Statement from the Rabbinical Council of California on Doheny Meats

I am curious who believes the RCC here?

Here is their statement:

On Sunday March 24th, the RCC received video footage alleging kashrus violations at Doheny Kosher Meats, a store under its supervision. Within hours of receiving the information including time stamped surveillance videos, leading members of the Vaad Hakashrus met and,
assessing the evidence of policy violations as compelling, ordered the immediate removal of our certification. Later that afternoon, a large group of community Rabbis and lay leaders met to review the known facts and to question the owner of Doheny. After initially denying any wrongdoing, he admitted to bringing unauthorized product to the store on two to three occasions.
After discussion, the meeting’s participants unanimously confirmed the decision to remove the RCC certification from Doheny Kosher Meats. In implementing that decision and determining to immediately publicize the RCC’s decision before Pesach, the Rabbinical authorities for the RCC consulted with Rav Yisroel Belsky, Rosh Yeshiva of Torah V’Daas and Posek for the OU Kashrut Division, and a nationally recognized kashrus authority. At 8pm Pacific time, Rabbi Belsky issued his ruling, based on the application of normative Halachic principles, permitting the use of products purchased from the store prior to the suspension of the certification. This ruling was immediately disseminated to the public.
In recent days, many allegations have surfaced which are factually incorrect. Over past years, the RCC received complaints from competitors of Doheny accusing Doheny of kashrus violations. The RCC investigated each and every one of these complaints at the time they were made but found no evidence of wrongdoing. To the contrary, each investigation showed Doheny in full compliance. In addition to asking these competitors to provide evidence of violations, the RCC took a number of steps to augment the security systems in place, in addition
to the Mashgiach Temidi (full-time kosher supervisor) at Doheny.
Among them:
 We implemented a system whereby all boxes of meat and poultry from Doheny were numbered and logged by the on-site Mashgiach.
 We also painstakingly reviewed invoices of product received and sold.
 Only the Mashgiach had keys to the establishment, which were Mul-T-Lock industrial keys that cannot be duplicated.
There are allegations that Doheny possessed fraudulent Agri labels which we are currently investigating. The serious lapse we did discover in the RCC supervisory system was the human error of an otherwise dedicated Mashgiach who absented himself for prayers, contrary to explicit protocols. The Mashgiach has been suspended and we are exploring ways to ensure this mistake does not repeat itself.
The RCC deeply regrets this circumvention of its kashrus standards. Unfortunately, even the most sophisticated systems can be breeched. The RCC’s dedicated Kashrus staff and full Rabbinic membership share the public’s outrage and sense of betrayal that a vendor schemed
to subvert our policies and abused the community’s trust. Legal action is now being considered.
The RCC, a non-profit community kashrus organization, will continue to work diligently to provide our community with quality kashrus.

Pico-Robertson’s three main Modern Orthodox rabbis email their membership:

Dear friends,

A few important updates concerning the situation that has unfolded over the last few days at Doheny Kosher meats:

(1) The owner of Doheny Kosher Meats, by his own admission, brought unauthorized boxes of product into his store on at least a few occasions during the month of March. The video evidence of this has been played repeatedly on KTLA.

(2) He did so while the mashgiach left his post to daven in the morning. This was a serious breach of his instructions, and the RCC is in the process of examining its procedures to make sure that lapses such as these do not occur again in any of their establishments.

(3) What was the basis for the “3:00 Sunday cutoff?” Standard halachik reasoning dictates that any product that was purchased prior to our knowing about the unauthorized boxes, is permissible for use. Since the majority of the product in the store was definitely kosher, any given item that we may have purchased can halachikly be assumed
to have been from the majority. But once we knew that the unauthorized product was there, all of the stock took on the halachik status of “safek”, i.e. being of doubtful kashrut, and therefore cannot be used.

(4) We agree with the RCC’s decision to remove its certification. Though the mashgiach should not have abandoned his post, the culprit here is the owner who violated all of our trust by doing what he did.

(5) We believe that he ought not be rewarded for this betrayal through another mashgiach stepping in.

(6) The allegations that have been made concerning Doheny Kosher Meats over the last couple of years derive almost entirely from Doheny’s competitors, and more to the point, were each investigated appropriately by the RCC at the time, and none were found to hold up.

Please see the attached statement released by the RCC which elaborates further upon these points.

This is a regrettable event in our community’s history. We hope that we will emerge from this situation as a more committed and stronger community.

Sincerely,

Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky

Rabbi Elazar Muskin

Rabbi Kalman Topp

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