De Blasio Backer, Convicted of Sexual Abuse, Fails to Show Up for Jail Sentence
One of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s leading supporters in New York’s Orthodox Jewish community failed to appear in court this week to begin a 15-day sentence on a previously undisclosed conviction for misdemeanor sexual abuse, and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.
The supporter, Ari Noe, of Borough Park, Brooklyn, was found guilty in 2013 of sexual abuse and attempting forcible touching stemming from a 2012 encounter he had with a woman at a bar on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Mr. Noe’s sentence had been delayed while he appealed the verdict, which was upheld in March.
Last year, Mr. Noe, the chief executive of an outdoor advertising company, introduced Mr. de Blasio to an Israeli entrepreneur, Baruch Eliezer Gross, who agreed to sponsor the mayor’s two-day visit to Israel in October. Mr. Gross covered at least $25,000 in expenses for Mr. de Blasio and his aides on the trip, which Mr. Noe attended as well.
Mr. de Blasio’s aides said on Wednesday that the mayor learned only this week of Mr. Noe’s trial and conviction, which was reported by NY1. “We are deeply troubled by this news, and have zero tolerance for sexual assault,” a de Blasio spokesman, Dan Levitan, said.
The de Blasio campaign said it planned to return Mr. Noe’s $675 contribution to the mayor’s 2013 candidacy. Mr. Noe also donated $4,850 to Mr. de Blasio’s 2009 bid for public advocate and to his mayoral transition effort; Mr. Levitan said that money was not returnable because those accounts were closed.
Employees of Mr. Noe’s firm, OTR Media, gave an additional $12,225 to Mr. de Blasio’s campaigns since 2009, records show.
A lawyer for Mr. Noe, Abe George, on Wednesday disputed the validity of the warrant and said he planned to challenge it on Thursday in an appellate court.
Mr. George said that in September another State Supreme Court justice issued an order allowing Mr. Noe to remain free pending a second appeal. This time, Mr. Noe will ask the appellate court to throw out the verdict because he has found a new witness, Mr. George said.
Mr. Noe and the mayor have known each other since Mr. de Blasio’s days in the City Council, when Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, appeared at a news conference with Mr. Noe to criticize the Buildings Department for violations issued against outdoor advertising. More recently, Mr. Noe has written supportive articles in various Jewish publications about the mayor and his policies.