Ryan Scott Karben is a New York Democrat who represented the state's 95th Assembly District in Albany from 2003–2006.

Education and family

Karben was born in the borough of the Bronx on September 29, 1974. In 1979, his family moved to Spring Valley, New York. Karben was a student at the Frisch School in Paramus, New Jersey.[1] He attended Yeshiva University as a Max Stern Distinguished Scholar and graduated magna cum laude in 1996 with a B.A. in English. He then attended the Columbia Law School as a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, graduating in 1999.

Karben is a member of the American Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association.

Karben married Lauren C. Bekritsky, his high school sweetheart, in June 1996. The Karbens have three daughters.

Assembly career

In 1995, Karben lost his initial bid to become county legislator at the age of 21 when he finished fourth in a race for three open positions. In his concession speech at the Holiday Inn in Suffern, New York, Karben assured his supporters that he considered the election a positive experience and that he would be back.

In 1997, Karben was elected to represent Ramapo in the Rockland County Legislature. He was the youngest county lawmaker in the State of New York at that time and remains the youngest person to have served in the Rockland County Legislature. Karben was selected as majority leader of the Rockland County Legislature in 2001–2002.

In November 2002, Karben was elected to the New York State Assembly in Albany to represent the 95th district, which includes the Town of Orangetown and parts of the Town of Ramapo in Rockland County. Karben served on the Energy Committee and led an investigation of Consolidated Edison in 2004. Karben had also pushed for tougher sex-offender tracking laws and environmental cleanups at several Rockland County sites.


On May 18, 2006, Karben unexpectedly announced his resignation from the New York Assembly. It was reported that Karben had been the subject of an internal legislative investigation into alleged sexual advances toward staffers.[2] No formal complaints against Karben were ever filed.[3]

Karben issued a statement that made no reference to the internal inquiry but said:

It is time for a new beginning. As I have discussed with some of my friends over the past few weeks, my elected service is one piece of what I hope will be an interesting and diverse professional career. After spending more than 13 of my 31 years in public service, it is time for a change for me and my family. I was appointed to my first public position as a college freshman and leave my second elected office as a proud father of three little girls. I am stepping down today from the State Assembly to turn greater attention to them and my law practice and to fulfilling other personal and professional aspirations. I will remain an active and vocal voice for better schools, a cleaner environment and lower taxes. I am grateful for the friendship and support of so many, especially my wife Lauren, my family, my campaign volunteers and my clients. It has been a privilege to serve.[4]

Subsequently, Karben left his position as a partner in the Spring Valley law firm of Kurtzman, Matera, Scuderi, Gurock, and Karben. The firm has refused to publicly state how they arrived at the decision for Karben to leave.[5]

Karben had also been involved in a fundraising controversy involving Charles Kushner, a New Jersey developer who served a prison sentence for hiring prostitutes in an attempt to influence potential witnesses in a New Jersey investigation. Kushner had contributed over $40,000 to Karben's campaign, and Karben contributed $2,500 to charity after revelations about Kushner surfaced.[6]

Current political career

Karben has been hired by the new mayor of Spring Valley, New York, Noramie Jasmin, as the village attorney.[7] In October of that year the mayor fired him for dereliction of duty.[8]

Private practice

Following his resignation, he started his own law firm, the Law Office of Ryan Karben, based at his home in Monsey.[9] In September 2007, Karben was named Managing Director of Fleishman-Hillard Government Relations, a national political consulting and lobbying firm.[3] The firm fired him in 2012.


  1. ^ Park, Pearl J. (October 16, 1991). "He Learns Political Science from Firsthand Experience—Frisch Senior is Lobbyist". Bergen Record. Frisch School senior Ryan Karben has strong political convictions -- and an equally strong desire to advocate them. 
  2. ^ Mahoney, Joe; Ben Smith (May 19, 2006). "Pol in sex probe quits". New York Daily News. p. 16. Retrieved 2006-05-23. 
  3. ^ a b Benjamin, Elizabeth (September 17, 2007). "Pol plans to launch 3rd party for '08 presidential election". Metro News (New York Daily News). p. 12. Retrieved 2007-10-07. Former Assemblyman Ryan Karben, a Rockland County Democrat, confirmed he is poised to become a managing director in October at Fleishman-Hillard Government Relations, which he called "a terrific firm with national reach".…Karben, 32, was an ambitious, rising political star when he abruptly resigned from his Assembly seat in May 2006 amid allegations that he had made sexual advances toward male legislative staffers and interns. No formal complaints were ever filed. 
  4. ^ "Ryan Karben" (Press release). May 18, 2006. 
  5. ^ Gallagher, Jay; James Walsh (May 23, 2006). "Karben exits Spring Valley law firm, stays out of view". The Journal News. Archived from the original on Unknown. Retrieved 2006-05-23.  Check date values in: |archive-date= (help)
  6. ^ Netter, Sarah; Steve Lieberman (May 19, 2006). "Karben’s resignation shocks, raises questions". The Journal News. Archived from the original on Unknown. Retrieved 2006-05-23.  Check date values in: |archive-date= (help)
  7. ^ Baird, Bob (January 10, 2010). "Looking ahead in 2010". Rockland Journal News. Retrieved January 10, 2010. [dead link]
  8. ^ Lieberman, Steve (October 26, 2010). "Karben fired as Spring Valley attorney". Rockland Journal News. 
  9. ^ "Law Office of Ryan Scott Karben". Ryan Karben. 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-05. 
Preceded by
Howard Mills III
New York State Assembly, 95th District
Succeeded by
Ellen Jaffee