‘Post’ stands by controversial cover on slain ‘slumlord’

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New York Post. ()
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The New York Post is standing by its controversial Sunday cover about the grisly murder of Brooklyn landlord Menachem Stark.

"The Post does not say Mr. Stark deserved to die but our reporting showed that he had many enemies, which may have led to the commission of this terrible crime," a spokesperson for the paper told Capital late Sunday afternoon. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time of loss."

The tabloid came under fire for a front proclaiming in full-page knockout type, "WHO DIDN'T WANT HIM DEAD?"

The headline referred to the 39-year-old Hasidic man known widely as "Max" Stark, whose charred remains were found in a Long Island dumpster on Friday one day after surveillance footage showed him being forced into a van near his place of business in Brooklyn.

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The accompanying story, based largely on anonymous police sources, portrayed Stark as a "slumlord" and a scam artist with a long list of shady business dealings, debts and enemies.

Rival tabloid the Daily News had similar reporting and sources in its coverage, but went with an arguably more subdued cover treatment that took up the bottom half of today's wood: "TORCHED! Kidnap victim suffocated, burned in Long Island dumpster."

The Post cover stoked the ire of Jewish leaders and members of the Hasidic and Orthodox communities, some of whom have proposed a boycott of the paper.

One Jewish website, JP Updates, argued that the Post was justifying Stark's abduction and murder. Another, Voz Iz Neis, published an open letter to the paper calling for an apology.

At least two local politicians also demanded a mea culpa, while others condemned the Post on Twitter.

"The Post must issue an immediate apology to the Stark family and to all New Yorkers," said State Senator Simcha Felder in a statement.

“The New York Post’s unbelievably offensive headline this morning comes the day after Mr. Stark’s family and children, as well as an entire community, laid him to rest and are still mourning his death," said Council Member Stephen Levin, also in a statement issued to the press.

"For the New York Post to suggest that a person deserved to be murdered is sickening and reaches a new low," the statement continues. "The New York Post should pull their story and issue an apology to the family and community that are still in mourning.”