that feeds them.

    fact #3 – the restaurant cant afford the legal fees, and settles for a huge amount which forces it to close down. now the workers find themselves unemployed, with a little bit of money that wasnt pocketed by kirschenbaum, who is laughing all the way to the bank.

    fact #4 – all the hard working productive people: the family that built the restaurant up from the ground and the employees (all of them, not just the waiters) are all penniless. the UNproduvtive parasites: kirschenbaum, sit on a pile of gold they did not earn.

    MR. KISCHENBAUM: THE NY POST IS RIGHT AND YOU ARE WRONG!!!!
    YOU ARE A BLOODSUCKING PARASITE. YOU ARE THE ENEMY OF FREEDOM. YOU ARE THE ENEMY OF HARD WORK. YOU ARE THE ENEMY OF PROSPERITY.

    GET OUT OF CROWN HEIGHTS KIRSCHENBAUM – YOU ARE AN EMBARRASSMENT TO ALL OF US.

  • 8. No One wrote:

    Democracy, any one?
    in many subjects people are not willing to put their names because they are afraid of retaliation against them ,by more powerfull members of this community. in the other end we dont have to rush and post any thing coming out of our mouth, we have to now just as Maimon mention other people are reading this blog and it makes a very big Chilul Ashem

  • 9. Dear Maimon wrote:

    First i would like to share with many whom may not know you; you are a sincere and a stand up kind of guy that. I am very lucky to have gotten to know you as a friend and i bless all my friends to find a kind of Chaver like you! (as it is written that a person has to go so far to find a Chaver even if it means to buy one – “Knei L’cha Chaver”)

    Many unfortunately make decisions and comments without knowing facts and that is very unfortunate. The FACT that you have succeeded in your lawsuits are based on good merits with a good strong case! This is something that people in our community may not look at since they may not understand the legal system in this country or any other for that matter.

    Chevre it is Ymay Harachamim, it is a time to ask for Mechila and Pray to g-d for a good, sweet, healthy and waelthy year! Not to Malbin a Chaver B’rabim which is a great sin.

    Maimon i am wishing you a Ksiva V’chasim Tova L’shana Tova Umesuka and may you succeed in all of your endeavors!

    A Friend

  • 10. A concerned chosid wrote:

    Maimon with all due respect to what you wrote, I feel that the “business you invented” is a dangerous business for many or perhaps most employers.

    we live in a country where we are competing with china where workers get paid an average of $20 US dollars a month!

    Additionally most workers in this industry would NOT work for only 40 hours a week, for that would give them a a gross pay of $290 a week and after taxes social security and medicare they are left with about $195 per week. So these workers ask their employers to give them more hours and don’t expect their employer to pay them overtime.

    They are happy with getting more hours, for without it they would need to work at another location which would also pay them minimum wage without overtime. And these workers won’t be able to pay their rent in this expensive city.

    If the food industry would have employees paid overtime wages you would be paying $3 for a small yogurt $5 for a half gallon of cholov yisroel milk and $9 for a tuna sandwich !

    That being said I feel that you are doing a great injustice to our standard of living by pushing and encouraging people to take court action against an employer who has been there giving them work year after year. Remember, these workers were not forced to work there and were not forced to work overtime hours, they were simply happy to have a job and happy to have more hours at the same location.

    By encouraging this behavior you will make the cost of living in this city go up, small business owners to close up shop and have these immigrant workers stand on the street on Fort Hamilton ave to look for work.

    Although I would hope that you haven’t gone after people in “Our Community”, your behavior and publicity will hurt other ehrliche yidden who are just trying to make a living and pay their bills.

    Just like you display your concern for the sake of our community, it would be nice to see that your concern shows as well where it affects your business and the business of thousands of frum yidden in NYC

    A Ksiva V’chasima Toiva

    P.S. I wholeheartedly agree with you that there should be positive comments posted for the sake of our community and our own sanity. It would be nice to see achdus.

  • 12. hear! hear! wrote:

    Very well said! Annonymous critical comments, written with respect, are okay – in my mind. But the annonymous, mean-spirited, ad hominem attacks are the expression of cowards and should not – in my mind, again – be published.

  • 13. In the know wrote:

    1 thing I can say for sure is that a lot (I didn’t say most- but it could be) of the critical comments are written by bored Bochurim looking for fun

  • 14. Sorry, no can do... wrote:

    Our local websites (the New Lubavitcher Rebbe) will never, ever agree to censor, let alone eliminate, the comments.

    Comments are big business for our websites as they drive traffic. Anonymous character assasination is too lucrative to go away.

  • 16. Yitzchok wrote:

    Maimon Kirshenbaum helped me when the dept. of labor was giving me a hard time. I came to Maimon for help and he didn’t bat an eye. He got me a a fair settlement. He was a real help when I needed it.

    I appreciate that helped me. He is an asset to our community.

  • 17. Re #13 wrote:

    #13 ia a shining example of how a mentch expresses an intelligent difference of opinion.

