If a debtor has engaged in misconduct, then the claims belong to the estate's creditors, not to the bankruptcy estate. As the 2nd Circuit stated in another case, "[a] claim against a third party for defrauding a corporation with the cooperation of management accrues to creditors, not the guilty corporation." Wight v. BankAmerica Corp., 219 F.3d 79, 86 (2d Cir. 2000).
Fraud trumps any and all of the trustees claims! This case was conceived in fraud; money was fraudulently moved, schedules were amended time and again, contempt of court-violations of court orders, illegal actions, (including placing an illegal notice in a prominent media source)
· Mateh Efraim (Debtor/Alter-Ego) a/k/a Mateh Ephraim, LLC a/k/a Kolel Mateh Efraim, LLC is a New York State entity with its principal place of business located at 751 Second Avenue, New York, New York 10017.
· Congregation Kolel Mateh Efraim, (Debtor/Alter-Ego) a/k/a Mateh Ephraim; a/k/a Kolel Mateh Efraim, LLC (tax ID #11-283963) is a New York State Religious Corporation (the Religious Corporation) with a congregation at: 5608 13th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY.
· Sara Bluma Steinwurtzel is a trustee of Kolel Mateh Efraim, LLC and the wife of Rabbi Abraham C Steinwurtzel, and resides at 1264 56th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11219
· Joshua Steinman: is a trustee of Kollel Mateh Efraim and is the father of Sara Bluma Steinwurtzel.
· Jack Lefkowitz: (Debtor/Alter-Ego) Purports to be managing member of Kollel Mateh Efraim, LLC a/k/a Mateh Ephraim, LLC a/k/a Kolel Mateh Efraim. He has also signed documents as the President of Kolel Mateh Efraim. He is a Trustee of Maskil El Dal, Inc. and resides at: 1526 52nd Street, Brooklyn, NY 11219. (Value)
· Backenroth, Frankel & Krinsky, LLP are the attorneys of record for the debtor/defendants and did affirmatively aid the above fraud(s)
· Heller, Horowitz, and Feit, PC: A firm specializing in the defense of white collar crimes. Retained July 2008 by Jack Lefkowitz and Abraham Steinwurzel in defense of trustees' Adversarial Proceeding. (Did Affirmatively Aid A Fraud)
· Robert L. Geltzer: With offices at 1556 Third Avenue New York, NY 10128 is the appointed chapter 7 Trustee. In recent financial settlements, Giacchetto's former clients paid back roughly half what Geltzer had sought from them. For example, Diaz coughed up $100,000, after being sued for $208,600, while Lovett returned $75,000 after being sued for $150,000 (for a copy of the six-figure settlement agreement entered into by Diaz, click here). The trustee has also has received money from Roth ($60,000); LaGravenese ($90,000); Morrissette ($1800); and DiCaprio's father George ($2000). Philip Glass, who was not a Cassandra client, also paid the trustee $2500 to settle a claim arising from Giacchetto's licensing of a piece of the composer's music. But some of the largest sums being sought by Geltzer remain the subject of litigation. Former Cassandra Group clients being chased by the bankruptcy trustee include: actors Tobey Maguire ($350,000); Courteney Cox ($228,727); Ben Stiller ($96,094); Jon Favreau ($19,027); Jay Ferguson ($29,000); and Dan Cortese ($53,125); musicians Steve Van Zandt ($150,000); D'Arcy Wretsky ($227,458); and James Iha ($215,334); felonious financier Ivan Boesky ($305,000); artist Ross Bleckner ($25,113); TV reporter/gubernatorial offspring Chris Cuomo ($81,496); filmmaker/Bob's son Jesse Dylan ($109,480); hip hotelier Andre Balazs ($82,532); fallen Hollywood titan Mike Ovitz ($48,173); and Ford Models ($521,041). Click here to view the complaint Geltzer filed against Cox, which is representative of the trustee's other "fraudulent transfer" lawsuits.
