Saturday, August 15, 2020

The Jewish Link welcomes letters to the editor, which can be emailed to editor@jewishlinknj.com.
Letters may be edited for length, clarity and appropriateness. We do not welcome personal attacks or disrespectful language, and replies to letters through our website comment feed will not be posted online. We reserve the right to not print any letter.


As recipients of The Jewish Link and our community’s incredible support, I am submitting this letter about a travesty of injustice meted out to a friend and former member of our community knowing you will respond with the same generosity of spirit you gave us in our mission to save our grandsons, Benny and Josh.

Ari Teman has been fighting a nightmare. Ari, who grew up in Teaneck, attended Yavneh, TABC and Brandeis, and who founded JCorps, desperately needs our help to appeal a prosecution that Alan Dershowitz called a “grave injustice.” We have a chance to prevent what well may be the unjustified imprisonment of an innocent man. It’s not only the right thing to do, but it’s a mitzvah in every sense.

Lois Weiss of The New York Post’ Between The Bricks summarized the case well: “Young prosecutors arrested a vendor based on the lie of one of NYC’s ‘Worst Landlords’ and when he refused to plea, they lied to the judge, hid evidence and suborned perjury to cover it up.” (The full article with more information is at https://tinyurl.com/ycdu4gto)


I’ve known Ari since he was a young man growing up in Teaneck and have known him to be a decent person of accomplishment. Ari was the founder and a leader of JCorps, a network of young Jewish adults who volunteer in large cities to gather and do chesed. He was honored by local and national organizations for that. His parents, Suzan and David Teman, were long, active members of Bnai Yeshurun in Teaneck, until they made aliyah to Modiin.

Dershowitz described in an interview some of the prosecutorial conduct that was so unjust to Ari. He describes how the prosecutors were ordered by the judge to get and provide evidence about their witness, but instead, Dershowitz said, “they sat on their hands, and the evidence that basically proves his innocence didn’t come up until after he was convicted.” Dershowitz says, “there’s been a grave, grave injustice here and I hope it will be reversed.”

Weiss’ article details these events. In her article, referenced above, she describes how Ari built GateGuard, a start-up that provides “smart intercoms” and services for use in multiple dwelling buildings. There are many of the devices in use around the country. A few landlords, people on New York City’s list of “worst landlords,” stopped paying the monthly bill after they had accepted GateGuard’s terms, had the equipment installed and were using it. Ari’s lawyers tried to collect the overdue payments, then, as they testified, they advised Ari that he could legally draft the overdue amounts per the contract. The landlords reportedly told the bank that they did not recognize the obligations, in spite of the contract and history. Ari was arrested and tried by federal prosecutors on the basis of those claims. They even charged him with identity theft, until they subsequently recognized he had signed his own name.

What has followed has been a horrific nightmare. Ari could be sentenced to serve a prison term. He is desperately raising the funds for the costly federal appeals process and to cover preemptively restitution and fees. He has to raise $600,000 by July 21 to cover those costs.

A GoFundMe defense fund has been set up at https://www.gofundme.com/f/justice-matters-ari-teman-legal-defense-fund

We understand that Torah values and our basic morality compel us, individually and as a community, to do as much as we can in order to save an innocent man from unjust incarceration.

If you can help, please make a donation, offer his defense a loan, or share this with people who can help Ari fight this injustice.

Dan Landsman