  • 18. A concerned chosid #2 wrote:

    In addition to what I wrote above, I would like to point out something else. many small business owners don’t have the finances to hire a lawyer to defend their case against workers who don’t have any skin in the game, for they don’t pay the lawyer unless they are successful and then pay them a fee from their winnings.

    As a result most mom and pop shops that are faced by litigation, the kind of which your firm practices, they throw in the towel, file bankruptcy or worse.

    In our very own community there was a very successful supermarket owner, the first one to bring s a proper supermarket to Crown Heights, had a lawsuit filed against him by a group of his employees who wanted the “get rich quick method”, they together with their lawyer have single handedly put him out of business, he lost his house and all.

    yes he could of hired lawyers to fight for his rights, but it would of costed him hundreds of thousands of dollars up front without any guarantee of success.

    All I want to point out is that we must be careful with our mouth and our actions. you never know who you are teaching to do what. case in point Turkey’s air force was trained by the IDF.

    I wish you would of taken your profession to a place where youd help your own and not C”V the opposite.

    A Gut Yor

  • 19. The root of the problem. wrote:

    Hi Maimon,

    If your looking for another cause, I’d tell you to take on the Frum news sites!!! They are the ones who propagate this culture of anonymous comments. In their mind, more comments = more clicks, which in turn = better cash flow. The onus is entirely on them!

    (Case in point. Right now when a perspective advertiser comes to crownheights.info and ask to see a web traffic chart, he shows them this Sunday and Monday, when traffic was way up because everyone was talking about the “evil” Maimon Kircshenbaum Esq).

    And while the age old question “how can you censor people?” is certainly valid, these very “news organizations” don’t usually publish anything negative about themselves or their policies, so censorship is already going on.

    Much continued Hatzlacha.

    Ksiva Vachasima Tova.

    Shmuel Kazen

  • 20. yankel wrote:

    Thank you, Vaad Rabbonei Anash in Eretz Yisroel for making stringent laws for the Lubavitcher websites based in Eretz Yisroel: no comments, no photos of women and girls, no machlokes. Yehi rotzon that for the coming new year other websites will follow. That would be a great gift to the Rebbe.
    Ksiva v’chasima tova, l’shono tova umesuka
    Moshiach NOW

  • 21. Shana Tova! wrote:

    Maimon- Wishing you and your family a happy new year!

    Most people a jealous others are bored some are both…

  • 22. Re #13 wrote:

    To A concerned chosid, You are a brilliant person. Eloquently written. It would be nice if you went to law school and went up for the sake of the employers!

    The sad thing is that in this city the worker and the tenant are always right and the rich greedy landlord or business person is always wrong !

  • 24. to a concerned chossid wrote:

    Reb yid, thank you for being an example of how adults argue. You write eloquently and respectfully even though you disagree. To your point – I think you are confusing different issues. You are right, we live in an overly litigious society and the cost of this litigation raises prices for consumers and business owners; for example, the rising costs of healthcare can be curbed if they limited damages in liability suits. That being said, contrary to the propaganda in the post article, Maimon doesn’t sue mom and pop shops. These restaurants are the fanciest in the city and charge exorbitant prices. These owners are trying to increase their profit margins by taking advantage of poor (immigrant) workers who are making below minimum wage! Maimon is standing up against these injustices by representing those who have no other recourse. Finally, one of the few jobs that can’t be outsourced to China is that of a waiter.
    Shana tova!

  • 25. Chaim Tovim wrote:

    To #13 and #17: Great points. Unfortunately, not often made. The litigious nature of our society has made it anti business and shoot the economy in the foot. Business people invest their money and time into growing our economy. Litigation like this destroys the very entrepreneurs that grow our country and make us great.

    It is important to understand that not everyone will make loads of money and that is OK. We don’t have to redistribute the wealth. By the very nature of humanity, there always was and always will be rich, middle class, and poor people.

    I could go on and on. But while Mr. Kirschenbaum’s business might be legal, I find these types of litigation overall unethical and a burden on our society.

  • 26. Chezky wrote:

    Maimon is a great guy and true mentch, if I may add I wish many ppl in our community go in his foot steps and go to school and work a honest living YES I said honest he works tiresley to defend poor immigrant waiters etc. He’s also very passionate when it comes to helping others as evident in the fact that at young age he was honored @ a large Mosdas Dinner last year. Any way keep up the good work.

  • 28. someone wrote:

    It is good to know that there are experienced and professional lawyers on our own and that will fight for us. The court system is very complicated and even though NYC is filled with lawyers it is very hard to find a real one that knows what he’s doing and protect their clients.I am very proud he is a Chabad!
    Wishing you much success in your career and K’siva V’chasima Tovah and gut Gebentched Year of Achdus and Real Ahavas Yisroel.

  • 29. why does every article need a comment wrote:

    section? i always wondered…why cant some news articles just be posted as is, without room for negativity…or why cant they at least be censored so that peoples reps dont need to be shattered?

