NEW YORK — There is a sad coda to the recently recycled story of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s heroic help in getting a critically ill Jewish boy medical treatment 27 years ago.
Back in 1988, Rabbi Harold “Hershy” Ten and his wife Judy were at their wits end. They needed to get their then three-year-old son Andrew to New York City from Los Angeles for medical treatment. The toddler suffered from a rare and undiagnosed breathing illness.
But commercial airlines declined to fly Andrew, who couldn’t leave home without several pieces of medical equipment including a portable oxygen tank and suction machine, according to an archived Jewish Telegraphic Agency story.
Desperate for help, the family called on Trump, who agreed to provide his private Boeing 727. Once the plane landed in LaGuardia, Andrew was whisked to the Schneider Children’s Hospital of Long Island Jewish Medical Center.
In the JTA story, Andrew’s father said, “Mr. Trump did not hesitate when we called him up. He said ‘yes, I’ll send my plane out.'” And grandmother Feigy Ten enthused, saying, “Donald Trump is a miracle, just a miracle.”
Save for the occasional mention of the incident by Trump — he references it in his 2000 book “The America We Deserve” — the story fell out of the news.
That is until last week when several media outlets re-released the JTA story — without mentioning that it happened 27 years ago.
The Times of Israel learned this week that Andrew died 10 years after Trump’s “rescue,” in 1998. As a tribute to their son, his parents sponsored Camp Avraham Moshe for Jewish teens and young adults with special needs.
The Los Angeles camp offers several activities including swimming, horseback riding, and arts and crafts all in a Jewish setting. Today the camp is part of ETTA/OHEL, a Jewish social service organization.
The Tens’ story, however, took an additional turn in August 2014 when the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, charged Harold Ten with participating in a scheme that “allowed a ring of brokers, investment advisers and their clients to profit from the deaths of terminally ill patients.”
According to the SEC, Ten allegedly used his position as president of Bikur Cholim, a nonprofit providing hospitalized patients with kosher meals and free loans of medical equipment, to help Michael A. Horowitz, a Los-Angeles-based broker, identify, meet with and obtain personal information from terminally ill Jews.
The SEC said Horowitz’s investor clients bought annuities, a form of insurance or investment that has an annual payout to a specified beneficiary, which named terminally ill patients as annuitants. This way, the investors collected the death benefit payout quickly and received sizable profits at the expense of the insurance company.
Neither the Trump campaign, nor the Ten family, answered repeated requests for comment.