· Robert A Wolf: Attorney with Sanders Squire, LLP, representing Trustee, Robert Geltzer
· Isaac Nutovic: Attorney representing Kollel, Mateh, Efraim...The religious corporation with offices at 488 Madison Avenue, NYC
FBI Director Robert Mueller Stated: "Has it gotten that bad-that people believe such deceptions and crimes are just the normal way of doing business?"
Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty Stated: Today we send a clear message to those who abuse, for their own criminal financial gain, the bankruptcy systems promise of a fresh start to honest Americans. A bankruptcy filing is often the last step of a series of criminal acts, including mortgage fraud, bank fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, and government program fraud. Bankruptcy fraud is often the tip of the criminal iceberg, and that makes these prosecutions so important.
Director Of The Executive Offices Of The U. S. Trustee, Clifford J White III Stated: Bankruptcy fraud must not be tolerated, if our bankruptcy system is to serve its purpose of helping the honest debtor in need of financial relief, Operation Truth or Consequences highlights the commitment of the Department of Justice and our law enforcement partners to vigorously investigate and prosecute bankruptcy fraud wherever it occurs.
“Justice” is about determination of harm, identification of the guilty and compensation of the injured.
This has been an important, precedent setting case in the federal bankruptcy system, as attested to by the fact that it has been featured on page one of The National Law Journal. Also, it has been discussed in several law blogs, including: Stupid Bankruptcy Lawyer Tricks-link, by the Chicago based Coleman Law Firm, which shines the light on just one of their many "dirty tricks!" Irene & I are convinced that this constituted a blatant conspiracy (RICO) and that such convolution of our legal system lies at the very epicenter of our nation's current crisis.
The attorney who made an unauthorized settlement on July 20th, 2005, Gerald Orseck-link, admitted within two days of doing so and that he had not been authorized to do so! He wrote a letter to the court stating such. Yet, Judge Stewart M Bernstein of the Southern District of New York, permitted and encouraged eighteen months of costly litigation in order to conclude that the settlement was unauthorized. This legal jousting at windmills perpetuated the rent free occupancy of our property.
It has now been nine years since these debtor/defendants invaded our lives. Their deep pockets for litigation has bought them a complete convolution of the bankruptcy system. They are serial bankruptcy filers and over the years they have found bankruptcy fraud to be a prosperous venture and an unethical/immoral means for acquiring the assets of others. Ultimately, the court dismissed the chapter 7 bankruptcy case against the debtors based on some very flawed reasoning and stating as "fact" those statements by the debtor that were perjured and were anything but the facts.
The cognitive English language has fallen victim to revisionists with agendas and forums.
Judge Stewart M Bernstein: Finding of Fact dated April 28, 2011. (A Gross Misstatement of Fact.!!!)
“I conclude that Lefkowitz has carried his burden of showing that his decision to continue the Debtor’s occupancy of the Property was both fair and reasonable. The Property was valuable and the Debtor’s Contract rights were a significant asset. While in the hands of Helen-May, the Property had deteriorated and further deterioration threatened to reduce its value.”
The fact is that the property was not under the control of the owner/creditor; it was under the control of the debtor/defendant, the trustee, the court and the debtor's congregation! Judge Stewart Bernstein failed to acknowledge that the court had itself prohibited the owners from even inspecting the property during the defendant’s outrageous “rent free” four years of occupancy enforced by bankruptcy stay. As to any purported contract rights, not only were they based on a major fraud, but they were terminated with the pre-filing issuance of a false instrument. (a bad check!)
Judge Stewart M Bernstein also ignored the existence of pictures (Property Damage-link) Video-link and sworn statements as to the pristine condition of the property at the time that the debtor/defendants entered into a contract to purchase the property. (Subsequently, the debtor/defendants entered into an occupancy agreement until such time as they would close on the purchase of the property.) The terms of the agreement expressly forbid any alterations to the property whatsoever! Yet, the debtor arrogantly ignored no fewer than seven letters from the owner's attorney ordering them to cease and desist their demolition, destruction and vandalism of the property. An inspection was finally permitted by the court, however, and as the foregoing “statement of facts” reflects that the court once again chose to ignore the evidence thus gathered-link. (Response From Court-link)
Judge Bernstein’s finding of fact goes on to state: “Occupancy permitted Lefkowitz to spend substantial funds of his own to upgrade the infrastructure of the Property,”
The occupancy agreement expressly forbid any and all alterations whatsoever to the property barring written permission from the owner, Helen-May Holdings, LLC (Irene Griffin sole member) who, through her attorney sent seven letters demanding that the debtor/occupier “cease and desist” what amounted to demolition and destruction of our property! The debtor/defendant was clearly paving his way for his future development plans for our property…Before he owned the property!
