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Cops arrest Israel brothers for allegedly trashing tenents’ homes

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Alleged slumlords face 15 years behind bars

The Brooklyn Paper
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Cops arrested a pair of alleged Brooklyn slumlords this morning, and the two men now face up to 15 years in prison for allegedly breaking into tenants’ rent-stabilized homes and destroying them in order to force the low-income residents out.

Joel and Amrom Israel, who own or manage 10 buildings in Bushwick and Greenpoint, each face a long list of charges, including burglary, scheming to defraud, and unlawful eviction. Officials say the brothers were hoping to force their rent-stabilized tenants out so they could bring higher rollers in and collect more rent.

The criminal charges against the pair are the first shots in a new war against slumlords that will be fought in criminal court as well as housing court, said Brooklyn district attorney Ken Thompson.

“It is time for law enforcement to step up,” said Thompson outside of 98 Linden St., where the brothers allegedly waged a months-long campaign against the tenants that included knocking massive holes in the floors and wall and hiring a “security guard” to intimidate and threaten them. “We can no longer allow these matters to linger in housing court.”

The two allegedly caused chaos at every property they managed or own. At the Linden Street building, where tenants were paying between $650 and $700 a month in rent, they paid guys to take a sledgehammer to the floors, leaving the bathroom and living room unusable, residents claimed. Tenant Michelle Crespo said she was forced to take her 15-year-old and 12-year-old sons to a neighbor’s place or to a nearby McDonalds to use the bathroom for more than a year. The holes in the wall were so big that she could see into her neighbor’s apartment, and rats and stray cats frequently squatted in her apartment and sometimes died there, she said today.

A tenant at 324 Central Ave. in Bushwick said she went to her doctor one afternoon last year and was locked out of the apartment when she returned home. She called police, who let her inside, where she said she found strange men demolishing her kitchen and bathroom. The Israel brothers then allegedly filed for false construction permits while denying anyone lived there and did not indicate that the apartment was rent stabilized, prosecutors said.

The tenants at 300 Nassau Ave. in Greenpoint finally won a lengthy court case against the brothers in February. The tenants there told a housing court judge that the brothers paid someone to take an axe to their boiler, thermostat, and electrical system to get them out and bring in higher-paying renters. The housing court judge appointed an independent administrator to fix the building, but tenants, who have been staying with relatives or in homeless shelters, will still not be able to get back in for several months.

Tenants said they are ecstatic that the brothers have finally been arrested.

“Finally we get to celebrate today,” said Crespo today, as she fought back tears. “No one deserves to go through this.”

The brothers, who both live in Borough Park, were arraigned in Brooklyn Criminal Court this morning. A judge set bail at $75,000 for Joel Israel and at $50,000 for Amrom Israel. No one from their JBI Management company returned calls for comment and a spokesman for their attorneys Becker and Poliakoff said they were not representing the pair in the criminal case.

This could be the first of many cases against bad landlords to come in New York City. The Israel brothers are only two among a scourge of alleged slumlords in the city, said public advocate Letitia James, adding that there are more than 6,000 names on a city-side watch list.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Homey from Crooklyn says:
Ken Thompson is awesome...about time these evil jews are in the slammer.
April 16, 2015, 12:26 pm
Dual from Citizenship says:
Which passports did the judge make them hand over?
April 16, 2015, 4:09 pm
Hy from Sunset Park says:
I beg your pardon, but these are not Jews, so save your antisemitism. (And shame on your antisemitism for that matter) These are ultra orthodox Hasids who are a cult like branch of the faith that engages in organized crime and fraud. We should rejoice that these two are being cut off at the knees but there are thousands more perpetuating the same crimes all over NYC. Finally it seems like there are politicians that are ready to divorce themselves from the power that the block vote wields. It's a start.
April 16, 2015, 4:13 pm
Ed from Bay Ridge says:
I agree with Hy from Sunset Park.
April 16, 2015, 5:58 pm
DG from Hollis says:
Thnak you Hy from sunset park. As a conservative Jew it's important that all Jews are not classified as ultra orthodox Hasids because they took the beautiful, moral religion of Judaism and made it a disgraceful, immoral religion that gives a bad name to the rest of the Jews
April 16, 2015, 7:23 pm
Bob from Brooklyn says:
Dear Homey from Crooklyn,

