Machne Menachem

Letter # 1 Judge Thomas of the Bankruptcy Court of PA.

Posted in Letter by machnemenachem on April 18, 2009

Case#  5-01-04926
Att: The I filterable Judge Thomas


My name is Meir I Hershkop, and I was born in Jerusalem, Israel. My teenage years I spent working in education. I spent this time in Kfar Chabad (the largest Chabad community in Israel) where I worked to help children that were not in schools or other educational institutions. In the summer months when children were roaming the streets with nothing to do, I was the First to arrange a summer camp for these children to keep them occupied and off the streets. And all this was done voluntarily. Even more so, when I was in a private meeting with the Lubavitcher Rebbe many years ago, he told me that my objective in life should be education.

In the meanwhile I married, moved to the United States, and worked to overcome the hardships of a new immigrant. During this time, while other children in the community would go off to summer camps, my children and others in their condition would have nowhere to go. Due to financial difficulties, these children would spend their time in the city while all their friends were away at summer camps. This affected the children to an extent that even during the school year they thought about the summer months and how they would be able to join their friends at the summer camps. This left a strong impression on me and I vowed that once I settled down and had the opportunity, I would do even-thing in my power to provide for these poor children, to provide for children whom through no fault of their own were left abandoned and alone by the Educations: institutions, and community council.

In 1994, after the passing of our revered leader, Rabbi Schneerson, the situation in the community declined to the extent that the children were left with nothing. Fights and arguments were breaking out within the educational institutions, and there was nothing being done for the children. The time had come to provide for these children, to give them something that everyone, rich and poor alike, would benefit from.

In 1995, with G-d’s help, Rabbi Heber, Rabbi Goldman, my brother Mendel, Yaakov Spritzer, and myself, took the first step in establishing what is now “the camp”, and rented campgrounds for the first summer session. The success was unbelievable, and in that same year we had to rent a second campground.

After seeing the success the camp had in the first year. I understood that in the coming year there could be almost double the amount of children. Especially after seeing how many children there were whose parents had never been able to afford a summer camp before, and were now here in our camp and the joy it brought them. All the educators were telling me how there had literally been a change in the way these children were learning and how the camp was a savior for these children coming from poor homes. Despite the fact that that year the camp had not been opened until the end of April, and despite the fact that so many scholarships were given to all the poor children, the camp still ended the summer session without any debts.

In 1996, my brother Mendel, my son in law Levi Hartmen, and myself, decided that instead of renting a place for the summer and having nothing left of it afterwards it would he better to buy a big camp grounds where more children would be able to come, even from other communities. (And this actually happened. Children came from Miami. Chicago etc.) We found campgrounds in Lackawaxen. PA and that is where the camp is situated till today. For the first year on those grounds (1996) we had approximately 540 children enrolled in the camp.

I would like to explain, as I have stated in my testimony in front of Judge Glasser, in Federal Court in New York, that if not for me, there is no way the camp would still be around today. When I called Mr. Spritzer to let him know about these grounds, he told me he had no interest in wasting money on those grounds. I decided that come what may, I would work with the owners of the grounds, Starbur Realty, to buy these grounds for a good price, on good terms, which is something they would not have done for anyone else and only did it for me because they knew this camp helped poor children.

Two or three weeks after we started dealing with the owners, and we were close to closing the deal on the grounds. Mr. Spritzer called me and told me he was interested in helping out. We made a board meeting, and they told me, that if Mr. Spritzer would he involved, they would Stay as board of directors but would not get involved until Mr. Spritzer provided the books and accounting for the previous year (1995). (All this was already brought up in front of Judge Glasser).

Your honor, in the second year of the camp. (First year on the current grounds), the camps income was approximately one million dollars. As of today, it is still unknown as to where all this money disappeared. An accounting has never been provided. and in en after Mr. Spritzer was directed to show an accounting by the Federal Court in New York, he always managed to “snake” his way out of providing them. As revenge for our asking for an accounting from Mr. Spritzer, he fabricated libels against us in court, producing witnesses whose words were far from truth. All these allegations of terror etc., were baseless and false, as can be seen in the verdict of Judge Glasser.

In this manner, Mr. Spritzer dragged things out for live years in Federal Court. It was then that Mr. Spritzer realized that the Federal Court in New York was seeing through his lies, and that time and truth had actually caught up with him. As a last resort Mr. Spritzer ran to bankruptcy court and filed for bankruptcy to try and run away from Judge Glasser, as Judge Glasser himself writes in his verdict.

