Ex-con’s campaign funded by real estate principal sued for fraud

Hiram Monserrate, who slashed girlfriend and misused funds, is up for Assembly

New York /
Feb.February 07, 2020 04:55 PM
Hiram Monserrate (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)

Hiram Monserrate (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)

Three real estate figures have opened their wallets for a controversial figure in New York politics: convicted felon and Queens district leader Hiram Monserrate. And one of them has some trouble of her own, namely a lawsuit alleging insurance fraud.

Monserrate, a candidate for Assembly, was forced out of the state Senate more than a decade ago after assaulting his girlfriend, which led to a misdemeanor conviction, and served time for misusing taxpayer funds.

That didn’t stop Tatiana Rybak — the principal of M A K Realty, according to Florida state records — and Maximillian Kostyashkin from giving Monserrate’s campaign $5,000 and $3,000, respectively, from a Florida address. Rybak’s son Sergey Rybak is principal of Rybak Development & Construction, which is based in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, and develops condominiums in southern Brooklyn. Kostyashkin is his brother.

Tatiana Rybak is a defendant in a racketeering lawsuit brought last year by Geico seeking about $2 million in damages from Rybak and her associates, alleging they secretly controlled a network of fake doctors to steer unwitting car-crash patients to their phony clinics.

According to the suit, Rybak and her associates ran up insurance bills for unnecessary services including acupuncture and another pain-reduction method, dry needling. Francois Parisien, one of the non-doctors who worked at the clinics, contributed $4,000 to Monserrate’s campaign.

“I personally have no knowledge of anything with regard to that,” said Sergey Rybak, principal of Rybak Development & Construction. “I have no relation to any medical business. I would definitely be very cautious as to what I write.”

Jeffrion Aubrey (Credit: Wikipedia)

Jeffrion Aubrey (Credit: Wikipedia)

Monserrate is challenging Assembly member Jeffrion Aubrey in a district that includes LeFrak City, Corona, Woodside, Jackson Heights and Elmhurst. Both men are Democrats.

Another real estate donor to Monserrate was Carpathian fertilizer tycoon-turned investor Alexander Rovt, who gave $5,000 to Monserrate’s Assembly campaign in December.

Rovt and his wife Olga are frequent political donors. They have given more than $375,000 since 2010 to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, $10,000 to President Donald Trump in 2016 and $2,500 to Melinda Katz’s successful bid last year for Queens district attorney.

Rovt made his fortune selling ammonium-based fertilizer in Ukraine but, as that business dried up, he shifted to New York City real estate, where in 2012 his firm bought an Art Deco skyscraper across the street from the New York Stock Exchange in an all-cash deal. The previous year, Rovt paid $34 million — also in cash — for the Sloane mansion at 18 East 68th Street.

Sergey Rybak’s Florida real estate broker license is registered to his mother’s address, from which she made the campaign donations, according to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

In 2018, Rybak got financing for a 22-story, 180,000-square-foot mixed-use tower in Coney Island, adding to two condominium projects it had already initiated in Sheepshead Bay. Rybak also planned a seven-story residential building at 101 East 2nd Street and First Avenue in the East Village, where a drag cabaret once stood.

Tatiana Rybak and Parisien have also been generous to other politicians, including Eric Adams and the Brooklyn Democratic Party. Last year, Rybak contributed $5,000 to the Kings County Democratic County Committee and $5,100 toward Adams’ 2021 bid for New York City mayor, while her associate, alleged non-physician Parisien gave $7,000 to the Kings County Democratic County Committee and $2,000 to Adams.

A spokesperson for Adams said the campaign is reviewing the donations.

Lawyers for the plaintiff, Geico Insurance, declined to comment on the pending litigation. Monserrate did not return a request for comment. The Kings County Democratic County Committee did not comment.


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