A New York Court on Friday issued a temporary ruling in the preliminary hearings leading up to the appeal of the court case on the management of the 770 Shul, in which he almost completely rejected the demands of ‘Aguch’ and accepted the Gabboim’s claims, stating very clearly that 770 is not a “rental property” as ‘Aguch’ attempted to claim.
This is another chapter in the long saga that has been ongoing for the past sixteen years in different courts with conflicting rulings as to who is the proper side to manage the Shul.
As was reported on ChabadInfo.com, around six months ago, Justice Harriet L. Thompson of the Kings County Surrogate’s Court ruled that the authority over 770 Eastern Parkway belongs to the petitioners ‘Agudas Chasidei Chabad’, and that they can remove the Gabboim, and the congregants do not have legal rights to the Shul.
After reviewing the ruling, the attorneys of the Gabboim decided to file an appeal to a higher court. The opposing side’s attorneys claimed there was no room for an appeal, and therefore requested that even if an appeal is filed, the management over 770 should immediately change hands, even during the appeal process.
The court didn’t accept their claims, and determined that so long the appeal prolongs, the management of 770 shall stay as is the status quo – under the Gabboim.
As the appeal began to proceed, the petitioners added an additional monetary claim, demanding that the congregants pay the owners rent for using the space to Daven! For this purpose, they got an assessor’s evaluation to receive a ‘Fair Market Rent Appraisal Report’ on the property, and they are demanding the Gabboim pay $1,450,000 annually for rent, as if ‘770 – Beis Rabbeinu’ is some regular property and claiming that they have a school ready to rent the space of the Shul!
In addition, the petitioners also requested a five million dollar deposit from the Gabboim to make sure that the congregants don’t damage anything in the meantime.
The Gabboim’s lawyers answered that the Shul is not a rental property, but rather, a central Shul and Beis Medrash that belongs to Chabad Chassidim worldwide and therefore not conceivable as a place to collect rent from.
On Friday, a ruling came forth from the judge that the petitioners claims for rent are baseless and the judge also reduced the deposit amount saying that the risk of the congregants damaging the building is low.
The judge writes in the verdict:
“Additionally, Petitioners requested that the Court include in its undertaking an amount of Use and Occupancy of the buildings in question. The amount requested is based upon a report submitted by Amanda Aaron for the fair market appraisal of the location and takes into consideration the estimated time of the appeal. The Court notes the historical and religious significance of the buildings in question, as well as the long-standing relationship between the building and the congregation, as well as the world wide Lubavitch community.
In Bosco Credit V trust series 2012-1 v Johnson, 2019 N.Y. Misc Lexis 1977, the Court did not include use and occupancy in its final determination, because as is the case in this matter, in that matter, the Court did not deem the property in question to be a rental property. As such, the Court does not believe that an undertaking in this matter need include use and occupancy. As was the situation in Bosco, this is not a rental property. The Court will follow the reasoning of Justice Silver in that this situation is not akin to a landlord tenant situation.
Although, through the testimony and report of Ms. Aaron the Petitioners attempted to set forth a fair market value of the building and comparable rents paid by similar use buildings in the area, this is not a rental property. This has never been a rental property, nor was there any testimony that this will ever be a rental property. In fact, based upon the historical and religious significance these buildings hold in this community, the Court finds it extremely hard to envision a scenario where a lease would ever be created for these properties. As such, the Court is not inclined to create one now.”
The public is asked to say Tehillim for a positive outcome that the will of the Rebbe should come out in these unfortunate court proceedings.
Download the petitioners claims
Download the response from the defense
Download the verdict
770 Case: What’s The Rebbe’s View?