A U.S. attorney is seeking a stay, or a pause, on the civil forfeiture of real estate and personal property filed against an owner of Tibor’s Kosher Meats in University Heights pending an indictment and resolution to a parallel criminal investigation.
Henry F. DeBaggis Jr., assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, filed the motion for a stay of the civil forfeiture May 19.
DeBaggis quoted from his initial Feb. 17 motion for civil forfeiture in which he wrote Eyton Senders and Justen Balay “and others have been involved in an interstate drug trafficking and money laundering operation” under the name Dank Vapes and Dankwoods producing THC cartridges used in vaping.
No arrests have been made.
“Senders has utilized numerous third-parties to conceal the true source of the funds,” including Tibor’s Kosher Meats, DeBaggis wrote.
Senders, a co-owner of Tibor’s, listed his occupation as a butcher there in a bank filing.
Federal agents performed a raid of Tibor’s Sept. 22, 2020, as well as homes in Beachwood, University Heights and Moreland Hills, resulting in the initial civil forfeiture claim.
If there is an indictment, “the forfeiture sought in the instant case would be litigated as part of the criminal case,” DeBaggis wrote.
Listed in a 40-page motion for civil forfeiture for both real estate and personal property are $2,197,323 in cash, a 1996 Porsche 911, three men’s Rolex watches and a Krugerrand coin. Targeted for real estate seizure are a vacant lot in South Euclid and six houses: one in Moreland Hills, one in Shaker Heights, two in South Euclid and two in Los Angeles.
According to California Secretary of State business filings for the Los Angeles properties, Senders is listed as a member of N. Laurel Avenue Property Holdings, LLC, and Balay is the only member listed at 806 N. Vista Ave. LLC.
Senders’ lawyer, Edward Searby of Pepper Pike, requested and received permission to file responses to the civil forfeiture under seal precisely because of the ongoing criminal investigation.
Searby and Victor Sherman of Los Angeles, Balay’s lawyer, both requested extensions to the deadline to answer the motion for civil forfeiture.
Judge Christopher A. Boyko had not ruled on the motion to stay civil forfeiture proceedings as of May 25.
Multiple attempts to reach Searby and Sherman were unsuccessful.
In response to the motion, Searby filed a response May 25. In it he wrote, “Claimants join in respectfully requesting a stay in this civil forfeiture case” for reasons he listed in a prior motion for protective order in which he also referred to the criminal investigation.