Investors sue Illinois rabbi for $24 million in alleged nursing home purchasing scheme

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Two investors are suing an Illinois rabbi and investment firm head they say bilked them out of more than $20 million in a series of nursing home and retirement home deals.

Dmitry Godin and Ilya Shulman claim they invested $15.5 million with Rabbi Zvi Feiner, who is head of Feiner Investment Corporation. The men argue they were never repaid, according to a lawsuit filed this month in Cook County court and first reported by The Real Deal.

The real estate publication said Feiner is the rabbi of Bais Medrash Binyan Olam, an Orthodox Jewish congregation in Skokie, about 15 miles north of Chicago.

Godin and Shulman are seeking more than $24 million due on their initial contributions, including interest.

Their complaint follows a similar lawsuit filed in September in federal court in Chicago that alleges Feiner and his co-defendant Erez Baver violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. RICO is a tool often used to thwart organized crime and violent gangs.

The plaintiffs' attorney in that suit accuses Feiner of created a series of LLCs to buy and sell senior facilities from Chicago to Wayne, NJ. The Real Deal reported that Feiner began soliciting investors for deals in 2012, using his creedence as a rabbi and promising investors returns of 12% to 18%. When he and operating officer Baver began selling the properties or refinancing them, plaintiffs allege that they failed to notify investors and kept proceeds for themselves — even after the transactions were discovered last year. They also promised some investors stakes in properties that were already committed to others, the suit alleges.

A status hearing is scheduled for June 14 in that case.

Calls to Feiner Investment Corporation from McKnight's went unanswered Friday afternoon. The investment group's website pledges confidentiality and touts a partnership with FNR Healthcare Group, which uses the same office phone number. 

Billing itself as a private equity group focused on quality healthcare assets throughout the United States, FNR claims it began an “aggressive expansion through the acquisition of 20+ facilities in Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Ohio and West Virginia between 2009 and 2012.” Its website reports no transactions since then.

Together with Feiner Investment, FNR claims to have a national portfolio valued at more than $1 billion.