Thursday, February 24, 2005

Guilty plea by key figure accused of arranging bribes in divorce and child custody cases in the Orthodox community

30 Comments:

At 6:20 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/24/nyregion/24bribe.html

Brooklyn Corruption Figure Admits He Arranged Bribes
By MICHAEL BRICK
Published: February 24, 2005

A central figure in the wide-ranging investigation of judicial and political corruption in Brooklyn, a man accused of arranging bribes in divorce and child custody cases for people in the borough's Orthodox Jewish communities, pleaded guilty yesterday to 13 counts of bribery and conspiracy.

The man, an electronics dealer named Nissim Elmann, admitted passing thousands of dollars to a lawyer to arrange preferential treatment in cases before a State Supreme Court justice, Gerald P. Garson. Justice Garson has been suspended from the bench and is awaiting trial on bribery charges.

The investigation into dealings by Justice Garson, a former treasurer of the Brooklyn Democratic organization, has spilled over into a conspiracy inquiry involving the judicial nominating system and taking aim at, among others, the Brooklyn Democratic Party leader, State Assemblyman Clarence Norman Jr.

Prosecutors portrayed Mr. Elmann as a fixer, a known figure in Orthodox communities who accepted cash through the window of his car or inside a warehouse and passed it to a former lawyer who had an advantage in Justice Garson's courtroom.

The former lawyer, Paul Siminovsky, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of giving unlawful gratuities last year, after wearing a hidden microphone at the direction of the office of Charles J. Hynes, the Brooklyn district attorney.

Jury selection had been scheduled to begin yesterday in the case against Mr. Elmann, and his guilty plea came as a surprise to prosecutors, who had requested electronic gear for the courtroom to play tapes of 110 telephone calls and dozens of other conversations.

"He is not cooperating, nor have we asked him to cooperate with us," Assistant District Attorney Noel Downey said. "The D.A.'s office came to play ball, and he backed down."

In State Supreme Court in Brooklyn yesterday, Justice Jeffrey C. Berry read through the counts aloud in a meticulous monotone, noting the legal language and asking in plain terms if Mr. Elmann understood the charges. "You knew this conduct was illegal?" Justice Berry asked repeatedly, and repeatedly Mr. Elmann replied that he had.

In all, Mr. Elmann agreed to guilty pleas to seven felonies and six misdemeanors. Justice Berry ordered a presentence investigation and indicated that the sentence would probably amount to between one and a half and seven years in prison.

Mr. Downey, the Brooklyn prosecutor, described the guilty pleas as "a telling event, because it supports the massive investigation undertaken by District Attorney Hynes and the Rackets Division in uncovering the vast corruption scheme that was unleashed on the matrimonial courts of Brooklyn."

Gerald J. McMahon, a lawyer for Mr. Elmann, said that his client chose to plead guilty in part to spare his family the stress of a trial (Mr. Elmann did not appear to have any family members in the courtroom) and in the hope that Justice Berry would hand out sentences "in a proportional way."

His comment was a sidelong reference to the open cases against several other people, including Justice Garson. Justice Berry has set a status hearing for May 26 involving several of the defendants in the intertwined investigations.

Mr. McMahon described Mr. Elmann as someone pressured by his community to gain access to the spoils of corruption.

"He tried to help people, and he was pushed by people in his shul, especially David Cohen," Mr. McMahon said, referring to a rabbi in Midwood. "It was almost a religious obligation, and Mr. Elmann was a seriously religious person."

Reached by telephone, Rabbi Cohen, who Mr. McMahon said had been on his witness list, declined to comment.

In court, Mr. Elmann passed up an opportunity to blame his rabbi or his community. After he finished pleading to the charges, Justice Berry asked him, "Nobody threatened, forced or coerced you to do these acts?"

"No," Mr. Elmann said.

 
At 6:50 AM, Anonymous Shmarya said...

Is this the famous posek Rabbi Dovid Cohen?

 
At 7:21 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>Is this the famous posek Rabbi
>Dovid Cohen?

That's what my sources are telling me.

Remember how I told people on Protocols months ago that he was part of the problem, not the solution?

 
At 7:43 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

see more information on one of the fixed custody cases at:
http://jewishwhistleblower.blogspot.com/2005/01/bad-situation-made-worse-children-are.html#comments

 
At 8:24 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

1)
http://protocols.blogspot.com/2004_11_07_protocols_archive.html#110039915533223230
...
Early in 2003 - Women who say they were sexually abused by Rabbi Mordecai Tendler contacted Rabbi Dovid Cohen (of Ohel) for help regarding the allegations of sexual misconduct. Nothing was done.
...

see: http://www.theawarenesscenter.org/Tendler_Mordecai.html

2)
http://protocols.blogspot.com/2004_11_07_protocols_archive.html#110013205087153770
...
Molestation cases with connections to the Ohel Children's Home and Family Service Group Home Borough Park, Brooklyn (halachic advisor is rabbi Dovid Cohen):

Case of Ozzie Orbach, M.D.
http://www.theawarenesscenter.org/ozzieorbach.html

Case of Simcha Adler - Counselor at Ohel Children's Home and Family Service Group Home
http://www.theawarenesscenter.org/Adler.html

Case of Rabbi Avrohom Mondrowitz, M.Sc., Ph.D., L.N.H.A. (Jerusalem, Israel)
http://theawarenesscenter.org/Mondrowitz_Avrohom.html
...

