Rasputin Restaurant Evicted, Padlocked As Owner Faces Fraud Charges

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Rasputin, the windowless, mausoleum-like restaurant and nightclub at 2670 Coney Island Avenue, has been shuttered and padlocked.

There is a notice taped near the entrance that shows it was closed by city marshals and turned over to the landlord.

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It’s unclear if this is related to the criminal case against Michael Levitis, the owner of Rasputin Restaurant. Levitis is alleged to be the ringleader of a fraud scheme, in which a company he controlled – Mission Settlement Agency – preyed on debt-laden victims. The company claimed to reduce a client’s debt to creditors and make payments on their behalf. In reality, prosecutors say, the company collected fees and did little or nothing to help clients, and Levitis used the fees to pay operating expenses at Rasputin, lease two luxury Mercedes and pay off his mother’s credit card bills.

Prosecutors have filed to seize approximately 40 bank accounts connected to Levitis, as well as Rasputin Restaurant and two properties he owns in Manhattan Beach. The assets would be used to pay back his victims if Levitis is found guilty.

However, the property on which Rasputin sits is not owned by Levitis. Notices like the one above are often left when a lessee fails to pay his rent and the landlord wins an eviction in court. It’s unclear if that’s the case, or if the landlord was somehow able to wrangle back control of the property amid Levitis’ problems.

The landlord was not available to answer questions as we went to press, but we will update if we hear from them.

Meanwhile, a post on Michael Levitis’ Facebook page that had announced the closure late last week or over the weekend has since disappeared. In reply to comments left on the post, Levitis had credited the closure to “higher powers,” but had not elaborated beyond that point when we stumbled across it.

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90 COMMENTS

  1. I’m SHOCKED! A windowless club on Coney Island Avenue had sketchy business related to it and its ownership!? SHOCKED I TELL YOU.

  2. Everything unde control. My lawyers are working hard to get me away with that as well, easily. Please be patient

  3. What does a resteraunt have to do with debt settlement? Please tell me where hospitality management and financial business cross paths? Or are you just like 60% of the commentators that just spew random opinions and hope others agree with you?

  4. Michael Levtis, you’re a terrible example of a Russian. I hope you go to prison for a long time, and they take care of you real well. For that matter, I hope your entire family ends up in Rikers. Better yet, I hope they deport your sorry ass. You think just because you have all this money, that you somehow made it in America? You’re worthless, and defrauding the government is no way to make a living. You’re the exact reason why Russians are known for their fraude schemes and cheating tactics. Brighton Beach/Sheepshead/Manhattan Beach will be a much better place without your dirtbag face.

  5. When you use the money you steal in the course of one business to pay debts and other expenses of your restaurant business they definitely cross paths!

  6. After watching the entire season of “Russian Dolls”, which I loved, and Michael was one of the stars of, he came off as a very reasonable husband, and guy.

    His wife on the other hand came off as the real kook of the family, the way she screwed over her own friend was unbelievable.

    Nonetheless the whole family is garbage, and deserves to pay for their crimes.

  7. Didn’t this idot write on his facebook page something like “Rasputin iz still open for beezness, don’t vorry abowt vat u hear in za news” YEAH RIGHT! THIS IS UNITED STATES, IF FEDERAL AGENTS ARE AFTER YOU, YOU ARE PRETTY MUCH SCREWED BUDDY.

  8. The Russians who started flooding into Brooklyn 30-40 years ago,saw America as a candy store. Theirs for the taking. After living under a communist dictatorship,this country and laws,were a joke to them.

  9. I am glad this douche bag is being investigated. I hope he gets everything that he deserves, since this turd brought so much bad light to our community. Let’s make an example of this shithead and put him away for life. There is no reason for him to waste the air. His fat ugly excuse for a woman wife too. They are a disease.

  10. I don’t even think he is Russian Russian… his last name is not Russian
    either, I’d say Jewish or descendant of the former USSR satellite
    countries… and thats different..

