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April 02, 2008

Who Really Has Custody Of Isaac Hersh?

A criminal named…

…Steve Zakheim:

1. Steve Zakheim Pleaded Guilty To Violating Federal Election Law:

Ambulance Chaser
Pol's pal faked donations
by Tom Robbins
June 15th, 2004 12:00 AM

In his heyday, former ambulance mogul Steve Zakheim liked to give politicians the royal treatment when they visited the Brooklyn headquarters of MetroCare, the big emergency transport company he founded.
Elected officials would be ushered into the company's conference room to give brief speeches to staffers. Zakheim would then hand over a stack of individual checks of $1,000 and $1,500 apiece, which he said represented support from his admiring employees. Last month, however, Zakheim, 49, quietly admitted in court that the routine was just for show. It was really his own money disguised to avoid donation limits, he acknowledged, and he had reimbursed his workers after asking them to write the checks.

Zakheim's guilty plea comes seven months after he was charged in Brooklyn federal court with funneling $32,500 in phony contributions to the senatorial campaigns of Rudy Giuliani and Chuck Schumer, as well as the congressional races of Noach Dear and Melinda Katz. The complaint stated that Zakheim routed $10,500 in disguised contributions to Giuliani, then a candidate for the U.S. Senate. Giuliani, the complaint noted, made a personal fundraising appearance at Zakheim's offices in March 1999. Several months later, the complaint noted, MetroCare was designated by the Giuliani administration as the first private ambulance firm allowed to respond directly to 911 calls.

Citing personal reasons, Zakheim stepped down in April from MetroCare, which is now owned by a national firm, TransCare. Zakheim's departure came two weeks after the Voice revealed that he had settled a lawsuit brought by 10 current and former female employees accusing him of sexual harassment ("The Boss Will See You Now," March 24-30). He faces up to six months in prison when he is sentenced in August on the election fraud charge.


2. Charged The Government For Phony Ambulance Rides:
It may be lucky for Zakheim that the MetroCare contract was not subject to competitive bidding. In 1997, Metropolitan Ambulance, which merged with Transcare to become MetroCare and was also owned by Zakheim, settled a federal investigation of bills for unnecessary ambulance rides by agreeing to pay the government $400,000 and be subject to oversight for five years.

3. Sexual Harassment:
Zakheim was apparently found guilty of misdemeanor sexual abuse in 1983. I'm still looking for that source. But he has a more recent history of sexual harassment.

The Boss Will See You Now
Lawsuit alleges politically connected ambulance mogul demanded sex for raises
by Tom Robbins
March 16th, 2004 12:00 AM

Steve Zakheim and his private ambulance corps won acclaim for handling delicate emergencies, like giving an ailing 800-pound man a free trip to the hospital—via forklift. Zakheim also won notice when his firm, MetroCare, received permission from a friendly Giuliani administration to install 911 radios in his fleet, a move that outraged city paramedic unions.
The energetic Zakheim founded Metropolitan Ambulance in the 1980s, and later made millions by merging it with a national company called Transcare. Still, he stayed aboard as chief operating officer at his bustling headquarters on Foster Avenue in Brooklyn.

Busy as Zakheim was, however, according to a lawsuit quietly settled this month, the ambulance tycoon also spent a good deal of time hitting on and harassing his female employees. The suit, filed in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn, was brought by 10 current and former staff members who worked for MetroCare. The workers claimed that Zakheim often set upon employees from the day they were hired, demanding sex in exchange for raises, boat rides, and tickets to Yankee games.

One woman, an emergency medical technician, said in legal papers that Zakheim and another company official called her to say that she "owed" them a sexual favor because they had allowed her to transport Derek Jeter to the hospital after he injured his knee in a July 4, 2002, game at Yankee Stadium, where MetroCare provides ambulance service.

Zakheim, 49, refused to discuss the lawsuit, which was withdrawn pursuant to an undisclosed settlement this month. "He denies all allegations set forth in the complaint," said his attorney, Mercedes Colwin. "The parties have now resolved it to their satisfaction."

Arnold Kriss, who represented the plaintiffs, also refused to talk about it. "My clients have instructed me not to make any comment," he said.