  • 30. re # 2 wrote:

    How dare you write this letter trying to make us feel bad about writing a comment! As the saying goes, “don’t do the crime if you cant do the time”!
    It is people like you who go after the essence of a community like ours. You write, you have ONLY gone after the “big boys” and now they got someone to write an article in a tabloid. But I read that tabloid and I know what’s next, we all know what is coming next….
    Marmelsteins!!!!! Yes all the lawsuits to date were just a prelude of the one you really want, it was not good enough that you shut down the most important landmark in our community, the heart of what we stand for, the Moshiach Deli, no you now will go after our soul as well, and for that I cannot sit back and let you get away with it.
    And to those that now want him to run in a leadership role, do you understand what a man like this is capable of, it is possible that he would go after a department that would then change the face of 770 itself, what if he actually decides that garbage should no longer pile up in front of 770, what would we do during weddings when there is no longer a smell, how will they take pictures when they can take of all sides and not only one direction???
    In closing, we must keep the pressure up and talk bad about people on these websites, it is our essence, our being, and no one should try to take it away from us, because next they will tell us to allow old people and rabbonim to have our places in shul our macome kavuah, and not to step over people when climbing on benches. And g-d forbid anyone should tell us to make way or give up a seat for a pregnant lady. What a thought, it brings horrors to my being!
    Chaim Light

  • 31. chr wrote:

    i think it shows that there are many ppl who are hurting, are angry about who knows what, have unresolved personal issues in their personal lives, that have an outlet to be expressed anonymously in the comments section of these sites. there is much good in this community – let me stand corrected. there is a tremendous amount of good in this community. however, there is something fundamentally missing. is it that we are not able to truly trust each other? are our friendships genuine? are we honest with each other? these could lead to deep feelings of resentment, anger, depression, etc.
    then i would wonder – the ppl who comment here, are they a true representation of our community? i don’t think the refined part of our community sit at their computers reading articles such as these ones, bc they are busy doing chitas, learning with a chevrusa, or helping their kids with their homework, or even doing something nice for their spouse.

  • 32. CH Resident wrote:

    Maimon,

    With all due respect, you have chosen law as a profession and more specifically shaking down businesses. Whether it’s justifiable, I don’t know, because I don’t know the specifics of this case, but how can you assume that you can shake down a small business (we aren’t talking fortune 500 businesses, we are talking restaurants which struggle for survival as most eventually fail) for many millions of dollars and be immune of disdain?

    I don’t think it’s jealousy, because people seem to celebrate Ben Federman’s immense success because he isn’t hurting anybody as his means of earning his not so modest living. Perhaps it’s the epitome of hypocrisy that you take on people struggling to take care of their families by offering a service (i.e. food service industry), and then when people get disgusted by that, you lecture people that they lack the decency to shut up. Do you not realize the thin line you walk, that you can be a savior to an abused class of people, or you can be the sleaziest scumbag shakeartist shaking down people for financial gain? You chose a career that tests your character every day, perhaps sometimes you fail to make appropriate judgement in which case to take and which case to reject?

    I hope you were in good judgement in taking on this case, yet I think instead of knocking people who speculate on your job, perhaps you should demonstrate your case to the media on why your’ pursuing this case was just. You can’t expect to undertake a 30 million dollar lawsuit without people noticing and chattering about the case’s merits or lack thereof. There really is no accountability of ethics of attorneys other than in the media. If that reality escapes you, is it possible you have chosen the wrong profession?

    I do give you the benefit of the doubt so long as you don’t plead the fifth and refuse to address the grievances of the middle class frustrated with the plethora of legal vultures. At this point I assume, hope and pray that you aren’t one of them.

  • 33. GIVE SOME RESPECT wrote:

    #13 YOU ARE A JOKE WHO LIKES TO WORK ENDLESS HOURS JUST TO PAY THEIR RENT, WITHOUT ANY PROSPECTS OF FINANCIAL SECURITY OR ADVANCEMENT. TS MODERN DAY SLAVERY THANK G-D THIS BRIGHT YOUNG MEN IS THERE TO PUT THESE BOSSES IN THEIR PLACE

    LE SHECOAH GOOD JOB WE SHOULD ALL MERIT TO MAKE AMPLE PARNASA WITH HONOR THIS YEAR

  • 35. Yakov K-baum to #13, and # 22 Who Agrees wrote:

    You are sounding much like the restaurant owners in the NY Post article. You talk about a lot of serious issues besides for the main issue at hand: mistreating workers. These owners were not defending themselves and not denying what they did. I don’t know how you came to the conclusion that Maimi K’s defendants couldn’t afford the legal fees. As is clear from the article, that was not the case at all. The problem was that they mistreated their workers and they know they did, as`is evident from the fact that even in an article bashing their prosecutor, and supporting them, there’s not one word of them defending themselves. They’re just complaining that they were held accountable for their misdeeds. You read the article, right?

