The charred corpse of Chassidic millionaire landlord Menacham Stark was found in a Great Neck trash container at the Getty gas station in Great Neck just before 4 PM Friday, according to Nassau County cops. Stark had been dramatically kidnapped outside his South Side Associates real estate office in Williamsburg on Thursday.
According to the Daily News, Stark, 39, was pushed into a white minivan after a fight with two thugs who approached him on Rutledge St. near the Williamsburg Bridge.
Surveillance video show the kidnappers binding Stark with duct tape before throwing him in their Dodge Caravan and speeding off.
“He owed a lot of people money,” one source told the NY Post. Stark had several foreclosures recently and owned about 16 vacant or run-down, drug infested properties under at least a dozen corporate names in the neighborhoods of Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Bed-Stuy and Bushwick.
Stark a father of eight, died of suffocation, sources said. One hand was burned, as was his body below the waist. It hasn’t been determined yet whether he was set on fire before or after his death.
Stark’s business troubles included defaulting on $51 million in real estate development loans, and related lawsuits.
The gas station owner in Great Neck arrived at work early to get his fleet of plows on the road. “There was smoke coming from the dumpster,” he told the News. “Not a lot. I thought someone threw a cigarette in there and it didn’t go out. We didn’t think anything of it at the time.”
But when he returned in the afternoon, “There was a smell — it was horrible,” he said.
Investigators discovered the body in the dumpster next to the trash beneath the snow and closed the station immediately.
Slumlords in NYC buy shoddy properties, take out big loans and then default on the loan and “lose” the property. Then, using a different company, or through family proxies, they buy back the same property at rock bottom prices.
According to a police source speaking to the Post, Stark was also a cash lender, known as the “neighborhood ATM.”
Detectives and police community affairs officers arrived at Stark’s home, which is about five blocks from his offices on Rutledge St., at 1:30 PM Saturday. The extended family was huddled up inside.
According to neighbors, the Stark home was always open to visitors, the late Menachem Stark gave very generously to charity.