NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A pair of elected officials are blasting the New York Post’s cover Sunday as “offensive” and “insensitive.”
The cover, about the body of Brooklyn real estate developer Menachem “Max” Stark being found burned and suffocated in a Long Island Dumpster, included the headline: “Who didn’t want him dead?”
The article, quoting police sources, said Stark, who the paper described as a “slumlord,” had a list of enemies so long that investigators don’t know where to begin in solving his slaying.
State Sen. Simcha Felder, D-Brooklyn, demanded the tabloid apologize.
“I condemn in the strongest possible terms the incredibly insensitive and crass cover of today’s New York Post which mocks the kidnapping and brutal murder of Menachem Stark,” Felder said in a statement. “The Post must issue an immediate apology to the Stark family and to all New Yorkers for its egregious behavior and failure to exercise any judgment whatsoever in this matter.”
City Councilman Stephen Levin, D-33rd, also condemned the cover.
“The New York Post’s unbelievably offensive headline this morning comes the day after Mr. Stark’s family and children, as well as an entire community, laid him to rest and are still mourning his death,” he said in a statement. “For the New York Post to suggest that a person deserved to be murdered is sickening and reaches a new low. The entire community is outraged by such a vulgar headline that is so offensive and horrific. The New York Post should pull their story and issue an apology to the family and community that are still in mourning.”
Stark was deep in debt before he was killed and had many shady real estate transactions, the Post reported.
“Any number of people wanted to kill this guy,” a law-enforcement source told the newspaper.
The Post released a statement late Sunday afternoon in response to the complaints.
“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,” the statement said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time of loss.”
Meanwhile, Rabbi David Neiderman, executive director of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, called Stark a “charitable man” who donated to institutions and the needy alike.
“We are saddened and dumbfounded how people can commit such heinous crimes against anyone, but especially against such a generous person who wouldn’t hurt a fly,” Neiderman said in a news release. “Every resource must be expended to apprehend the criminals responsible and we call on anyone with information about this crime to come forward.”
Surveillance video shows Stark being kidnapped late Thursday night. The 39-year-old victim left his Southside Associates real estate office, at 331 Rutledge St. in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, when two suspects struggled with him and forced him into a light colored 2006 or 2007 Dodge Caravan.
Stark was likely duct-taped, police said.
The suspects drove off with the victim inside. The minivan was last seen heading east on Broadway in Brooklyn, police said.
A day later, his partially burned body was found inside a Dumpster at a Getty gas station on Cuttermill Road in Great Neck, Long Island.
Photos of the developer with his family, including several children, were released Sunday afternoon.
The NYPD has asked anyone with information about the case to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-8477 or to submit a tip online at NYPDCrimeStoppers.com. All communications are kept confidential.
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