    In court, they were found to have done what they were accused of doing and that’s why they had to pay all that money, as is obvious. If Maimi K.’s lawsuits would have no merit, then they wouldn’t stand in court.

    Another thing: You’re basically saying that the welfare of our country and our business owners is dependent on employers being able to abuse and mistreat their workers. This is a pretty crazy thing to say.

    I have good advice for the restaurant owners and the people running the mom and pop stores: If you don’t want to be in trouble, and you want your business to succeed, 1)Treat you workers properly and legally 2)Don’t commit crimes.

    I have more good advice for all human beings: If you want to live life as a free man, don’t murder anyone, because you might end up spending the rest of your life in jail or worse, you might get capital punishment. And it would be your fault, not the lawyer’s, not the judge’s and not the jury’s.

  • 36. CH Freind wrote:

    Dear Maimon, our dear Rebbe creid out about this slanderous behavior at a Farbreingen saying that writing a letter to the public withholding your signature or your identity is Oiver one of the the 11 Arurim that was said on Har Aivul “ Uroor Makei Reaihoo Basuser.. ” (Devurim 27:24) .
    As far as you are concerned “Tuvoi Ulechu B’ruchu ”, and if this will bring to light how wrong and cowardly this is, and the editors of thees sites will cease allowing this to go on, -knowing you- you will forgive and be happy that you have the Z’chus of stoping this Sh’fiechas Dumim, and we all will be blessed with a Ksiva Vachasima Toiva.

  • 37. Fed Up! wrote:

    Just remember that it is muckrackers like Maimon Kirschenbaum that got Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin into trouble.

    The difference is that those activists did what they did out of a misplaced sense of idealism (leaving out some of the real anti-Semites).

    Maimon Kirschenbaum wrecks other people’s hard-built businesses for GELT for himself. A clown like Maimon cost B and H Foto Electronics 4 million dollars that they earned more honestly than Maimon ever earned a penny in his life. I wonder about restaurants in his family and how he would feel if the clown who took on B and H took on his family’s restaurants – or his legal practice.

    And then he writes this sniveling, self-serving letter on CHInfo when he gets the kind of comments he deserves.

    Maimon is a SHAME and a DISGRACE who should shave his beard and get rid of his yarmulke. He is another Roy Cohn, a true stain on the legal profession.

  • 38. not in CH wrote:

    19. Re #13 wrote:
    #13 ia a shining example of how a mentch expresses an intelligent difference of opinion.
    19.You are correct , unfortunately his opinion is morally wrong

  • 39. Lawyers are terrible till you need one wrote:

    13 >“So these workers ask their employers to give them more hours and don’t expect their employer to pay them overtime. ”

    WHAT world are you living on ?..13.>Although I would hope that you haven’t gone after people in “Our Community”, your behavior and publicity will hurt other ehrliche yidden” ..THEY are not ehrliche yidden if they cheat an employees…. Lawyers are terrible till you need one .. Its the Restaurant owners that are crooks, you just have to see the LARGE settlements they paid they are not in poverty just ripping off employees.

  • 40. Milhouse wrote:

    Are none of your victims fellow yidden?! Why should we care more about you than about them?

  • 41. antimesira wrote:

    “Given that I was the target this time, I will take this opportunity to share my feelings on the matter.”

    In other words: When the comments are on somebody else, I could give a darn, I only care now because it effects me”.

    Dear Maimon Kirschenbaum:

    The lawyer Eli Poltorak is your brother-in-law.
    The lawyer Eli Poltorak was involved in one of the biggest Mesiras (blood libels) in Jewish history. The Mosser Poltorak took part in a vicious campaign to have six innocent Jews (good standing members of the Crown Heights Community,Fathers, Son, Husbands etc…) locked up for 15 plus years.

    Where were you then with your self righteousness?

    How arrogant can a gut get?

  • 42. These negative actions have to stop wrote:

    Take it from a “anonymous negative commenter”: Mr. Kirschenbaum is not evil. It’s only what he does that is shameful.

    Now while the Post is no NYT and does do a little bit of salacious reporting, it is definitely not a “tabloid” on the same level of the enquirer. For the record I had the exact same opinion of firms like yours well before the article went to print. Many people do.

    Anyway here’s an idea for Mr. Kirschenbaum thick skin and all: Stop and no one will criticize you.

    Just throwing it out there.

  • 43. secret admirer wrote:

    Despite the negativity of the article and comments, you look very handsome in the picture.

    כתיבה וחתימה טובה

  • 45. zalman wrote:

    People should in general write comments with sensitivity. Stam, a lesson to take from this.

  • 46. ANONYMOUS wrote:

    This letter is a sorry and pathetic attempt to cover up a massive Chillul Hashem! Mr. Kirschenbaum, you are hurting the community you say you are part of. You have hurt many people and businesses through your work. You need to take a good long look at yourself and ask yourself the following question: “am I a good and proper Jew and is my livelihood coming from a good and proper source?”

    -ANONYMOUS (I fear both for myself and my family your legal retribution, because knowing you, you will not peacefully sit down and discuss this at a farbrengen).

