Calling the actions of the husband a "new zenith of chutzpah," a Nassau judicial hearing officer has issued a massive divorce decision deriding Jeffrey Siskind, of Roslyn, for making a phony claim of "sudden poverty," to fleece his wife after 25 years of marriage.
"It doesn't take chutzpah to cheat on one's wife," Judicial Hearing Officer Stanley Gartenstein wrote in the recent decision awarding Nancy Siskind, 51, $65,000 a year in marital support for the next 14 years. But it does take chutzpah to charge the lavish vacations that Siskind took with his girlfriend to the account he shared with his wife, knowing that the credit card bills will be sent to the family home, the hearing officer wrote.
It doesn't take chutzpah to buy a pair of $5,300 jeans from a Roslyn boutique while claiming poverty, but it does take chutzpah for Siskind to say he needed something to wear to "dress down" day at the office, Gartenstein said.
And it doesn't take chutzpah to claim "sudden poverty" in legal papers, but it does take chutzpah to lay off "24 faithful employees" on the eve of Siskind's divorce trial to protect his assets from his wife, Gartenstein said.
"His schemes are a house of cards constructed by a self-indulgent individual intent upon his own gratification," Gartenstein wrote.
Jeffrey Siskind, 52, who until recently owned Airline Stationers on Madison Avenue in Manhattan, said the facts of the case have been distorted in the decision.
"There are numerous factual errors, including the $5,300 jeans," Siskind said, adding the amount included numerous items bought at the boutique, not just the jeans. "The fact that the judge wrote that, and that he believes it, highlights that there is a problem here." Both Jeffrey Siskind and his lawyer, Amy Haber, of Garden City, said they plan to appeal.
Nancy Siskind's attorney did not return calls for comment Monday.
According to the decision, Nancy and Jeffrey Siskind were married in 1980 and have three children, ages 16, 21 and 24. During their marriage, the couple shopped at Gucci and Armani, belonged to the Muttontown Country Club, employed a live-in housekeeper and took vacations that routinely cost between $10,000 and $22,000, the decision says. But Jeffrey Siskind said those days ended fast in 2008 when he lost about $1 million in the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme.
"I'm not in a position to pay what the judge ordered," Siskind said. According to the decision, Siskind earns about $275,000 a year, a number that he said is substantially overstated.
Gartenstein said Jeffrey Siskind's version of events is not reliable.
"It is indeed rare that a court is presented with a tissue of ready-made fabrications so extensive and far-reaching that it literally mandates disbelief of a witness' entire testimony," he wrote.