Nearly $1.2 million in "unauthorized" withdrawals were made from the corporate bank account of an abducted and murdered Brooklyn businessman in the weeks before he died, according to papers filed Tuesday by a mortgage finance company in bankruptcy court.
Attorneys for German American Capital Corporation filed the papers in an attempt to uncover what happened in the "apparent misappropriation" of the cash from the bank account of South Side House LLC, the real estate company partly owned by the slain businessman, Menachem Stark. South Side has been in bankruptcy proceedings since 2009.
Brooklyn federal bankruptcy Judge Elizabeth S. Strong ordered a hearing for later Wednesday in the case after attorneys for German American Capital analyzed bank records and discovered what they said were "many large and unauthorized 'customer withdrawals'" from South Side's account with Capital One N.A. from about Nov. 6, 2013, through Jan. 6, 2014.
Stark, 39, was seen on surveillance video being abducted late on the night of Jan. 2 by at least two people outside his business office at 331 Rutledge St. in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. His partly burned body was found the next day in a trash bin at a Getty station on Cutter Mill Road in Great Neck, police said. Investigators have been looking for a 2006-07 Dodge Caravan that was used in the abduction.
Investigators have been pursuing many leads, including the possibility that Stark, who faced numerous business problems, had borrowed money from criminals. A law enforcement official who has been briefed on the case said that detectives found a smartphone by the front wheel of Stark's car and that detectives with the NYPD computer crimes squad were analyzing it to trace its ownership and call history. The phone was not found attached as a tracking device to the car as had been reported, the official stressed.
The Capital One account of South Side, which court papers showed was equally owned by Stark and partner Israel Perl-mutter of Brooklyn, generally received rent receipts from a building the company owned on South Fourth Street in Williamsburg, according to court filings. The account had been flush with as much as $1.8 million in recent months but had dropped to $190,347 on Jan. 9, court papers said.
German American Capital, one of the claimants in the bankruptcy case, wants the court to call Perlmutter, Capital One and others as witnesses to find out what happened to the money.
Perlmutter has been cooperating with the police and has been told by detectives he is not a suspect in the case, his attorney Henry Mazurek has said.
Calls and emails to attorneys for South Side and German American Capital for comment weren't returned yesterdayTuesday