Machne Menachem

Yosef Goldman Writes to the Judge

Posted in Motion by machnemenachem on May 17, 2009

YOSEF GOLDMAN
Brooklyn
, New York 11213

February 26, 2001

(By fax to: 7.18-260-2447)
Honorable 1. Leo Glasser
United States District Judge
225 Cadman Plaza
Brooklyn, New York 11201

Re:       Camp Machne Menachem, Inc., v. Hershkop et al.
97 Civ. 2550 (ILG) (ASC)

Dear Judge Glasser:

I am writing in response to the letter Mr. Schwartz sent to Your Honor, dated February 2, 2001. In regard to Schwartz’s letter, I can only remark, that I should agree with him completely – but for the fact that virtually everything he says is false and untrue.

Mr. Schwartz notes that there is currently sub judice a motion of his concerning discovery – ignoring that we have decisively demonstrated that the discovery he seeks is entirely irrelevant and immaterial, even on plaintiff’s theory of the case. (See my letter to Judge Chrein of December 18, 2000, at pages 2 – 3 thereof. Plaintiff has never answered this argument.)

More importantly, we defendants have a (few) motion(s) that are sub judice as well, and unlike the plaintiff’s purely procedural motion on discovery, our motion goes to the substance of this case. We have applied to the Court (long before Mr. Schwartz’s motion) for an answer to the central question of who are (or should be) the lawful directors of the Camp. That is the issue that is behind every other aspect of this case.

One can only hope that Mr. Schwartz and his partners will recognize that one’s duty as an attorney is not to seek the endless continuation of a lawsuit for its own sake, though that might prove lucrative, but to seek a just result. If so, then Mr. Schwartz should join us in urging the Court to make a determination which would once and for all resolve the real problem that has been behind this lengthy (and I would add largely unnecessary) litigation: Who should (legally) be in charge of this Camp? Unfortunately, it appears that Mr. Schwartz’s letter has as its main purpose deflecting this Court, from determining this core issue, and instead by using all means available for obfuscation, Mr. Schwartz would have the Court involved in investigating flat-out false claims of “break-ins”, “slim-jims” and other foolishness.

Now Mr. Schwartz states that this Court has “numerous times” granted plaintiff Spritzer the right to operate the camp, pending the outcome of this lawsuit. However, I guess he must be involved in some other camp case since I don’t know what Mr. Schwartz is talking about. I don’t recall that Your Honor ever made an express ruling that Spritzer is the proper party to run the Camp pending the outcome of this lawsuit (1). The one time that I can recall this issue coming up was during last summer (after defendants learned of some extremely disturbing and egregious actions by plaintiff Spritzer) and Your Honor decided not to hear a motion to change the operators of the Camp in the middle of the summer. As I understood it, the Court was merely saying that it would not consider such a motion in the middle of the camp season, not that the motion per se was without merit. In any event this Court has never emplaced or endorsed plaintiff Spritzer to run the Camp.

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(1)
Even Spritzer knows there is no such order or ruling as is evident from the following. Recently, when the police asked Spritzer for proof that he, and not defendants, have a right to operate the Camp, the only item he could produce was a copy of the 1997 order of this Court granting an injunction against us. But as Spritzer knows full well that is no proof at all – for that injunction was later completely vacated by this Court.

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Schwartz falsely accuses defendants of “escalating” matters “out of control”, of “taking matters into their own hands” and he gives a colorful description, though a wholly false one, of “slim-jimming” (2) offices, violent break-ins or outs at the Camp, all supposedly by the “evil” defendants. With all due respect, the main “escalation” here is due to Mr. Schwartz, and that is a cynical and calculated “escalation” of the rhetoric; and as for the “violence” here too it is due to Mr. Schwartz – he has perpetrated a terrible violence against the facts (3). Therefore, permit me to set the record straight with a far less colorful, but far more accurate version of the events in question.
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(2)
I must confess that. I am unfamiliar with the term “slim-jim” but I assume it means some sort of unlawful means of entry. As an aside, one might wonder at Spritzer’s seeming expertise in the terminology of criminals.

