New York – A private investigation firm has been hired to review the death of a wealthy Brooklyn investor who plunged from the terrace of his posh Essex House condo.
The medical examiner has ruled the June 9 death of Solomon Obstfeld a suicide.
NYPD detectives have yet to close the case, although they have not found anything that contradicts that conclusion.
But some of Obstfeld’s friends are not convinced.
They say the father of five was involved with a host of shady business partners – including one caught in a bribery scandal involving former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
“The people who hired us do not believe it was a suicide, but what they really want are answers to why this happened,” said Tom Ruskin of CMP Protective and Investigative Group.
Ruskin declined to comment on whether he was hired by Obstfeld’s family or by one of the businessman’s close friends.
“People who commit suicide, even those really depressed, leave a note, make a will, think of the family they leave behind and take care of them,” Ruskin said.
Obstfeld was entangled in a series of murky business deals, including ties with billionaire Martin Schlaff. Israeli police recommended this week that Schlaff be indicted for bribing Sharon.
Schlaff was one of hundreds who turned out for Obstfeld’s funeral, sources said.
A highly religious Bobover Hasidic Jew, Obstfeld left no note or will before he plummeted from his 19th-floor condo, sources said.
All that was left behind was the 55-year-old’s glasses, Ruskin said.
A family friend who identified Obstfeld’s remains told investigators his watch was smashed and frozen at about 6:35 p.m., or about 15 minutes after what employees said was Obstfeld’s last known phone conversation, an unremarkable business chat, Ruskin said.
Obstefled’s body was discovered when kitchen workers at Essex House’s posh South Gate restaurant looked out and saw a body.
The city’s medical examiner’s office inspected the body, but an autopsy was not performed because of religious objections. Obstfeld’s family told others he died of a heart attack.
He had recently put his three luxury Essex House apartments up for sale for a combined $6.5 million, and investigators were looking into friends’ concerns that he was juggling money troubles.