3)
http://protocols.blogspot.com/2004_11_07_protocols_archive.html#110004238113031061
...
I have specific information regarding a relative of a victim of sexual molestation who approached Rav Dovid Cohen for help regarding a Rabbi who had a long documented history of sexual child abuse (not Eisgrau). Rav Dovid Cohen pretty much called this person a liar and refused to listen or help. Rav Dovid Cohen is just another protector of the abusers within the rabbinate.
...

4)
http://protocols.blogspot.com/2004_11_07_protocols_archive.html#109993141264945834
...
Eisgrau's daughter went to a world-renown American rabbi (circa 2002, Dovid Cohen on Ohel, friendly with Lewis Brenner's family), famous for fighting sexual abuse, with her story. He was nice. He said he would get back to her. He called the rabbis who rule the community in Baltimore. Several sources say he was threatened that if he got involved, all backing for his institutions would dry up. Another source in the Orthodox rabbinate say that serious Baltimore Orthodox rabbis investigated the charges against Eisgrau and found them baseless. They relayed this to rabbi Dovid Cohen who then dropped out of the case.

When Eisgrau's daughter called him back, rabbi Dovid Cohen said, I'm sorry. I can't have anything to do with you.

Rabbi Dovid Cohen spoke at a Nefesh convention circa 2000. He encouraged the therapists there to raise public awareness of sexual abuse.

see: http://www.theawarenesscenter.org/Eisgrau_Eliezer.html
and
http://www.theawarenesscenter.org/lewisbrenner.html

 
At 8:44 AM, Blogger yeshivaguy said...

It is *not* R' Dovid Cohen, as I know from speaking to his close family member. Elman doesn't daven in his shul. There is at least one other Rabbi David Cohen in Flatbush. Perhaps that is who the article refers to.

 
At 9:37 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

Can anyone confirm which synagogue Nissim Elmann has gone to in the past year or 2?

What 2nd Rabbi David Cohen is yeshivaguy referring to and at which synagogue?

This should be easy to clarify.

 
At 10:21 AM, Blogger yeshivaguy said...

The one I know about has a shul at about R & 23rd. But there may well be others. It's a very common name.

 
At 10:22 AM, Blogger yeshivaguy said...

"This should be easy to clarify."

It should. And maybe next time, you should try clarifying before posting, not after.

 
At 11:33 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>The one I know about has a shul
>at about R & 23rd.

More information please, name of synagogue.

>But there may well be others.
>It's a very common name.

There are few pulpit rabbis with that name in Brooklyn. I'm trying to find the second you are referring to as I have no information beyond your information of any other pulpit rabbi in that area by that name.

>>"This should be easy to >>clarify."
>
>It should. And maybe next time,
>you should try clarifying before
>posting, not after

I would note I did not post that information in the header but only in response to a specific question in the comments. I said "That's what my sources are telling me.". Which is accurate.

 
At 11:35 AM, Blogger yeshivaguy said...

"More information please, name of synagogue."

I don't know the name of the shul. Ask your "sources."

I would note I did not post that information in the header ..."

What's the difference? You posted erroneous, defamatory information.

 
At 11:45 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

No, I tried to clarify a serious question as best as I could with the information available to me.

That's very different.

 
At 11:47 AM, Anonymous Shmarya said...

Why not call Ohel's Rabbi Cohen and ask him?

 
At 11:50 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>erroneous

I have made no such determination that the information is erroneous. As always, if you provide me with actual information I will evaluate it.

 
At 12:26 PM, Blogger yeshivaguy said...

I provided you with the correct information. Go ahead and evaluate it, but try this time to use "sources" who know what they're talking about.

"No, I tried to clarify a serious question as best as I could with the information available to me."

Well, your best is evidently not good enough. If you can't get positive information, you shouldn't be posting.

Shmarya, go ahead and call. He's listed in the phone book.

 
At 1:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

">Is this the famous posek Rabbi
>Dovid Cohen?

That's what my sources are telling me.

Remember how I told people on Protocols months ago that he was part of the problem, not the solution? "

Oh, what's that? Jewish whistle blower made a defamatory mistake? R' Cohen is part of the problem? This is just more evidence to whistler's earlier aspersion? Potential admission of error buried in the comments section? Of course - no accountability here!
if whistler had integrity, he'd admit to his mistake in a truly public forum, with an open apology to R' Cohen on the front page of his website - merely for quoting sources that were not especially reliable (since how hard could it be to check where this elmann davens?) or well informed. And he'd apologize to his readership for the obviously shoddy level of his research, having dropped the ball on a fairly easily ascertainable point.

