Bracha, Pinto try to save synagogue plans at Heritage at Trump Place

By Peter Kiefer | July 12, 2011 03:32PM

From left: Ilan Bracha, Rabbi Yishayahu Yosef Pinto and 240 Riverside Boulevard (building photo credit: CityRealty)

A three-year old plan to convert a 2,700-square-foot retail space into a synagogue at the Heritage at Trump Place may have collapsed, but the parties involved are trying to save it.

In May, Bank of America initiated $1.2 million in foreclosure proceedings against a rabbi-to-the-real-estate-stars, a top-selling residential broker and a developer involved in the synagogue plans. According to the complaint, filed May 23, Rabbi Yishayahu Yosef Pinto, Ilan Bracha, who runs the Manhattan office for Keller Williams Realty, and his partner in development deals at B+B Investment Group, Haim Binstock, defaulted on their loan for a portion of Heritage at Trump Place at 240 Riverside Boulevard at 70th Street.

“As of May 16, 2011, the principal balance due and owing under the terms of the note was $1,207,694.24,” the filing says. Payments due to BofA have not been made since January, according to the filing. All three men are cited as part of the LLC — Pinto Bracha & Binstock LLC — that is named on the lien, according to city records.

But attorneys for Pinto, Bracha and Binstock from the firm Mitofsky Shapiro Neville & Hazen fired back late last month. In their answer, which was filed June 28, the defendants denied the allegations and are asking for the case to be thrown out. They claim that BofA did not file the appropriate legal notices within the required time frame.

In 2008, Bracha and Binstock paid $1.65 million for the space and although construction has not yet begun, they initially planned to convert it to a synagogue and that would be led by Pinto.

As The Real Deal previously reported, Israel-based Pinto, who is head of two organizations, which focus on the study of Jewish teachings and outreach to the poor, has served as a guru/advisor to Bracha, and other real estate bigwigs and celebrities like Miami Heat superstar LeBron James on both spiritual and business-related
issues.

In February, Binstock’s wife wrote a $56,000 personal check to stop foreclosure proceedings, which the condo board had initiated in Civil Court after Bracha and Binstock failed to pay common charges and
other fees.

Calls left for Marie Polito Hofsdal, a partner at Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker, which is representing BofA in the matter, were not returned. Judith King, a spokesperson for Shuva Israel, Pinto’s New York City synagogue at 122 East 58th Street, said in an email: “We have no interest in responding to baseless inquiries.”