Don't be such a moron.
April 16, 2015, 7:38 pm
ISISRAEL from wut says:
nasty israelies ...
April 16, 2015, 9:19 pm
Stephanie from the Left says:
Interesting strategy to go to criminal court, rather than housing court. Moses K., the judge or jury will have to decide who destroyed the property, based on the evidence, but it seems preposterous that those tenants would make their own apartments unliveable.
April 16, 2015, 9:21 pm
PerryR from Manhattan says:
These guys deserve to be sentenced to living in their buildings in the same conditions they served
To their tenants. These bums give Jews a bad name
April 16, 2015, 9:22 pm
Rob from Williamsburg says:
Woohoot Ken Thompson! This is why I voted for you.
April 16, 2015, 10 pm
Bkmanhatman from nubrucklyn says:
thank God for Thompson for going after these scum.
April 16, 2015, 10:20 pm
Muhammad Rothstein from Crown Heights says:
About time these troublemakers got arrested but the bail is way too low eventually they will end up in Israel where they will release statements to the Israeli press about this all being a 'misunderstanding'.
April 17, 2015, 4:39 am
Sally says:
stephanie, tenants from all three buildings were in housing court. The 98 linden case has not concluded, 324 central was settled, I believe, and I think 300 Nassau was handed to an administrator to collect rents and make repairs. The DA and the attorney generals office and HCR's tenant protection unit got involved after a NYTimes article came out and the tenant advocates from various nonprofits in housing court started to realize it was JBI perpetrating the same tactics in each case
April 17, 2015, 8:06 am
Glenn from Brighton says:
Sad and shameful to see my Jewish brethren supporting the myth...but then all myths are based in someone's reality. As Mom used to say "there is good and bad in all people". Glad to see that anyone who is abusing tenants gets what they deserve!
April 17, 2015, 11:38 am
Brian the Skeptic from Park Slope says:
Beautiful. Finally! Now -- when is de Blasio going to show the balls to go after all the Satmars and others who have defrauded the city of millions and millions of dollars over the years by getting school vouchers for countless non-existent "kids" in Jewish-run pre-schools? It's an open secret, and a disgrace. How about it, Brooklyn Paper? There's your next big investigative piece, all teed up for you. (You're welcome.)
April 17, 2015, 12:32 pm
verajay61 from cobble hill says:
im so glad this happened! yeaa! so now maybe the city could take over these bldgs and the money from the rents can go into the city coffers and prevent future homelessness? they buy these bldgs and do nothing. i had one for a landlord yrs ago and he was a piece of CRAP!. time for KARMA to pay a visit to many more.
April 17, 2015, 2:25 pm
jay from nyc says:
Owners should go to jail and the buildings should be confiscated.
April 17, 2015, 9:23 pm
Z says:
that's not enough bail money!
They will pay it and continue their dirty practices!
April 18, 2015, 11:27 am
Sy from Sunset Park says:
I say something funny about hipsters & this site pulls it down within minutes. Someone makes a disgusting anti-semetic comment ("evil jews") & its up here for 4 days. Guess hipsters stick with their own.
April 19, 2015, 5:04 pm
Homey from Crooklyn says:
Facts cannot be racist or anti-semitic....
These guys are evil.
They're also jews.
The word jews is not a racial slur.
Get a life.
April 20, 2015, 7:09 am
Scott from Park Slope says:
It's interesting that most of the commentary has revolved around the religion of the alleged perpetrators. If the perpetrators had claimed they were driven to abuse their tenants because their faith commanded it, it would be relevant. If all slumlords were like these were jews and not any other group, you could raise questions about the faith or culture and why that might be so. But it's not, or at least insofar as the article has said. To me, they are a couple of slumlords who thought they could get away with it, because they did for so long but also because the real estate lobby is the force which drives NYC politics. It is. So you could just as easily ascribe all the negatives to that lobby, but no one here did. Interesting.
April 20, 2015, 10:01 am
Oliver from Kensington says:
The Hasidic rabbis do actively condone the environment in which these illegal activities thrive. The rabbis of the Hasidics tell them how to vote, and how to steal welfare. They install politicians that turn a blind eye to the illegal activities. Special status and favoritism is paid back with bloc votes. it has nothing to do with being Jewish. It's about being in the hasidic cult,where religion is nothing more than a prop and is used as an excuse to cry anti semitism when they are exposed as criminals or frauds.
April 20, 2015, 1:40 pm
Liss says:
How can I report him too my mom been with the same a broken hole over months now please lmk
April 21, 2015, 10:03 pm
expose from east new york says:
At least you don't cover-up for The ultra corrupt, Mafia organized crime, Brooklyn hasidic slumlords- Dan mizrachi, Erica cortez, inav hurwitz of Greenhill
proberty criminal activity in East New York Brooklyn keep up the good work!
Dec. 5, 2017, 2:27 pm

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