A wealthy repeat sex-offender who uses his wealth to harass poor people who raise their voices against him. This is the reality of Louis Kestenbaum.
His website would make him seem like a religious philanthropist who had done nothing but good for the world. The truth is the opposite. Louis has been a part of many illicit activities. Fraud, sexual harassment, bribery, and driving a woman to near bankruptcy, are just a few of the many things Louis has done.
In the following column, you’ll learn about the reality behind this real estate developer and how he has succeeded in burying the truth for so long.
Louis Kestenbaum Wiki: Fortis Property Group, Net Worth, Forbes Appearance, Etc.
Louis Kestenbaum is the chairman and co-founder of the Fortis Property Group LLC. He was born in 1952 and is an American real estate developer. His Fortis Property Group is a New York-based real estate company.
Louis’s father was Rabbi Zvi Kestenbaum who is the founder of the ODA Primary Health Care Network. His father’s successes have helped Louis greatly in becoming a successful real estate developer. But his success has its flaws too.
Louis has many skeletons in his closet. While he has tried his best to hide his sketchy past, he has done too many misdeeds that it’s nearly impossible to hide them from the public eye. From sexual harassment to money laundering, Louis Kestenbaum got away with many crimes thanks to his immense wealth and influence.
Just a few years ago, Fortis Property Group put a bid to take over a hospital in Long Island. The Louis Kestenbaum hospital deal was one of the instances when this real estate developer caught the eye of journalists. Many people uncovered his suspicious activities and objected to the Louis Kestenbaum hospital instance. His handling of the deal was also criticized by many.
Another prominent member of his company is Joel Kestenbaum. Joel is Louis’s son and is the President of the Fortis Property Group. He and Louis have been a part of many illicit activities as you’ll learn in this article. Jonathan Landau is also a co-founder of the Fortis Property Group.
Louis is a prominent follower of the Satmar Hasidic dynasty and used to run a sportswear company before launching his real estate firm.
The Secret Behind the Lavish Fortis Property Group Net Worth
The current Fortis Property Group net worth is $3 billion. They have acquired or developed more than $3 billion of commercial real estate since 2005.
Surely, the company has seen great success. However, there are many issues that put his company’s large net worth under question.
Herschel Kestenbaum, Louis’s father, was the president of the federally funded organization called ODA. The ODA funnels through an estimated amount of $42 million every year in numerous government programs. Many suspect that if anyone wants to conduct business with the ODA or avail benefits from its related government programs, they have to send a percentage to Louis Kestenbaum.
This is illegal. And the suspicions have existed for decades. Louis is able to operate so freely only because he has immense wealth and influence.
Louis Kestenbaum and His $9.7 Million Case of Fraud
In 1999, a federal grand jury handed down five indictments against four New York City and one Swiss businessman. The indictment was for defrauding a Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble.
Louis Kestenbaum was one of the people who received the indictments. He and his business partners had bought $5.5 million in goods from Procter & Gamble to export them to new markets in the former Soviet Union. But they didn’t do that. Instead, they sent the products to a Brooklyn warehouse and sold them in the US for around $9.7 million.
In the case of a conviction, each of them faced a maximum sentence of 180 years in prison and $2.3 million in fines and restitution.
Louis Kestenbaum escaped the conviction with his business partners by settling the case out of court. That’s proof that he was guilty. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have needed to settle the case at all.
In 1991, Mr. Schoenfield, a partner in the crime of Louis Kestenbaum, had a deal with P&G where they would export their products to the markets in the former Soviet Union. But Louis Kestenbaum and Moshe Kestenbaum were the finances of the deal. And in return, Mr. Schoenfield gave the products to them.
It was a case of fraud. Because P&G had sold the products to Mr. Schoenfield based on the prices for the emerging markets in the former Soviet Union.
One of Louis’s partners, Mr. Kraus set up a Panama-based company called Sudo Import. He claimed that Sudo Import was the buyer of the products in the former Soviet Union. Mr. Kraus funneled money through Swiss bank accounts to purchase the products and make it seem as if the products were exported.
This is just one of the many cases Louis is a part of. You can imagine how many frauds he must have pulled off as the meticulousness of his planning shows that he wasn’t a beginner.
And what’s more interesting is even though he committed fraud, he is roaming around freely without facing any repercussions for his actions.
Louis Kestenbaum Botched a Hospital Deal
Fortis Property Group tried to play the role of a savior for the Long Island College Hospital in 2014 when it put a bid for it. However, the company had used a similar bid in 2007 to increase their chances of getting preference in another project.
They had no interest in running the hospital. Their intent was only to get the right to redevelop a defunct military terminal.
