Jewish Leaders in Brooklyn Section Charge ‘block Busting’ by Realtors

A spokesman for the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council charged yesterday that real estate speculators had engaged in block busting tactics to frighten the Jewish residents of the Brooklyn section into moving to other areas of the borough and declared that the council would not hesitate to publicize the names of such speculators to end those tactics.

Rabbi Zalman Gurary, a board member of the organization, which represents most of the Orthodox Jewish agencies in Crown Heights, told a press conference that council representatives had approached the speculators and warned them to end their activities. He said council representatives also had approached Jewish residents to assure them that rumors spread by the speculators about crime in Crown Heights streets were spread deliberately to frighten them into selling their homes. A council spokesman said that the flow of outgoing residents had been slowed but that the neighborhood had been hurt by the speculators’ efforts.

Refuting the rumors of increasing crime, Rabbi Gurary declared that auxiliary police and vigilante groups developed by Jews in other sections were not needed in Crown Heights and that the council had sought to make this clear to residents. He charged that the speculators “have played on the weaknesses of the community residents to make fortunes for themselves.” He said also that in some cases, the speculators had “deliberately installed tenants” in some housing “to harass and drive out the rest of the block” and that such tenants had been “prominent in spreading false rumors.” He said, “we must expose these speculators and we will name names when the time is opportune.”

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