Sunday, September 15, 2013

William Rapfogel's Non Profit Tax Shelters Connects to political payoffs


More Rapfogel Type Charitable Pork to Pols
Political donations by charitable groups draw ire, scrutiny (NYP)  Charitable donations that are supposed to aid the needy are ending up in the coffers of politicians — in violation of federal law, The Post has learned. Sources who work for charities said they feel pressured to give back. For example, the Community Resources Capital Foundation of Staten Island, a group that raises funds to serve the developmentally disabled, contributed $625 to the borough’s Conservative Party in April 2014. “We had to buy tickets,” development director Barbara Devaney said. “That’s the way it was presented to us.” Some not-for-profit groups have long had incestuous relationships with local political leaders. The landmark Apollo Theater Foundation in Harlem funneled $8,757.90 to the Manhattan Democratic Party last year, records show. Apollo is so connected to Harlem Democratic power brokers that its board of directors was once chaired by Rep. Charles Rangel. But the Harlem cultural charity claimed the funding was not a political donation. Even wealthy philanthropists dip into their charities for politics, among them The Price Family Foundation, which donated $8,000 to the state Republican Party last year.* Dozens of tax-exempt “charitable” groups have steered thousands of dollars to candidates for public office or to political parties, a NY Post review of Board of Elections filingsreveals.


de Blasio Never Returned Met Council Dirty Money 
De Blasio never returned Met Council-related donations (Capital)  Pledged in campaign to return contributions from a scandal-scarred donor. When Rapfogel was arrested in August of 2013,de Blasio and his competitors said they would return contributions from Century. The mayor received three donations for his public advocate race in 2009 totaling $1,475, including two from Ross. (His competitors received more.) The he mayor's 2009 account was closed last year, and the refunds were never made. "We regret the error," Mayoral spokesman Dan Levitan (Berlin Rosen) said in an email.* New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio never fulfilled a 2013 campaign pledge to return contributions from Century Coverage Corp., which was involved in the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty theft scandal, CapitalNew York reports: 
More on the Rapfogel Scandal



Wayne Barrett Waves to All Those Goodbyes to Jail Bound Rapfogel


The “Prince of the Jews” Is Saluted By The Mighty On His Way To Jail A reverse Robin Hood for poor Jews, the 59-year-old Rapfogel, who pocketed $3 million and was caught with $420,000 in cash, appeared unlikely to prompt much support when he pled guilty last year.  Exploiting a mine lode of public subsidies funneled mostly through Silver, Rapfogel admitted to financing what court papers called “a lavish lifestyle” by taking up to $30,000-a-month from an insurance company his organization deliberately overpaid. Every dollar consumed by this scam was a dollar less for services to the poor. Nonetheless, 70 Rapfogel backers, including 19 rabbis, several politicians, and some of the city and country’s most prominent leaders of Jewish organizations, petitioned Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to go easy on Rapfogel, who theNew York Times said was frequently called the “prince of the Jews.” The letters—sent shortly before his April guilty plea—were obtained by City & Stateunder the Freedom of Information Act. They are a triumph of congeniality over conscience, with the call of the club taking precedence over the betrayal of the mission. The Jewish poor are invisible in this correspondence.    Asked if the letters had any effect on the AG or the court’s handling of the case, a Schneiderman spokeswoman, Elizabeth DeBold, emailed C&S that they “had no impact” partly because “it was clear from the substance of the letters” that Rapfogel had “concealed the full extent of his misconduct from the letter writers.” In fact, the letters were written six months after Rapfogel’s arrest, a period clogged with one juicy news story after another detailing his misconduct. It’s hard to imagine the letter-writers didn’t see them.SOFT ON MET COUNCIL? By allowing William Rapfogel’s friends to raise funds to pay restitution in his criminal sentencing, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman may have opened the door to insider horse-trading, Wayne Barrett writes for City & State 
Update Schneiderman's Answer THE AG’S REPLY: State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman responded to City & State’s questions about his handling of cases involving the Met Council board vs. the Puerto Rican Day Parade board, saying they were “completely different”:* * Prosecutors filed an application seeking to seize more of indicted Assemblyman Sheldon Silver’s assets, including those held by third parties and payments from the firm Goldberg & Iryami, Capital New Yorkreports




AG Who Gets Campaign Contributions From Taxi Industry, Tried to Stop UBER




Schneiderman And Lawsky Seek Halt To Lyft(YNN)
Uber cuts New York City prices to compete with yellow cabs UBER vs. yellows: "The price cut is definitely a shot at taxi," said Josh Mohrer, general manager for Uber NYC. "We can't be dominant if we're not both better service and better price." Put another way, Mohrer sees the temporary discount as a promotional device to hook more riders on Uber, increasing demand for Uber drivers, and thereby luring more taxi drivers away from the medallion rental business

Over 100 Years Ago Tammany Hall Went After the Subway Developers to Protect the Horse Carriage Taxi Industry

