Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Forward picks up story: Newly elected Crown Heights Vaad HaKohol chair Moshe Rubashkin and his checkered past, includes prison time for fraud


At 7:55 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

see my much earlier posts:

It took the Jewish media to pick up the story bloggers reported close to 8 weeks ago.

3) Forward story
Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Felon Elected To Head Council in Brooklyn
By E.B. Solomont
March 18, 2005

A convicted felon has been elected leader of a government-funded Chabad-dominated community council in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn.

Despite serving a 15-month jail term for bank fraud, Rabbi Moshe Rubashkin captured 71% of the 1,208 votes cast in the recent election to head the Crown Heights Community Council. The council, a nonprofit group, receives $1.9 million per year in public funds to provide social services, including food stamps and affordable housing.

Some voters told the Forward that they hoped Rubashkin, a popular TK, would help bridge divisiveness in their community.

"I voted for Moshe Rubashkin," said Chanina Sperlin, a longtime committee member. "Moshe Rubashkin is a fine man. Moshe Rubashkin loves to help Jews, and more than a Jew, a Jew who needs help."

Rubashkin pleaded guilty to bank fraud in July 2002, according to court records obtained from the Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania. He served a 15-month jail sentence, and is currently serving a five-year probation term.

Rubashkin's victory was first reported last week in Newsday. The vote took place January 31.

His supporters praise him for clothing Israeli yeshiva students and for welcoming needy Jews to his annual Purim celebrations.

In a statement to the Forward, Rubashkin wrote, "The community leaders and residents were fully informed of all issues and honored me with their trust to lead us into a brighter future."

City councilwoman Letitia James, whose Brooklyn jurisdiction represents parts of Crown Heights, was one of several elected officials who attended a Sabbath dinner at Rubashkin's home following the election.

"I believe in the democratic process, and he received the overwhelming support of the Crown Heights community," she said.

James noted that convicted felons may legally run for government-funded groups and that Rubashkin's past had been disclosed to voters. "Who am I to judge?" she said.

At least one observer of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, which controls the secular Crown Heights group, said that Rubashkin's election could bridge the gap between those who believe that the sect's late spiritual leader, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, was the messiah and those who do not.

"Moshe Rubashkin served his time and is moving on in society," the observer said. "The real story is that he is a practical guy who wants to heal internal divisions in Crown Heights."

Still, the community group is taking pre-emptive measures. According to a spokesman for Rubashkin, the new community council head "will not be involved in the dispersement of checks out of an abundance of caution."

The spokesman, who asked not to be identified, said that Rubashkin is "related to the family" that owns the AgriProcessors meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa. He declined to elaborate.

The plant has been the target of a recent advertising campaign launched by the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The group, known as Peta, has claimed that the plant was employing inhumane slaughtering practices.

AgriProcessors has denied the allegations.

At 10:26 PM, Anonymous Shmarya said...

Note the Forward left out Moshe and Aaron Rubashkin's convictions for defrauding a union:

Kind of strange when you take the Forward's pro-union background into account.

The Rubashkins collected union dues from their employees but did not turn the money over to the union – the Rubashkins kept it for themselves.

I wonder if the Forward editor JJ Goldberg's friendship with Chabad leader Rabbi Zalman Shmotkin has anything to do with the Forward's weak coverage of Chabad?

At 1:21 PM, Blogger Shlomo said...

I grew up in Crime Heights and it wasn't always the shvartzas you had to worry about. Why am I not surprised?


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