Louis Kestenbaum had shown interest in buying Bayonne Medical Center. His company placed a bid and their intermediary, Robert Miller, had signed a $22.5 million agreement.
Even though the executives from Fortis Property Group were present during every interaction, Louis’s company claimed that “Mr. Miller had overstepped his bounds”.
Bayonne Medical Center was the only hospital in the geographically isolated peninsula and was a prominent employer. So, the city wanted to keep the hospital functioning.
Louis Kestenbaum saw it as an opportunity to become a favorable candidate for redeveloping the Bayonne riverfront military terminal. Mr. Miller had signed an agreement for Urban Suburban, his holding company, in the bankruptcy court to purchase the hospital.
The judge said that the proof of Fortis’s commitment would come when they put down the deposit. That was $2.25 million (10% of the price).
Fortis Property Group never made that deposit. Instead, they sent a notice to the local media 5 days later to say they never entered into an agreement to buy Bayonne Medical Center.
The hospital’s creditors took Fortis to court saying that they used the deal to “get good will in Bayonne”. However, the judge dismissed the case because Fortis had never signed any agreement.
It was a little surprising dismissal considering Fortis executives were present at every step of the deal.
This is quite common in Louis Kestenbaum’s history. No matter how many illicit activities this man takes part in he doesn’t face any legal repercussions for it. And it’s sad.
This poor hospital deal isn’t the only shady thing in Louis’s past.
Louis Kestenbaum and his business partners had scammed Procter & Gamble in the 1990s. He was facing 180 years in prison and $2.3 million in fines. Louis settled the case out of court and went scot-free.
Illegal Takeover of LICH
The current Louis Kestenbaum hospital project that his company is working on is the Long Island College Hospital.
While the local community wanted a full-service hospital. Fortis has turned it into River Park. It’s a high-rise design that clashes with the low-rise setting of the neighborhood and the residents expressed concerns that there wouldn’t be enough replacement medical facilities.
What is this River Park the Kestenbaum family is building?
They are building a condo complex that would feature a “medical mall”. It would have an urgent care center, surgery facilities, and dentist offices but without an emergency room.
So, they took down a hospital to build a highly profitable resident building.
You might wonder, “If their bid is so much against the aspirations of the local community, then why did they win?” The answer has to do a lot with their history of bribing officials.
You see, Louis was among the top contributors to State Governor Cuomo’s campaign. He had contributed $17,500 to the campaign. Obviously, the company says that their contributions had nothing to do with them winning the bid.
But the second contender for LICH was also a contributor to Cuomo’s campaign. Stephen Ross of The Related Companies had donated $5,000 to Cuomo’s campaign.
The top contributor to the Governor’s campaign wins a real estate bid.
Louis and Joel Kestenbaum won the bid for redeveloping LICH even when their plans differed completely from the local community. It could be because they were the top contributor to the reigning Governor’s political campaign.
Louis Kestenbaum is a Repeat Sex Offender
Kestenbaum was the vice president of a secluded ranch and spa in northern New Mexico. He was in that position between 1977 and 1984.
Pennzoil used to run that place. An anonymous letter reaches Pennzoil’s upper management in January 1984 that accused Louis of sexual harassment and many other misdeeds. Obviously, he denied the allegations but Pennzoil fired him.
He took Pennzoil to court and won $500,000 because the investigator admitted in court that she relied on rumor and innuendo while compiling her report. However, no one ever investigated the sexual harassment allegations against Louis Kestenbaum.
If that investigator had done a good job, she could have saved many people from suffering under Louis.
People allege that Louis had performed sexual misdeeds on a girl in Hong Kong and fled the place at midnight. The local news had covered the topic but you wouldn’t find out much about it thanks to Louis’s ability of burying the truth.
There were allegations of performing sexual misdeeds on women in Thailand too. All of these allegations are completely different from one another. The only reason why Louis hasn’t spent any jail time even after committing so many crimes is because he is wealthy and corrupt.
There is no shortage of corrupt and powerful people anywhere in the world. If you have the funds, you can get away with anything. That’s why Louis thinks he is immune. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be committing so many crimes so frequently.
Louis Kestenbaum is Going After the Freedom of Speech
Louis has a checkered past. And when you have committed numerous misdeeds over decades, some people will find out about them. More so, some might talk about them with others to alert them.
But wealthy and corrupt people like Louis Kestenbaum don’t like it when people start exposing them.
They go after the common folks whose sole purpose of sharing that information was to alert their community. Louis Kestenbaum has sued a small blogger named Julia Globus for publishing articles with “defamatory content”.
However, his case isn’t based on merit. Louis and Joel Kestenbaum filed the defamation lawsuit in 2018 but the articles in question were published in 2016. So they failed to meet New York’s one-year statute of limitations for such claims.
