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Staten Island, NY - NYC Ferris Wheel Developer Says Partners Are Squeezing Him Out Because He Is Chasidic

Published on: December 16, 2015 09:29 PM
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An artist's rendering of a proposed 625-foot Ferris wheel. (AP Photo/Office of the Mayor of New York)An artist's rendering of a proposed 625-foot Ferris wheel. (AP Photo/Office of the Mayor of New York)

Staten Island, NY - A 630 foot Ferris wheel currently under construction in Staten Island is taking center stage in a lawsuit, as the developer of the wheel has sued his partners for shutting him out of the project because of his Chasidic appearance.

Meir Laufer, chairman of the board for New York Wheel, filed papers in State Supreme court in November charging that investors conspired against him, manufacturing ways to dilute his share in the project both financially and otherwise, as reported by The Real Deal.  In earlier legal papers filed in July, Laufer claimed that he was treated differently than other investors and board members, which included the Feil Organization, well known investor Richard Marin, Lloyd Goldman of BLDG Management and businessman Joseph Nakash because of his Chasidic garb.

“Marin was even so bold as to tell Laufer that, in order to attract investors, the project could not have ‘more than one board member from ‘your community,’’” stated the court documents.

Laufer claims that his stake in the project has been reduced from its original 33 to just 3 percent because of various financial manipulations, some of which were ill conceived.  He also stated that his name was removed from all press releases, that he has been excluded from project updates and that he has been forbidden from speaking out publicly about the project.

According to Laufer, the New York Wheel concept was born in 2008 after he found himself intrigued by the London Eye and envisioned a similar attraction for New York City. Laufer met with the Eye’s lead engineer in London and four years later Mayor Bloomberg announced that the wheel, one of the tallest in the world, would be located on the Staten Island waterfront, next to the baseball stadium and the Staten Island Ferry terminal.  The New York Wheel is expected to attract 4.5 million visitors annually and as of this week, developers are projecting first year pre-tax revenues of $127.85 million when the wheel opens in 2017.


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Read Comments (12)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Dec 16, 2015 at 10:05 PM Liepa Says:

If true, and I've no reason to doubt Laufer, sue them for all you can!

2

 Dec 16, 2015 at 11:06 PM Mark Levin Says:

Holy moly! They think they're going to get four million people a year to come to this? Are they out of their mind!?!

This Hasid better be darned sure that he's 1000% correct otherwise he's gonna look like an even BIGGER fool.

4

 Dec 16, 2015 at 11:36 PM Frish Says:

Oiy vi mehut inz feint

5

 Dec 17, 2015 at 12:19 AM DOVE1 Says:

Meir Yosel Go .You can do it .the Almighty will help you .don't give up ...lots of luck...Brucha vehatzlucha and Siato Dishmayo

6

 Dec 17, 2015 at 01:13 AM ayoyo Says:

the double decker busses were also started by a frum guy who was pushed out ,because of ---.

7

 Dec 17, 2015 at 02:15 AM Anonymous Says:

Sue them and teach them "WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND"

8

 Dec 17, 2015 at 07:38 AM Manhattan Says:

you rolled in the london bus now you want to roll around the Statan island water front using the london landmark . U would think NYC would have there own ideas.

9

 Dec 17, 2015 at 09:05 AM Anonymous Says:

i know nothing about this deal or the viability of this big ferris wheel in staten island thats supposed to attract 4.5 million people a year, however, as a rule of thumb, whenever there's money there's always vultures picking at it, so that leads me to believe there's a lot of money at stake here...

10

 Dec 17, 2015 at 10:42 AM BuckyinWisconsin Says:

Hasidic levush is very off putting to those not familiar with it. Even for those of us who are, it is pretty strange looking.

Combine that with the obesity that is prevalent in the frum community, and the fact that many Hasidim do not have a great command of the English language, and I could see it putting off investors.

Now, with that said, if I had a non English speaking, obese non frum man I also would not include him in investor meetings.

