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Family of Murdered Developer Defends Him Against 'Slumlord' Allegations

By Gustavo Solis | January 6, 2014 3:43pm
 Leaders in the Orthodox community and family members renounced press reports criticizing Menachem Stark.
Leaders in the Orthodox community and family members renounced press reports criticizing Menachem Stark.
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DNAinfo/Gustavo Solis

WILLIAMSBURG — The family of a Brooklyn real estate developer found dead and burned in a Long Island dumpster, defended him against allegations he was a bad landlord Monday as they begged anyone with information on his murder to come forward.

“I hate that I have to come here and defend a good man,” said Moses Strulowitz, Menachem Stark’s brother-in-law. “This man was a wonderful father, a wonderful husband, and wonderful brother-in-law.”

Family members criticized published reports citing Stark’s negative Yelp.com reviews as a landlord, thousands of dollars of debt for multiple building code violations, his bankruptcy filings and millions of dollars in debt.

Community leaders and elected officials joined the Stark family at the Monday press conference announcing a $25,000 reward to any information leading to the arrest of those responsible.

Stark’s wife and seven children were still in shock and were just starting to digest the “heinous crime,” said Rabbi David Niederman, who has known the Stark family for decades.

“Let’s not try to pick up dirt on a loving man,” said the rabbi. “Nobody can describe the [family’s] pain.”

The victim's brother-in-law said that he had thousands of tenants and the criticism came from only a vocal few.

“You can’t please 100 percent of people 100 percent of the time,” Strulowitz said of Stark’s work as a landlord. “That’s business.”

Those at the press conference declined to answer any questions about Stark’s abduction and murder.

“Those are questions for the police department,” said Councilman Stephen Levin. “They are pursuing their investigation thoroughly.”

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton visited Williamsburg’s 90th Precinct to get a briefing on the investigation, State Assemblyman Joseph Lentol said.

Although police have not identified any suspects more than two days after the murder, Strulowitz remained confident that justice will be served.

“God will punish them no matter what,” he said.