Businessman Eyed in Brooklyn FBI Probe Is Scion of Prominent Orthodox Family
A former director of acquisitions at the U.S. subsidiary of Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev’s investment firm Africa-Israel LTD, Rechnitz now runs his own real estate firm, called JSR Capital. He is a graduate of Yeshiva University, the modern Orthodox college in Manhattan, and a resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
Rechnitz also appears to be something of a gambler. In 2012, he won $50,000 on a $1,000 bet that the first score of that year’s Super Bowl would be on a safety. Two years later, he won $25,000 more making the same bet. He told reporters that he had donated both wins to charity. In 2013, Rechnitz bet pharmaceutical billionaire Stewart Rahr $100,000 to the charity of the winner’s choice on the result of a Knicks game, and won.
Jona Rechnitz’s father Robert Rechnitz is the former chair of the West Coast region of American Friends of Likud, a U.S. nonprofit that supports Netanyahu’s political party. He chaired the Iron Dome Congressional Tribute, a February 2013 event in Washington, D.C. attended by a large number of U.S. Senators, including Rand Paul, Mark Warner, Pat Roberts, and Jean Shaheen. That was when Jona Rechnitz introduced a speech by Bill Thompson.
Robert Rechnitz declined to speak with the Forward.
Rechnitz’s cousin Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz, 44, is a major ultra-Orthodox donor whose nursing homes are facing scrutiny from state and federal regulators in California, according to a June report in the Sacramento Bee. Rechnitz is a major giver to Orthodox yeshivas, and was one of the largest donors to Netanyahu’s reelection campaign in December 2014.
The Forward reported in February on rumors that Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz was among the buyers of the muckraking anti-Orthodox website Failed Messiah. The website has essentially stopped publishing since its purchase by mystery buyers in early 2016, leading to suspicions that buyers meant to kill the controversial site.