Saturday, June 27, 2015

Printers sue Satmar newspaper 

The weekly newspaper serving one of two branches of the Satmar Hasidic movement is being sued in Supreme Court in Brooklyn by two printers for nearly $1 million in printing bills that Der Blatt allegedly neglected to pay.

Der Blatt, a Yiddish paper with offices in Kiryas Joel and Brooklyn, faces two separate lawsuits filed in January and March of this year, one by Stellar Printing in Queens and another by Instant Newspaper in Brooklyn. Stellar alleges that Der Blatt owes $628,000 in unpaid bills from 2008 through 2014; Instant claims the newspaper owes $341,000 from 2001 to 2010. Both totals include printing costs for Der Blatt itself and for affliated publications such as the weekly Kiryas Joel Journal.

Der Blatt's attorney, Joseph Haspel of Goshen, didn't respond to a request for comment on the lawsuits.

Der Blatt, which means "the newspaper" in Yiddish, is a thick, tabloid-sized publication read by followers of Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, the Satmar branch that holds a majority in Kiryas Joel. Started in 2000 as an alternative to Der Yid - the decades-old weekly paper read by adherents of Teitelbaum's brother and rival, Rabbi Zalmen Teitelbaum - Der Blatt costs $3 and bills itself as "The Voice of Worldwide Orthodox Jewry." Last Thursday's edition, fattened with full-page ads and a 32-page section consisting entirely of photos, totaled 172 pages. (Der Yid is a similar-looking publication that describes itself as "The Voice of American Orthodox Jewry.")

Der Blatt is registered as a nonprofit organization based in Kiryas Joel, with Kiryas Joel resident Elimelech Deutsch as its president. Der Blatt is listed in county property records as the owner of two single-family houses located just outside of Kiryas Joel, one of which is included in the pending annexation petition that seeks to shift 507 acres into the village from the Town of Monroe. Deutsch bought the houses for $950,000 in 2006 and $450,000 in 2004 and transferred them to Der Blatt, records show.


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