This week in our series on that fascinating conman, Shmuel Shmueli, we go to Shmueli’s native country Israel.
Shmueli, who by our calculation has sued or was sued about two dozen times, finds it easy to participate in litigation, for win or lose he rarely pays attorneys.
Shmueli formed a weekly Brooklyn Hebrew newspaper – Israel Shelanu (Our Israel) and “lifted” stories from other newspapers, who sued him and shut him down.
And last week we mentioned how Shmueli retained the law offices of Lorenzo and Cohen which became HoganWillig and the law firm of Zdarsky Sawicki and Agostinelli. We do not have space to get into how Shmueli hired more law firms – with the intent of suing my partner, Larry Reger and I.
We won’t detail his deceptively named shell company, “Trump State Equities Inc.,” whose purpose was to raise money for litigation and give haircuts to lawyers so Shmueli could pocket the difference.
We also hate to mention Shmueli had more than 500 unpaid billable hours for work done by HoganWillig owing them legal fees of $114,712.92, which they won a judgment for but settled for only $54,597. Shmueli tendered two Trump State Equities checks totaling $54,597 only to stop payment on the checks.
HoganWillig had to sue Shmueli again.
We’re loathe to tell you Shmueli retained the law firm of Anderson & Anderson in China, or Jaeckle Fleishmann in Buffalo and then stiffed them.
Delicacy prevents us from posting all the dunning emails from Anderson and Anderson such as one on 7-29, 2010, that reads “Dear Mr. Shmueli, Re: Outstanding Bills of US$57,047.75 (HK$444,972.45) We have not received payment for the above outstanding bills. We are shocked by your unethical behavior, we will take legal action against you immediately, unless payment in full is received this week.”
We’d like to hide the Aug. 16, 2010 hearing held by State Supreme Court Justice Judge Frank Caruso on Zdarsky Sawicki and Agostinelli’s unpaid bill Shmueli owed the firm for $141,000.
Or we could impugn dark motives when Shmueli entered into a retainer agreement with Andrew Lavoot Bluestone of NYC, to handle “a matter of legal malpractice and to defend an attorney fee dispute.”
Actually we could go on and on… and on, but we don’t want our readers to get the idea that Mr. Shmueli is a bit of a cad.
Instead we will talk about his patriotism and piety.
While Shmueli was in the US suing and being sued, back in Israel, a national leader, Rabbi Shalom Dov Ber Wolpo, established a new political party called ‘Eretz Israel Shelanu’ or Our Land of Israel.
Readers may recall that Shmueli’s defunct newspaper was called Israel Shelanu or Our Israel.
Shmueli now claimed the name.
On Dec. 7 2008, Shmueli sent a letter to Rabbi Dov Ber Wolpe demanding he stop using the name ‘Eretz Israel Shelanu’ for his political party, since he, Shmueli, had been operating an organization in Israel for 17 years under the same name.
While there is no known record of Shmueli operating any organization with that name or any name, Shmueli, as mentioned above, did publish Israel Shelanu (Our Israel) from 1979 until it ceased publishing in 1998 after being sued for copyright infringement.
Shmueli wrote to Rabbi Dov Wolpo, “To my surprise, you are acting in a way that will purposely destroy the work of the organization with the same name, that was established in (1991) by the Rebbe’s order to myself, which I have been operating since.
“We spend time, money and effort on advertising and doing work under the name ‘Eretz Israel Shelanu,’ and hundreds of the readers of our publications may mistake our agenda with yours. You (Volpo’s organization) have lots of opposition in many segments of the community, and this confusion can mean a disaster for our work.
“If you will not listen to my request (don’t mistake the friendly tone, to undermine the seriousness of this request) I will be forced to use my alternative options, according to Torah and the law in a case such as this, including advertising this letter in the media, and an official complaint sent to Kenesset officials, for using a confusing name.”
This was classic Shmueli. He speaks of the Torah, and can quote from it too.
Readers might care to know that Shmueli attended the Wisconsin Institute of Torah Studies. They might not want to know that he stiffed the school on their tuition. Indeed Shmueli discharged a $3,128 bad debt to the Wisconsin School of Torah Studies in his bankruptcy.
To give an idea of the validity of Shmueli’s claims in his letter to Dov Wolpo, let us compare the two men:
Rabbi Shalom Dov Ber Wolpe, (b 1948) is a rabbi, an Israeli political activist and author of more than 40 books. Through his various political organizations like SOS Israel—he has run press and billboard campaigns promoting the belief that to surrender parts of the Land of Israel is prohibited by the idea of “Greater Israel”.
