The Real Deal New York

Rabbi under federal investigation over LES synagogue sale

Developer Peter Fine was set to buy it for $13M
March 31, 2016 09:02AM

25 Bialystoker Place on the Lower East Side (inset: Peter Fine)

25 Bialystoker Place on the Lower East Side (inset: Peter Fine)

Peter Fine’s effort to purchase a Lower East synagogue building seems to be moving backwards.

Rabbi Samuel Aschkenazi – who sought to sell him the House of Sages of Israel at 25 Bialystoker Place despite opposition from its congregation – is now under investigation by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, the New York Post reported.

The rabbi – who leads the right-wing Hasidic sect known as Ger and doesn’t actually worship at the synagogue – was confronted by FBI agents just after he testified in the civil case on the matter brought by the congregants, who accused him of moving to sell the property without their knowledge, to benefit himself and Ger.

Fine had agreed to buy the 26,000-square-foot property for $13 million, with plans to combine it with adjacent properties and convert them for residential use. That sale was halted by the state’s attorney general in October. [NYP]Ariel Stulberg