  • 47. Anon wrote:

    I wouldn’t take much credit for the firestorm if I were you.
    Many are simply fed up with the greed of people who get jealous that their boss is making more then them. I say good for you that you can capitalize on that, but it doesn’t make the underlying actions a desirable thing.
    Regarding the whole online commenting thing, welcome to the internet is all that can be said. It is once again something completely not personal.
    A gut gebencht yohr.

  • 48. Yanky N, JD wrote:

    All the “economists” here are being unfair to Mr. Kirschenbaum. The Fair Labor Standards Act was intended to be used as a weapon by workers against owners who themselves are distorting markets by underpaying and ripping off their workers. More than 70 years ago, Congress thought it to be unacceptable that employers could set out on a race to the bottom against other employers, lowering their prices to beat the competition, at the expense of their employees. The race to the bottom (which is now happening at the global level) causes the workers not to have adequate income for their basic survival. Not enforcing price controls over the price of labor would also harm the business next door that fairly compensates their employees but cannot afford to remain in business when their prices are constantly being undercut.

    Congress recognized the very basic premise that an employee’s choice to work for a specific employer, particularly if the employee is low-skilled, is not a simple matter of free choice. Rather, economic forces beyond the individuals’ control force them to take whatever work they can find and often to bear the abuse and thievery of employers looking to turn an easy profit just to stay employed. Congress chose to curb these abuses by enacting a law that first and foremost allows the employees to recover their lost wages, but also to punish abusive employers who take a profit at the expense of their employees. They incentivized lawyers by providing mandatory attorneys’ fees to take these low-value cases because they wanted the wage and hours laws taken seriously. If the cost of compliance is that employers go out of business, so be it, Congress decided in their expertise. They knew that allowing lawsuits would take a tremendous economic toll on employers, and foresaw the likelihood of some frivolous lawsuits being filed, but they preferred the protection of the individual rights and dignity of the powerless workers over the employers, who have more wealth and a greater capacity to handle the burden of litigation. (At the same time, Congress imposed jurisdictional thresholds that prevent costly litigation against so-called mom and pop businesses.)

    What Mr. Kirschenbaum is doing, is not only honorable, it was “meant to be” by our legislative bodies who enacted these laws as calculated public policy choices. If you or the restaurant owners don’t like the lawsuits, either start paying workers fairly and properly or go lobby Congress to change the law.

  • 49. you gotta be kidding wrote:

    Yanky,

    You gotta be kidding me! Firemen risking their life to evacuate people from a burning building is honorable. That’s not what Maimon did. What he did was tell these “exploited workers”, I’ll go into the burning building only if you pay me millions if I succeed. Let’s not confuse honor with aggressive PERSONAL ambition. He didn’t take a salary to represent them (like firemen do). He took a Millions $$$$$$ jackpot as payment. Let’s be clear and not turn lawyers into the new fireman.

  • 50. Communist Raider wrote:

    Nice try…but doesn’t impress me.

    Respect is not earned with pleads, but rather with virtuous acts. “The business I invented” is not a business but rather racketeering and robbing in the name of the law aka abuse of the law.

    I would respect you, Maimon, if you practice Jewish Law and run a restaurant. Yes, go try to open a restaurant for a change, than pay your earning to a Shyster for the crime you not really sure you committed. But keeping in mind Sholom Rubashkin, you rather settle than deal with the US Court.

    Communis dullards in the US Socialist Government (Larger than in late USSR) enact nonsense regulations that impossible to meet without going into bankruptcy. Than comes around a Shyster, or worse – Federal Agent and turns you into “Rubashkin Case” ignoring “presumption of innocence”.

    The Law in this country has become a farce due to nice guys like Maimon turning the Law into “business invention”.

    This is why C-Sections in this country way higher than in Europe (CS is a legal protection) and medications cost is astronomical (since the price includes potential settlements). This is why a lot of research is outsourced to India (since researcher don’t take any chance with 150 pages regulations and how it will be interpreted by Shysters). And so on.

    In summary, I have no respect for what you are doing, Maimon

  • 51. Maimon, Ponder This: wrote:

    It says in Pirkei Avos among other sources that on rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, when deciding how to judge a Jew and to determine how their year will go, Hashem looks at how that individual judged others.

    If the person was forgiving and understanding of others then G-d will treat the person the same way he treated others. But if, on the other hand, the individual being judged was harsh, litigious, nit-picky, unforgiving, and in general held others completely accountable to the letter of the law, then G-d will judge that person in the same way.

    I truly and sincerely hope that you have your house in order so that when Hashem uses the same litigious, letter-of-the-law judgment tactic on you (midah kineged midah), that all of your T’s are crossed and I’s dotted.

    If so, may you be inscribed for a happy, healthy and successful new year.

    May we all judge others favorably and forgivingly so that G-d will see it and treat us as kindly as we treat others.

  • 52. Prune the Cherry Tree wrote:

    Congress decided in their expertise…

    What’s the opposite of pro? Con.

