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January 5, 2014 9:52 pm

Family of Menachem Stark Speaks Out: New York Post Cover Story Added Salt to Our Wound

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The two year old son of deceased businessman Menachem Stark. Photo: Stark family.

The brother-in-law of slain Chasidic businessman, Menachem Stark, said that Sunday’s New York Post front page cover story and the article that followed, which painted the victim as a ruthless and crooked landlord, added salt to the family’s wound. In an interview with The Algemeiner, Abraham Buxbaum who is married to Stark’s sister, also painted a very different picture of a family man who, while struggling with major business challenges, never turned away those seeking his help.

Describing The Post‘s cover story headlined, “Who didn’t want him dead?” as “disgusting,” Buxbaum said that “Instead of giving comfort it is just adding salt to the wound.”

“They are only saying one side of the story,” he said. “Unfortunately we can’t hear the second side of the story, because he’s not here any more.”

“Apologies wont help, the damage is done, I think,” he added. “It would be nice [for them] to apologize, because that is the best they can offer now, but it was disgusting what was done, and that can’t be reversed.” In a statement released on Sunday however, The Post said that no apology would be forthcoming.

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Stark is survived by seven children, the youngest of which is two years old. Buxbaum said that while he and other family members would help take care of the children, “life will never be the same without Menachem.”

A recent Stark family portrait. Photo: Stark family.

“We will all be helping out, we will do our best, but no-one can replace a husband and father,” he said.

Further criticizing The Post‘s coverage, Buxbaum said that the human side of Stark’s story had been omitted, “…that he has a wife that will never see her husband, and that he has seven children, some older, some younger, they will never see their father.”

Buxbaum described his brother-in-law as a savvy businessman who was struggling after taking a hit during the financial downturn of 2008. “He was in the real estate market, and everyone… knows what the real estate market went through,” he said. “Whatever was legally permitted, he tried to do to survive.”

Buxbaum also said that he was a business partner of the deceased, owning a couple of “small properties” together with him. “I can say first hand that he did do everything in his power to please all his tenants as best as possible,” he asserted, adding that, “He had so many tenants, it is impossible not to have an unhappy tenant, it is just impossible.”

Menachem Stark and his wife at the Bar Mitzvah of their son. Photo: Stark family.

Despite the challenges Stark faced, Buxbaum said that Stark never turned away needy people that flocked to him for help. Rabbi David Niederman, head of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn concurred.

People came to Stark who needed help buying food, paying their rent, marrying off children, paying medical bills and more, they said. “The one and only thing that everyone said, is that his answer was always ‘no problem,’ no-one ever got a no from him,” Buxbaum said, adding that Stark himself would never talk about his charitable activities.

“As a community leader I called upon him many times to help, I knew him well,” Niederman told The Algemeiner. “He was always responding, sometimes more, sometimes less, but he never ever said, ‘I am sorry I cant help.'”

“And, he would call on others to contribute,” Niederman added. “He was a major benefactor of institutions and needy people.”

Also sharply criticizing the New York Post, Niederman said that the story effectively incites “people to resort to violence and organized crime,” and that his community was outraged. “We have to send out messages, that people should contain themselves, that is how outraged they are,” he said.

Stark was abducted by two men on Friday morning who were seen on surveillance footage bundling him into a white van. He was found dead on Saturday in a Long Island dumpster burnt from the waist down.

The New York Post’s front page on Sunday featured Stark, in traditional dress, including a streimel, a fur hat, and kapote, a satin black coat, beside the headline, “Slumlord found burned in dumpster: Who didn’t want him dead?”

Numerous community and political leaders condemned The Post following the publication. A Facebook page entitled, “Condemn the NY Post for Sundays Cover Page,” has attracted over 5,800 “likes” at the time of publication.

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  • Algemeiner Vito Scopetto

    ***
    Not one news story seems to mention the following. The Post’s cover story headlined, “Who didn’t want him dead?”, was written by two Authors. I only checked one, who is a woman, and a known anti-semite writer. She also wrote an anti-semitic book. So it seems the NY Post deliberately assigned her to write this story, and approved it too. Clear anti-semitic intent by the NY Post. The “Post” removed the nasty front page and article, from it’s archives (it has all the others). I wasn’t able to find it on the Post’s website. What does that show?

  • Frederic Feingold

    So let us move on and try to uncover more. If you look at his business site you will find a Georgian flag, text in Georgian, and a Georgian “web designer” Follow links. I suspect that there is a connection to the Georgian and Russian mafia. What can you discover?