I'm not holding my breath, however. Demagogues like whistler dont bother with apologies or retractions - just accusations and innuendo. Leaving shattered names behind them, they blithely and self-righteously continue smearing people, some deservingly, and some, unfortunately, undeservingly.


Whatever criticism he might have had for Rabbi Cohen in the past, whistler is certainly guilty in this specific case of being motzi shem ra on a talmid chacham - or at the very least, a fellow jew.
Enjoy the fruits of your labor, whistler. I'm sure you'll get your reward for it some day.

 
At 1:00 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

This has been an issue on this blog for some time. There have been several people who have posted very serious allegations in the comments that I have no knowledge of.

In each case, I have two options:

1) Delete
2) Clarify as best as I can

I believe the 1st option should be confined to abusive comments (such as from a certain Israeli journalist). I believe the only way to counter the damage of the original posted comment is to clarify as best I can after making inquiries. Which is what I have done here.

Yeshivaguy, I continue looking into your information, but as yet you've posted very little that is helpful. I still have no 2nd Rabbi David Cohen in that area that has a pulpit.

 
At 1:04 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>Oh, what's that? Jewish whistle
>blower made a defamatory mistake?

Shmarya, asked a serious question, I clarified it as best as I could.

Regardless, Rabbi David Cohen is certainly part of the problem, not the solution.

 
At 1:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This has been an issue on this blog for some time. There have been several people who have posted very serious allegations in the comments that I have no knowledge of."

Actually, YOU posted it, this time.

 
At 1:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This should be easy to clarify."

"It should. And maybe next time, you should try clarifying before posting, not after."

HEAR, HEAR!!!!

 
At 1:25 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>Actually, YOU posted it, this
>time.

No. Please read:
Shmarya said...
Is this the famous posek Rabbi Dovid Cohen?


Everything I've posted is accurate. Please read more carefully.

 
At 1:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

um, to which you responded:

"That's what my sources are telling me.

Remember how I told people on Protocols months ago that he was part of the problem, not the solution? "

When in fact, what you should have replied (at the very least)was: I dont know.
But you know everything.

Also, I think its time you reveal your sources, who are needlessly defaming gedolei yisrael.
Oh, wait, accountability for everyone BUT me and my friends.

 
At 1:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Everything I've posted is accurate. Please read more carefully. "

No, it hasnt. You posted reports that R' Cohen was the rabbi in the story - something that at the very least was unlear, and may very well be inaccurate.
Oh, wait, I understand, you posted that your sources tell you that - which is still true - b/c your sources DID tell you that.
Very clever. Hair splitting, very responsible. Child.

 
At 1:57 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>When in fact, what you should
>have replied (at the very least)
>was: I dont know.

Which would not be any more accurate than saying I did know. I said neither.

>But you know everything.

No only Hashem does.

>who are needlessly defaming
>gedolei yisrael.

As far as I know this statement is not true.

>accountability for everyone
>BUT me and my friends.

"Accountability and transparency within our institutions and leadership." I'm neither.

>b/c your sources DID tell you
>that.

Correct.

 
At 2:28 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>You posted reports that R' Cohen
>was the rabbi in the story -
>something that at the very least
>was unlear, and may very well be
>inaccurate.

If you believe so:
http://www.nytimes.com/ref/pageoneplus/corrections.html
The Times welcomes comments and suggestions, as well as information about errors that call for correction. Messages may be e-mailed to nytnews@nytimes.com or left at this toll-free number: 1-888-NYT-NEWS (1-888-698-6397). For comments on an editorial: letters@nytimes.com (by fax, 212-556-3622). For newspaper delivery questions: 1-800-NYTIMES (1-800-698-4637).

To reach the public editor, Daniel Okrent, e-mail public@nytimes.com or telephone (212) 556-7652.

 
At 5:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thursday AM Dovid Cohen the Posek said he already had gotten 2 calls........."Its not me" This is the Rav of Gvul Yabetz and Ohel ETC.

 
At 7:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

JWB, you have nothing to say? your "sources" that it was the posek R' Dovid Cohen were apparently wrong. Can we ever expect a retraction from you, JWB? Or do you not do those?

 
At 10:16 AM, Blogger yeshivaguy said...

"Can we ever expect a retraction from you, JWB? Or do you not do those?"

He doesn't have to do those, b/c even when he's wrong, he's really right. Okay?

 
At 7:13 AM, Anonymous Ira said...

He doesnt need to retract - what he said was true - his sources DID report that it was R' Dovid Cohen (the one who's "part of the problem") - they were wrong - email THEM and ask THEM for a retraction. JWB is only a conduit - no responsibility here.

I very much admire JWB's complete evasion of responsibility for anything. Kind of a satanic use of talmudic logic!

 
At 10:19 AM, Blogger yeshivaguy said...

Ira,

There's actually excuse he often makes: that JWB is only about the accountability of Jewish leadership and institutions, and he is neither, so he's not accountable for what he writes.

Talk about twisted logic!

 

Post a Comment

<< Home