Last week the notorious conman Shmuel Shmueli was evicted from a Niagara Falls luxury condo at the Parkway Condominiums on Buffalo Ave.––but not until after he stayed in the condo for free for a year. Artvoice previously identified 25 lawyers that Shmueli conned out of legal services. We’ve now discovered a new class of Shmueli dupes: landlords.
The latest landlord – who is a well-known contractor in Niagara Falls – had to do what all who enter into contracts with Shmueli must do: Abandon all hope for getting paid.
Shmueli ran up a bill of $24,000.
The Parkway Condominiums house many of Niagara Falls’ elite – so the elegant Shmueli was right at home with lawyers and other professional people who live there. With panoramic views of the Niagara River, it is pleasant to think of Shmueli sitting on the balcony on a bright summer morning, having his favorite breakfast of lox and bagels, reading newspapers, and planning how to stiff his next lawyer.
Last week, his Parkway Condo landlord not only had to evict Shmueli – but clean up the condo as well.
Shmueli left behind palettes of papers. Just like he did when he was evicted twice in Brooklyn, and twice in Ghanzou, China, and in Jerusalem–he left papers and stacks of newspapers.
Not just a couple of piles. But palettes of newspapers piled high in apartments where he did not pay rent.
This is not indicative of any mental disease, by the way, not some pack rat hoarding of old newspapers – which he may never read. It was a strategic ploy to combat eviction.
When the landlord threatened to evict – which Shmueli knew he would since he didn’t pay rent, Shmueli, who would be conveniently “out of town,” would argue that he had many important “papers” in the apartment.
It will cost a million dollars in damages if those papers were lost.
The record shows this generally worked to forestall landlords for months; the law reads you cannot simply evict a tenant and throw his stuff out to the curb. You have to store it.
One landlord, Lewiston lawyer Paul Grenga, who was unfortunate enough to have Shmueli occupy an office in his building, tried to get him out for years. In the end, Grenga won a court order.
But Shmueli haggled about “papers” he left behind.
Grenga placed boxes of them in storage and when he returned these to Shmueli, sure enough, Shmueli said some of the “papers” were missing. He accused Grenga of reading them and tried to sue. State Supreme Court Justice Timothy Walker – having had Shmueli before him on numerous lawsuits – threw the case out.
But it cost Grenga about $10,000 in legal fees.
As a cautionary word to landlords–when you rent to Mr. Shmuel Shmueli, please have a plan to store outdated, yellowing, seemingly useless palettes of newspapers. Shmueli may sue you, claiming he saved these for important financial reasons. And they are irreplaceable. And of course, some of them are missing.
Of course, Shmueli is not a one trick tenant.
In Ghanzou, Shmueli was evicted from both apartment and office and never once used the newspaper ploy. According to his Chinese law firm of Anderson and Anderson, Shmueli’s secretary was called into service and taken advantage of.
In an email to Shmueli, dated Dec 23, 2010, Ms. Wu Xiaoqing in the Finance Department of the law firm Anderson and Anderson, whose purpose in writing, by the way, was the attempt to collect some $57,000 in unpaid legal bills, reveals Shmueli’s financial genius.
Dear Mr. Shmueli,
You sat in our office in Guangzhou for many hours. You reviewed our bills with Mr. Buxbaum, myself and our general manager; we brought you documents for each item you requested.
You agreed to all the bills; you then left and only paid one bill.
You failed to respond to numerous e-mails requests for payment. We provided you with food and drink at our expense. We did not charge you yet for all the work we spent reviewing the bills with you, nor for the food and drink.
Your staff whom you hired in Guangzhou has not been paid since September. The landlord of your office and residence in Guangzhou was not paid and terminated your lease. Your poor secretary had to use her own money to move things out of your Guangzhou office. You apparently failed to pay other lawyers such as Hogan & Willig who are also suing you. You appear to try to deceive all your service providers, accepting services and not paying for them. You do not appear to be acting properly.
It is time for you to straighten yourself out and pay your bills. We hope you are not only earning your revenue from wasteful litigation, so you need to use other people’s money to litigate to eat. Pay your bills now or we will be forced to sue you…
Yours very truly,
Ms. Wu Xiaoqing
ANDERSON & ANDERSON LLP – Macau
20th Floor, AIA Tower
N° 251A-301, Avenida Comercial De Macau
The reference to Shmueli using litigation money to eat may seem curious but it is the most telling sentence in the correspondence. In a nutshell, Shmueli gets investors to give him money to retain lawyers for a lawsuit and in return, if he wins the case, he would give a share of the winnings to the investor. Instead of paying lawyers, however, he only gives them a retainer fee, pockets the rest of the money and stiffs the lawyers.
Since he never won a lawsuit, he never had to pay back investors. This is very similar to the scheme used in the famous movie and Broadway play The Producers.
But today we are talking about landlords.
We will skip over Golderg Companies who, court records show, were forced to evict him in Brooklyn recently.
But speaking of Brooklyn, as previously reported, Shmueli bought a home there and placed three mortgages on the property then transferred the home to his wife, who got a mortgage for $110,000. She transferred the house back to Shmueli, who got another mortgage for $75,000. Then Shmueli transferred the home back to his wife who transferred it to their daughter, who got a $328,000 mortgage then sold the house for $480,000 to Jacob and Eva Fuhrman who planned to live in the home.
Shmueli refused to move out and produced a lease signed by his daughter that leased the home back to him at a low rent.
The Fuhrmans filed suit to evict Shmueli; Shmueli countersued and asked the court to honor the lease and postpone the court dates, keeping the Fuhrmans out of the house since he had urgent business in Israel. Months went by. Finally, US District Court Judge Carol B. Amon ordered Shmueli to vacate. When, months later, he still failed to move, the judge directed the U.S. Marshall to eject him.
Shmueli never paid the $56,668 judgment the Fuhrmans won. He discharged it, along with $24.5 million in other debts, in bankruptcy. On his bankruptcy petition, when asked if any “books of account or records” were missing, Shmueli wrote, “records were lost during eviction action without my presence court ordered.”
Which brings us back to the present.
Shmueli has been evicted from his condo he enjoyed so much at the Parkway.
And while he will likely very soon be looking to be compensated for the million dollars’ worth of “papers” he left behind, he still needs a new place in Niagara Falls.
If there are any landlords looking for a quiet man who loves to read newspapers, please contact this newspaper and we will refer you to that splendid conman and celebrated rascal, Mr. Shmueli Shmueli late of Jerusalem, Ghanzou, Victoria, Australia, Brooklyn, and coming back soon to Niagara Falls.