    What’s the opposite of progress? Congress.

    Thanks to this leftist, socialist nonsense, the spirit of which goes back to the same FDR yemach shmo who left TALENTED potential immigrants to die in Europe during the Churban, China is walking all over the US and practically will own the US in a generation or so.

    These workers have no talent other than washing dishes and chopping vegetables. They came from places where schooling ended at age 14 if they were lucky, and until the Kirschenbaums came along and taught them their “rights” they were thankful to be in the US where at least their children would have a chance to climb the ladder (and many an immigrant dishwasher did climb the ladder himself, whether by buying a little bodega, a home that appreciated, or even starting his own restaurant).

    If the free market decides that unskilled labor is worth $2 per hour, that is what these workers should be paid. In the old days, people started out at such jobs and then moved up. Now, with wages set so artificially high, there is no incentive to move up – why bother when you can do the same dumb work, hire a lawyer to get paid more than it is worth, and not bother learning anything new? The Kirschenbaums who get six figures for every case and distribute only enough for the workers to send home or to take a break until they get another low-paying job are making victims of both the workers and the bosses. Difference is, the bosses are talented businesspeople with access to credit and even if they go into another line, they’ll be back to the top in a matter of months. The workers will go either to another dead-end job – or to abject poverty that leads to substance abuse, crime and a cold, hard slab in prison or the morgue.

    Meanwhile, Raj in India and Chong in China start on factory assembly lines and then buy the factories, the way it used to be in the US.

    And Raj and Chong’s erstwhile bosses become big tycoons, buy the factories in the US to get the brand names, and move the work back home. And the old factory owners in the US go to Raj’s and Chong’s factories to have the old US brand name goods made so that they can stay competitive.

    All of that thanks to socialist legislation that is meant to keep the poor dependent so that they vote for big government that keeps them poor and gives them money for nothing and makes sure they are overpaid so that they get complacent and don’t want to advance.

    That legislation in turn spawns the Maimon Kirschenbaums out there who know how to abuse that legislation and turn those whom it is supposed to protect into victims for a quick buck and their own careers.

  • 53. NU NU wrote:

    1) he never answers the issues, he just wanted everyone to have mercy on him just like the mercy he had on those Business ownres who lost their parnasa and the employess who lost their work…..
    2) he is one of those slip and fall lawyers whe are chasing ambulanses (Hatzalah watch your back!), making money out of people’s pain,bankrupting business owners, and making insurance rates go up for all of us!
    3)My condolonces for his profession, but this is the same as the union mafia who are inciting employees against their employeers. in the end everyone losses aside from lawyers and the union bosses!

  • 54. Far Side of the Moon wrote:

    Would Maimon’s own immigrant mother ever have been able to start her business had she been faced with the kind of laws that Maimon now “enforces” and the constant threat of a predatory lawyer suing her out of existence? I wonder why she only operates as a caterer these days – could be the economy, competition or her own personal reasons, but she also has fewer health, safety and yes, labor regulations to deal with now.

    Times were different back when Maimon’s mother started (I know his parents quite well), and going back to those times as far as labor relations are concerned would force Maimon into using his entrepreneurial zeal and creativity to contribute to the economy rather than sapping its strength.

    Regardless of whether it is legal, taking someone’s business away and wrecking the very fabric of society under the guise of worker’s rights, a guise that did so much physical and spiritual damage to Yidden for decades, is the very definition of a chilul Hashem and “naval birshus haTorah.”

    And then to complain that people are criticizing him! If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of restaurant owners’ kitchens!

  • 55. do the math wrote:

    Noone made millions here. The number quoted by the NYPOST says over the last several years, dozens of cases settled awarded the hundreds of defendants 30 million dollars. The lawyers here took less than a third (can you believe they don’t work for free?) and shared it amongst themselves. So 10 million divided by a dozen law firms minus their overhead (also in the millions) over the last 10 years and the lawyers are not walking away with a killing, just a respectable salary. In order to make million in such cases you’d have to be awarded hundreds of millions. The court is very strict about how much they approve toward attorneys fees- they require strict documentation for the attorneys time and work.

    The NYPost wanted him to look like a fatcat millionaire when in fact the defendants in this case are food industry moguls with million dollar empires. Not a very honest representation of the two parties, don’t you agree? Based on the latest two articles in the post about rich jews wasting their money on shaitel styling and about quibbles in 770, I’m convinced the post has an anti-jewish agenda. I’m shocked to have to say so, given the post’s past with supporting israel, but really something aint right.

  • 57. Far Side of the Moon wrote:

    You do realize firefighters get paid to do what they do, right?

    It is still a calling and not just a job.

    Kirschenbaum had to clear at least $2 million from his work. He is the leading attorney in this legally sanctioned scam.

    The food industry moguls, like Rubashkin, built honest businesses that fulfilled a need.

    Remember: It takes a skilled carpenter to build a house, but any jack*** can kick it down. Maimon Kirschenbaum is doing very well as a jack***.