The lawsuit itself, however, was filed in the public record in July 2003, and came to light after Zakheim encountered other legal trouble last year. In November, the ambulance tycoon was arrested by the FBI and charged with using employees to make illegal campaign contributions to several political committees, including those of former mayor Giuliani and U.S. senator Chuck Schumer. Two weeks after that, federal attorneys in Brooklyn filed a civil fraud complaint against Zakheim and his companies, claiming they ripped off federal Medicare funds for more than $32 million through improper billings—and then forged records to cover it up.

Zakheim pled not guilty to the campaign contributions charge, and he has yet to be formally indicted in the case. Court records show he is involved in ongoing plea negotiations. In the fraud case, he has insisted he acted properly and has moved to dismiss the complaint.

The harassment lawsuit, however, depicts another side of operations at MetroCare, which calls itself the region's largest private provider of medical transport. Covering events during an eight-year period from 1994 to 2002, the suit offers a long, sad litany of abuse, one made all the more disturbing because of the number of women relating it. Zakheim allegedly taunted and teased older employees, they claimed, while preying on the youngest. His office antics allegedly included grabbing employees' hands and placing them in his opened zipper, and giving unrequested shoulder massages as women sat at their desks and peeking down their blouses.

"Look at the view," Zakheim allegedly said out loud as he stood behind Patricia Attanasio, a 36-year-old clerical employee. "You've got nice tits," he told Patricia Flournoy, a 50-year-old woman who worked for the company for five years, according to the lawsuit.

Behind closed doors in his office, Zakheim supposedly turned up the heat.

A woman who was 18 when she was hired by MetroCare, in 1998, said that in her first week on the job, Zakheim summoned her to his office and grilled her about her personal life. A few weeks later, the woman said, Zakheim offered her a ride home, only to lock the doors and grab her breasts as soon as she sat down in the passenger seat.

The employee said she later agreed to have sex with Zakheim, who is married, an affair carried out for months in his office and aboard his 37-foot pleasure boat. It ended, she said in the complaint, when she learned that her boss was having affairs with others in the office as well. Even after the woman became pregnant from a separate relationship, Zakheim allegedly continued to press her for sex, saying, "We don't have to worry about you getting pregnant."

According to Geraldine Aronofsky, 52, who worked as manager of the call-receiving department, Zakheim's standing orders were to hire only young, attractive women for the office, regardless of their experience.

"Once the individual woman applicant was hired, Defendant Zakheim attempted to date them," the complaint stated.

Former employees of Zakheim said that such women became known as "Steve Specials."

"You could tell who they were, because they were young, good-looking, and didn't know how to do anything," said another former MetroCare employee not involved in the lawsuit, who asked to remain anonymous.

According to Aronofsky, Zakheim, an orthodox Jew, taunted her and others, saying: "Have you ever had Jewish meat before? Kosher meat is the best."

Aronofsky said in legal papers that she repeatedly protested Zakheim's behavior, telling him it was "inappropriate and unprofessional." She said Zakheim insisted he would act how he pleased. "I can, and I will," she quoted him as saying. Another supervisor brushed her complaints aside, saying it was just "Steve being Steve."

Tara Bongiardina, 25, described in the complaint how she too received the full Zakheim after being hired in 1999. On her first day of work, she said, Zakheim asked her about herself, while standing embarrassingly close and leering at her body. A few weeks later, Zakheim allegedly called her into his office and offered her tickets to a Yankees game. "What am I going to get in return?" the boss allegedly asked, adding that he had "dreamed about" her the night before.

Aronofsky and another of the plaintiffs, Adrinne Forrest, said in the lawsuit that they were fired following a 2002 incident in which they complained to the company's human resources department. They said Zakheim had berated workers in the ambulance firm's call-receiving office when he couldn't get through to them. Zakheim had allegedly asked Joann Febre, another plaintiff in the lawsuit who was a dispatcher in the office, whether his workers were "reading comic books, playing with themselves, or masturbating."

Several workers later wrote a letter of protest to company personnel officials about the incident. "It's my fucking company," Zakheim allegedly later yelled at Aronofsky and others, adding, "You can stop going to Human Resources [or] get the fuck out."

A letter was later issued by company CEO Matthew Harrison, saying that Zakheim's comments were inappropriate. Zakheim's alleged response was to tell Aronofsky, who had worked at the firm for more than a decade, that he "didn't trust her anymore." A few weeks later, he terminated her employment.

