A trustee will handle the troubled real estate company of murdered Brooklyn landlord Menachem Stark following allegations that money was apparently misappropriated from the firm's bank account.
Brooklyn bankruptcy court Judge Elizabeth S. Strong ordered the appointment of the yet-unnamed trustee to oversee the financial affairs of Stark's firm, South Side House LLC. The company, which owns a large apartment building in Williamsburg, is in Chapter 11 proceedings.
Strong issued the order after a hearing Wednesday where attorneys for German American Capital Corporation, a financing company with a claim in the bankruptcy case, alleged that between Nov. 6, 2013, and Jan. 6, 2014, more than $1.2 million in withdrawals had occurred from South Side's account with Capital One Bank. According to court papers, the attorneys said the withdrawals were unauthorized and reflect an "apparent misappropriation" of South Side's funds.
Stark, 39, was abducted late on the evening of Jan. 2 in front of his Williamsburg office building. His partially burned body was found the next day in a garbage bin at a Getty station on Cutter Mill Road in Great Neck. Family friends said Stark appeared to have been suffocated.
NYPD detectives have taken custody of a white van found in Brooklyn that resembles the one seen driven by those suspected of abducting Stark. Detectives are conducting forensic tests for evidence to see if it is linked to the murder case.
Police are pursuing a number of theories and want to determine if Stark borrowed money from criminals or owed cash to contractors, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the case.
The appointment of a trustee will effectively put South Side under the more direct supervision of the bankruptcy court and is aimed at guarding against possible misappropriations, said Jerome Reisman, a Garden City attorney who handles bankruptcy cases but is not involved in the South Side case.
Attorneys for South Side and German American Capital didn't return emails or telephone calls for comment Thursday.