Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Influential Rabbi Charged in Rent-Subsidy Scheme 

A politically connected Satmar rabbi who was forced to resign as a Correction Department chaplain after it was revealed that he had arranged a lavish six-hour bar mitzvah party in a city jail for a prisoner’s son surrendered on Wednesday to face federal theft and conspiracy charges.

The rabbi, Leib Glanz, 53, was charged along with his brother, Menashe Glanz, 49, in a two-count criminal complaint that accuses them of stealing more than $200,000 in Section 8 rent subsidies over 15 years, the largest individual case of tenant fraud ever investigated by New York City authorities.

The federal subsidies were paid for a duplex apartment at 85 Ross Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where Menashe Glanz, on applications and recertifications for low-income housing benefits, falsely claimed to live with his family, according to the complaint.

But the complaint, sworn out by Mark Lintner, an investigator with the New York City Department of Investigation, says that Leib Glanz actually lived in the apartment with his family. The federal benefits were paid to the apartment’s owner, the United Talmudical Academy, which employed Menashe Glanz until 2000; he listed the academy as his employer on the documents, according to the complaint.

Indeed, Leib Glanz signed contracts for the subsidies on behalf of the landlord, the complaint said.

The charges were announced in a news release by Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, and the city’s investigation commissioner, Rose Gill Hearn, whose agencies investigated the case together.

“This kind of fraud depletes the precious taxpayer dollars available to individuals in need of housing assistance,” Ms. Gill Hearn said in the news release.

. The two men were expected to appear in Federal District Court in Manhattan later Wednesday afternoon.

Leib Glanz’s lawyer, Alan Vinegrad, declined to comment on the charges. Joseph Grob, Menashe Glanz’s lawyer, was not immediately available for comment.

Leib Glanz, a rumpled man with a graying beard, has a long history of access and influence, of seeking favors and performing them, and of acting as a liaison between the insular world of the Satmars and elected officials, according to city records and interviews.

Indeed, for more than two decades, he has been something of a Satmar master of ceremonies, arranging official tours of the community — based in Williamsburg — translating Yiddish for political leaders, charming mayors and their aides with gifts and then soliciting money and support for his sect’s priorities.


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