Aron Takes Time Off After Father Slain
By Gregg Zoroya
The father of Maryland U.S. Senate candidate Ruthann Aron was found fatally beaten this week -- possibly by someone he knew -- in the Republican candidate's home town in the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York.
Aron, 51, a Potomac developer and Montgomery County planning commissioner, was in seclusion yesterday as police in Fallsburg, N.Y., searched for suspects they believe robbed and bludgeoned David Greenzweig, 77. His body was found in a vacant South Fallsburg house that he owned and had been renovating.
Aron is running an aggressive primary campaign for the Republican nomination, and pollsters show her within several points of the primary front-runner, William E. Brock III, a former U.S. labor secretary and senator from Tennessee. She had just increased the intensity of her campaign Thursday with new television commercials attacking Brock when word arrived that her father was dead.
Her husband, Barry Aron, told reporters during a news conference yesterday outside campaign headquarters in Rockville that Ruthann Aron will travel to New York to attend her father's funeral.
Barry Aron, who is chief of the medical staff at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, would not characterize the relationship between Ruthann Aron and her father. But the candidate has said previously that she had not been close to her father for many years.
Her estrangement from her father and her brother, Denver businessman Neil Greenzweig, was so complete that neither man even knew she was a political candidate until they learned it from a reporter this week, according to Neil Greenzweig.
"She is at home. ... She is trying to deal with the horror of what has happened," Barry Aron said. "We're taking it one day at a time. Ruthann is a strong person. As soon as she is able to function competently, she will continue" with the campaign.
Aron is the second primary candidate in the Washington area to suffer personal tragedy during this summer's campaign. Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D), seeking reelection this fall in Northern Virginia, learned this month that his 3-year-old daughter has brain cancer.
Police discovered Greenzweig's body Wednesday evening in the basement of a house he was renovating for sale in the hamlet of South Fallsburg. The hamlet is one of seven that make up Fallsburg, in the Catskill resort area about 90 miles north of New York City. Ruthann Aron was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and grew up in Fallsburg.
Lt. Bart Rasnick said Fallsburg police believe that someone who knew Greenzweig may be responsible for the killing, but Rasnick would not identify any suspects or say what led investigators to that conclusion. He said officers are searching for Greenzweig's missing car, a 1984 Cadillac with a stainless-steel roof.
Fallsburg Police Chief Brent Lawrence, whose department has 20 sworn officers, said that homicides and even robberies are rare in the resort town, whose population of 16,000 swells to 100,000 in summer.
This has been an unusual summer, however. Fallsburg usually has one homicide every three years; Greenzweig's death was the second in two months, Lawrence said.
Police said his body was found in the basement of the house after Greenzweig's girlfriend and other friends, worried about his 12-hour absence, notified authorities. An autopsy report said he suffered several blows on the head. His empty wallet and money clip were found on the floor, Lawrence said. The house did not appear to have been broken into, police said.
Barry Aron said he first notified Ruthann Aron Thursday that her father was dead after receiving a telephone call from her brother. Barry Aron said it was not clear, however, that the death was a homicide until he talked with Fallsburg police late Thursday.
The Aron campaign put out a short news release about the slaying yesterday.
Greenzweig, who has for many years been divorced from Ruthann Aron's mother, was a familiar figure in Fallsburg.
For many years, he operated a stainless-steel diner where Ruthann and her brother worked as children. In recent years, he worked as a steward in local hotels, police said.
© Copyright 1994 The Washington Post Company