Post bankruptcy filing, all debtor expenditures were required to have been approved and administered to by the trustee. The trustee never authorized any of these purported upgrades. Neither did the trustee authorize the debtor to settle with their “insider creditors!” The trustee had an obligation to ensure that the property was maintained during the term of the bankruptcy stay. Instead, the trustee continued to litigate against the creditor/owner regarding purported equitable interests that the debtor might hold in the creditor/owner's property. This hostile action by the trustee effectively deprived the creditor/owner of any efforts to sell their own property.
Judge Bernstein’s “Finding Of Fact” continues: “protecting the Debtor’s asset and future development plans. Although many of these expenditures also benefitted the camp, they maintained and enhanced the value of the Debtor’s investment. Furthermore, there was a substantial question, at least until the end of February 2007, whether the Debtor would ever have to pay the accruing Adequate Protection Payments, and the Debtor was still challenging the order denying the settlement’s enforcement as late as July 31, 2007, the end of the period covered by the Judgment. Hence, the decision to continue to occupy the Property through July 2007 was fair and reasonable when made, and the Trustee has not sustained his burden of ultimate persuasion that Lefkowitz breached his fiduciary duty in deciding to continue the Debtor’s occupancy.”
"Protecting The Debtor's Asset?" When did our property become the debtor's asset? Which legally executed document conveyed our property to the debtor? Answer: None! There were no legally executed documents by these debtor/criminals. This was not the debtor's asset. What a convolution of facts, semantics and logic. Furthermore, as provided for by law, did the trustee ever approve any expenditures on the property? Did the trustee witness such expenditures on the property? The debtor claimed to have spent $2,000,000.00 in improvements to the property...unauthorized by the trustee. Did the trustee ever witness said improvements? Why is it that the property appraised for considerably less after the debtors supposed $2,000,000.00 of improvements and four year occupancy, than it did at the time of their initial occupancy in June of 2004? Together, the trustee and our attorneys witnessed first hand the destruction left behind by this debtor/defendant. A subsequent letter was written to Judge Bernstein and pictures were made available to him.
The debtor/defendant has demonstrated a complete lack of respect for the court while the court bows to the debtor’s superior arrogance. Evidently, court orders are meaningless. As we know and “the facts” firmly reflect; the debtor/defendant lived defiantly and rent-free on our property for nearly four years. As to the debtor challenging the order declaring an unauthorized settlement, the decision was reaffirmed in an appeals court. Illogically, Judge Bernstein has stated: that while they were litigating and appealing this issue, (nearly six years by the time of his "Finding of Facts") and while they remained on our property under the guise of a bankruptcy stay, the question was "whether the debtor would ever have to pay the accruing Adequate Protection Payment" Use & Occupancy, Lis Pendens, Contract Violations, Fraud, Damages, Etc.! With the assistance of the court and in an obvious strategy designed to deplete the creditor's ability to survive their onslaught of frivolous and fraudulent litigation, the debtor/defendant has continued to kick the can down the road.
December 2010: The Federal Bankruptcy System having failed miserably, the case was refiled in the United States District Court For The Southern District of New York. (Case # 1:10-cv-07123-PAE Kollel Mateh Efraim, LLC et al v. Kollel Mateh Efraim, LLC)
May 7th, 2012: Scheduled for a jury trial in front of Judge Paul A Englemayer. After two years of awaiting the jury trial that the debtor/defendants had so litigiously sought; at the eleventh hour, the trustee and the defendant Kollel, Mateh, Efraim agreed to settle out of ear-shot of a jury. Judge Englemayer would not approve an order for this Stipulation of Settlement but instead ordered the case to be returned to the bankruptcy court of Judge Stuart M Bernstein. The trustee has refiled his disgusting Stipulation of Settlement in exactly the same form as was thrown out of the Southern District Court.
