Board members, outsiders, survivors to review of reparations organization's management in wake of fraud, but Berman survives as chairman.
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A “thorough analysis of the current management of the Claims Conference” — including a review of its administration and governance — was ordered Wednesday by its board of directors, some of whom criticized the leadership for keeping the board in the dark about a letter in 2001 alerting them to a fraud within the organization.
For the first time since the conviction of all 31 people arrested in connection with the defrauding of $57.3 million from the Claims Conference, the organization’s board will meet July 9 to discuss its next steps – and it has decided to keep the meeting closed to the public.
Despite requests from the New York Jewish Week and the Forward , the board chairman, Julius Berman, said in a statement:
Within the past year, the Claims Conference has obtained approximately $700 million in pledged funding from the German government for homecare for Holocaust victims through 2014, the result of intensive and prolonged negotiations with one focus: to provide the help that Nazi victims need in order to remain living in their own homes for as long as possible. Having been abandoned by the world in their youth, the Claims Conference has been determined that they shall not also be abandoned in their final years.
Officials of the Conference on Material Claims Against Germany say they expect to recover less than $1 million of the $50 million in fraudulent Holocaust claims on behalf of Germany, which has now hired an accounting firm to conduct a broad audit, the Jewish Week has learned.
In wake of fraud revelation, group to move on new disbursement committee.
As the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany seeks to root out additional cases of fraud, the $42.5 million scandal that has rocked the organization has rekindled dissatisfaction with the group’s annual allocation of tens of millions of dollars.
To address those growing complaints, Julius Berman, the Claims Conference chairman, told The Jewish Week he plans to announce “in a couple of days” appointments to a long-delayed special committee that is to review past and future disbursements.