  • I am appalled at the headline. We are not to judge Menachem by condoning the kidnapping and brutal death of this man. If he was a fallen man when it came to his religion or housing violations, then that is where complaints should have been noted. No man or woman should expect to be kidnapped and killed because of the way they ran their business. There are legal ways to address issues. Even if he had many enemies, how inconsiderate the newspaper was of the family to make a statement as they did. That is not proper for a good Jew or Christian to spew from their mouths. This should be a time for compassion. He left behind a large family that mostly likely loved him as a caring father and husband, brother etc. May his family be able to properly grieve his death.

  • Dafny

    I live for 5 years in my apartment building rented apartment. my landlord made it clear to me before I moved in that he is not putting in a cent into this apartment. My paint is peeling, my steam is not working properly, my windows have tons of cold draft coming in. my toylet doesn’t flush, my floor is cracked. My sink had a leak and my husband fixed it himself, I don’t expect my landlord to fix it. we fix everything ourselves and we don’t fix what we cant afford and is not emergency. This is how it is in NYC where you have to be on a waiting list to get an apartment. be lucky you found one. there are a whole list of people wanting to take over your apt if you move out. no landlord fixes stuff these days. Menachems tenants have a choice to move. the same way I do. Im not moveing because I chose to live in a slum and save my money and buy my own house when Ill be able to afford it. I can find a much nicer apartment for double the price so can all of his tenants they want the best of all deals. What would you do if you would be the landlord? I have a feeling you would do the same.

  • Rick

    The New York Post is basically celebrating a murder. Now matter how unsavory this person may have been, and the facts are not clear to me at least, it was unconscionable, inflammatory and racist for the New York Post to run the headline about Mr. Stark. If this type of headline is acceptable to the New York Post, what is next?

  • MY APOLOGIES,
    IN MY already POSTED COMMENT I FAILED TO SAY

    BARUCH DAYAN EMET

    May Hashem give the family strength

  • Jacob Mendlovic

    As a proud Jew, I have little sympathy for a Satmar tragedy. The NY Post did nothing wrong in publishing that Stark was a slumlord. Certain Haredim are making too much of the Stark murder. Read the 2 main Satmar weeklies, Der Blatt and Der Yid, and how they rejoice at and mock the deaths of Zionists. For example, Ezer Weizmann, the late president of Israel and defence minister, had a son who was killed in a car accident. Der Yid was happy that he died because was driving on Shabbos. Similarly, Der Yid has regularly rejoiced at the fate of Theodor Herzl and his children, all of whom died young.

    • yossi

      Are you kidding me? I am not so sure those silly papers “celebrated” those deaths. Whichever way, you cannot compare an accident to a brutal kidnapping and murder. I am shocked that a sane person needs to be told this. You are either insane with hatred for these Chareidi people, or worse.

  • James

    What surprises me the most is that the NY Post has been doing this for the past two years and nobody seemed to notice until today.They often have anti-Hasidic articles in the Sunday edition.They had an article bashing Chasidim over a custody case in Boro Park (Pearlperry Reich) and others attacking Chasidim for a dress code in a store in Williamsburg (while ignoring dress codes in thousands of the areas bars,eateries and grocery stores).There have been plenty of articles before this. Had people protested then this would not have come to this.They are still attacking today as well.

  • Yosef

    Mixed feelings. On the one hand there is a brutal murder of a family man. A family man who is described as kind and charitable within his community. On the other hand are serious allegations that this man was a ganif, a dishonest businessman and slum lord. To the extent Jews rush to defend him and condemn the NY Post, they actually create more anti-Semitism and give life to the stereotype of the disgusting frum slumlord. Both Do not steal and do not murder are part of the 10 commandments. If “Max” was half the ganif, dishonest businessman, and cruel slumlord the NY Post says he was, his checking lettuce for bugs, wearing ugly black clothing, mutilating his boys hair, and living in a pretend world of pre WWW 2 Hungarain Jewish shtetl are bizarre cult behavior of a religious fraud that so easily feeds negative stereotypes.

    • Raizie

      you are so sick!!

  • I know first hand.
    There are slum lords yes…

    BUT MORE SO
    THERE ARE *SLUM TENENTS* !

    WHY? THE CAUSE, THE SOLUTION?

    ENTITLEMENT SOCIETY
    “because I want it, I should have it”
    ” I want more pay and more coffee breaks and I will start work after my coffee and after my cigarette and you Mr Boss cant do anything about it because MY UNION SAID SO !!!”

  • M.A. Kinamohn

    The same old stereo typing about the Jew! An easy scapegoat for the ignorant and worthless to blame!

  • Liz Chrissian

    A man was abducted, robbed, murdered and mutilated. That the NY Post printed such a headline was racist anti-Semitic and unprofessional. He left behind a family who mourns his death and children who will only remember him from photos. I care not his religion nor his profession. This man was a citizen, a business man & his murder is a yellow light for all of us. Why because the murderers are still at large. Who’s next? The Post was wrong rude & insensitive. At the very least people should just not but the paper & also stop advertising. To the Post I say 86 yourselves into the circular file

  • Unacceptable

    A crime was committed – I am shocked at the NY POST editors’ response. In effect, their Sunday headlines commit the insensitive “crime” of accentuating the negative instead of condemning the murderers. Instead of outrage they exploit the crime to promote sensationalism.

