The war of words between the well-attended Ohr Natan synagogue and its landlord continues to rage on even after the battle left the court system.
The house of worship at 98-81 Queens Blvd. in Rego Park was served with a notice of eviction by Trylon LLC, its landlord, in early December because of alleged nonpayment of rent.
After a court battle that saw a judge dismiss the civil case regarding the eviction earlier this month because of a technicality, both Rabbi Nahum Kaziev of Ohr Natan and landlord Rudolf Abramov of Trylon have claimed the other party has been dishonest when it comes to whether the synagogue actually paid for its space or not.
The case was dismissed because a notice Trylon served Ohr Natan was sent to the wrong address. Trylon has no plans to re-file the case, according to Abramov.
“We’re not asking them to leave, we’re just asking them to pay,” Abramov said Monday of the eviction notice, which was used as a motivation to get the temple to pay. “We have no intentions of kicking them out. We’re not looking to hurt the community.”
However, Kaziev claims the temple sent a rent check to Trylon in October and mailed a check worth two months rent, a total of $26,000, in November when the first check had not been deposited.
But on Dec. 2, Kaziev said Trylon mailed him back the November check, along with a letter saying the payment was too late and that the eviction process had begun.
“They could have taken the check and deposited it in the bank,” Kaziev said. “But the rent is not the issue here. They just want to evict us.”
Abramov denied Kaziev’s claims, saying the temple had not paid rent for months and even when it sent a check to Trylon, it wasn’t for the full amount.
“He’s absolutely lying. We took him to court when he sent a check not for the full amount,” Abramov said. “I tried to reach out to him myself but was totally dismissed, so I had to use an attorney.”
While Abramov said Ohr Natan, which mostly serves the Bukharian Jewish community, was not a poor tenant, this is not the first time the synagogue and its landlord have traded barbs.
Last August, Ohr Natan claimed the landlord had asked the temple to vacate the building to make room for a new mixed-use structure Trylon wanted to construct on the site, worrying both members and elected officials.
Trylon officials said the temple had not been asked to leave, instead offering to temporarily relocate Ohr Natan during the potential construction of a new building and then giving them space in the structure once it was built.
This exchange, Kaziev claims, inspired alleged disdain from Trylon ever since, inspiring it to find a way to evict the synagogue.
“They’ve been harassing us since last year. We haven’t been keeping quiet and they just want to evict us,” Kaziev said. “We have the lease until February 2017. Hopefully they stop harassing us.”
Abramov said Trylon does not wish to re-file in civil court due to the inconvenience of entering into litigation. He says all he wants is the unpaid rent.
“We have no intentions of removing the synagogue before the lease expires,” he said. I don’t want to kick them out. I just want them to pay the rent.”