David Ostrove Prison Sentence Prompts Fire Islanders Share Their Thoughts

Annie Niland
Annie Niland keeps gossip out of her fitness classes for a less toxic environment.
Shoshanna McCollum
Ocean Beach Association President Maria Silsdorf.

The David Ostrove prison sentence was ruled as eight and a third to 25 years on April 17, 2024. The convicted embezzler and money launderer was sentenced for the crime of stealing millions of dollars from a Hebrew day school in order to fund a lavish lifestyle according to criminal complaint charges brought by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office in 2022.


This comes as little surprise after the guilty verdict handed down last month. The list of crimes now associated with Ostrove are now rote, play out like a piano student practicing their musical scales: Stealing over $8-million from  Schechter School of Long Island, then purchasing a vintage sports car, as well as historical collectibles which he later attempted to sell to a memorabilia shop while under indictment – and of course, the multiple Fire Island homes he purchased through shell corporations, then renovated with the money he stole from the school so they could be put up for rent to generate even more revenue.


All five of the Fire Island investment properties are within the Incorporated Village of Ocean Beach. The village residents have watched on the sidelines for years as this drama played out.

Now that his conviction is official, we asked some of them to share their thoughts with us.


“For me the question is why Ocean Beach?” said Ocean Beach Association President Maria Silsdorf. “Why did he come here to put his eggs all in one basket, and how did we become the lucky one? Is it because the village building permitting is fairly swift and lenient? Did he favor a particular builder here? All I have is questions, but I doubt I will ever get any answers.”


Popular Fire Island fitness instructor Annie Niland took a more neutral position.


“I did not know the preamble and that’s partially by design. You can drown in the scuttlebutt out here. I try and keep this place a safe zone.”


Steve Kairys, who has been renting in the Ocean Beach and Ocean Bay Park communities since the 1990s however, feels this matter constitutes a breach to the safe zone he always perceived to be here.


“It’s horrible that he abused his position at that school. His crime did harm to an institution that children depend on. People like me see Fire Island as a safe haven, but when something like this comes home to roost you realize that’s not really so. In addition to restitution, I think he should be ordered to pay for beach repairs!”

Annie Niland keeps gossip out of her fitness classes for a less toxic environment. Photo by Shoshanna McCollum


Some saw this as a matter of numbers.


“It’s unfair to all the residents,” said clothing store proprietor and active community volunteer Roberta Geiger. “Those seized properties have diminished our tax base.”


Then there are those who live in the shadows of the Ostrove rental homes.


“I met his wife when they bought the house on 311 Wilmot Road two houses from me,” wrote multi-generation Ocean Beach resident Andrea Nimberger via text message. “She offered me used silverware the prior owners left behind. Then she said they would be living in that house all summer.”


“I paid no attention to the scandal but I have talked to some of his renters,” reflected Catherine Edwards, another multi-generation resident lives in close proximity to 386 Dehnhoff Walk. “They complained that the house was built cheaply and had no depth to it. The whole thing is just bizarre. It would be nice if there were some consequences in this world.”


Bar owner Kevin Kelly believes justice has been served with this prison sentence. Photo by John McCollum

Then on Surf Road, Housers Bar co-partner Kevin Kelly of Corneille Estates lives within stone’s throw of not one, but two of Ostrove’s infamous properties.


“I believe justice has been served, but our island has his not so small houses to deal with,” said Kelly.


At sentencing David Ostrove remained defiant, vowing he will appeal the ruling.


If the observations from this diverse group interviewed share a common thread, perhaps it is that they all recognize that there is a world of difference between owning houses on Fire Island and being a Fire Islander.