The harassment suit was settled before it even made it to the discovery stage, during which Zakheim and his lawyers would have been free to test the women's stories in sworn depositions. Unmentioned in the legal papers, however, is that this isn't the first time Zakheim has been accused of sexual transgressions. In 1983, he was found guilty of misdemeanor sex abuse, a conviction he failed to report on his state license applications. The city's EMS unions, furious after Giuliani gave MetroCare the 911 contracts, unearthed the conviction and reported it in 2000. Zakheim later paid a $6,000 fine.

So a New York family court awarded custody of Isaac Hersh to a man, Steve Zakheim, accused of sexually harassing female employees, stealing from the government and violating Federal election law.

Zakheim is also said to be a friend of Isaac Hersh's father and to be close to the rabbi who backed sending Isaac to Tranquility Bay and then refused to release him, Ahron Schechter.

Do you think Isaac's 'rescuers' mentioned any of this in court so the judge could make a fair and honest decision?

Of course not.

Comments

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It's all Elyashiv and Schechter's fault, I'm tellin ya. They did it all. They paskened for Zakheim to shtupp the employees, to steal and shmeer politicians.

Shmarya, you really are a despicable person. I have no idea who this Zakheim fellow is or anything about him. But apparently neither do you. His alleged financial crimes, even if true, have absolutely no bearing on this situation. Even if he is a womanizer who engaged in sexual harrassment, while not my first choice for awarding child custody, this is not a situation where he wants custody of the child. This was apparently a situation where there was significant behind the scenes negotiation for the father to agree to someone else to take temporary custody of the child. For all we know, Zakheim volunteered solely out of the goodness of his heart to resolve this issue. You have no evidence of any improper intent by Zakheim. Yet you take this opportunity to plaster negative information about him on your site. True, this is public information, but what is your goal here? If you want to do something helpful, get off your ass and get involved - do something useful.

Shamrya,

tom robbins, wayne barret amd nat hentoff all work for the village voice. They are 3 of new york's top investigative journalists.

someone should get their email address and give them all the information related to this story. I would love to see aaron schechters face on the cover of the village voice.

From the Village Voice Website:

Contact Us
Send your comments or questions to the Village Voice. We welcome your feedback, so make sure your letter finds its way to the appropriate person by selecting from the options below.

Shmarya, you really are a despicable person. I have no idea who this Zakheim fellow is or anything about him.

Then, perhaps, you should keep quiet.

This was apparently a situation where there was significant behind the scenes negotiation for the father to agree to someone else to take temporary custody of the child.

Let's just say the groundwork that should have been laid weeks ago was not, for reasons I've previously reported, and our rescuers – having no plan – gave in to this horrible arrangement.

Isaac should be in Texas with his foster family.

Do you really think there was no one else in Brooklyn who could have served in Zakheim's role? Please.

Why is no one questioning Hatzolah's rabbi, Dovid Cohen, as to why a convicted sex offender like Zakheim is allowed to touch women when dispatched by Hatzolah to emergencies?

--Do you really think there was no one else in Brooklyn who could have served in Zakheim's role? Please.--

Do you think you can do better? Then why don't you get involved. Besides why do you think someone who is a womanizer and has a shady financial history is not appropriate to have temporary custody?

He's not just a womanizer. He has criminal sexual conviction.

As for getting involved, I can assure you that I'm far more involved than, say, you are. So, using your logic, you should not be criticizing me at all.

Forget convicted sex offender. He is an ADMITTED sex offender.

This was posted on VIN this morning:

At April 3, 2008 12:20 PM , Anonymous said...

Isaac Hirsch was taken to Israel and now lives with his aunt - physically far away from the abuse he endured.


Can anyone confrim this?

--He's not just a womanizer. He has criminal sexual conviction.--

Convicted of misdemeanor sexual assault against an adult woman, if I recall correctly. Sure that is wrong, but it doesn't mean he is someone who would be more inclined to abuse a boy.

--As for getting involved, I can assure you that I'm far more involved than, say, you are.--

Yeah, I know. You are involved in everything but do to confidentiality considerations you can't tell us what you are are doing. In fact it is so confidential that even other people involved don't know that you are involved. Dude, you should drop this tact - it just make you look like a complete moron.

