Gov. Kathy Hochul this week attended a secret meeting at the Upper East Side townhouse of Alexander Rovt — a billionaire mega-donor to her campaign whose hospital network was bailed out by the state in April.
A source provided The Post with video of Hochul – who is already under fire for allegedly making donations to campaigns involving an overpriced $637 million underbid COVID testing contract – showing up on Thursday morning Enter Rovt’s mansion on East 68th Street.
Rovt, 70, is CEO of One Brooklyn Health Systems Inc., which operates a network of medical facilities where the coronavirus has reportedly run rampant during the first deadly wave of the pandemic.
Hospitals include the financially troubled Interfaith Medical Center, Kingsbrook and Brookdale.
The state budget – approved by Hochul and the Legislature in April – pumped $1.7 billion into a network of “financially troubled” hospitals that includes Rovt’s One Brooklyn system.
Records of state campaign funding show that Rovt and his wife Olga donated the maximum of $139,400 to Hochul’s campaign.
She’s running against Long Island Rep. Lee Zeldin, Republican nominee for gubernatorial gubernatorial nominee, to remain New York’s chief executive after taking office when Andrew Cuomo resigned amid a sexual harassment and misconduct scandal last year.
Gov. Kathy Hochul was spotted entering the Upper East Side townhouse of billionaire industrialist and real estate mogul Alexander Rovt.New York Post
Rovt also had ownership interests in the Optima Care Smithtown care home and in a home care agency, Prime Health Choice, where he serves on the board. He sought and obtained state permits for nursing homes from the government of the time. Andrew Cuomo’s government in 2016.
There is also a business proposition hatched by the Hochul administration that could help hospitals linked to Rovt.
In July, the State Health Department told New York Presbyterian Weill-Cornell that it would only grant approval for a new $8.4 million heart transplant center in Manhattan if the hospital partnered with Rovts One Brooklyn system or another operator to provide $50 million in primary health care in Brooklyn and Queens, the Empire Center for Public Policy reported.
“She would be an extremely valuable person for anyone in the healthcare industry to know and relate to,” said Bill Hammond, Empire Center’s health analyst, of Hochul.
Hochul came under fire for donating play money. New York Post
Meanwhile, in a 2021 reveal of Rovt’s business dealings during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Daily Beast wrote: “The vast domain Rovt has built with its government contracts, grants and permits has been the scene of some of the outbreak’s worst carnage.
The Ukrainian-born, who made big money selling fertilizers in the old Soviet Union, and his wife have already done everything they can to donate to Hochul – with the couple giving a total of $139,400 to their campaign.
He is an active philanthropist, particularly dedicated to Jewish causes. He had relatives who died in the Holocaust. A charity source who met Rovt at his office said he was accompanied by an armed private security guard.
The mogul owns at least 30 properties in New York and owns IBE Trade Corp as well as a trophy property in the Bankers Trust building at 14 Wall Street, a 37-story building he bought with cash 10 years ago.
The mogul bought another property on East 63 Street in 2005, which Forbes magazine dubbed his “Man Cave.” He gutted the house and rebuilt it with reinforced concrete with brick siding and retractable bulletproof blinds covering the windows. It also included a cigar room, 12 bathrooms, and solid 14k gold fixtures in the master bathroom.
He later sold it.
Rovt and his wife Olga donated the maximum of $139,400 to Hochul’s campaign.New York Post
The pair have donated more than $2 million to candidates over the years – including Donald Trump, Chuck Schumer, Andrew Cuomo, Hillary Clinton and hundreds of thousands of dollars to the New York State Democratic Committee – and even bad guys like the ex -Congressman Anthony Weiner and former Councilman Hiram Monserrate.
Rovt is also a big donor to the Cardiovascular Institute at the ailing Maimonides Medical Center.
The Daily Beast said Cuomo’s campaign account alone received $1 million when considering donations from Rovt’s employees and company.
Rovt was a donor to both Hochul and Cuomo. New York Post
Another recipient of his financial generosity — rogue ex-state senator Carl Kruger — even prompted the upper chamber of the state legislature to pass a resolution in his honor in 2009, just months after $9,500 in Rovt cash in his campaign coffers had landed.
Hochul’s campaign and government office remained silent on their visit to Rovt’s townhouse on Friday, declining repeated requests for comment on the purpose of the meeting.
Rovt also declined a request for comment.
Rovt was born in Carpathians, a western region of Ukraine claimed at different times by the Hungarians, the Nazis, and then the Soviets. He identifies himself as a Carpathian.
— Additional reporting by Bruce Golding