Thursday, December 02, 2004

PETA vs Agriprocessors

The OU's Rabbi Belsky On The Postville Scandal

KAJ's position

Tzemach Atlas reports

Yaakov writes:

Rabbi Shear-Yashuv Cohen has become a focus of the Schita controversy over the past days. To make the halachic declaration he made and then to retract it
seems reckless to me.

1) Mudslinging Mars Israel's Campaign For Chief Rabbis
by David Hoffman
Washington Post Foreign Service
880 words
20 February 1993
The Washington Post

Hardball elections have long been a feature of Israel's secular politics,
but the campaign that ends this weekend for the country's two chief rabbis
has been marked by an unprecedented bout of mudslinging.

The front-running candidate for Ashkenazic chief rabbi has been accused of
making romantic advances to a woman who was not his wife. Another candidate
is fending off charges that he was a coward during Israel's war of
independence. There have been allegations of wiretapping and of slander -
and a tone that many Israelis have found more than a little unsettling for
an institution that is supposed to carry high moral authority.

The contest became unseemly enough that this week an appeal was made to
Israel's high court to delay the election, but the court refused. On Sunday,
80 rabbis and 70 public figures, many of them secular, will choose the two
chief rabbis, who serve 10-year terms. One is for the Ashkenazic Jews, of
European origin; the other, for the Sephardic Jews, of Oriental extraction.

Lau's supporters have also blamed his chief rival, Shear-Yashuv
Cohen, for spreading the reports, a charge Cohen denied.

Cohen too has been in the spotlight. Cohen was wounded and captured by the
Jordanians in the 1948 war of independence. But a monthly magazine recently
quoted a letter from one of his commanders, written at the time, alleging
that Cohen had tried to avoid dangerous combat situations and once had to be
threatened with a gun to take part. Cohen is viewed as far more liberal than
Lau and recently stirred the ire of the ultra-Orthodox by suggesting the
possibility of scrapping the requirement that all Israelis be married
according to strict religious tradition.

by CLYDE HABERMAN - New York Times News Service
21 February 1993
Portland Oregonian

3) One focus of this story that hasn't been addressed is the financial impact on
Agriprocessors. The articles below indicate that there may be liquidity problems.

1) Bank employee pleads guilty to fraud
23 March 2004
Associated Press Newswires

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - A former employee of Citizens State Bank in
Postville has been sentenced on her guilty pleas to two counts of bank
fraud, U.S. Attorney Charles W. Larson Sr. said Tuesday.

Teresa Downing, 43, of Postville, pleaded guilty last May, admitting in
federal court that, in 1998, she made false entries in the bank's records on
behalf of a customer.

Downing said she hid the fact that $1,140,000 in checks written on
Agriprocessors Inc.'s accounts in New York and deposited in the company's
account in Postville were not sufficient to cover the deposits.

She hid the insufficient fund checks by not debiting Agriprocessors'
account, resulting in unauthorized loans to the company.

The kosher meat plant is one of the largest employers in Postville, a town
of 2,273 people about 80 miles north of Cedar Rapids.

Downing also admitted to embezzling over $78,000 from the bank's accounts
for her own personal use, from 1992 to 1999.

4) Jewish Telegraphic Agency. New York: Apr 01, 2004.
A woman who worked at one of the country's largest kosher meat-packing
plants was sentenced to prison for bank fraud. Teresa Downing, 43, of
Postville, Iowa, who worked for Agriprocessors, one of the largest kosher
meat-packing plants in the country, was jailed this week for five months
after pleading guilty last May to hiding $1.14 million in bad checks from
the company's New York bank to its Postville accounts, which resulted in
unauthorized loans to the company, The Associated Press reported. She also
admitted to embezzling more than $78,000 from Agriprocessors, which is owned
by a Chasidic family.