Globe Briefs October 7

Globe Briefs October 7

Ehud Olmert loses Supreme Court appeal in Talansky affair

Israel’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of his conviction for accepting cash-filled envelopes from an American-Jewish businessman.

The court was unanimous in its decision Wednesday against Olmert, who now must serve an additional eight months in prison for his involvement in the so-called Talansky affair. He was convicted of accepting the money from businessman Morris Talansky and using it for personal rather than political expenses.

Olmert is serving a 19-month sentence for a corruption conviction in the Holyland affair, which involved the payment of bribes to government officials by the developers of a luxury high-rise apartment complex in Jerusalem. Last month he submitted a request to shorten his sentence in that case; a December hearing is scheduled.

The former prime minister did receive some good news from the high court on Wednesday: It rejected the state’s appeal of his acquittal in the so-called Rishon Tours affair, in which Olmert was accused of paying for family vacations by double billing Jewish organizations through the Rishon Tours travel agency.

The court also rejected the state’s appeal against his suspended sentence in the Investment Center case, in which Olmert, then trade minister, was accused of granting personal favors to attorney Uri Messer.

Olmert is the first Israeli prime minister to serve time in prison and to be sentenced to jail.

Houston gunman wearing Nazi uniform was member of Jewish fraternity

The gunman wearing a Nazi uniform during a shooting spree in Houston belonged to a Jewish fraternity in college.

Nathan DeSai, 46, was carrying two guns and 2,500 rounds of live ammunition when he was shot dead by police Sept. 26 after injuring nine people in his attack on commuters, one critically.

DeSai belonged to Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity at the University of Houston, local news stations reported last week, citing former fraternity brothers, who said he helped restart the all-but-defunct chapter at the university in the late 1980s. Non-Jews are also allowed to join the fraternity.

He was known by Niren at the time; he changed his name to Nathan legally in 2001, according to reports.

Andy Huston, executive director of Sigma Alpha Mu, confirmed in a statement that DeSai was a fraternity member from 1990 to 1993.

“Since his graduation more than 23 years ago, we have no record of him having any involvement with our organization,” the statement said.

In addition to the vintage military uniform emblazoned with swastikas DeSai was wearing, Nazi paraphernalia also was found in his car and apartment, according to local media reports. Police also found other vintage military uniforms.

DeSai, an attorney, and a partner ran a law firm that closed in February after 12 years due to an economic downturn, according to the AP.

Perrye Turner, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Houston Division, told the AP that officials don’t believe the incident is tied to terrorism, though local police officials have not offered an opinion.

Staples hires Boston Jewish community leader as CEO

Staples appointed longtime Boston Jewish community leader Shira Goodman as the office supply chain’s president and CEO following a worldwide search.

Goodman, 55, had been serving in the top executive position on an interim basis since June following the departure of former CEO Ron Sargent. She will helm a company with nearly 1,900 stores and some 75,000 employees.

She has worked at Staples since 1992 in various executive roles, including as president of its North American operations.

The company’s corporate headquarters are located in Framingham, a suburb west of Boston.

Goodman is a member of the board of directors of Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston and past president and ex-officio trustee of the Solomon Schechter Day School in Boston. A mother of three, she has been active in promoting Boston-area day schools for more than a decade.

Gil Preuss, the executive vice president of Combined Jewish Philanthropies, said that Goodman is serving as co-chair of its strategic planning process. In a follow-up email, he described her as an inspiring leader.

“She is a leader who brings together her passion and understanding of Jewish life and the Jewish community with the knowledge and experience gained through her years in leading one of the top companies in the United States,” Preuss wrote.

Goodman’s appointment to the top post at Staples comes at a time when the company is seeking to redefine itself in a declining business environment for retail office supply marketing. A bid to acquire competitor Office Depot was struck down recently by the Federal Trade Commission because of anti-trust concerns.

Goodman is married to Rabbi Wes Gardenswartz of Temple Emanuel, a Conservative synagogue in Newton, a Boston suburb.

Prior to Staples, she worked at Bain Capital, a private venture capital firm based in Boston that was founded by Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate in 2012 and a former Massachusetts governor.

Goodman is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School. She also earned a master’s degree in management science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.