They are so paranoid over the case that Louis and Joel requested the court to “seal” all the pleadings in the case. Why? Because the pleadings would discuss the so-called defamatory statements the blogger made.
Even though the Louis and Joel Kestenbaum lawsuit doesn’t meet the one-year statute of limitations, they are trying to bend the rules by referencing another article. This additional article doesn’t mention Louis or Joel and has nothing to do with them.
All it has is a hyperlink to the “Top Posts & Pages” section of the website. The Kestenbaum family claims that the hyperlink republished the previous two articles. And so it extended the filing date for their defamation claims.
The whole case is ridiculous. It targets freedom of speech and if the court rules in Louis’s favor, it would deter websites and publications from using hyperlinks anywhere on their website. This would cause many internet users to be deprived of a lot of information.
Using Their Financial Wealth to Target a Common Folk
The person Louis Kestenbaum has filed a case against is Julia Globus. Unlike Louis, who is a real estate mogul, Julia is an anonymous blogger.
She doesn’t have the financial power to fight the army of lawyers Louis keeps. The financial burden of fighting a legal battle forced her to launch a gofundme page:
This is a common tactic among wealthy crooks and fraudsters. Louis isn’t the only person who uses his immense wealth to bury the voice of innocent people. He has done it countless times and will surely do it again.
Another example of such a person is Dr. Dean Toriumi. The guy buries honest reviews posted by his disgruntled patients by using fake reviews. Money is a very powerful thing. And people like Louis Kestenbaum abuse this power.
If you’d like to support Julia in her legal battle, you can contribute through here: Integrity in Litigation.
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press says that the court should reject Louis and Joel’s republication theory. Because multiple courts across the nation have already rejected it.
The single-publication rule makes the claims of Louis and Joel Kestnabaum time-barred. The republication rule would prevent websites from using hyperlinks in the future. And that would affect the accessibility of information online greatly.
Louis Kestenbaum uses Fake DMCA Notices
Neither Louis nor his son Joel likes it when people start talking about their illicit activities. So they use various tactics to bury the truth. When you have millions of dollars, it’s very easy for you to silence others’ voices.
Apart from filing a defamation lawsuit against a small blogger, Louis Kestenbaum uses fake DMCAs to take down articles that show him in a bad light.
Filing a fake DMCA is illegal but Louis is a veteran in committing crimes. He copied articles from the original website, posted them on a newly-bought website, and changed the publishing date on his new site to be a few days before the original article.
After this, his team sent a notice to Google claiming that the original website had copied the article from them. They used this tactic to take down two articles from the internet.
A DMCA notice is a big thing. Most websites will remove an article as soon as they receive a DMCA notice. And that’s what happened.
Even though the notice was fake, the website removed the articles.
More on His Fake DMCAs
The website Louis’s team claimed to be the owner of was brooklynpaper.medianewsonline.com. If you’ve been on the internet, you can see how fake this domain sounds.
Louis’s team even prevented Google from indexing their site so it wouldn’t appear if you look it up online.
His team set up the website in 2017 while the article they took down was published before December 2006. Moreover, the website his fake website is hosted on, medianewsonline.com was registered in May 2007. So there’s no way that the articles they filed DMCAs for were theirs.
Louis Kestenbaum’s fake article’s image address was: brooklunpaper.medianewsonline.com / wp-content / uploads / 2017 / 08 / Louis-Kestenbaum-1.jpg.
Obviously, they had published the article and its image in August 2017 and then changed the article’s date to 2006 to file a fake DMCA.
Note that Louis isn’t the only person who uses this illicit tactic to hide the truth. Another example is Jerry Couvaras who removes articles from the internet by using this method. He has removed articles from prominent magazines such as the Fortune Magazine by filing false DMCAs. Jerry has impersonated the article author and claimed that it was his original work.
Louis Kestenbaum has been getting away with his crimes for decades. His son, Joel Kestenbaum is on the same path. The guy is dangerous and does everything in his financial power to bury any voice that warns others against him.
It’s a big reason why I wrote this article on Gripeo. At least I can remain anonymous and wouldn’t have to face the legal threat Julia Globus is facing right now.
Please share this article with others! The more people know about Louis’s wrongdoings the better.
Louis Kestenbaum is a wealthy guy who uses his money to get away with crimes. His son, Joel Kestenbaum is on the same path. Now he’s targeting a blogger for using a hyperlink when he has committed multiple sexual misdeeds and fraud.
- Has committed crimes in multiple countries
- Suspected of bribing officials to win bids
- Sexually harassed staff between 1977 to 1984
- Uses unethical methods to hide the truth