London – Judge Told Charity to Repay Rabbi ?322k

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    London – A Rabbi has won a High Court claim to be repaid more than £322,000 by a Orthodox charity which he says was intended as a loan, not a gift.

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    Rabbi Moshe Meisels, had sued supporters of the Satmar Chasidic sect who raised funds for the charity, Yetev Lev Jerusalem Trust.
    Rabbi Meisels, who himself attends a Satmar synagogue in Stamford Hill, issued his writ against the trustees of the charity, Menachem Lichtman, Berish Berger and Solomon Weiss.

    The dispute came after Rabbi Meisels transferred £322,000 to Yetev Lev. The transaction was recorded in Hebrew. The absence of the word for "gift", matana, was "striking", in a “hastily written document” the judge said.

    Mr Lichtman claimed that the money had been an "outright donation", but he should have been aware that it was repayable, the judge said.

    Mr Justice Blake said that the fact that the charity had transferred the funds from Rabbi Meisels to Israel "does not make it unjust" that the defendants should have to repay them.
    Although Mr Berger and Mr Weiss were not directly party to the agreement, the judge said, they had relied on Mr Lichtman's "efforts as fundraiser and director for the trust when it was active, and they must take its failures along with the successes." [thejc]


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    14 Comments
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    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    16 years ago

    i say that they all deserve it they have been so discusting to rabbi meisels in the last 2 years the way they have spoken about him where the rabbi tried his best to sort this out in a good way now they got it al hpanim!!!!!!!!!!!!!! rabbi meisels keep up the good work we are all here to support you

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    16 years ago

    Moshe meisels has his own shul and has shishee whenever he wants to.
    He has personally with his father always given large sums of money to charity. He has a kolel he supports and this money was likely going to israel for some similar purpose

    Lewin
    Lewin
    16 years ago

    to Anon 4:26pm 4/11
    My main question is: Why could Beis Din not settle the matter?

    You answered your own question with your previous paragragh.

    Kudos to the tzedaka representatives who took their jobs seriously and felt they could not give back the money without an authority authorizing it.

    When Gabboim and Rabbonim cheat and scam or have convenient amnesia “L’Shem Shomayim Shomayim” or in the name of “Hekdish” as we see in parshas Emor it is more important to avoid a chilul Hashem and give back the money.In the end it took a gentile judge to see right through the veil of corruption and meet out justice and return Meisels money.
    It is such a shame that Heintigeh Batey Din have such a bad reputation.

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    16 years ago

    Is is at all possible that they thought it was a gift, and that he assumed they understood it was a loan? Maybe neither meant any harm, but it was a simply misunderstanding. The representatives of the tzedaka have the achrayus to make sure they take proper care of funds, and not return money just because someone claims it was a loan instead of a gift.

    Both sides agreed to take this to court.

    Where is the Chillul HaShem?

    Every miscommunication is not a Chillul HaShem.

    If anything, the fact that both side spoke to batei dinim, and agreed to the court thing is a kiddush Hashem.

    Mr. Lichtman, may have simply been hoping to get a donation, and misunderstood Moshe Meisels’ intention.

    How could such very high levels of tzedaka and cooperation be a chillul Hashem? In which other kehilos do we have such tzedaka?

    It is the “other” donors whose story I question. Maybe THEY first invented the loan story after hearing of this case? I have no idea.

    But, overall, my initial impression was:

    Kudos to Moshe Meisels upon being such a generous supporter of tedaka. A loan this size is tzedake.

    Kudos to the tzedaka representatives who took their jobs seriously and felt they could not give back the money without an authority authorizing it.

    My main question is: Why could Beis Din not settle the matter?

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    16 years ago

    This should be an example to all unscrupulous trustees gabboim and Rabbonim of kehilas, and other institutions that cheat swindle and scam askanim supposedly in the name of Torah. It is a shame that Meisels had to go to a secular court to find justice and get his money back as the old saying goes “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished”.This time justice seems was served.

    LEWIN
    LEWIN
    16 years ago

    It is a sad sign of the times
    when secular courts meet out fair justice to Jewish Heimishe litigants and Batey Din have a reputation of being either “saker punim” or corrupt and cannot deal fairly to both parties. The institution of Mishpat has been tarnished most likely beyond repair. It is a real shandah and sad reflection of what we have become.

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    16 years ago

    he may have gotton justice but i doubt he’ll continue getting “sheshee” in the satmar bm he davens at!!

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    16 years ago

    I am sure Rav Meisels did a lot better before an English High Court Judge where he got justice, than he would have done before a Beis Din. That is an integral part of the Chillul Hashem here.

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    16 years ago

    I am aware of some of the detls of this case. The claimant received a “Heter Arkoios” from a Beis Din in America that had been agreed upon by both parties and could therefore go to court. The case was represented by Mr.Aryeh Kramer of Kramer & Co, London, who lives in Golders Green and is a Yerei Shomayim.

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    16 years ago

    anon 10:28 PM

    Yes, unfortunately it is a great chillul Hashem. But, for close to a year, Rabbi Meisels was trying to go to beis din, and when the various Rabbonim involved saw who they are dealing with, they realized there is no other choice but to allow Rabbi Meisels to pursue this in court, something which he had never wanted or intended to do. Batei din in the USA and in Europe gave reshus to Rabbi Meisels to go to court and he had no choice, as there was no other way that he would have ever seen his money back.

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    16 years ago

    “Between September 2004 and March 2005, the charity’s books showed receipt of £6 million in donations, but by June 2006 its fundraising activities appeared to have wound down, leaving a number of creditors.

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    16 years ago

    To the outside world, another chilul Hashem. And by the way, why did the litigants go to a secular court and not to a Beis Din?

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    16 years ago

    Possibly, there may be many heimishe people who would do this without attorneys etc., but Boruch Hashem, lucky for him, he did have the foresight to have a signed document from them, and that was one of the issues in the court case; even though it had not been a “legal” document, drawn up by an attorney, it had enough value to merit the judge determining the case to his benefit.

    I say B”H, lucky for him, because, there were many others in London involved in this who had also lent money to this organization, who did not have any signed documents, and when the borrowers decided not to pay the money back to these many individuals, they were left with no recourse whatsoever to get their money back, and together they lost many millions of dollars.

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    16 years ago

    i cant take sides here because i know very little of this case. But from the little bit i read here, who in thier right mind would transfer 320 pounds which is equvilent to about 650,000 dolaars with out an attorney? or legal paper? only heimeshe i guess .