Brooklyn, NY – Contributors to a crowdfunding campaign on The Chesed Fund may have thought that they were donating money to defray the legal costs of a Chasidic man convicted in the beating of a black man in Williamsburg three years ago, but a lawsuit filed in Brooklyn Supreme Court may channel those funds in a completely different direction.
According to reports in the New York Post, a suit filed by Taj Patterson, who was beaten in the early morning hours of December 2013, seeks to prevent the only man convicted in the attack, Mayer Herskovic, from benefitting from the campaign which has so far raised more than $130,000. The fundraiser does not name Herskovic by name, but features a picture of two small children along with a request to raise funds for their father who was wrongfully convicted and faces up to 15 years in prison. Close to 1,200 people have already contributed to the campaign which launched in November.
A ruling handed down last week by a Brooklyn judge banned the 25 year old Herskovic from receiving the funds, at least temporarily. The decision was based on New York City’s Son of Sam law which prevents persons convicted of a crime from benefitting from that crime and directs any monies earned through the commission of that crime to compensate the victim for their losses.
It is unclear if the money raised through The Chesed Fund campaign would be diverted to Patterson.
Attorney Stuart Slotnick, who represents Herskovic, said that Patterson’s lawsuit is without merit.
“The Son of Sam law doesn’t apply because these are not Mr. Herskovic’s funds nor is he seeking to profit from the incident for which he is convicted,” said Slotnick.