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Orthodox Community Rallies around Howard Bloomgarden
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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 10:02 pm    Post subject: Orthodox Community Rallies around Howard Bloomgarden Reply with quote

Last summer in Brooklyn's Williamsburg section an intense campaign of fund raising on behalf of Howard Bloomgarden called on residents to contribute to a defense fund for a 47 year old man the Los Angeles District Attorney's office charge was involved with a drug ring that kidnapped and murdered two southern California men in 1994. Bloomgarden was convicted and sentenced in 1996 to a 33 year federal racketeering sentence under the terms of a plea agreement. Under the terms of the plea deal, Bloomgarden admitted participation in the double homicide along with Kenneth Friedman, who was sentenced two death and later committed suicide at San Quentin. Among the prominent personalities who rallied to Bloomgarden's defense was The Aleph Institute’s Rabbi Menachem Katz who stated publicly “I specifically spoke to Kenny face to face... he told me straight out. Howard had nothing to do with it.” Rabbi Katz says that the formerly secular Bloomgarden has been committed to Torah and mitzvot for the past decade. “He has been putting on tefillin every day for years. He has been keeping kosher for years. He won’t even pick up a pen on Shabbos.”\The organization known as “Dror,” which provides assistance to Jewish prisoners and their families, has spearheaded the public campaign on Bloomgarden’s behalf.

Bloomgarden was found guilty a second time recently of ordering the kidnapping that resulted in the strangulation deaths of two men inside a Lawndale motel room. During the trail which lasted six weeks, jurors were told that Bloomgarden ordered the death of rival Peter Kovach, 26, and Ted Gould, a 29-year-old man who worked with Kovach in a Torrance cellphone store and became an innocent victim. The killings stemmed from a plot to kidnap Kovach and force him to turn over money to Bloomgarden. Bloomgarden and Kovach had worked together for years in the drug business, but Kovach quit, taking their Mexican connection with him, costing Bloomgarden millions. In addition, Bloomgarden believed Kovach owed him $200,000 to $300,000.

Kovach instead went straight, investing in a cellphone business called Galleria Telecom on Hawthorne Boulevard in Torrance. Gould got a job there.

Kovach was in the store with Gould when Kenneth Friedman, Ruben Hernandez and another man walked in. They abducted Kovach and Gould, driving them to a room at the Traveler’s Inn at Marine and Rosecrans avenues in Lawndale.

“Kenny immediately starts in, saying things such as, ‘You think you can rip off Howard?’ ” Deputy District Attorney Geoff Lewin said in his opening statement at trial. “ ‘Who do you think you are? We’re going to put you on the phone with Howard right now. He’s waiting to talk to you.’ ”

Bloomgarden and Friedman’s brother, Gary Friedman, were waiting for word on the kidnappings. After talking to Bloomgarden on the phone, Friedman strangled Kovach with a telephone cord. Gould, lying on the floor with a pillow over his head, pleaded for his life, but was killed because he had witnessed the slaying. “They weren’t like Italian mafia,” Lewin said in an interview. “They were rich kids that made a lot of money in nightclubs and narcotics sales and Howard was just a greedy guy that wanted more and more and needed to support a certain lifestyle.”

Torrance police detectives identified suspects in the crime because an officer had earlier pulled them over as they drove through the city, preparing for the crime.

Kenneth Friedman, who was sentenced to death in 2005 for the killings, committed suicide on death row at San Quentin state prison on Aug. 26, 2012.

Friedman, who used the aliases “Anthony Zito,” “Tony Russo,” “Anthony Stewart” and “Keith Delellis,” previously was sentenced to two life sentences without the possibility of parole for a 1996 conviction on federal racketeering charges in New York. His brother, Gary, a criminal defense attorney, was sentenced to three life terms in connection with the South Bay killings.

Bloomgarden’s confession was not allowed as evidence during the California trial, but one of the kidnappers, Hernandez, was given a deal to testify in the case.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 6:48 pm    Post subject: Beemoe Reply with quote

The Williamsburg / Bushwick is an interesting area of Brooklyn. I get the impression that the rabbi was paid to help Bloomgarden and maybe for only that reason.
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