July 19, 2012: A hearing took place in judge Bernstein's court where once again, we were witness to the utterance of an extremely biased comment against us. However, the court determined that the trustee's stipulation of settlement did not rise to the basic standards. The trustee neither procured proof of officer's and director's insurance for the debtor nor depositions of those officers and directors. The trustee has been grossly negligent in the performance of his duties under the FRBP.
October 16, 2012: A hearing was held and adjourned in Judge Bernstein’s Federal Bankruptcy Court.
December, 2012: At a hearing, trustee Robert Geltzer was ordered to testify in SDNY Bankruptcy Court.March 6th, 2013: At an Evidentiary Hearing, Trustee Robert Geltzer testified and was cross examined by creditor's attorney, David Carlebach.
May 15, 2013: Decision (Containing Mark-ups)
- Purchased in 1990, “The Griffin House” Bed & Breakfast and catering facility was successfully owned and operated for nearly twenty years by Paul and Irene Griffin.
- In June of 2000, Paul and Irene purchased The Meadows Resort and Catering. (Seventy pristine acres and catering for two hundred and fifty people)
- In June, 2004: Kollel Mateh Efraim, LLC, a Religious Corporation, their Rogue Rabbi, Abraham Steinwurtzel and his Hasidic congregation fraudulently occupied The Meadows Resort property.
- October 4th, 2004: Religious Corporation, Kollel Mateh Efraim, LLC filed a fraudulent chapter 11 bankruptcy and as a "debtor in possession" in a bankruptcy stay, remained on the property for four years.
- March 2007: Debtor, Kollel Mateh Efraim, LLC was converted to Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Trustee, Robert Geltzer was obligated to liquidate the debtor's assets.
- November 2007: The Debtors continued to occupy The Meadows and resisted eviction.
- June 2009: The Meadows was lost in a subsequent foreclosure and consequently, The Griffin House B&B was also lost.
- June 2013: Debtors remain in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. None of the debtor's assets have been liquidated. Amazingly, trustee Robert Geltzer contrived to liquidate assets belonging to the creditor, Paul & Irene Griffin.
- March 6, 2013: Trustee, Robert Geltzer was ordered to testify in SDNY Bankruptcy Court.
- Default: On the terms of a legal and binding contract
- Declare: False and fraudulent chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
- Distract: from fraudulent filings and schedules
- Divert: Funds through co-mingled personal, corporate and non-profit accounts
- Delay: through adjournments, and convoluted process
- Deny: creditor access to, or income from their own property
- Deplete: creditor's asset and resources and force them into
- Default: thus gaining control of the property at a foreclosure sale.
Trustee Failed To Perform His Duties Under The Guidelines
Statutory and General Duties Of A Chapter 7 Trustee FRBP
1. To collect and reduce to money the property of the estate and close the estate as expeditiously as compatible with the best interests of the parties in interest;
i. Trustee Robert Geltzer engaged in protracted litigation that was not in the best interests of the parties. (2004-2012 and still going)
ii. After three years of intense litigation, the court signed the order converting the chapter 11 bankruptcy to a chapter 7, trustee Geltzer ignored his “chapter 7” obligations to expedite.
iii. Trustee Geltzer engaged in frivolous litigation against the creditor based on flawed theories prior to investigating the veracity of his own arguments or the legitimacy of the debtors.
iv. Trustee perpetuated violation of court ordered adequate protection
v. Trustee Geltzer’s own confirmation of the debtor’s lack of standing, integrity and truthfulness is apparent in his depositions of the debtors.
vi. At a hearing in federal bankruptcy court, held on January 31st, 2008, the trustee reported to the court that "the debtors, and their alter-ego: the religious corporation, had been interchangeable for years as suited their own purposes.”
vii. Thus, trustee Geltzer was and remains well aware of this debtor’s predisposition for altering documents and hiding assets.
viii. Trustee Geltzer assumed this chapter 7 bankruptcy case in November of 2007. It is now June of 2012 and still litigating...and not liquidating! (Eight Years!)
ix. Trustee Geltzer effectively liquidated the assets of The Creditor when he sold at auction those properties against which this creditor had secured judgments.
x. Trustee failed to pursue liquidation of The Debtor's assets!
