A man who was injured in a 1997 Hamas bombing in Israel has decided to seek legal action against Manhattan’s posh Warwick Hotel, which plans to host Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad later this month, the New York Post reported Friday.
Ahmadinejad, who will arrive in New York in late September to attend the United Nations General Assembly, was said to have made a reservation at the 54th Street and Sixth Avenue hotel, at an estimated cost of about $20,000 per night. The Iranian president’s entourage reportedly booked the 18th floor of The Warwick.
Stuart Hersh, a former journalist who was severely injured in a 1997 triple suicide bombing at Jerusalem’s Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall, reportedly filed legal papers claiming rights to Ahmadinejad’s rooms based on a $12 million judgment against Tehran for complicity in the attack that left him unable to work.
“Ahmadinejad is going to be staying at The Warwick hotel, paying a fortune, and he owes me $12 million and he just won’t pay it,” the Post quoted Hersh as saying.
According to the report, Hersh joined eight other bombing survivors in 2000 to file a lawsuit for punitive damages against Iran, which is known to have aided Hamas in its terrorist activities.
Hersh, a former New Yorker who now lives in Israel, was quoted as saying that the bombing in which he was injured, which killed five and injured 200, turned his life upside down. He is reportedly entitled to $12 million in damages for the injuries he sustained in the attack – shrapnel wounds, burns, trauma, hearing loss, scarring and a speech impediment, among others — which caused him to attempt suicide a year later.
The 64-year-old Hersh, a US Navy veteran, reportedly reacted harshly to the news of Ahmadinejad’s stylish luxury accommodations. ““He throws that in my face and in the face of America, saying: ‘Hey, I still got money — despite your sanctions,’ ” he was quoted as saying.
Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, one of Hersh’s attorneys, was quoted as saying that “if this war criminal Ahmadinejad needs a place to sleep, maybe the murderers over in the Libyan embassy can put him up for a night.”