--So, using your logic, you should not be criticizing me at all.--

Actually, I'm using your logic. If someone who claims he is involved is criticizing other who are certainly more involved and who did accomplish things, then why can't someone that is uninvolved criticize someone who claims to be involved but so far hasn't done squat.

--Can anyone confrim this?--

Can't be true. Shmarya posted that he is living with a convicted sex offender in the U.S. and Shmarya doesn't like to admit that he is wrong. Therefore, this report is false. And anyone that can't process this logic is a sick human being who should slink away.

--So, using your logic, you should not be criticizing me at all.--

Actually, I'm using your logic. If someone who claims he is involved is criticizing other who are certainly more involved and who did accomplish things, then why can't someone that is uninvolved criticize someone who claims to be involved but so far hasn't done squat.

Fine. In order to kasher your behavior, you need to use my logic, not yours. Yet you had no problem whatsoever in criticizing me before accepting my logic.

The main point, here, is your mission is to criticize me and you will use anything you can to do so. The end justifies the means.
Therefore, as much as you may dislike it, you have no grounds

Can't be true.

Is true. He was convicted of misdemeanor sexual assault. He pleaded guilty to that in a plea bargin which saved him from a felony charge.

That, and his other legal problems make it extremely unlikely any court would award him temporary or full custody of any child not his own – if the court knew about the convictions.

Now, slink off into your delusions.


--Can't be true.

Is true. He was convicted of misdemeanor sexual assault. He pleaded guilty to that in a plea bargin which saved him from a felony charge.--

The "can't be true" reference is referring to the claim that he was taken to Israel to live with an aunt. So you response is simply non-sensical. However, I'm glad you didn't dissapoint our expectations by reverting back to you "slink away" comment.

Did you check how VIN is letting all Hersh & cronies fill the latest update with excuses for abuse but don't put up any defenses of the kid? Seems they were threatened.

Shmarya - Yasher Koach for letting it all out in the open.

One point should be clearified - The 'rescuers' did not agree to Isaac being sent to stay with Sexheim - It was ordered by Judge Graham over the objections of the lawyers representing the boy's other relatives.

By the way, is Steven Zakheim related to the Rabbi Zakheim who gave the 'hashgachoh' to the Bernstein's deli plant?

Did you check how VIN is letting all Hersh & cronies fill the latest update with excuses for abuse but don't put up any defenses of the kid? Seems they were threatened.

Posted by: | April 03, 2008 at 08:48 PM

I think you are 100% correct. All of a sudden all the comments are from one side with one talking point - that everyone only knows one side of the story. I cannot believe how they whimpped out. They won't even allow a comment about Zakheim's history as an admitted sex offender!

All they allowed was a reference to the Zakheims being a well known family. Too bad they have been bullied into not allowing any mention of what they are famous for.

Certainly looks like they have caved in to whatever threats Mike Hersh and/or MYRCB have made againat them.

Maybe we need Shmarya now more than ever.

we should post comments here and there pro Isaac and con Isaac to show a bias over there.

Also, we should take their arguments about "evil children" to the absurd so that it makes them look like fools

Also, that comment section was probably all written by Mr. Hersh. Hopefully someone is putting that in the court case. What kind of parents go on a media campaign against their own son?

My money says VIN was threatened either with a lawsuit. Or they threatened to make the whole internet assur so no one would read VIN. ;-)

Shmarya, what do you hear?

Something tells me the plot has thickened with the involvment of certain higher ups in CB.

If they can really bully enough people to keep us all uninformed I may want to hire them as bill collectors.

quite sad
this kid was neglected, abused physically and emotionally in israel.
close relatives have tried unsuccessfully for a long time to assist isaac and have him released from his recent incarceration and were blocked by shecker and legal wranglings and loshon horah.
a well known psychologist attested to his abuse and assisted in his release from (un)tranquility bay.

it is a sad refelection of the underlying turmoil in klal yisroel where emes does not prevail.
let him live with decent relatives.

--It was ordered by Judge Graham over the objections of the lawyers representing the boy's other relatives.--

Well if that is true does that mean that Shmarya was once again criticizing the wrong people?