  • 58. A BIG TZADDIK wrote:

    MAIMON KIRSCHENBAUM MUST BE ONE OF THE ONLY TRUE CHASSIDIM LEFT IN LUBAVITCH TODAY. IF ANYONE EVEN DID A FRACTION OF THE GOODNESS HE DOES, MOSHIACH WOULD HAVE BEEN HERE LONG AGO!!!!

    ITS ROSH HASHANA- LET THIS ARTICLE BE A REMINDER FOR YOU AT OUR NEW YEAR THAT THIS NEGITIVETY SHOULD COME TO A COMPLETE END!!

  • 59. Snag wrote:

    The Rebbe said, Alleh Chassidim ein mishpocho!

    Keep up the fighting, your lack of unity is helping the snags!

  • 60. Shana Tova wrote:

    Don’t assume anyone posting here, especially ‘machlokes’ and ill feeling stuff is one of us. On many heimishe websites there are sonei yisroel lurking, waiting for the opportunity to fan the flames of hate. (Especially when there is some truth to latch on to and distort.)
    Also, the age of the poster is unknown. Imagine a 50 year old arguing (etc.)with a 14 year old face to face! But on these blogs…

    So! Let’s band together and may Hashem see our true achdus as it really shines in real-life, and we all merit a Shana Tova with all perushim and see Moshiach soon.

  • 62. stunned at his arrogance wrote:

    Maimon, you remind me of the following man:
    http://www.youtube.com/watc

    Just like that congressman who doesn’t like free speech, and makes as if a prerequisite of free speech is identifying yourself by name, likewise with you! “Negative Commenting Has to Stop”?! Excuse me?! 1984? Stalinist Russia? You purport to be an attorney, are you familiar with the constitution?

    Your arrogance is astounding that you thought that we are so unsophisticated that you can change the conversation by distracting us from the lawsuit, with diverting our attention to your meaningless opinions of how Chabad blogs operate.

  • 63. Yakov Kirschenbaum wrote:

    BSD

    As usual; stupid, anonymous commentors not dealing with the issue.

    If a business owner doesn’t want to be sued by someone like Maimi K. all they have to do is not abuse their workers. For most normal, decent people, this is not such a challenge.

    This same principle really applies to crime in general If a person doesn’t want end up in jail or get the death penalty, all he has to do is not commit crimes. For most normal people, this is not such a challenge.

    Why are you commentors finding it so difficult for people to avoid getting sued? Are you guys abusers? Do you mistreat workers? Are you thieves? Do you kill people? What’s the story? Is there something we should know about?

  • 64. free speech wrote:

    Every respectable website has a “flag comment” button to allow the rude, offensive or off topic comments] to be filtered out easily (the NYTimes, Facebook, and many more sites0. I would think that the NY Post wouldn’t publish a comment that say curses out the article subject’s parents (ahem, ahem) or says otherwise offensive, racist, or intolerable things. That’s not censorship or communism as some ppl seem to believe. In fact, A MAJOR ASPECT OF FREE SPEECH IS THAT PUBLIC SPEECH BE DECENT AND NOT DAMAGING!

    I vote that all chabad websites implement a ‘flag comment’ button. Debate and respectful discussion can and will always still exist, but by flagging the moderator can be alerted to and subsequently remove senseless hatred and offensive comments that are flagged as such by enough of the general readership.

    Who agrees with my proposition? Let’s make it happen.

  • 65. JZ wrote:

    I agree that Mr. Maimons business practices are detrimental to our economy and to our country. However just as I won’t criticize the judge in the case, (he states the law) I won’t criticize the lawyer (for being a lawyer). A lawyers job is to cover clients who come to him. I know he is not forced to accept any client, he is still doing his job of interpreting the law. Rather my frustration is with our beloved lawmakers who create the law that allows lawyers to do their job in which is detrimental to our society. Lets not forget, in absence of maimon there are many others willing to fill this void as long as law allows it!

    Point well put maimon I commend you for it! We are all too much (.01% is to much) looking to attack our fellow yid, not realizing that in the secular world, we are really attacking ourselves.

    Imho, this problem is not only in chabad, we have to work on it everywhere. Brooklyn yiddin, nj yiddin, all yiddin should at least refrain from slandering other yiddin in any place viewable to non yiddin (AT LEAST THERE!)

  • 66. sick of being lectured to wrote:

    64:

    You are an idiot. Polite speech doesn’t need protection. In Cuba, China, Stalinist Russia, North Korea etc. polite speech wasn’t ever banned. It’s precisely offensive/passionate speech that the constitution sought to protect.

