Morris Talansky due in court in dentist assault

Leonard Barashick calls Olmert's bete noire "a liar, a thief, a philanderer and a homicidal maniac."

talansky jlem 224 88 ap (photo credit: AP)
talansky jlem 224 88 ap
(photo credit: AP)
Morris Talansky, the wealthy Long Island businessman at the center of the corruption scandal that threatens to bring down Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, is due to appear in court in Hempstead, New York, on Tuesday over an altercation with his longtime dentist. Talansky is currently in Israel for a grandson's wedding. One of his many legal embroilments, this one concerns Talanksy's dentist, Leonard Barashick, 84, who said the 75-year-old slammed him in a heavy steel chair and threw him against a wall with a fist as big as a "kosher ham" in a Baldwin, New York, dental lab. Police arrested Talansky last July and charged him with third-degree assault, said Eric Phillips, communications director for the Nassau County District Attorney's Office. Barashick said he had been a friend of Talansky for 40 years, and they couldn't be "closer," adding that the dentist-patient relationship is the most "intimate" of all. "In the hours that you have root canals done, you talk to your dentist," said Barashick, who claims insight into why Talansky, once caring and kind, turned "insane." Talansky's lawyer, Ralph Bontempo, did not return several calls from The Jerusalem Post. The argument with Talansky took place at the Ralph Ragucci dental lab, where the two went to pick up "dental caps," according to Barashick, and Talansky was upset that Barashick was asking to be paid for dental procedures. "Talansky said he paid enough money over 40 years and doesn't have to pay any more money," said Barashick. "So even though I quoted him the fees labeled on the expenses, I couldn't satisfy him. He wanted the work without having to pay the couple thousand dollars." Despite the alleged assault, Barashick said he was still prepared to drive back with Talansky, but instead Talansky "charged" at him with his car "as if to run me over" and drove away, first throwing a bag of dental impressions that belonged to another patient out the window. Barashick, who served in an infantry unit in World War II and is a decorated war hero, said, "a friend who slams me with a chair and wants to kill me is like a mosquito biting you." Barashick said he ended up in the emergency room and was hospitalized for two weeks. He said he had "swelling the size of an egg" on his left shin, and "broken skin" on both legs. Police took down two messages saved on his voicemail with threats to his life from Talansky, Barashick said. One said "thunder and lightning were going to strike me," he added. Initially hesitant, Barashick said he was convinced by the policewoman working on his case to have Talansky arrested. "I felt he was more to be pitied than censored," Barashick said. But now he intends to sue Talansky for damages. "I am accusing Rabbi Morris Talansky of being a liar, a thief, a philanderer and a homicidal maniac." Barashick also said Talansky had involved him and several other dentists in their 80s in a "life insurance scheme" for which he was promised $200,000 in cash. A local rabbi who asked to remain anonymous said Talansky was known as a "tumler," someone who makes "a lot of noise." "He liked to throw his weight around, and be close to the gedolim (big shots)," the rabbi said. Though he has a "good heart" and wanted to "do things for the Jewish people," the rabbi said Talansky was "a guy who people wouldn't have bought a used car from."