Investors like to see see young fit well dressed articulate business people, and yes, that is a prejudice.

But if you know this, then put your best people forward.

Now, this in now way excuses shutting someone out of the deal, and he has a case. My only point is, Hasidic levush and mannerisms can be very strange and intimidating to many people.

11

 Dec 17, 2015 at 12:17 PM commonsense99 Says:

Reply to #10  
BuckyinWisconsin Says:

Hasidic levush is very off putting to those not familiar with it. Even for those of us who are, it is pretty strange looking.

Combine that with the obesity that is prevalent in the frum community, and the fact that many Hasidim do not have a great command of the English language, and I could see it putting off investors.

Now, with that said, if I had a non English speaking, obese non frum man I also would not include him in investor meetings.

Investors like to see see young fit well dressed articulate business people, and yes, that is a prejudice.

But if you know this, then put your best people forward.

Now, this in now way excuses shutting someone out of the deal, and he has a case. My only point is, Hasidic levush and mannerisms can be very strange and intimidating to many people.

its painfully obvious that you live in Wisconsin and have a "hayseed mentality", I am chasidish and was rail thin until about 10 yrs ago ago when I hit middle age, I have done business in Montana, Texas, Florida and Kentucky among other state in the US, Barbados and Cayman off shore, I never had any issues other then explaining what kosher is and why i wear a yalmuka,
The fact of the matter is some of the largest firms in NY are chasidish owned, B and H, Sheil Labs, and some rather large real estate developers.
Investors like is see a good business plan that would make them money and frankly don't give a damn how you dress, most techies in the silicon valley dress in ways that make chasidish dress look mainstream.

12

 Dec 18, 2015 at 11:06 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #11  
commonsense99 Says:

its painfully obvious that you live in Wisconsin and have a "hayseed mentality", I am chasidish and was rail thin until about 10 yrs ago ago when I hit middle age, I have done business in Montana, Texas, Florida and Kentucky among other state in the US, Barbados and Cayman off shore, I never had any issues other then explaining what kosher is and why i wear a yalmuka,
The fact of the matter is some of the largest firms in NY are chasidish owned, B and H, Sheil Labs, and some rather large real estate developers.
Investors like is see a good business plan that would make them money and frankly don't give a damn how you dress, most techies in the silicon valley dress in ways that make chasidish dress look mainstream.

You also sound very articulate with a good command of the English language. Perhaps you are a even a Baal Teshuvah with a college degree. Do you wear a kapote or similar ? Long peyos and untrimmed beard? Pants tucked in to black socks? Or, are you dressed with a nice business suit, trimmed beard, discrete black leather keepah that can fit in anywhere? That is all I am saying.



All I am saying is that looks matter sometimes.

13

 Dec 18, 2015 at 11:02 AM BuckyinWisconsin Says:

Reply to #11  
commonsense99 Says:

its painfully obvious that you live in Wisconsin and have a "hayseed mentality", I am chasidish and was rail thin until about 10 yrs ago ago when I hit middle age, I have done business in Montana, Texas, Florida and Kentucky among other state in the US, Barbados and Cayman off shore, I never had any issues other then explaining what kosher is and why i wear a yalmuka,
The fact of the matter is some of the largest firms in NY are chasidish owned, B and H, Sheil Labs, and some rather large real estate developers.
Investors like is see a good business plan that would make them money and frankly don't give a damn how you dress, most techies in the silicon valley dress in ways that make chasidish dress look mainstream.

In reality, you are a classic "in towner" that has never lived anywhere else except for your dalet amos of Borough Park and cannot imagine there are places other than Brooklyn that have Jews.

Read my post again, while I go out and milk the cows and plow the back 40.

All kidding aside, I know many Chassidish businesmen and professional who are very successful, all I am saying is the it "could" be an issue in some cases. Being in finance, I was speaking more of an analyst meeting than of a sales pitch.

Gut Shabbos and I wish you much susses in all your endeavors!

14

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