L.A. judge denies Chabad claim to $18 million


SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) — A Los Angeles judge has tentatively denied Chabad of California’s $18 million claim against a philanthropist’s estate.

Superior Court Judge Mary Ann Murphy said she found insufficient evidence that Roland Arnall promised the money to Chabad before his March 2008 death, according to the Contra Costa Times.

During last November’s trial, Rabbi Boruch Shlomo Cunin, head of Chabad of California, testified that Arnall made verbal promises to him in 2004 and 2008 to donate at least $18 million to Chabad for an educational center. Cunin’s lawyer said Chabad has already spent $800,000 on the property, based on that expectation.

Arnall’s widow told the court she didn’t know anything about it.

In her decision, Murphy found that Chabad did not prove such pledges were ever made. Her decision becomes final within 15 days, barring attorneys’ objections.

Roland Arnall was ambassador to the Netherlands from March 2006 to March 2008. He made his fortune by helping to create Ameriquest Mortgage in Orange County, Calif., and later paid $325 million to settle actions brought against the company following the subprime market meltdown.

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