  11. Hmm, isn’t that strange that so much anymosity is spewed at ‘Russians’ after one fraud is caught? Al Capone, Charlie Luchiano, Gotti Clan etc. made much worse impression about Italians, but somehow it is all OK when the next italian fraud is caught – no assumptions and no profiling for them. Good old Vanderbuilts, Morgans, and Rockefellers were all frauds and thieves, still no one makes ‘blanket guilt’ assumptions about Dutch, British, Scottish or Irish descendants. Also, don’t forget that Levitis is a Jew. Isn’t it time to start some Anti-Semitic campaign? I do not say that he is innocent and doesn’t deserve punisment. Let him rot in jail for preying on people already in trouble, and for being a fool believing that he is somehow exempt from God’s and human laws. His restaurant business was already failing before all that started, his media project, ‘Russian Dolls’, was as horrible enterprize as he and his apparently talentless and stupid wife were actors, his law practice was virtually non-existent, and his connections to Cruger have been already flagged by FBI (and he had to know about that). What made him believe the latest fraudelent scheme to clear the last pennies from pockets of those with bad mortgages would succeed? His arrogance made. This kind of people believe they are Masters of the Universe, because of some earlier business success based on ruthless exploitation of illegal immigrants, human bad tastes and foolishness, bribes, and violence. Yes, such success lasts for a while but not forever. Sooner or later either something or someone stops them, or they change their modus operandi to become crystal clear citizens, charitable contributors, and hardworking businessmen to have some justification of earlier sins. That is what goes to anyone, and Levitis origins have nothing to do with it. If you believe his example blackens image of ‘Russian’ community, try to find the opposite examples, positive in nature and noticeable by everyone. The lack of those examples – that is what really makes that community look bad.

  12. “The lack of those examples – that is what really makes that community look bad.” – get your eyes examined. Incidentally there are plenty of russian speaking eye doctors, in the area, who could help you with that.

  13. I, and so many people I know, have passed this place thousands of times on the B68 bus and always thought it was strange that there were no windows. I don’t think anyone I know has ever actually gone in. I’m not surprised there was something going on, it always seemed a bit shady.

  14. You didn’t go in because you couldn’t afford a table…that being besides the point of course.
    The place in itself has nothing wrong with it and no illegal activity. It is a restaurant…
    It’s sad to believe that literacy is at such low levels today and people can’t even begin to understand what they’re reading.

  15. He is not Russian at all, I’d say. Actually, he’s a Russian-speaking Jew. No offense, but these guys has been running scams here for years.

  16. Im no fan of levits..but you do realize governments steal from us everyday. BUT just because its government, its okay. Get real. Governments are the biggest gangsters in the world. esp the US government.

  17. I had many good memories in that place. Many of my friends and I spend a good part of high school and college partying it at Rasputin. the food was always hit or miss, but it was always fun and enjoyable. It will be missed. Everything must change, the truth is the golden era of russian nightclubs has been over for a while with a few hold outs hanging on for dear life. RIP Rasputin, you will be missed.

  18. The days of Al Capone, Luchiano, and the Gambino family have long past. The gangsters of those days were not oblivious to the fact that they’re inevitable going to be imprisoned. The Russians of today, practice their white collar crime thinking that what they do is justifiable, and that those actions are innocent.
    There is no anti-Semitic tension, I am a Jew, and it disgusts me to think that I share something in common with Levitis. Levitis is a nasty prick, and he either deserves a looooong time in prison, or deportation to where ever he climbed out of. It would be a good lesson learned for about 95% of these Russian doctors/lawyers/pharmacists.

  19. I don’t know about holding on for dear life, his obnoxious wife tweeted almost every weekend that “Rasputin is sold out again” It did seem busy. The guy could have just run a restaurant and be fine. But no, he also had to steal from people… So that his wife could show her fat fingers with brick sized rings to NY Magazine.

  20. Hey Mister, I found it ironic that you can generalize the behaviour of a few bad apples to the entire people. And you call yourself a Jew? Isn’t it what antisemites did to Jews?

    Most of us are educated hard working professionals. I have a graduate degree, work hard, pay taxes and do not own anything that was not honestly earned. Lack of positive examples in the Russian community? Start with Sergey Brin of Google, Mila Kunis the actress, or Lenny Krayzelberg the Olympic swimmer. And they are all Jewish too. So am I. So is Levitis. So what?

  21. To ‘LockMichaelLevitisAway’.. you must have felt very smart and outspoken after your little rant. Let me inform you, that you’re a stupid cunt. I am no fan of this dude, I didn’t even know who this was till I heard this story, still don’t really care. but since you boast of being a Jew, I find YOU a disgrace for a)calling anyone Jewish as ‘Russian’. ask mommy and daddy what their passports classified them as when they were in Russia. and b) for such self-righteous rant of some little lohoshka looking for outside praise. What russian Jews are known for is surviving and thriving in diametrically opposed environments. i.e Antisemetic CCCP. Whatever the guy did, he will be dealt with by proper authorities. but no one died and made you emperor of brighton beach, to decide who’s worthy or unworthy to live there. for the sake of our collective I.Q, please shut the fuck up..

