When Tibor Rosenberg decided to sell Tibor’s Kosher Meats and his name, he did not know one of the new owners was engaged in an alleged multi-million-dollar drug trade operation in California.
Specifically, he did not know one of the brothers, Eyton Senders, runs a THC cartridge manufacturing operation identified as Dank Vapes or Dankwoods with a partner, Justen Balay, or that they would use Tibor’s Kosher Meats to allegedly launder illicit drug money.
At the time of the sale, Sept. 9, 2019, Rosenberg told the Cleveland Jewish News he sold the business because his daughters were not interested in taking over the butcher shop.
“It’s a small store,” Rosenberg said. “And I like it small. This way, I had always control over my employees, over my merchandise and this is what I like.”
He also agreed to continue working part time as an employee for his former employee, Ilan Senders, and his family stepped in to run the operation.
Ilan Senders identified himself as the new owner to the Cleveland Jewish News the day the business changed hands, calling Rosenberg “my mentor.”
Ilan Senders was not, however, the sole owner of the business. And just over a year later, the business was the subject of a federal raid, as were three houses owned by family members tied to the business.
For Rosenberg and his wife, Irene, a federal raid that came just over a year later, Sept. 22, 2020, came out of the blue.
“We had no clue this was happening, nothing until the day it happened,” Irene Rosenberg told the CJN April 20. “I don’t know if at all they knew, but we for sure didn’t know.”
According to Rosenberg, Ilan Senders’ mother, Toni Senders, stepped in to oversee the business, and Ilan’s sister, Rachel Zuchowski, became the bookkeeper. Both Toni and her husband Carey Senders’ house and Rachel and her husband Jason Zuchowski’s house were raided as well.
“Other guys would come and go,” Tibor Rosenberg said of other family members, including Eyton Senders.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Henry F. DeBaggis II, Eyton Senders does not work at the business.
“(Eyton) Senders states on paperwork that he is a butcher at the store but there is no evidence that he works at the store in any capacity,” DeBaggis wrote in the U.S. civil forfeiture case he filed in U.S. District Court March 10.
In addition, the case alleges, Eyton Senders and Justen Balay have engaged in a “fervent attempt to layer the illicit proceeds through third-party individuals and entities to make the monies appear legitimate,” including Tibor’s Kosher Meats.
DeBaggis drew connections between Senders’ Dank Vapes operation and Tibor’s in his civil forfeiture filing, which seeks the taking of cash, six houses and a vacant lot, along with a Krugerrand, three men’s Rolex watches, and other items, including a 1996 Porsche 911 Turbo and 2019 Nautique G-25.
Sendies Boys Limited LLC was established June 17, 2019, and is the holding company of Tibor’s Kosher Meats. The signors of the account were relatives of Eyton Senders, according to DeBaggis. On Sept. 11, 2019, Tibor’s Kosher Meats filed a trade name assignment to Sendies Boys.
Among the deposits into that account was a $100,000 deposit on Sept. 9, 2019, from “one of the third party money launderers used by Dank Vapes DTO in their illegal enterprise,” DeBaggis wrote. “This correlates with the purchase date of Tibor’s Kosher Meats.”
Rosenberg said he chose to retire in October of 2020 when his full retirement benefits union kicked in from Local 880 of the Union of Food and Commercial Workers. He said he is enjoying spending time with his grandchildren. Still, the decision to sell the business was not without pain.
He said, “I’m very sad that they ruined my name.”
Multiple attempts to reach Ilan Senders for comment were unsuccessful.