Shimmie Horn is the man who would be homeless king. The hotel owner whose former company was at the center of a lawmaker-bribery scandal could stand to rake in millions of taxpayer dollars if four Brooklyn warehouses he recently purchased are transformed into city shelters.
Shimmie Horn and his Teaneck, New Jersey mansion.
Wealthy & stealthy
Bribe-flap mogul in homeless biz plan
By AARON SHORT • New York Post
Shimmie Horn is the man who would be homeless king.
The Manhattan hotel owner whose former company was at the center of a lawmaker-bribery scandal could stand to rake in millions of taxpayer dollars if four Brooklyn warehouses he recently purchased are transformed into city shelters.
Horn, 38, built his Triumph Hotels empire a decade ago by converting family-owned fleabag flophouses into chic spots like The Iroquois in Midtown.
Now he's making a bum's rush back into the family business -- eyeing a windfall by capitalizing on a city plan to open 70 shelters. He would provide four, with more than 700 total beds.
This spring, Horn and his partners bought factories in Greenpoint, Ocean Hill and East New York for more $12 million, according to city records.
But Horn appears content to do it all on the down-low. His name doesn't appear on those leases and mortgages. Instead, his lawyer, Solomon Borg, partner, Sid Borenstein, and contractor, John Venetis, are listed as owners.
But all roads lead back to Horn, city and state records reveal. The buyers all share a Midtown address that is home to Triumph Hotels and a phone number that connects directly to Horn's office there. At the same time the city is in negotiations with service providers, Horn is in talks with those same nonprofits over their rent, according to sources familiar with the discussions.
Horn's father, Morris Horn, was monarch of a slew of notorious homeless hotels in the 1980s, and established a company that set up halfway houses for federal prisoners. Shimmie inherited those properties and businesses when his pop died in 1994.
A spokeswoman at the Department of Homeless Services would not comment on the agency's relationship with Horn, but it's certainly not the first time they have worked together.
Back in 2002, the city gave $7 million in housing payments to buildings in which Horn was invested. One year later, state officials and Manhattan prosecutors fingered the family business, Correctional Services Corp., the prison-management company where Horn served as director and board member, for bribing state lawmakers.
Bronx Assemblywoman Gloria Davis and Brooklyn Assemblyman Roger Green received free limo rides and hefty campaign contributions from Correctional Services in exchange for helping the company win state contracts. Both pols pleaded guilty to bribery, and the company coughed up a $300,000 fine -- at the time, the largest the state had ever imposed on a private company for flouting lobbying laws.
But a scandal-scarred past has not scared off city officials.
If the talks are successful, the Department of Homeless Services is prepared to pay $6 million a year to each nonprofit to run rehabilitation centers, and in turn, providers would cut rental checks worth millions to Horn's management company.
Horn declined repeated requests for comment, but a source close to him said shelters remain the core of the family business.
The Horn family's shelters were appalling.
Exploiting the weakest and poorest among us is not a kosher way to earn a living.
[Hat Tip: WSC.]
Update 1:50 pm CDT – Yossi Katz, Horn's partner, is in contempt of a beit din for refusing to answer a summons. Here's that seruv and a letter from the beit to Katz: