Since I first wrote about Balkany I got a number of requests from mainstream media outlets asking for my opinion on Balkany. Larry Noodles is finally getting the respect he doesn’t deserve. I went against the Larry Noodles policy never to speak with members of the mainstream media and exchanged emails with a few journalists.
After The Donald commuted the sentence of Rubashkin, Rabbi Balkany went on the air on the popular Jewish radio show of Zev Brenner in order to explain how Rubashkin was sprung from the Big House. Balkany took all the credit for getting Rubashkin released. He even boasted that he was paid $500K in kosher money from a Lubavitcher that was used to help secure Rubashkin’s release.
Balkany completed his term of Federal probation in August of 2017. He was locked up for four years in the Federal prison for trying to shake down hedge fund king and fellow Jew Steven Cohen for four million bucks. Balkany tried to endear himself to Cohen by asking if he was a member of the priestly Cohanim tribe. Cohen was not impressed and ratted out Rabbi Balkany to the Feds. Lesson learned, you don’t mess with a member of the Cohanim tribe, even if you think you are an important rabbi.
A little over a month ago Balkany filed paperwork with his sentencing judge seeking to have his criminal conviction overturned on the grounds that a great injustice was done during the jury trial in which he was convicted of all counts. Balkany filed a writ of error coram nobis, which is basically a writ of habeas corpus for a guy who finished his sentence. Habeas corpus literally means that the Feds “have the body” in jail. When you are out of jail the Feds no longer have your body, so you get to file coram nobis papers to have your conviction overturned. You are out of prison and “before the Court,” the literal translation of coram nobis.
Balkany filed his coram nobis petition along with a request that the sentencing judge be recused from his case, due to her obvious bias and hatred towards Balkany. Balkany didn’t get a bad deal. Judge Denise Cote sentenced him to 48 months in spite of the fact that he had a prior conviction going into sentencing and he had a bad reputation and known as the “Brooklyn Bundler.” Plus Balkany didn’t cop a plea, he was convicted after a jury trial. Judges give longer sentences to guys who go to trial and lose. Guys who plea bargain and cooperate get shorter sentences. Judge Cote denied Balkany’s coram nobis petition.
Balkany has a long history of mental illness. Balkany tried to have David Luchins, top aide to former Senator Daniel Moynihan, excommunicated by a Jewish rabbinical court. An actual trial was held at Yeshiva University’s rabbinical court. Rabbi Balkany was thrown out of rabbinical court. Balkany also sued Rabbi Shlomo Riskin in a religious court for $200,000 for non-payment of fees for lobbying Congress on Riskin’s behalf. Riskin claimed that he had never asked Balkany to lobby Congress. Rabbi Balkany was thrown out of that rabbinical court as well.
On the Zev Brenner radio show Balkany said: “I told the Satmar Rebbe, your army was responsible for igniting the fire on every other group that was involved to get this job done.” Fact check: There is a popular book about the Lubavitcher Rebbe titled “The Rebbe’s Army.” There is no Satmar army. There does exist a Satmar para military organization. This is the reason I don’t walk through Williamsburg or Kiryas Yoel without an armed bodyguard. The Satmars are very involved in lobbying for inmates, probably more so than the Lubavitchers. The Satmar godfather of the prisons is Rabbi Niederman. Niederman’s name was mentioned quite often by fellow inmates as a man who could push the right buttons and get the job done. Balkany’s name never came up, other than by guys who were locked up with Balkany in Miami, Florida.
Balkany attacked New York Democratic Senator Charles Schumer, who refused to sign a letter on behalf of Rubashkin: “The Jewish community needs to know that fellow Jew Charles Schumer did nothing.” Fact Check: Balkany was right about this. Schumer is an embarrassment. Schumer should issue an apology and try to get other Jews sprung from the clink to make up for it.
Balkany criticized Obama: “Obama gave out over 1150 pardons and commutations, over 350 of them were in jail. Obama only pardoned Blacks or Puerto Ricans. No White people. If you were Jewish forget it.” Fact Check: Some of my Black friends from Otisville prison were sprung by Obama, after serving very long non-violent drug sentences. They are out now and working very hard to support their families. The only guy I know who got out and messed up was a Jewish drug dealer named Russell Lockinwicz, who is back in the clink.
Balkany told Brenner: “$12 million was raised to lobby for Rubashkin, $4 million of the money came in twenty dollar bills, fifty dollar bills, ten dollar bills.” Fact Check: $12 million in attorney and lobbyist fees? That sounds a bit low. The Goat already spent that much and he still is waiting for his criminal trial.
