New York City’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, said finding the killer of haredi Orthodox Brooklyn landlord Menachem Stark is a priority and condemned the New York Post’s coverage of the incident.
De Blasio, who has been roundly criticized for his silence in the case, ripped the newspaper for its coverage on the front page of its Jan. 4 edition that included a headline blaring “Who Didn’t Want Him Dead?” next to a photo of Stark, 39, sporting a large shtreimel and graying side curls.
“It was unfair. It was hurtful. And there is really no place for that kind of thing in New York City,” de Blasio told the WMCA’s Orthodox-interest “Community Matters” radio program. “I know a lot of people are outraged, and I share their outrage.”
The mayor, who was sworn in at the start of the year, vowed to find Stark’s killer or killers.
“It’s a tragedy what happened to Mr. Stark. And my heart goes out for the family and they are in my thoughts and prayers,” de Blasio said. “And I know that for many, many people in the Jewish community this has been a very painful moment and I want to say: First of all, we are going to get to the bottom of it. We will find who did this to him and who robbed children of a father and a wife of a husband.”
Meanwhile, police reportedly found a new clue in the case, with WABC-TV reporting over the weekend that a cellphone being used as a tracking device was found taped under Stark’s car. Police are trying to identify the phone’s owner.
Stark’s body was found Jan. 3 on suburban Long Island some 16 miles away from his office in the heavily Satmar section of Williamsburg, from where he was kidnapped the previous evening. He reportedly was suffocated before his body was placed in a dumpster outside a Great Neck gas station and burned, according to police.
Video footage taken from his office reportedly showed Stark being taken into a van after a struggle outside his office. The identity of his abductors is not known.