(3) Unfortunately, there was violence – but the defendants were the subjects of the violence.
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I must start with some background. Some months ago this Court indicated that it would rule on defendants’ motion as to who the proper directors and operators of the Camp are (or should be). In addition, in view of evidence that Spritzer was attempting to sell the Camp, this Court Ordered that plaintiff Spritzer not take any steps toward selling the Camp, or any pail thereof and not remove materials from Camp. (Court Order of November 14, 2000.) Plaintiff apparently blamed the Camp’s caretaker for informing defendants of the imminent sale of the Camp. Because directly following that, the caretaker was advised, without any cause, that his services would be terminated as of March 31, 2001.

Now it is uncontroversial that due to the plaintiff Spritzer’s operation of the Camp, the Camp lost more than 60% of its camper enrollment (down from 500 to 200), and suffered from numerous other problems. (See e.g., my letter to Judge Chrein dated December 5, 2000, at page 3 – the facts of which were never contradicted by plaintiff) One of the most serious problems at the Camp is the serious state of disrepair of the Camp buildings and grounds – so bad that the local municipality issued an “Eviction or Vacate Order” according to which the Camp may no longer be used.

Given the above, and the possibility that we defendants might be operating the camp this summer, we deemed it imperative to learn the current state of the Camp. We needed that information so as to evaluate and determine the work needed to bring the Camp up to grade. Also we needed to assess whether plaintiff Spritzer was abiding by this Court’s Order not to remove camp materials. Therefore, on Thursday, February 1, 2001 (and not as Schwartz states on the afternoon of February 2 – which would have been Friday afternoon) we visited the Camp openly and with the caretaker’s knowledge. We caused no disturbances during our visit.

Prior to visiting the Camp, we notified the Camp’s caretaker of the situation in Court. We mailed to him a copy of the Court’s order prohibiting the sale of the Camp as well as the transcript of the Court’s discussion showing that the Court intended to determine the true directors of the Camp. We were always careful to note that the matter is currently pending before the Court.

Contrary to Schwartz’s allegation, we never suggested to the caretaker not to take directions from Spritzer – although we might lawfully have done so inasmuch as we are the directors. On the contrary, we have been careful only to alert the caretaker to the situation of this case before the Court, and would never ask him to do anything that might prove detrimental to the Camp.

When we visited the Camp we did not break anything or “slim-jim” any office door, or use any other improper means of gaining entry. We did not threaten anyone; nor did we cause any disturbances. Meanwhile, Spritzer’s son-in-law, a certain Shloimie Rutman, called the state police and a State Trooper arrived. We each told our version of the facts to the State Trooper.

It is noteworthy that in talking with the State trooper Rutman never mentioned any threats against him by defendants. But Schwartz’s letter alleges that defendant Meir Hershkop threatened Rutman’s life. It is particularly odd that this alleged threat was never mentioned to the police, since this Court has numerous times stated that it is not acting in place of the police and that if there are any accusations of violence then the complaining party should bring such matter to the police. Here, Rutman called the police and nevertheless did not raise this allegedly serious “threat”. Only now, in Schwartz’s letter, when the police have long since gone from the scene, do we hear for the first time about this. The fact is there was no threat and there was no violence by defendants.

Unfortunately there was violence – lake imprisonment, assault, battery and harassment, perpetrated by this same Rutman against defendants. When we wanted to leave the Camp’s grounds, Rutman blocked our car with his mini-van. When Chaim Hershkop (a son of defendant Meir Hershkop) was attempting to guide our car out, Rutman to our horror, physically struck Chaim Hershkop with his van so as to stop him from assisting us! We expect that this matter will be handled by the police and the other appropriate authorities.

This brings me to an important point I alluded to at the outset. As the Court has already indicated, rather then bringing reports of alleged violence to the Court, the parties should bring in the police to resolve claims of violence. Although the violence here was perpetrated against defendants, it was our original intention to permit the police to handle this matter. On the other hand, judging from Schwartz’s letter it seems clear that plaintiff is trying to deflect this Court from the purpose it has set itself of determining who are the lawful directors. Instead Mr. Schwartz wants this Court to be sucked into an investigation of this supposed “violence”.