2. To be accountable for all property received;
i. Trustee Geltzer allowed the chapter 7 debtor to continue to occupy the creditor’s resort property under a bankruptcy stay.ii. In deference to his obligation to mitigate losses in a chapter 7 bankruptcy, trustee Geltzer was a direct cause for greater losses incurred by this creditor.
ii. Trustee Geltzer permitted the debtor to further utilize and subsequently vandalize creditor’s resort property for a prolonged period of time after conversion.
iii. Trustee Geltzer was notified and was otherwise aware of the debtor’s deliberate malice toward this creditor and that the debtor allowed the unchecked vandalizing of the property. Trustee Geltzer took no remedial action.
iv. Trustee failed to enforce and permitted debtor/defendants to remain in violation of court ordered adequate protection in perpetuity.
v. Trustee failed to investigate and otherwise permitted third party, Maskil El Dal, LLC to fund bankruptcy
3. To ensure that the debtor performs his or her intention as to retaining or surrendering property of the estate that secures consumer debt;
i. Trustee Geltzer grossly ignored this responsibility.
ii. Trustee Geltzer remained ambivalent in his stated intentions with regards to this responsibility, and instead chose to litigate against the creditor.
iii. Trustee’s self serving litigation against the creditor ensured that the debtor would remain on the creditor’s property for still another year.
4. To investigate the financial affairs of the debtor;
i. Trustee Geltzer failed to fully investigate co-mingling of bank accounts of debtor’s and all aliases, including funding corporation, Maskil El Dal, LLC. And personal accounts of principals.
ii. There are several Principals of the debtor LLC and many “culpable parties.”
iii. Trustee Geltzer failed to fully investigate bankruptcy schedules of debtor/defendant after they had been amended time and again.
iv. Trustee Geltzer failed to fully investigate debtor’s claims of $2M in “improvements” to creditor’s property. The Occupancy Agreement expressly prohibited any alterations, or “improvements” whatsoever and the property was accepted, “As Is.” $2M in improvements claimed were post bankruptcy filing. Did the trustee approve any improvements? Did the trustee investigate the veracity of the debtor’s claim? The condition of the property post occupancy indicates nothing of “improvements.” Post occupancy appraisal is illuminating when compared to pre-occupancy appraisal.
v. Trustee Geltzer states in a recent stipulation to settle, that the debtor is “administratively insolvent.” Nothing could be further from the truth. With limited research abilities, this creditor has noted countless real estate assets, corporate assets, and personal assets belonging to just one of the debtor principals. Indeed, many of these can be found in court documents relating to this serial bankruptcy filer.
vi. Trustee Geltzer attempted to perform “an end run” around this creditor by not even advising the creditor that in December of 2010, a civil case had been filed in the southern district of New York.
vii. Trustee Geltzer failed to advise creditor of impending jury trial and of proposed stipulation of settlement.
viii. Trustee Geltzer recently (May, 2012) proposed a stipulation of settlement that would deprive the creditor of any compensation at all for the loss of assets and property caused entirely by debtors fraudulent bankruptcy and exacerbated by trustee’s time consuming, costly, frivolous and apparently ineffective litigation.
ix. This creditor’s “Proof of Claims” identified secured claims of $3M plus unsecured claims in excess of $8M.
5. If a purpose would be served, to examine proofs of claims and object to any that are improper;
i. Upon information and belief, lacking trustee approval, the debtor has settled with their insider creditors utilizing funds from another of their corporate entities, Maskil El Dal, LLC.
ii. Our attorney engaged the services of experts in the field whose investigative reports confirmed that insider creditors had greatly exaggerated their claims.