    63:
    Is Rubashkin a creep deserving to rot in jail? Of course not! If you want to throw the book at someone, you can throw the book at ANYBODY INCLUDING YOU! What if someone falls behind in payment on their cattle for three days until they make up the balance, is that so terrible? Well if you are a normal human being struggling to keep your business afloat, than it’s no big deal. If you are a vulturous lawyer, you may swoop down with a law suit. That isn’t ethical even if it’s legal. Charachter isn’t defined by the courts. There’s a book called something like 1000 offenses a day, which the point of the book is if you want to throw the book at someone, you can throw it at anybody and everybody. Something tells me that Maimon could have found dozens of infractions in any one of his relatives businesses including his mom’s former restaurant. It’s impossible to satisfy every aspect of Bloomberg’s draconian fantasies and have your restaurant survive.

  • 67. BP wrote:

    I just want to add:
    The restaurant industry seems to be the only one where people bemoan having to pay their employees properly. Every business has expenses that are the accepted course of business – paying rent, buying supplies, paying for electricity, and yes, paying your employees. These are business expenses. Yes, it is difficult to open a business and to succeed. Since when is the solution not paying your workers properly? Doesn’t everyone in the workforce expect to be compensated? Yet it is okay for waiters not to be paid for their work and to have their tips stolen by their bosses? The restaurant owner succeeds in business at the expense of all of his employees? In every other industry this is called stealing, but for some reason we defend the thieves if they are restaurant owners because running a restaurant is just so hard.

  • 68. BP wrote:

    It is so ironic that these comments stem from an article about Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich. These two restaurant owners happen to be millionaires. They are nowhere close to going out of business because of the lawsuit. They are wealthy restaurateurs who are being sued for, among other things, not paying overtime and stealing tips from their employees.

    Who is money-hungry here, Maimon or the restaurant owners? They are not violating some obscure law that Maimon is now seizing on. They are actually stealing money from employees, plain and simple. Would you work 60 or 70 hours a week without getting paid overtime? Would you want to work for $5/hr and then have someone steal your tips and put them in his pocket?

    To say that Maimon is destroying the restaurant business is like saying the health department destroys the restaurant business when they shut people down for health violations. Do not steal from your employees and you will not have to worry about a lawsuit. It is that simple! That’s not draconian, it’s pretty basic.

    I cannot believe that the Post managed to convince you to feel sorry for these people! Please try to think about what you are reading. These people have no defense and that’s why their only option was to go to the Post to besmirch Maimon’s name. AGAIN, these are NOT legal loopholes and obscure areas of the law – they are actually taking money out of their waiters’ pockets and putting it into their own.

    Reading some of the vicious comments, one would think Maimon is a child molester, CH’V. His clients come to him (not the other way around) because they are being grossly cheated out of their fair pay. Wow! Helping people whose wages are being stolen – that is just such a huge chillul Hashem, he may as well shave his beard and leave Crown Heights. Seriously?

    It’s sad that because the Post wrote a ridiculously slanted article, all you can see is “Chillul Hashem.” Did anyone think that about Rabbi Krinsky, given the article that was printed yesterday? Isn’t it obvious that it was completely distorted? Again, please think about what you are reading and try to use some critical analysis to realize who is actually in the wrong here.

    Shana tova to all, and may our community continue to grow in achdus.

  • 69. CHer wrote:

    First of all, why are the Kirschenbaum hacks saying that those two restaurant owners are gazillionaires and they can be sued infinite money without going bankrupt? Have you counted their money to know this? Were they in the Forbes list this year? Also, perhaps if it’s true that they pickpocketed their employees from their tips, let Maimon himself say that, but why would we trust random commenters who throw allegations at these restaurant owners? Let Maimon himself who supposedly investigated these infractions present his counter to the post article. Instead of just attacking us for reading and drawing our own conclusions, why doesn’t he present his case that we can read?

  • 70. anonymous wrote:

    Reader #3, same as – or twin brother of – reader #8: You are disgusting! whoever you are, you can’t hold a candle to the person you are disparaging! Keep hiding well, or I will spit on you!!!!!

  • 71. to 68 wrote:

    That’s because 80% of restaurants fail within a year. Why? because people don’t need the luxury of dine in food service. Therefore they need to run a really aggressive cost cutting operation. When you have 80% of grocery stores or dry cleaners failing within 2 years of opening, then your point will have merit but until then…

  • 72. BP wrote:

    To 69:
    “Kirschenbaum hacks” – thank you for the name calling!
    All you have to do is google Bastianich and Batali to see that they are quite wealthy. I’m sorry I can’t give you their exact net worth, but it’s plain to see that they are not poor, small business owners. Was John Travolta in the forbes list this year? Have I counted his money? We all know he is a millionaire.
    Regarding the allegations against them, they are all in the complaint and the complaint is public record. You do not have to trust random commenters, you can actually find out for yourself (if you’re not too busy posting hateful comments on ch.info, that is).
    This is all common knowledge. Do a little googling and find out for yourself. You can check out the comments over here to see how badly they treat their employees. http://ny.eater.com/archive

  • 73. Kudos to the young talented righteous wrote:

    All you’all need to do is read Maimon Kirschenbaum’s open letter to Joe Bastianich: October 3, 2011 1:50 pm

  • 74. direct to consumer wrote:

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