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Rabbi Investigated By Feds After Fishy Plan to Sell LES Nursing Home

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The rabbi of Lower East Side congregation House of Sages is in deep water

A fishy deal surrounding the sale of a Lower East Side nursing home and the neighboring synagogue's air rights to developer Peter Fine has stoked a state and federal investigation into the sale. The Post reports that Rabbi Samuel Aschkenazi is being probed by the FBI after the Lower East Side congregation he led sued him in the wake of sales talks that suspiciously seemed like they would expressly benefit him.

The Observer first reported the "nasty intra-shul dispute" involving a "shadow board" of trustees colluding to sell the House of Sages synagogue and neighboring nursing home at 25 Bialystoker Place in April. Following a deep dive into the scandal by the New York Times, the state attorney general put a hold on the sale last fall. The Post reports that Aschkenazi was served with papers by two FBI agents when he stepped off the witness stand in Manhattan Supreme Court on Monday.

Fine told the Times in April that he wanted to "do something very special for the neighborhood" at the site that would probably be condos or rentals "with some affordability." That plan, as of now, is on ice.