6. If advisable, to oppose the discharge of the debtor;
i. Trustee Geltzer failed to oppose false assumptions and conclusions not based in fact when the court erred in opinions or proffered misstatements of fact. August 18, 2009 the court reversed itself in a long held ruling from July 20, 2005. In an illogical attempt to wind back the clock, the court paved the way for a compounding and confounding dismissal of the entire bankruptcy case which took place one year later.
ii. Lacking trustee approval, Trustee Geltzer was negligent when debtor filed a concurrent case in a state court. Not only did the trustee not authorize this frivolous expenditure of debtor monetary assets, but the trustee remained blissfully ignorant and uninvolved. All expense and litigation was left to this creditor in order to have case remanded back to the Southern District Bankruptcy Court of Stuart M Bernstein.
7. Unless the court orders otherwise, to furnish information concerning the estate and the estate's administration as requested by a party in interest;
i. Never done!
ii. Many times this creditor alerted the trustee and the court as to the deliberate abuse, neglect and vandalism of the creditor’s property during the prolonged bankruptcy stay of the debtor.
iii. The debtor was uninhibited as they illegally removed fittings and fixtures from the property during their bankruptcy stay.
iv. The trustee did not take any remedial action and did not assist the creditor in any attempts at mitigation and remediation.
8. If the debtor's business is authorized to continue operating, to file with the court appropriate reports and summaries, including a statement of receipts and disbursements;
i. Never Done!
9. And To file a final account of the administration of the estate with the United States Trustee and the court.
i. This creditor has no knowledge of this ever happening.
These are troubling times for us all, and hopefully what we are witnessing is a purging of the greed and corruption that has insidiously crept into our society. Seeing "the glass as half full" I'm confident that the good and decent people of America will ultimately prevail, and that we will soon restore the fundamental principles that made our nation great!
And so...It is with great reluctance and deep regret that after nearly twenty years of welcoming Family, Friends and Guests to The Griffin House Bed & Breakfast, the time has come for us to close the doors and bid adieu to another era in our lives. We're proud of "our creation;" of the recognition and awards we've received and of the far reaching contributions that it has afforded the community at large. Most of all, we're grateful for the experience of meeting, greeting and serving you; it has been our very special privilege and we will miss you all
· Some of our fondest memories are associated with the conversations that took place around the breakfast table. The coffee flask was always a particular source for wonderment. When guests struggled with getting at the life giving liquid residing inside, we would comfort them by saying, "that's alright, it takes a neuro-surgeon to open it." And then one morning came the inevitable retort, "I am a neuro-surgeon, and I can't get the damn thing open!"
· Or...once, as Irene was washing up at the sink after the morning's uniquely cerebral discussions, and the phone rang. The voice on the other end asks if we have hot water. Confused and believing that it must be a hoax or somebody looking for a room, she answered, "sure! of course we do. Where are you?" The voice on the other end responded, "I'm in the shower in the Griffin Room...could you send some up?" She turned off the water at the sink and asked, "how's that?" He answered, "Great! Thanks!"
· Then there was the gentleman in the Lancastrian bathroom who ran out of toilet paper. He looked around and saw that there was a fresh roll on the ledge of the transom window behind him. Unfortunately, in his attempt to retrieve it, he dropped it and in the process of bending over to pick it up, he burned his bare buttocks on the exposed steam pipe, which immediately and violently propelled him, headfirst into the wall.
· We're sincerely grateful when guests and community members alike recall for us the very special benefits, fundraisers, and dinner concerts where Irene miraculously prepared six course dinners for forty people, and then followed with her own one woman show. Once the last dinner guest had departed, and the in-house guests were safely tucked away in their rooms, we would begin the cleanup of all of the china and silverware from forty diners...moving the catering furniture to the carriage house, and returning with the main house furniture, and finally setting and making preparations for breakfast. Exhausted, we would fall into bed around 3:00am only to awake again at 5:30am for the early risers.