Mr. Schwartz’s letter complaining of alleged “violence” is reminiscent of an earlier attempt by plaintiff to use this tactic. At the outset of this case, plaintiff made tremendous noises about violence allegedly perpetrated by defendants. Based on such serious allegations this Court understandably reacted by issuing various injunctions. However, later as this case developed, this Court vacated all of these injunctions. Thus, in discovery, when we demanded the evidence/proof supporting plaintiffs allegations of violence by defendants, suddenly nothing could be produced – plaintiffs had no evidence that defendants were involved in violence. Of course we knew that, because we knew the allegations were false. Now comes plaintiff and again plaintiff is whining about supposed “violence” – none of which is true – apparently in the vain hope that this Court will drop its determination to answer the core question of who are the true directors of the Camp.

Aside from the pointing out the errors in Schwartz’s letter, I do have some very important facts to bring to the Court’s attention. First, and very significant: plaintiff Spritzer has removed from the Camp tools and equipment – contrary to this Court’s order. These tools and equipment are needed for the operation of the camp and for the preparation-work before camp begins. As a matter of fact, the caretaker was unable to do his work at the Camp because the needed tools had been removed by Spritzer. How extraordinarily “chutzpadik” and disingenuous of plaintiff to claim that defendants somehow caused the caretaker not to do his work, when it was plaintiff who removed the tools needed to do that work.

Second, plaintiff Spritzer is using the Camp van for his own private use. I and Mr. Meir Hershkop have seen the Camp van being used for Spritzer’s private business’ deliveries. Who knows what other private use he is making of other Camp goods, tools, and equipment. We submit that such use is contrary to law and the Court’s orders herein.

Third, as of the date of our visit, plaintiff has taken no step toward removing the “Vacate or Eviction Order” issued by the local government. Instead of pressing forward, plaintiff has gone backwards and has terminated the caretaker’s employment and has not yet (to the best of our knowledge) hired a replacement. But preparations for Camp must take place now. Time is short. Whoever will be running the Camp this summer will need to do substantial preparation-work before the camp season begins.

Schwartz’s closing remark about his concern for the “safety” of the campers is nothing but pure cynicism and at best is absolutely inane. Without any basis in fact whatsoever, Schwartz seems to suggest that defendants pose some sort of an un-named danger to the campers. Yet, we defendants have not harmed or threatened anyone. I think this Court knows us well enough to know that we would not dare harm the Camp, let alone the campers. In fact, it is plaintiff who is endangering the campers by failing to take the steps necessary to repair the Camp and lift the eviction/vacate order. Furthermore, plaintiff in a recent affirmation to this Court fairly admitted that he cannot properly run so large a Camp. Moreover, his running the Camp has not been beneficial to the community, since Spritzer does not offer any scholarships, he charges too much in general, and it appears, Spritzer still intends to sell the Camp anyway.

Finally, I again return to the focus of my letter. I and the other defendants urge this Court to rule on who are the lawful directors as soon as possible. If this Court believes that a hearing is needed before making such a ruling, then we defendants urge that the Court proceed with such a hearing (4).

In the interim, we respectfully request that this Court re-new and/or extend its previous Order prohibiting the sale of the Camp, etc., as specified in the Order of November 14, 2000. Further we ask that the Court require Spritzer to immediately return all items taken from the Camp, and that he desist from using the Camp property for his business purposes.

Thank you for your consideration of this letter.

Sincerely yours,
(Signature)
Yosef Goldman

cc:        The Honorable Judge Chrein; and all parties

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(4)
What we defendants fear most is that this Court, perhaps disgusted by the plaintiff’s false claims of “violence,” and his other shenanigans, and perhaps tired of what it may view as simply “charges” and “counter-charges” will choose to dismiss this case entirely without resolving the core issue. That would in effect leave this matter to another Court which will have to be begin afresh to acquaint itself with the case and to cut away the bluster until it too reaches the core issue – an enormous waste of precious time and efforts. Plaintiff evidently would not mind a wholesale dismissal of the case, since plaintiff clearly believes that it can continue to hold onto the Camp, by simply avoiding a resolution of this central issue at all costs. On the other hand, we defendants have pressed for a resolution of this issue (of the directors) from the very beginning. This case began four years ago; if this Court does not determine who the directors are, who knows how many more years this matter will remain in limbo.

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