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Rabbi's home cost sparks £1m legal case

    Rabbi Joseph Dweck
    Rabbi Joseph Dweck

    The S and P Sephardi Community is embroiled in a GPB1 million dispute over the home of its senior rabbi.

    The London Sephardi Trust, which has acted on behalf of the community, negotiated a price of nearly £1.75m for the freehold of the house of Senior Rabbi Joseph Dweck, but the freeholders argue they should be paid £2.88m.

    The lease of the property in Maida Vale, west London, had been bought for GPB1.5m with a further £500,000 spent on renovations.

    Rabbi Dweck was installed two years ago as the head of the community with more than 1,200 adult members spread over three synagogues.

    According to the community's latest annual accounts, for the year up to the end of last October, the house was bought with a two-year lease plus an extension for 50 years.

    An independent valuer estimated the freehold to be worth GPB1.6m. According to the accounts, the freeholders won a first round of legal action for the right to charge £2.88m.

    That was overturned on appeal, but the freeholders are now pursuing the case at the Court of Appeal. It is unlikely to be heard until next year. The London Sephardi Trust would be able to pursue an indemnity claim against the initial valuation, it is understood.

    The S and P said it would not comment while the legal dispute continued.

    The accounts show the highest paid employee of the congregation has an annual remuneration package between £180,000 and £190,000.

    The equivalent figure for the United Synagogue, which is responsible for the Office of the Chief Rabbi, is between £220,000 to £230,000.

    S and P members were told it had met last year's target of attracting 50 new members. The community has assets of nearly £10.5m, including nearly GPB4.3m for ministerial houses

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