Rubashkin said that an unnamed Lubavitcher gave him $500K to lobby behind the scenes, all of which was “kosher money.” Fact check: Would you give $500K to Balkany, a convicted felon just released from Federal prison? Balkany was still on probation when this “kosher money” was allegedly put into his hands. I am surprised that Balkany didn’t claim that the Federal Office of Adult Probation approved of this transaction. Balkany is obviously hoping to solicit other inmates who think that he has special powers to get guys sprung from the Big House. Don’t fall for it. Balkany couldn’t get himself sprung from the clink. Save your shekels.
Balkany told Brenner: “Rubashkin forced the City of Postville to build a YMCA for these Christians who were Catholics, it was built for them, the Jewish kids didn’t go to that, despite the fake news in the press who banged away for eight years like he was the villain of the century.” Fact Check: I haven’t seen anything in legal papers or memos or the internet that can verify that Rubashkin built a YMCA, which begs the question, why didn’t Rubashkin build a JCC? If Rubashkin built a JCC building along with a Jewish Federation building, he would have been untouchable and never got in trouble in the first place.
Balkany told Brenner: “He was as honest as can be, yet they came after him with helicopters, attack dogs, you would think that Bin Laden was hiding, they went through every locker of his and every desk, not one ounce of anything was found.” Fact Check: I have been told by unnamed sources that 12 ounces of shmaltz herring was found under Rubashkin’s desk.
Balkany told Brenner: “In the very beginning there were many meetings, I told them I took out over 40 people from jail, I didn’t do it through the courts” Fact Check: If Balkany got 40 people out of jail, how come he couldn’t get himself sprung from the Big House?
Balkany said: “I am the one 25 years ago who told the government to give me a camp, give me a minimum sentence, and both have to be within a two hour drive from Brooklyn, so they gave me Otisville, and since that day in 1992, there has never been a day without shacharis, mincha, and maariv. I sent 1000 seforim to Otisville, and I had built a glatt kosher kitchen.” Fact check: There is no glatt kosher kitchen in Otisville. There is a room about the size of a closet that is used by the kosher inmates in order to prepare food, mainly for Shabbos. They have the use of a food processor and a hot plate. This room is not a kosher kitchen. It is a room that always existed in the prison compound. Balkany is correct that there are daily minyans at Otisville, but I never saw 1000 seforim in the Jewish chapel. There are a few hundred books and seforim, but not 1000. Most of the seforim have the name of the donor listed on the inside cover. I never saw a sefer with Balkany’s name listed on the inside.
Balkany talked about the Jewish prisoner advocate organization Aleph Institute: “Aleph was founded by Rabbi Lipsker. Four years later in 1992, he called me and said he was at a dead end, and he didn’t know the Senators in Washington, he said we can’t get through. I said to him, meet me in Washington, I am going to take you into the Justice Department and introduce you to individuals who will open doors for you.” Fact Check: I would take a wild guess that Rabbi Lipsker would completely deny this statement.
Balkany talked about how the lawyers blew the chance at getting Rubashkin a pardon: “My only disappointment was I left it to the lawyers about the paperwork and Rubashkin only has a commutation and not a pardon, and he has to report every month, and still on supervised release for three years.” Fact Check: Balkany implies that due to some lawyer paperwork mix-up Rubashkin didn’t get a full pardon and only got a commutation. Rubashkin hired some of the best lawyers in the country, including Alan Dershowitz. Does Balkany expect anyone to believe that Dershowitz messed up the paperwork? Rubashkin was lucky to get a commutation, let alone a full pardon.
Balkany said that inmates spit at Rubashkin and called him a dirty Jew: “Because he had a 27 year sentence, he was placed in an ugly place in Otisville, he was not in the camp that I arranged 25 years ago, he was on the inside with people spitting in his face ‘dirty Jew’ and drug dealers.” Fact Check: Rubashkin was treated with some level of respect in the medium because he had access to the kosher food. Food is a hot commodity in prison, part of the underground economy. Food is more valuable than bitcoins. Rubashkin actually gained weight while he was locked up, his old kepota didn’t fit him when he got out. It is true that the medium is an ugly place, but I don’t believe that the sex offenders and chomos at Otisville spit in Rubashkin’s face and called him a dirty Jew. Otisville medium has a reputation for being less violent than most mediums. I am sure if Rubashkin needed protection he would have paid off the stocky drug dealers for protection.
During the radio show Balkany said that sentencing Judge Reade was an Anti-Semite. Balkany said that her two ex-husbands told one of Rubashkin’s non-Jewish lawyers that she was an Anti-Semite. Fact Check: I doubt that any of Rubashkin’s lawyers, or any of Judge Reade’s ex-husbands, will admit to this outrageous claim.