· We're also proud to have played a major role in some of the happiest occasions in the lives of our guests. Many an engagement ring has found its way onto an accepting finger, and we are honored to have been selected for countless Weddings, Anniversaries, Birthdays and Christenings. Our own lives have been all the more enriched by the mutual joy that we have all shared.
These amazing memories evoke a deep sigh and a contented smile. Thank you, one and all!
Please know that you are all fondly remembered and that no matter where the winds of time may carry us, you will always be "the wind beneath our wings." You may also visit our web page: "Griffin House Productions" where we hope you will enjoy some of our A/V recording projects. Clicking on any of the cd icons will cause them to auto-play. Enjoy! And please do stay in touch.
Paul, a native of Manhasset, Long Island, and Irene, born and raised in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, UK - purchased this spectacular home in 1990, after their early retirement as world class entertainers. From Fred Waring and The Pennsylvanians, to Ella Fitzgerald; Natalie Cole; Tom Jones; and from Broadway, to The London Palladium; from CBS Television to Thames Television, Irene and Paul have been there, and the experience they gathered is self-evident as they greet and transform first time visitors into welcomed friends. (Paul can be seen on The Ed Sullivan Show reruns as young lead trumpet player with Ella Fitzgerald "Can't Buy Me Love" and with Tom Jones "Delilah" & "It's Not Unusual.")
History and Hospitality in Harmony
& Award Winning
|Architectural Excellence||Victorian Elegance|
While one of the four guest rooms at The Griffin House is devoted to the historic Scheidell family that built and lived in the house for three generations, the others tell a tale of the illustrious music careers that touched the lives and indeed were lived by Paul and Irene G also known as "Steel Lips," the man who played high trumpet for the theme of The Jackie Gleason Show. The elder Griffin also played with Benny Goodman for years, including the famed 1938 Carnegie Hall concert, or as Paul comments, "the first time that jazz was heard in those hallowed halls." He can also be heard on recordings with Frank Sinatra and numerous television and radio shows such as: Milton Berle, Patti Page, Kate Smith, Gary Moore,Carol Burnett, Ed Sullivan, and many more. Griffin before their bed and breakfast venture. In the eastern corner of the second floor is the Griffin Room, named for Paul's father, Gordon "Chris" Griffin, also known as "Steel Lips," the man who played high trumpet for the theme of The Jackie Gleason Show. The elder Griffin also played with Benny Goodman for years, including the famed 1938 Carnegie Hall concert, or as Paul comments, "the first time that jazz was heard in those hallowed halls." He can also be heard on recordings with Frank Sinatra and numerous television and radio shows such as: Milton Berle, Patti Page, Kate Smith, Gary Moore,Carol Burnett, Ed Sullivan, and many more.
|Postage Stamp From Early 1900's||
Maple Avenue Circa 1900
"We'll say the house found us," says Irene, of the somewhat fated connection of the Griffins to the old mansion. A year before their purchase they had taken a random drive past the house and stopped for nearly ten minutes to admire it. It hadn't even been for sale. Then, upon deciding to put their entertainment skills to use on house guests, they began to seek out small country inns as far away as Georgia, Virginia and the Carolinas. But, upon returning from a real estate hunting trip down south, they were caught up in the beauty of home. "The Catskills just won our hearts back," says Paul. They began hunting down guest houses in Western Sullivan County. After a long day in the Upper Delaware River Valley/Lower Catskills, they were directed toward a home in Jeffersonville as a last stop. "If he turns into that driveway, that's it," Paul had said to himself. The mansion house was now for sale, and unbeknownst to the real estate agent, it had been sold on the spot. After a few months, Paul, Irene and The Griffin House entered the hospitality business together, when they opened the three-story mansion to guests as a bed and breakfast home. Although the owners for just seventeen short years, the Griffins are more like the adopted parents of a child prodigy, speaking of the house with a pride and enthusiasm that is contagious. "It took ten master carpenters five years to build it," Paul said of the superb craftsmanship that saturates the house. "Anything that could be done in the name of good taste, they did it here," he said. It has been a dream come true for this talented couple who found an aristocratic home in the country and decided to make it into one of the nicest Bed 'n Breakfasts in the Catskill Mountains.