  22. People who went to Rasputin either have cars or are smart enough to be fucking someone who has a car and money for a table..

  23. Can’t believe this dumb cunts rant got 30 praises.. Hopefully from the outside, who he/she was cocksucking up to..

  24. Yeah bro, I believe it… There are a lot of miserable people out there. When they see that someone is successful, they automatically assume that it is because of some kind of crime. Never mind that most of us are honest and work hard.

    Then, when someone like Levitis comes into spotlight, it just gives losers like that ammunition. They can proclaim: “I told you so! They are all crooks!”

  25. What about Bernie Madoff? How would you feel as a Jew, if some Nazi kook says “These Jews are all scheming crooks like Madoff”. How would you feel huh? And you will not have any “Russian” excuses because Madoff is not Russian. He stole a hell of a lot more than Levitis BTW

  26. So just because peoples passports in Russia said ‘Jew’ for nationality it makes them Jews?

    A little memo to you and everyone else on here who call yourself Jews –
    Eastern European so-called Jews are not real descendants of the ancient
    Hebrews. In other words, not Jews. Instead, you are a Eurasian race
    mixed group. That’s why some look Turkic, some European, some
    Mediterranean, while others a mix of things.

  27. Another high jump into a low ceiling. What makes them Jews is that they follow the tenets of Judaism, adhere to the laws and keep the traditions. Having the passport of your country of birth label you Jew doesn’t make you a Jew…but it sure makes you NOT part of the host country… that was the whole purpose. And thank you for the lesson on what we look like. I can see how based on my responses, it was obvious that I did not know..

  28. ACtually science has shown that most Jewish populations including European ones do in fact have middle eastern ancestry. Most of these studies have found that a y chromosome that passes unchanged from father to son through generations is similar to that found amongst other JEws(sephardic and arab) as well as Levantine arabs: palestinians, syrians, lebanese.
    HOwever obviously there was some mixing.

    Regardless of the fact that JEws are mixed(like every ethnic group). What mattered was the Jews were treated as outsiders, never seen as English, Spanish, German, or RUssian (yes these area all places that in some point in history expelled Jews en masse.That’s why we don’t want to be called Russian, get it?

  29. Exactly, it’s just a religion.

    And at least 60% of so-called Jews do not follow the religion at all. Going to temple twice a year doesn’t count.

  30. Sure, just like Italians or Armenians may have some Middle Eastern ancestry. It means nothing in the bigger picture.

    There is no Jewish ethnic group or race. That’s the point. Ashkenazi, Sephardic, Bukharian Jews, etc. have nothing in common with each other except religion.

    I know the genetic studies you’re referring to..take them with a grain of salt.

  31. Clearly you don’t understand what science is: the studies demonstrated that Ashkenazi and Sephardic jews do indeed have something in common. The studies never claimed that there is such a thing as a jewish race. nor do they claim that there was no admixture. Therefore they do indeed demonstrate that Jews are descendants of people from the middle east.

    By definition a people with their own history or culture and language are an ethnic group. See, JEws fit that category. it’s very simple.

  32. oh and if you’re suggesting that the alienation of jews is imagined because Jews like to think of themselves as an ethnic group,you’re wrong.

  33. I’ve looked at several Jewish genetics studies and I know what they demonstrated. But again..take it with a grain of salt. I am amazed how many people repeat what Jewish genetic studies have to say about this subject without actually trying to figure out how much of what they say is actually true, are there any biases, agendas, and things like that. Don’t just repeat things. Question a little bit.

    “A people with their own history or culture and language are an ethnic group”

    Yes, but Jews don’t fit that category. There is no one single unifying Jewish history or culture. Ashkenazi, Sephardic, Bukharian Jews, etc. are all different from each other ethnically/culturally and racially. And they also have different histories.

  34. Igor, your mentality is of the typical russian ass hole with very limited mental abilities to about the car or table at Rasputin.

    I’m not from New York, but i have been in that restaurant couple times. It’s a typical Russian restaurant. There are no windows for different reason.

    It’s not about being Russian or Jewish. These people went on the TV show representing Russian community and restaurant was part of the show. I cringed every time the show went on the air. I was happy when the show was canceled and thanks god noone watched it. They came off as obnoxious people flaunting their wealth which at the end turned out to be crooked. They made money on the backs of the hard working people. Shame!

