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N.Y. Post Sparks Storm With Coverage of Slain Orthodox Landlord

January 6, 2014 By:
JTA
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The New York Post's controversial cover page for the Jan. 5 edition. Photo via JTA.

The New York Post is under fire for its cover story about the murder of Brooklyn Hasidic landlord Menachem Stark.

“Who Didn’t Want Him Dead?” blared the headline of the Jan. 5 edition next to a photo of Stark, 39, wearing a large shtreimel and graying side curls.

New York City and state politicians, including state Senator Simcha Felder and City Councilman Stephen Levin, as well as many Brooklyn politicians, called on the Post to apologize, as did some Jewish media outlets with mostly Orthodox readers.

According to the story, Stark “had so many enemies that investigators say they almost don’t know where to start looking.”

The article cited an unnamed law enforcement source as saying that Stark, a father of eight, was involved in several “shady” real estate deals and was heavily in debt.

Stark’s brother-in-law, Abraham Buxbaum, speaking on behalf of the family, told The Algemeiner that the headline was “disgusting” and was “just adding salt to the wound.”

He added: “Apologies won’t help, the damage is done, I think.”

In response to criticism of the article and its headline, the newspaper said in a statement, ”The Post does not say Mr. Stark deserved to die, but our reporting showed that he had many enemies, which may have led to the commission of this terrible crime. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time of loss.”

(JTA's Ben Harris wrote his own examination of whether or not the Post's story crossed an invisible line.)

Stark was remembered by friends and relatives as a “go-to guy” and for being very charitable, as well as for his warmth and sense of family.

Many have threatened to cancel their subscriptions to the newspaper and organize a boycott, according to reports.

Stark’s body was found Jan. 3 on suburban Long Island some 16 miles away from his office in the heavily Satmar section of Williamsburg, from where he was kidnapped the previous evening. He reportedly was suffocated before his body was placed in the dumpster outside a Great Neck gas station and burned, according to police.

Video footage from his office reportedly showed Stark being taken into a van after a struggle outside. The identity of his abductors is not known.

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