Thanks to your righteous decision, and as Judge Glasser put it, that it “demanded the wisdom of King Solomon”, justice was finally served and after five years of emotional torture, the camp was returned to its proper owners.

Your honor, surely you are familiar with the history of the camp, which is a very interesting one to say the least. Myself, I have not legally been a member of the board up until now even though I had done more for the camp than the legal members of the board (finding the grounds, helping raise money). I have not been a member of the board due to the fact that (as I told Judge Glasser), I did not want to cause unrest in the board when they would see that my brother and I have stronger voting powers, since we would both be on the board. I did this as a common courtesy and did not have to do this: in fact perhaps it was a big mistake. And Judge Glasser has recognized the fact that it was the proper thing to do.

Since this ease has come to your court, I have not missed even one session, and even though I cannot read or write English so good, and can only listen, I still believe see exactly what is happening here, and with your permission I would like to express my feelings, which are very hurt, to you.

I am the coordinator in charge of collecting and bringing money for the lawyers, trustee, etc… and I don’t see an end to this ease in the near future. What I believe we are dealing with here is a man who does not think twice before lying. A man whom it does not bother to say things that never happened and to create incidents that never occurred, as Judge Glasser put it. I am very worried that there will be no end to this chapter in my life. Mr. Spritzer will run from one court to the next court to the next etc. with the intentions of wasting time and ruining our lives.

What bothers me is that Machne Menachem is a healthy corporation. We bought the grounds at a good price, and had a lot of children. There was no reason this camp should not have made money.

In 1996, after Mr. Spritzer stole the camp away from us, he decided he would not pay the mortgage, and the camp would go foreclosure. His intentions were that once the camp went foreclosure, he would buy it from the owners for $I50.000. He admitted so publicly during a hearing at the Bais Din of Crown Heights. The result of his not paying the mortgage was that the grounds were taken away and Mr. Spritzer was told to go to the bank and take out a mortgage. The deal that I had made with the owners of the camp was for waste and the grounds were now going to cost a lot more. Overall this little attempted “trick” of Mr. Spritzer’s. ended up costing the camp approximately $170.000.

In 1998, the camp was purposely not winterized for the winter months. I complained to Judge Glasser, about this, and he ruled that Mr. Spritzer was to he held responsible and had to repair the damage. The damage was in the amount of approximately $50,000 – $60,000.

In 1999, I myself found out through a matter of pure luck and Divine Providence, that Mr. Spritzer planned on selling the camp to the Bobov Chassidim for approximately 2 – 2.5 million dollars. I let Judge Glasser know this and gave him the proof I had that he plans on selling the camp, and Judge Glasser placed a restraining order against Mr. Spritzer, forbidding him from selling the camp.

In 2001, a hurricane destroyed a bunk in the campgrounds, and Mr. Spritzer received $I40, 000 from an insurance company to repair the damage, the bunk was never replaced. What happened to the $I40, 000?

From what is known to me. Mr. Spritzer has spent approximately $92,000 on lawyer’s fees, made out as checks from Machne Menachem. He paid these fees without the knowledge or permission of the board of directors, as Judge Glasser wrote in his verdict.

Mr. Spritzer hired his family members to work for the camp and paid them salaries much higher than any other camp would have paid for such jobs, which Judge Glasser said was illegal.

Mr. Spritzer claims that he has invested over a million dollars into the camp already, but has not yet proven this to Judge Glasser or anyone else. He has not revealed from where he took this money since according to his W2 form, he only makes approximately $60.000 per year.

What bothers me most is that this past summer Mr. Spritzer had about 300 people on the grounds between children and staff and he did not even have liability insurance.

Your honor, does the good of children really bother a man who acts in such a manner’? Or is he only interested in the camp as a means with which to conduct his illegal activities such as the stocks which mysteriously disappeared?

Your honor, is it possible that such a man should run a camp for children? Judge Glasser himself has told Mr. Spritzer several times that he did not believe that Mr. Spritzer was fighting for the camp for the good of the children. Mr. Spritzer has used the camp for personal reasons and the camp itself he filed for bankruptcy, which according to my knowledge has no reason for being in bankruptcy court in the first place, being that he has yet to prove that he has invested any money in the camp at all.

Your honor, I would like to thank you very much for taking the time to read this letter. I understand that I am no judge and don’t understand exactly how the legal system works, its just that this hurts me very much and this is only the tip of the iceberg. Perhaps it might even be a good idea for this entire case to be investigated by the IRS, and Attorney General.

Meir Hershkop

P.S. This letter represents my views only, and does not reflect or represent in any way the legal board of directors. I also used to go pro se in Federal Court in New York.

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