The name Kenny Rozenberg was unknown in Israel until last week when it was revealed that his son Eli Rozenberg wanted to buy El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE: ELAL). Kenny Rozenberg is the New York-based owner of the Centers Heath Care US nationwide chain of nursing homes. According to the Israeli government's golden-share in the privately-owned national flag carrier, the controlling shareholder must hold Israeli citizenship and be resident in the country. Kenny Rozenberg's 30 year old son Eli Rozenberg, who has been living in Jerusalem's Ramat Eshkol neighborhood for several years is bidding for El Al.
"Globes" can reveal that Kenny Rozenberg has business dealings in Israel through his Tabernacle wine label and he is being sued by winemaker Eliran Aharonov, the 33 year old owner of the Jerusalem Hills Aharonov Winery.
Aharonov has filed a NIS 7 million lawsuit in the Jerusalem District Court against Kenny Rozenberg and his associate Avraham Poupko and against the companies Nakar Prozdor Jerusalem Ltd. and the Tabernacle Winery. He claims that he invested two years working for Rozenberg and Poupko, giving them the benefit of his knowhow, connections and reputation before they showed him the door because they no longer needed him.
Over the two years, he claims, they had been negotiating in bad faith, to set up a joint venture and had illegally made money at his expense.
Aharonov says he met Kenny Rozenberg in 2015 when he was running the family winemaking business at Neve Ilan. Aharonov winery had been operating for 12 years and was producing 20,000 bottles a year.
Through his lawyer Adv. Shai Reshef, Aharonov recounts how Rozenberg presented himself as "the owner of one of the world's successful businesses, a fair man and owner of a huge corporation who dreamed of founding a large and special winery in the land of Israel and to keep all the mitzvoth dependent on the land. He kept urging Aharonov to 'think big.'
From 2016, Aharonov claims, Rozenberg and Poupko gave him to believe that they intended setting up a partnership with him for a large winery in Neve Ilan, which would produce 500,000 bottles per year under the Aharonov brand, together with a visitors center and new vineyards. Aharonov claims he was to be given a 25% stake in the partnership and he would bring his brand, knowhow, connections and prestige. He says the company Neve Winery was set up with Nakar Prozdor owning 75% and Aharanov 25% and during 2017 and 2018 draft agreements were sent back and forth with no agreement ever signed. During that time Aharonov says he worked hard to promote the venture.
Aharonov says that during this time he neglected his own business to promote the new venture and even agreed to Rozenberg's request give up his independent marketing of wine in the US in favor of the joint company.
Aharonov also claims that he was a party tro the joint venture in Moshav Tzuriel in the Upper Galilee, which has already produced 84,000 bottles of wine under the Tabernacle label.
Aharonov is asking the court to award him NIS 7 million in damages, expenses, equipment and wine that belongs to him including NIS 2 million in lost earnings and sales channels in the US and Israel.
Rozenberg and Poupko said in response. "This is a case that has been conducted for a long time in the courts and we will not discuss the claims being clarified there."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on July 20, 2020
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