Thursday, February 21, 2008

Expediting trouble

Jacob Fekete's string of good luck was interrupted when a massive late-night fire broke out in a warehouse on Evergreen Avenue in September 2002. The three-alarm blaze drew 245 firefighters, injuring two. When the smoke cleared, a health-care and beauty-aids firm facing money problems had sadly lost much of its stock. The company, owned by associates of Fekete, tried to collect $100 million from its insurers. The insurers declined, citing an official finding that the fire had been intentionally set.

Two Brooklyn Brothers Are the Kings of the Expediters

According to a federal indictment issued in June 2004, it was Jacob Fekete's task to find someone willing to revise the arson report. Court records show that Fekete went straight to an old friend in the buildings department and asked him to recommend a fire marshal who would understand that the fire was just one of those things. The introduction was quickly made. To buttress his argument, Fekete agreed to pay the marshal $100,000 in cash provided by his friends. Fekete had already paid $54,500 of this bribe when the bad news hit that the fire marshal was only pretending to be corrupt.

Photo from Village Voice