Judge temporarily halts sale of LES synagogue to Peter Fine

Developer is looking to convert the building to residential
October 26, 2015 08:34AM

The New York State Supreme Court has temporarily blocked the sale of a Jewish nonprofit’s Lower East Side building for $13 million to developer Peter Fine, with congregants claiming the sale is illegal and benefits only a rabbi, his shadow board and a far-right group in Israel.

Congregants at Home of the Sages of Israel at 25 Bialystoker Place claim the building is in contract to be sold to Fine, but they never signed off on a sale or were even made aware it was happening.

A new board approved the sale, with $3 million going to Samuel Aschkenazi, the synagogue’s president, who also runs a synagogue out of his home in Kew Gardens, the New York Post reported. The worshipers, who say the trek to Ashkenazi’s home-office-synagogue is too taxing, also claim that $10 million from the proceeds will go to a right-wing sect in Israel.

A supreme court judge said he will stop the sale until he can determine who is on the board and whether it was properly conducted.

Fine is also in contract to buy the air rights to the building and another adjacent property. He plans to convert the building to residential.

Fine spoke at a real estate showcase in Miami organized by The Real Deal earlier this month. [NYP]Ariel Stulberg