Shmuel M. Shmueli (b 1951) has written no books but his newspaper was closed down after three newspaper sued him for plagiarizing their work, winning a $24 million judgment against him. Shmueli was not known to publish anything since that time.
After the Second Lebanon War, Rabbi Dov Wolpo organized a publicity campaign with the slogan “We Told You So” that distributed over a million brochures. He was responsible for a poster campaign promising that those responsible for Israel’s actions during the war would be “punished from heaven”.
Around that time Shmueli was sued by his employees, a printer and graphics company for not paying them and they said Shmueli’s actions would be punished in court, but they were wrong.
In 1979, on the instructions of Reb Menachem Schneerson also known as the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Dov Wolpo published his first book Da’at Torah a polemic against returning lands captured by Israel. He was active in the protests that surrounded the forced eviction of Yamit as per the Rebbe’s instructions to him
Shmueli was evicted by federal marshals from a home he bought in 1979.
In 1982, Dov Wolpo published the book Shalom, Shalom, Ve’ain Shalom that argued that peace with Arabs was impossible, and no discussions concerning concessions may be held.
In 1982 Shmueli transferred his house back and forth to his wife and daughter and back again to commit apparent bank fraud, and, according to several ex-employees of his Our Israel newspaper, cheated them out of payment for their work.
In 1984 Rabbi Dov Wolpo wrote a book proclaiming the Lubavitcher Rebbe, (Rabbi Schneerson) was the Messiah. The book was published in 1991 with Rabbi Schneerson’s blessings.
In 1991 Shmueli asked the Rebbe Schneerson if he could write an article about him. The Rebbe answered: (your, Shmueli’s) recent writings and publications have aroused new opposition that drive people away …. According to the prevailing situation, it seems more reasonable to halt [such activities] for the time being.”
In 2003 Dov Wolpo founded SOS Israel—a grassroots action group uniting a broad spectrum of the religious right in Israel behind extensive poster campaigns and mass protests against giving parts of the Holy Land away to Israel’s enemies. Dov Wolpo offered monetary rewards “to those who take out and neutralize terrorists attacking Jews.”
In 2003, Shmueli could offer no one any money but was willing to receive it. Coming off bankruptcy, he told the administrator he was living off charity – as he had no income – and lived in poverty in Brooklyn on $1000 per month.
In 2005, Dov Wolpo was active in the protest movement that fought the disengagement from Gaza. Following the failure of that campaign he organized a rabbinical conference entitled “We shall never forget and we shall never forgive”. Thousands of supporters joined
Shmueli is not known to have any supporters and he asked his lawyers to forgive and/or forget any debts.
In January 2006 Dov Wolpo wrote a letter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warning him that if he ever gave up even “a tiny parcel” of the Land of Israel he would suffer from a bitter fate. He called for Olmert to be “brought to trial and punished.”
Shmueli is not known to have sent any letters other than to his attorneys.
Dov Wolpo, addressing a demonstration against the Olmert government’s peace moves with the Palestinian Authority, said the prime minister, Vice Premier Chaim Ramon, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak would be “hung from the gallows” were Israel run properly.
He released a film under the SOS Israel name entitled “there is judgement and there is a judge”. Maariv reported that two million copies of the film were to be distributed.
Shmueli has made no films but says he plans to make a film in the future.
In 2007, Dov Wolpo started a political campaign under the slogan “if anyone comes to remove me from my home, I will chop off their hands” to protest the removal of Jewish settlers from their West Bank homes.
In 2007. Shmueli was appointed by David Ho, to begin litigation to chop off my management of One Niagara, a business I was running.
In December 2007, Dov Wolpo stated that his followers will secede from Israel if the Israeli government withdraws from the West Bank.
In December 2007 Shmueli launched a plan to get his lawyers to secede after not paying them and at least two landlords – in Brooklyn and one in China demanded that he secede from the premises after they evicted him.
And, on 11, November, 2008 Dov Wolpo founded his new party, Eretz Yisrael Shelanu.
It allied with the Jewish National Front, and ran in the 2009 Knesset elections as part of the National Union alliance. Eretz Yisrael Shelanu took one of the party’s four seats, taken by Michael Ben-Ari.
And Shmueli sent his letter threatening Rabbi Dov Wolpo
While Shmueli is lucky that Dov Wolpo chose not to hang him from the gallows, this episode and one we will relate next week that also occurred in Israel will bring great joy to those who follow the adventures of Shmueli, and need reinforcement that he is indeed a conman of unusual proportions.