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Brooklyn Synagogue Demolition Delayed Over Allegations Of Improper Sale

Chevra Anshei Lubawitz, the oldest synagogue in Borough Park, Brooklyn

A judge has temporarily blocked the demolition of Chevra Anshei Lubowitz, the oldest synagogue in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn.

The synagogue was sold to developer Moses Karpen in June for $3.1M, after which it was planned to be demolished and replaced by a six-story apartment building with a new space for the congregation on the first floor and basement. Members of the congregation's board agreed to buy back the space for $3M, the New York Daily News reports.

Seventeen members of the congregation then filed suit, alleging that the board members who made the sale decision did so without previously informing the board or putting the building on the market. Instead, the suit alleges, the building was sold below market value to Karpen, a friend of one of the board members in question.

The board leaders argue, through lawyer Scott Mollen, that the rest of the congregation was informed of the intent to sell multiple times, and that the synagogue is dilapidated and highly in need of repairs.

"The congregation wanted to make sure that they were dealing with a developer that they had confidence in and was highly respected," Mollen said.

The plaintiffs contend that the property, erected in 1906, contains no code violations. The temporary restraining order issued to protect the synagogue lasts until Oct. 16, and the board has been granted permission to continue obtaining the appropriate permits for demolition until then. The next court date for the lawsuit is Sept. 7.