Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto's New York Synagogue Faces Foreclosure

Posted By on April 3, 2014

Embattled Kabbalist's Financial and Legal Woes Grow By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Published April 03, 2014.

Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto may have lost his home. And he could soon lose his synagogue.

The embattled Israeli kabbalist is increasingly beset by legal and financial troubles, both in the United States and Israel. In recent weeks, new problems have kept piling up in New York courts.

In late March, a bank filed a foreclosure suit in New York State Supreme Court alleging that Pintos congregation had defaulted on the mortgage at its Midtown Manhattan synagogue. And in early March a judge in another New York foreclosure case issued a judgment ordering the sale at auction of the synagogue-owned Midtown Manhattan mansion that Pinto called home.

These latest developments come as Israeli prosecutors consider indicting the prominent rabbi for attempting to bribe Israeli police officials and intimidating witnesses. And they come a month after a business rival filed a lawsuit in New York accusing Pinto of ordering a New York City police officer to arrest him.

The Forward first reported on the foreclosure proceedings against Pintos mansion in 2011. When this Forward reporter interviewed Pinto at the home that year, he saw two kitchens and a glass cabinet packed with silver.

Though the bank in that case began foreclosure proceedings against the rabbis home in 2009, the suit was ongoing until March 4, when the judge ordered that a court-appointed referee auction off the property.

The referee, Harold Beeler, told the Forward that was unaware of the judgment, and that the auction had not yet taken place. The plaintiffs attorney, Alexander Phengsiaroun, did not respond to an inquiry about the status of the property. According to ACRIS, the citys online property record filing system, no new deed has been filed for the property. Bentzion Suky, Pintos top aide and spokesman, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Forward.

Meanwhile, just blocks away from Pintos house, another creditor of Pintos congregation has begun foreclosure proceedings on the congregations synagogue, a large five-story building at 122 East 58th Street.

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Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto's New York Synagogue Faces Foreclosure

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