    An awful act of cruelty was committed – a human being was killed and burned! Our first impulse must be to cry out in horror regardless of the person’s alleged civil injustices. Any other first response is a reflection of the editors insensitivity and cold inconsiderateness. Regardless of the victim’s own flaws, we, as Jews, must first cry out in pain that a fellow Jew was kidnapped and brutally killed.

    Secondary reactions can wait – they must not become an impulsive excuse for the murderer. Does it matter that anyone wished for the victim’s demise? No! None of us would have resorted to such lowlife actions as suffocating and burning him because we disapproved of his conduct. No one should be excused for “taking the law into his hands” because horrific brutality is unacceptable to our community and society.

    The NY Post editors must reconsider their editorial misjudgment. Before venting their opinion they must realize that their unacceptable headlines promotes evil, and that those who cry in protest and condemnation are expressing the emotionally justified pain and dismay which all of us share.

    Excuses and/or retractions are useless unless future editorial headline policies will reflect basic ethical declarations of civility and justice.

  • When hippies or gays moved into substandard housing they would fix it up. When Blacks moved in they wouldn’t even get a broom to remove the paint chips from the ceiling that were falling into their kids cribs. Hey I been there. I seen it for myself. This guy is getting a bad rap

    • Thank you Alan.

      Let the NYPost editors provide housing for the people who Stark provided housing for.

  • Leah

    Only half the story is in. maybe yes, maybe no. Efshar, well, you are right and we shall see. Too , too, many reasons that people jump and condemn Satmar’s, Skver’s et al. When the tally is taken, we shall see. Stark has become a Sa”ir l’azazel for all of the horrendous horrific faults of his chevrah. Corruption, pedophilia. fiscal and pedophiliac. Not all, chas v’chalila attributable to him. But his chevra have f’d every institution. stolen from govt here and in Israel. A Sa’ir l’azazel, ? or a monster? only time will tell. First counts, hard to see him as a Tsadik. we shall see.

    • Shmuel

      How low can you fall? Justifying the murder of another Jew?
      Shame on you.
      The Rambam states that one who justifies any sort of punishment on another Jew is an Achzor!!!

      • E benAbuya

        Tzaddikim? Anachnu. v’Lo chatanu?

  • In addition to the apology – the NYPost needs to fire all staff involved in the despicable cover and have the faces of the employees who are fired displayed on the cover of the NYPost.

    • Meir

      There was absolutely nothing wrong with the NY Post story or the cover. Your problem is simply that the subject was a frum yid. Reality is reality is reality. The article is full of verifiable FACTS.

      • The cover of the Post is seen not only by the people who read it, but also by people who are just walking by the newsstand. The headline has few words, is a common cliché and is in big letters. It can be read at a glance. And the picture which is large and clear is associated with the message of the text.

        The message of the front cover contains the meaning of the cliché. Its OK to kill such a person because everyone wants him dead. The only assumable reason you would want him dead – as opposed to someone else – is that this guy has a Shtriemel and Payos. Any clarification to indicate otherwise is in much smaller print and will be lost on all passersby and most of the readers. That’s why they do it that way. They could have used a longer, more explanatory headline and they could have evened out the sizes of the fonts but it would not have been as effective.

        As for verifiable facts. If they were verifiable the Post would not have to use anonymous sources. or, as with some of the ‘facts’, no sources at all.

        As for violations and complaints, which I presume are verifiable – although no one will take the time to verify them – it says 17 properties. It does not say how many units. The number 17 compared to the number of complaints make it look like each of the 17 has multiple complaints. But the reader is likely thinking units. When it gives the total of complaints and violations, it does not say over how much time. If his tenants are so unhappy why do they not rent somewhere else? Because they do not qualify for government housing and cannot afford something better? Without Stark, would they be homeless? If Stark was taking lower rent, he cannot be expected to give top rate service. And it could be that his tenants were not the easiest to deal with. Some may not have allowed the plumber access and then complained.

        I am not saying if Stark was a good or bad landlord. I am trying to point out that the Post is very skilled at weaving stories.

        And yes, the ruckus is because he is a Jew. When someone from your community is insulted in the media… a healthy community will stick up for their own member.

      • Max

        If you really mean so you are crazy!!!!!
        I menachim personally and he was a tazik of a guy

      • Max

        If you really mean so you are crazy!!!!!
        I knew menachem personally and he was a tazik of a guy

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