UBER CHEAPER -- Capital’s Dana Rubinstein reports that Uber, the ambitious San Francisco-based taxi app company, is temporarily making rates for its UberX service in New York City lower than yellow taxi fares: "We just dropped uberX fares by 20%, making it cheaper than a New York City taxi," said a notice on its website. "From Brooklyn to the Bronx, and everywhere in between, uberX is now the most affordable ride in the city."* Attention Uber: "Car hailing app Lyft is aiming tolaunch in New York without permission from city regulators"  (NYDN)


Rapfogel the Crook Gets Kid Gloves Court Treatment to Pay Off Debt
Rapfogel’s late debt payoff paying off for him(NYP) Being late in paying off his debt is paying off personally for the disgraced former head of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty. William Rapfogel, an ex-pal of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, in April pleaded guilty to looting nearly $9 million from the charity — but he’ll get another week out of jail because he hasn’t paid full restitution of $3 million in accordance with his agreement with Manhattan prosecutors.The deadline was Wednesday, when he was scheduled to be sentenced to 3¹/₃ to 10 years behind bars. But he’s coughed up only $2.4 million, sources told The Post. And Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Larry Stephen gave him another week of summer breezes to cobble together the funds.

Met Council Former CFO 4 Months for Stealing 9 Million? 
How Many Poor People in NY Go to Jail for 5 Years of Robbing A 711? A Tale Two Cities
New York - Former Met Council CFO Sentenced To 4 Months For Role In Stealing $9m In Kickback Scheme Met Council's former chief financial officer sentenced for role in massive kickback scheme (NYDN) * Elderly city Jewish charity thief sentenced to 4 months in jail(NYP) A Manhattan judge Tuesday sentenced an elderly crony of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s close pal William Rapfogel to four months in jail for helping steal $9 million from the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty.* Herbert Friedman, the former chief financial officer of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, was sentenced to pay $775,000 and serve four months in jail for his role in a kickback scheme that also ensnared former CEO William Rapfogel, the Journal reports: 


Herbert Friedman, the former chief financial officer for the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, was sentenced to four months in jail for his role in a massive kickback scheme.

Calculation behind charity? Despite scandal, Developer Bruce Ratner sticks with the Met Council




Willie Rapfogel, Advance Group Push Public Camapign Financing   
Keeping discredited Board of Elex in control of public money in campaign finance reform plan could doom negotiations  * Cuomo is now using public financing as an excuse NOT to close campaign finance loopholes.







Met Council's Rapfogel Pals Convictions Keep Coming  . . .    
Rapfogel Plea Deal How Many Will Go

Rapfogel crony guilty in theft from Jewish charity(NYP)
Herbert Friedman, 80, once the chief financial officer of the charity known as the Met Council, will have to cough up $775,000 in restitution and serve four months behind bars in exchange for his guilty plea to felony grand larceny and conspiracy charges under a plea deal announced by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Philanthropist Admits Stealing More Than $1 Million From Charity(NYT) His wife, Judy, the longtime chief of staff to Mr. Silver, was not there; neither was Mr. Silver, who over the years has allocated millions of public dollars to Met Council. According to a plea agreement filed in court and an earlier criminal complaint, Mr. Rapfogel gave about $350,000 of the stolen funds to one of his three sons to buy a home. Neither Mr. Silver nor Ms. Rapfogel has been linked to the financial irregularities at the Met Council, and they have denied any knowledge of Mr. Rapfogel’s activities. The assembly speaker issued a terse statement about Mr. Rapfogel’s plea, saying simply: “I am deeply saddened by this entire episode.” Ms. Rapfogel declined to comment through a spokesman, Stu Loeser.* Nonprofit boss diverted $360K to fund luxe trips, shopping sprees
More on Rapfogel's Non Profit Tax Shelters Connects to political payoffs



Albany's Pay to Plan Funding 
 As the NYP Does Their Song and Dance Against Public Funding of Campaigns, They Miss The Story That Albany legislators Fund Programs That Give Them Campaign Contributions . . .  That is A Federal Crime

 The rap on Rapfogel(NYP Ed) The details of the Rapfogel operation tell us that the supposed cure for Albany’s corruption — public financing of campaigns — will only invite more corruption. Here’s how it worked: Rapfogel overcharged for insurance policies, then skimmed off the extra funds in cash-filled envelopes, some of which he kept and the rest of which he handed over to the campaigns of pols who then gave his organization taxpayer-funded grants.


What Will Happen to the Elected Officials Who got campaign contribution for contributing to Met Council? Will They Even Be Named?
 Mr. Rapfogel also funneled some of the illicit money to candidates running for office, asking Mr. Ross to make contributions not only in his name but also in the names of his employees and partners in the company. “These campaign contributions were made to politicians Willie and I thought would help Met Council — mainly, candidates for city elected offices,” Mr. Cohen told the judge. A criminal complaint filed against Mr. Ross said he had channeled at least $120,000 of the stolen funds to candidates for city office over the last 20 years. Met Council receives much of its funding through state and city grants and contracts, as well as from funds earmarked by individual lawmakers.

