The former operator of the Empire State Building‘s Skyride was charged Thursday with pretending to be a doctor so he could give unsuspecting women "gynecological exams," police and prosecutors said.
Wealthy businessman Zalman Silber, 40, was arrested at his Monsey, N.Y., home Thursday morning and accused of molesting two women, ages 18 and 20, in his twisted charade, sources said.
He hired as his defense lawyer disgraced former Rockland County prosecutor Kenneth Gribetz, who stepped down after his proclivities for wearing women’s clothing and a dog collar were exposed by the Daily News more than a decade ago.
"It doesn’t often get stranger than this," a police source said.
Silber, a Hasidic Jew and father of five, was charged with third-degree sexual abuse and unauthorized practice and professions for impersonating a doctor, law enforcement sources said.
Silber fooled his victims by saying the exams were part of a medical survey, prosecutors said.
Legitimate doctors who had offices in the same Manhattan building where Silber allegedly molested the women were stunned to find the polite man was accused as an imposter, sources said.
Investigators in the NYPD‘s Manhattan special victims unit believe Silber’s "exams" may have started in 2003 and were checking into the possibility that there are more victims, law enforcement sources said.
"He asserts his innocence. We feel this is a total mistake," Gribetz said.
In the 1990s, Silber was considered something of a business whiz. He was hailed by Inc. magazine in 1998 for creating a $9 million business offering tourists a simulated helicopter tour of the Big Apple through the New York Skyride at the Empire State Building.