The millionaire Hasidic slumlord found burned and suffocated in a Nassau County dumpster — his body still smoldering from the waist down — had so many enemies that investigators say they almost don’t know where to start looking.
“Any number of people wanted to kill this guy,” one law-enforcement source said of Menachem Stark, 39, describing the father of eight as embroiled in several “shady” real-estate transactions and being up to his tuchus in debt.
“He owed a lot of people money,” said another source.
Stark was last seen alive on surveillance tape getting pulled into a van by two men in a dramatic, mid-blizzard abduction Thursday night outside his Rutledge Street offices. On Friday afternoon, his body was found in a trash bin at a Great Neck, LI, gas station.
Just hours before he was snatched, Stark had borrowed a half-million dollars from a business associate, money he never had the chance to withdraw and use, the source said.
But his debts weren’t Stark’s only troubles, say investigators, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Although many neighbors described him as well-liked and charitable, Stark left behind a trail of angry tenants from more than a dozen residential properties, mostly in Greenpoint and Williamsburg, along with an untold number of unpaid contractors and angry business associates, investigators said.
Stark was also known as a neighborhood ATM machine — dispensing loans to those in need of quick cash, said a neighborhood source familiar with his business dealings.
“He was involved in shady business deals, was known to carry around a lot of money and had a sealed arrest for forcible touching” in his past, one law-enforcement source told The Post.
The alleged victim was a young teen girl, said the source, declining to give further details.
“He’s a Hasidic Jew from Williamsburg, and we think he’s a scammer,” another investigator said of Stark, who had defaulted on more than $30 million in real-estate loans in recent years and owed tens of thousands in penalties for building violations.
“He f–ked over a few people,” the source added.
Many on Stark’s enemies list took to social media Saturday — and not to mourn his passing.
“His slanted shtreimel on his head gives his crookedness away,” one commenter wrote on FailedMessiah.com, referring to the victim’s fur hat in a photo.
“Sentence his kidnappers to live in one of his buildings,” wrote another poster to the site.
Law-enforcement sources told The Post that Stark spent his final days repeatedly calling business associates, begging for a six-figure loan. Investigators still don’t know how much he owed and to how many people, one source said. But probers do know that he left his office with a $4,000 check in his pocket — payment for a plumber who was one of his many creditors.
And on the day he was abducted, Stark had called one businessman — a Borough Park-based real-estate developer — a dozen times, said the source, and had just succeeded in convincing the man to deposit $500,000 in an account for him, the source said.
That lender is not a suspect, nor is Stark’s business partner, Israel “Sam” Perlmutter, investigators said. Still, all of Stark’s financial dealings are being probed.
At the time of his death, Stark owed tens of thousands of dollars in penalties for 148 Department of Buildings violations on his 17 properties, public records show.
“He owed me some money on a job I was doing for him, and he told me to go f–k myself,” one Williamsburg contractor told The Post of his dealings with Stark, who was notorious for bouncing checks.
Numerous former Stark tenants described living with vermin, plus shabby interiors and sporadic heat and water problems.
“I’ve had many conversations with him, and of course in many of those conversations I wanted to kill him myself,” joked Greg Hanlon, who lived in a Stark-owned building at 239 Banker St. in Greenpoint.
That building was so decrepit, the city would issue a vacate order in 2009 — and numerous tenants were left to chase Stark down in futile efforts to retrieve the four-month deposits Stark had demanded of them, one tenant organizer said.
The building went into foreclosure shortly after.
“He pretty much ripped off the whole building,” said the organizer, Ryan Kuonen. “They kept trying to serve him, and he kept hiding from them. When he’d hear ‘Are you Max Stark,’ he would take off running.”
Investigators are finding a pattern of shady dealings in which Stark would acquire properties and then “lose” the properties by failing to pay his mortgage and improvement loans, sources said.
The properties would then be snapped up at bargain basement prices by family members and associates, one law-enforcement source said.
Nassau County coroners on Saturday found that Stark died from smothering.
His body had been severely burned below the waist. It was unclear if he had been set on fire while still alive.
“The smell, it made me sick,” Triumph Getty gas station owner Fernando Cerff said.
Brooklyn slumlord Menachem “Max” Stark made plenty of enemies over the years.
*He owed big bucks: Stark and his business partner, Israel Perlmutter, defaulted on a $29 million loan in 2008, and were still entangled in federal-court proceeding brought by creditors looking to recoup.
*He was a slumlord: Stark’s 17 properties have racked up 233 complaints and 148 violations, 49 of which are still open, according to the city Buildings Department. Known for squalid conditions including vermin, leaky ceilings and lack of heat and gas, Stark’s buildings also earned 182 Environmental Control Board violations, 60 of which are still open.
*Hazardous: Conditions were so bad in one Stark-owned building, 239 Banker St. (inset), that the Buildings Department shut it down, alleging “occupancy is hazardous to life.” The building had racked up 100 complaints and 59 violations.
*The Greenpoint Hotel: Greenpoint Hotel: In 2003, Stark and Perlmutter bought the drug and prostitution-infested Manhattan Avenue flophouse (right), where nearly 20 people died since the late 1990s. The pair did little to clean up the place, which was seized by federal authorities in 2005.
*Shark sighting: Sources say Stark, a father of eight, was a loan shark, handing out money to those in the neighborhood desperate for cash. “He’s a scammer,” a source said.
*Shady business dealing: Stark would snap up real-estate holdings but quickly allow them to fall into foreclosure, allowing his family and business associates to snap them up on the cheap.