Above: Dove Hikind
Report: NYS State Assemblyman Dov Hikind Failed To Disclose Gifts
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind failed to disclose years of free trips given to him as gifts, Crain’s reported today.
The disclosures are required by law if they are in excess of $1,000.
The trips were given to Hikind and his wife by haredi and Orthodox event organizers.
On July 9, 2013 Crain’s asked Hikind’s office about the free trips.
On July 25, 2013 Hikind reportedly amended his financial disclosure forms back to 2006 to include them.
On July 11, 2013 Hikind also amended his financial disclosures, this time back to 2005, to include income from his radio advertising firm, DYS Production.
DYS Production became the subject of a Crain’s report and was later part of the state’s Moreland Commission anti-corruption investigation and subpoenaed email messages from a key Hikind advertiser, Maimonides Hospital, appear to have been part of its preliminary report issued late last year. Hikind is actively involved in legislation that directly impact the hospital.
Hikind’s 2013 financial disclosure form, the most recent available, reportedly lists four trips given to him and his wife as “gifts” for a total value of up to $20,000.
The trips were given the Hikind’s for events held on various Jewish holidays, at Kutsher’s, the Catskills resort. They were reportedly paid for by Yossi Zablocki, Kutsher’s director of operations.
Hikind reportedly included a letter with that most recent financial disclosure about the travel gifts, but he does not explain why he did not report them for almost a decade.
“As explained previously, my wife Shoshana Hikind is the Executive Vice President for the Jerusalem Reclamation Project and has worked for this organization for over 20 years. We have both been invited as guest speakers to discuss various topics relating to the Jewish community. Never has my speaking included any topics related to my official capacity as a NYS Assemblyman. Moreover, I have never been invited to speak by the owner of a hotel or a lobbyist. All invitations have been by people organizing these Jewish holiday getaways—people who do not have any business before the NYS Legislature,” Hikind reportedly wrote, adding that neither he or his wife were paid for speaking.
The New York State Public Officer's Law states that lawmakers are forbidden from taking gifts, including travel, if the gift "was intended to influence him, or could reasonably be expected to influence him, in the performance of his official duties or was intended as a reward for any official action on his part,” Crain’s reported.
Others who gifted the Hikinds reportedly include another Catskills event operator, “Flakey” Jake Strauss, and Dorothy Stoll, who brought the Hikinds to California for a Passover event.
Hikind’s 2013 financial disclosure also shows DYS Production as bringing in between $5,000 and $20,000.
Cuomo took considerable heat for disbanding the Moreland Commission earlier this year before it had finished its work. But U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office may reportedly assume the commission’s cases.
In 1998, Hikind was acquitted on federal charges that he used government money given to the Council of Jewish Organizations in Borough Park and then afterward given to Hikind to pay for personal expenses – including his children’s yeshiva tuition and vacations for he and his family in Paris and Israel.
The jury found that Hikind did not take the money from COJO with corrupt intent.
However, the same jury convicted COJO’s head, Rabbi Elimelech Naiman, of misuse of government grant money and bribery.
COJO director of operations, Paul Chernik, pleaded guilty to fraud before the trial, admitting he paid “a reward” to Hikind for helping COJO get government grants and other considerations.
COJO was essentially put out of business by the indictments and trial.
Hikind told a group of hundreds of cheering hasidim after the verdict acquitting hims that “God was on our side.”