--It was ordered by Judge Graham over the objections of the lawyers representing the boy's other relatives.--

Well if that is true does that mean that Shmarya was once again criticizing the wrong people?

The boy's "other relatives" are not[ part of the community and did not have the support of it.

Could this mean Anon is again wrong? Of course.

Both of you guys are wrong. The "other relatives" are part of the community and they did not object to the temporary gaurdianship.


Failed,

I just read your "What I believe"

Ironically, I feel the same way about you as you feel about the Gedolim. You wrote:

"If today's rabbis lie to us, why not Rashi? Why Not Moses?"

How can I believe what you post, when I have good reason to believe wrong about Steven Zakheim. I know Mr. Zakheim. He is an incredible person.

My mother in law has worked with him, and has nothing but praise for him (keep in mind, we are both troubled and disgusted (as you are) by the misbehavior of the creatans who walk amoung us).

I can't say for sure you are wrong about Mr. Zakheim, and I certainly can't prove it. But if you are wrong about him, then you could be wrong about others as well. Maybe they are also good people getting a bad rap from you.

Is this what passes for thought process in today's haredi world?

Please.

He has CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS. He's a thief. He harasses women.

This fact, not speculation.

Go tell Ahron Schechter you tried and failed.

Failed,

I just read your "What I believe"

Ironically, I feel the same way about you as you feel about the Gedolim. You wrote:

"If today's rabbis lie to us, why not Rashi? Why Not Moses?"

How can I believe what you post, when I have good reason to believe wrong about Steven Zakheim. I know Mr. Zakheim. He is an incredible person.

My mother in law has worked with him, and has nothing but praise for him (keep in mind, we are both troubled and disgusted (as you are) by the misbehavior of the creatans who walk amoung us).

I can't say for sure you are wrong about Mr. Zakheim, and I certainly can't prove it. But if you are wrong about him, then you could be wrong about others as well. Maybe they are also good people getting a bad rap from you.


Posted by: Embarassed | April 06, 2008 at 01:18 PM

There is a great new tool you probably never heard of. It is known as GOOGLE.

Google this: Steve Zakheim Guilty Sex Offender.

Then come back and tell us how wonderful he is.

Zakheim has been donating the chairs at the kotel for many years, those with the big plaks on the back proclaiming his generocity.
I have knows about his criminal stuff for about 15 years!
And I know of others who have been doing this donation stuff with Guliani including DH. Don't think Guliani is unaware of this.

Mr Zakheim is a Tzadik.
Mr. Shlomo Steve Zakheim is the man behind many charities, jewish and non jewish. he dedicates his life to helping others. I have worked with Steve Zakheim for years now, and there is not a day that i am not amazed by his good deeds. Those who write lashon hara, rechilous on this page will have alot to answer for.. chances are somehow you dont realizeit you have been helped by Shlomo. wether it be Ohel, Camp Simcha, Yad Batya amongst hundreds others of charities and causes, Steve Zakheim is an integral part of their programs. Alot of the BS written above was made up by third parties who had a financial interests (ulterior motives) in seeing mr zakheim not involved in the ambulance company. there is not a day i am not amazed my Steve Zakheim

First off, I have nothing to gain by leaving this post. I was not part of the civil law suit nor have I had any contact with Steve or Metro since I left in 1995.

I am a former employee of Metropolian Ambulance. I left my position in 1995. I can tell everyone that what these women accused Steve of is 100% true. I was 19 when I directly worked within Metro's executive offices and I was threatened, stalked and sexually assaulted by this slimeball. The emotional damage that I have dealt with regarding trust issues with male employers has been a serious problem for me. I was not part of the law suit since I moved out of Brooklyn as soon as I left Metro. Steve broke into my appartment, called me at all hours of the night to tell me he was horny and masterbating while thinking of me. He would grab my breasts, talk to other employees about me in a sexual manner. He would comment on how he thought my face would look during an orgasm. I was only 19!! I can only assume there are many of us victims left out there that still have nightmares about our experiences at Metro. I have a daughter now and it upsets me to think of a grown man in a position of power as he was, ever treating her the way Steve treated us "Steve Specials".

Steve Zakheim is a tzadik...
i dont know why you guys write this BS..
you have no idea how much good he does

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