  35. There are scholars in Israel who are discussing this subject. Let tell you, just because i don’t go to temple or religious, does not mean I’m not Jewish or grew up in Jewish household. Noone could take away the fact that my grandma spoke Yiddish all her life and i grew up with jewish roots.

  36. I never had the urge to respond to comments on this website until today.

    Unlike Sheryll, I did have the luxury to “afford” a table; as a matter of fact I rented out the entire place several times to throw my own parties there (between the years of 2007-2011); and I can assure you there is plenty of illegal activities — even while there are events going on in the main floor.

    It is a great nightclub nonetheless, and no windows have nothing to do with the illegal activities in the venue. It’s not like they slaughtered people in the main floor. Basements don’t have windows, so even if the entire place had a glass display, it doesn’t mean they aren’t hiding anything. Transparency can be so limited.

  37. What does Yiddish have to do with being Jewish? About as much as speaking French has to do with being Catholic.

    ‘Jewish roots’ means you’re descended from people who practiced Judaism, and that’s it. It’s not an ethnic or racial heritage.

  38. “I’ve looked at several Jewish genetics studies and I know what they demonstrated. But again..take it with a grain of salt. I am amazed how many people repeat what Jewish genetic studies have to say about this subject without actually trying to figure out how much of what they say is actually true, are there any biases, agendas, and things like that. Don’t just repeat things. Question a little bit.”

    Not all the people who have done these studies are Jewish. There are also various historical accounts that back up the genetic accounts. I.e. the romans eventually made converting to judaism a capital crime. Judaism doesn’t actively seek converts either. There are also various genetic diseases that affect eastern european jews which again suggest that the population like the genetic studies suggest is a “bottleneck”(meaning a very small group of people more to eastern europe and multiplied over time).

  39. How interesting. The whole discussion started with whether Levitis represented Russian Jewish community. Then some asshole claiming to be Jewish started throwing mud at all Russians living in Brooklyn, whether Jewish or not.
    And then sure enough, some “scientific” antisemite shows up claiming that Jews are not Jews. I once saw a group of weirdos on Time Square claiming that they are true Israelites, and not the Jews – same thing.
    Dmitry, I suggest to ignore him/her and not enter into scientific/ethnic/religious discussion. These trolls thrive on provoking people.

  40. Thank you! Hopefully we will not hear her whiny Zhmerinka voice for a while. Although one never knows – she may kick start a whole brand new showbiz career. Like Victoria Gotti or Mob Wives:-)

  41. There is a lot wrong with what you said there..

    but I’m getting tired of typing out long winded responses and I don’t like arguing with people on website comments. If you choose to continue this discussion on here it’s going to have to be with someone else.

    The bottom line is this –

    1. If you claim to be descended from the ancient Hebrews, you need to prove it. I know it’s generally assumed that Eastern European so-called Jews have that lineage but the claim is speculative at best.

  42. There is absolutely nothing anti-semitic about what I said.

    Not sure if you’re a so-called Jew or not, but its because of that kind of mentality that you’re showing that people dislike Jews.

    I’m not a troll but you’re right about one thing. I do provoke people..I provoke people to think.

  43. Why are you so disgustingly vulgar? You must have been raised with farm animals.
    PS,,,the truth hurts.

  44. Ned this site is really getting loaded with a bunch of punks. “Some” people will be happy….I will not look at your blog again. Class went out the window. The commenters are not the people I know that live in Sheepshead Bay. Are you appealing to the pre- school audience? Sorry, if this is what’s keeping you going, GOOD LUCK and Good Bye.

  45. Wait, so you’re saying Levitis isn’t a crook? There are millions of people that are successful, and they deserve to be so. Levitis does not deserve a single penny that he ‘made’. Don’t act to oblivious to the fact that Russians (Russian Jews) living in or around the Brighton area are cheats. Every other day, there’s an article on this blog about a medicaid fraud bust, or some sort of law related fraud bust. Levitis is one guilty son of a bitch.

  46. If you are a Russian (or Russian Jew) and what you said is true, then I applaud you for putting hard work into making something of yourself. You earned a graduate degree, and pay your taxes. Levitis most probably did not go to college, and I am positive that the IRS is auditing him. Levitis is what gives us hard working- tax paying- law abiding Russian Jews a bad name. There is a ton of positive examples in the Russian community (world wide), but because this is a local blog, I’m generalizing my ideas locally. There is no doubt that Sergey Brin is a genius, or Mila Kunis is an incredible person.

