Admits to stealing $1 million in scheme; faces at least 3 ½ to 10 years; agrees to repay $3 million.
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In a soft voice, William Rapfogel, the disgraced former CEO of the Jewish community’s well-connected anti-poverty agency here, pleaded guilty Wednesday to inflating the agency’s insurance bills in order to steal $9 million over 20 years for politicians, others and himself.
Nonprofit organizations may be overseen by multiple government agencies, creating “potential for some problems to be missed,” H. Tina Kim, a New York City deputy comptroller, was quoted as saying by the newspaper on Monday.
Does new exec have the political savvy to keep the anti-poverty funds flowing?
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Even as the board of the city’s largest Jewish anti-poverty agency rushed to do damage control this week in the wake of the corruption scandal ensnaring its longtime CEO, one insider admitted it was far from certain whether the board’s action would result in the city quickly releasing $1.4 million in taxpayer funds it froze in the wake of the scandal.
Six days after the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty fired longtime executive director William Rapfogel following an investigation of financial misconduct charges, the agency named David Frankel as his successor.
Less than two weeks before the start of the High Holy Days season, when large Yom Tov meals hosted in most Jewish homes increase the work of Jewish anti-poverty organizations who distribute food to the needy, some of the shelves of the food pantry at the Queens Jewish Community Council in Forest Hills are nearly empty.
Some scandals, when we learn of them, seem almost predictable, a disgrace that was just waiting to happen. Others, like the news this week that William “Willy” Rapfogel, the popular and successful executive director and CEO of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, has been fired and is under investigation for financial misconduct, come as a shock. As a Jewish community leader who had helped Met Council, during his more than two decades at the helm, grow into a major social-service organization, Rapfogel was energetic, effective, focused and well connected. Now, it seems in hindsight, to a fault.