  47. Madoff is also in prison for life. There are plenty of Jews that are not Russian who didn’t become successful by leeching off others, i.e. Zuckerberg, Soros, Bernanke, Bloomberg, Spielberg, etc etc etc.

    Bottom line is, Levitis is a cheat and needs to be put away for a long time.

  48. Lol Igor, I can’t believe I wasted my time replying to your comments. You might be dumbest person I have ever met on the internet.

  49. To anyone that reads this comment and agrees, Igor posted this aswell….

    ..::IGOR::.. Random_guy • 20 hours ago
    People who went to Rasputin either have cars or are smart enough to be fucking someone who has a car and money for a table..

    This guy Igor definitely has 3 or 4 extra chromosomes. I’ll attempt to reply either way, although I know I’m wasting my time…..

    I was generalizing Russians and Jews, I felt no need to clarify that Levitis is a Jew, it seems quite self explanatory. Russian Jews are known for working hard, and making something out of themselves, NOT scamming people, stealing, laundering money, and other heinous activities. Furthermore, last time I checked this was a blog, with a comments sections, so I am entitled to an opinion (which plenty of people agree with.)

    Go drive your car and pay money for a table.

  50. I don’t disagree with you that Levitis is a cheat. If you look at my other comments to this article, you will see how much I dislike him, as well as his obnoxious wife. And I don’t disagree that there is white collar crime going on. My point is that most of us are not like that. Even most of the ones living in Brighton Beach and other areas of Brooklyn are not like that.

  51. I wasn’t bashing on all Russian Jews. It’s obvious that ALL Russian Jews aren’t crooks, but the numbers are so high, that it almost seems that they all are. I am a Russian Jew, so it isn’t like I don’t know what goes on in the medical offices of these Russian Jews doctors. It isn’t even only the Russian physicians, it’s also many small business owners. I know of Russian-Jewish owned cellular phone stores that practice identity theft.

  52. There are people who dislike Jews for no reason at all, however Jewish aggression towards others (like accusing others of anti-semitism for no real reason) creates negative feelings towards Jews as well.

  53. Know what you are talking about first. That company helped so many people and there’s enough proof that no Levitis will go to prison. The only ones who are messing things up are Feds (by freezing escrow accounts the settlements that were made cant be paid and will be defaulted causing law suits, garnishments and repossessions)
    That’s the real truth!!!!

  54. The feds wanted to close Rasputin down from the start. Levits is just the idiot that got it shut down. Long live levits. fucking quack.

  55. Levitis actually DID go to college and also has a law degree (license was revoked amid all recent incidents with him). He is actually an intelligent person and generously gave back to the community. It’s unclear what went wrong, we can only make assumptions, but will probably never know the truth…it’s a shame how things turned out.

  56. Just saw this post… I’m sorry, I didn’t know f*cking somebody for money and a ride was “smart”. I’ve always been under the impression that it’s shallow and quite trashy. My dignity doesn’t have a price tag attached. And what the heck is up with people assuming that I didn’t know people that had cars or that I grew up poor? Because, neither is true. I grew up in a big house with a pool in my backyard and my family went on many nice vacations and ate at many fancy restaurants. I love how people assume a whole bunch of nonsense from my comment. I thought the place seemed shady. Clearly, the people running the place were involved in shady business, so I obviously wasn’t wrong. That’s not a place where I would want my money going.

  57. Another person assuming I grew up poor because I never ate there? Um, did anyone ever think that I never cared to eat there? It wasn’t the only restaurant in all of New York that was expensive…

  58. I love how you know my family’s financial information due to the fact that I took a bus when I was kid in high school, as did a majority of kids in high school, and the fact that I never went to eat at one specific restaurant, you know, because there are apparently no other expensive restaurants in NYC. I grew up quite comfortably. Then again, I guess I shouldn’t expect some random guy with such a low level of literacy to begin to understand what he was reading.

  59. Ate at Rasputin once many years ago. The best Russian nightclub hands down! Excellent food, great entertainment. I miss it. The owner did bad stuff and certainly deserves to be punished, but most immigrants from the former Soviet Union are good, hardworking people, just like any other group of people. And BTW: Jewish is a religion, not a nationality. The former Soviet gov’t liked to list it as a Jew’s nationality because they were (and most Russians still are) anti-Semites. A person’s “nationality” is a political designation, which is an identification of what country he or she comes from. So Jews from Russia are Russians, too, culturally and politically.

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