William Rapfogel, pal of Assembly Speaker Silver, to plead guilty to ripoff (NYDN) Former head of poverty nonprofit is likely to get 3 to 10 years in plea deal.  He’s also expected to agree to pay more than $3 million in restitution. Rabbi David Cohen, the former Met Council executive director, is also expected to plead guilty Wednesday for his role in the scheme, sources said. Rapfogel was charged in August with heading a two-decade $7 million kickback scam. He is accused of purchasing insurance policies at inflated prices using the Met Council’s money and then receiving more than $1 million in kickbacks from Century Coverage Corp., the agent that sold them. Investigators say he stashed as much as $400,000 in the East Side co-op and Monticello home he owns with his wife, Silver chief of staff Judy Rapfogel.Rapfogel is also charged with steering campaign contributions from the insurance company to city and state officials who had helped fund Met Council, including Silver, his longtime friend.Rapfogel was charged with grand larceny, money laundering, criminal tax fraud, conspiracy, falsifying business records, offering a false instrument for filing. Update: * William Rapfogel entered a guilty plea in Manhattan’s State Supreme Court and faces 3 1/3 to 10 years in prison and must pay $3 million in restitution, of which he has paid $1.8 million to date, The New York Times reports:
The News also reported that several people have been soliciting members of the city’s Orthodox Jewish community in hopes of raising $3.1 million that can be put toward restitution. Silver and Judy Rapfogel have denied any knowledge of William Rapfogel’s alleged criminal activities* William Rapfogel to plead guilty for his role in $7M theft(NYP)He also allegedly directed Ross and other employees at Century Coverage to make numerous donations to political campaigns and politicians – including the powerful Assembly speaker.And he directed that the donations be made in small amounts to maximize the amount of “matching funds” that would come from the city.Ross previously copped a plea to grand larceny, money laundering and tax fraud and was believed to be cooperating with prosecutors from state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office.* Willie Rapfogel Repotedly Set To Plead Guilty In Met Council Scam JP Updates* Rapfogel to Plead Guilty in Scheme to Steal Millions From Charity(NYT) Negotiations over the pleas have dragged on for months, and another person with knowledge of the talks was unsure whether the proceedings would go off as planned.  Some of the money was used to make donations to politicians and political organizations in the names of Century Coverage’s employees. But much of it ended up in Mr. Rapfogel’s hands, delivered as cash payments stuffed in envelopes, according to the criminal complaint. Investigators estimated he received more than $1 million; more than $400,000 in cash was found hidden in his Lower East Side apartment and in his home in Monticello, N.Y. Mr. Rapfogel was a longtime friend and political ally of Mr. Silver, the speaker of the State Assembly. Since the allegations surfaced, however, Mr. Silver has repudiated him, saying in a recent interview, “I have nothing to do with Willie Rapfogel.”* Speaker Silver pal Rapfogel pleads guilty to $9M charity scam(NYP)
Do you get the sense that in the plea, some are waiting for another (?) shoe to drop? Or, roll over?


Former Modern Orthodox Met Council Head: Help Me Raise $$ So I Can Stay Out Of Prison

William Rapfogel"…Last night, as I hugged one of my grand kids who turns 7 in April, I wondered how many birthdays of hers and my six other grandkids that I would miss.  My  youngest son is 22 and "in the parsha" and my wife was talking with a shadchan last week (I cannot begin to describe how I fear my situation has impacted him) and it dawned on me that I might not be at his aufruf, or his wedding, or sheva brachos.…"
William E. Rapfogel

From the Failed Messiah Blog
The following email is allegedly circulating in Modern Orthodox circles. It contains instructions for where to send money to help former the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty CEO William E. Rapfogel get a lighter sentence in the $7 million dollar theft from the Jewish Community's New York City anti-poverty arm. Note that Rapfogel is concerned about the embarrassment he caused to the Jewish community and through it to God's name, but he does not write that he is concerned about the very real hurt and damage his alleged stealing has done and continues to do to New York City's Jewish poor:


The Long Goodbye Of Speaker Silver Begins

Wednesday Update
Camara Stands by Silver Following Report on Blocked Affordable Housing (NYO)

Amazing look at New York power brokers ensuring...inertia 
Sunday Update -  "Mr. Silver and Mr. Rapfogel steadfastly opposed any mention of affordable housing ..." They Kept a Lower East Side Lot Vacant for 47 Years. The long-ago walk was the first public display of an alliance that became central to the lives and careers of both Mr. Rapfogel and Mr. Silver. They worked together across the decades while climbing parallel ladders: Mr. Silver to Assembly speaker and Mr. Rapfogel to leadership of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, a large, publicly financed charity. But their long affiliation came to an abrupt end last year when Mr. Rapfogel, 59, was arrested and charged in a scheme that had allegedly looted more than $7 million in kickbacks from Met Council’s insurance broker over the years.

He is due back in court in April. Mr. Rapfogel made clear that the goal was to maintain the area’s Jewish identity, seemingly at the expense of other communities. Mr. Silver and Mr. Rapfogel steadfastly opposed any mention of affordable housing, which would have altered the demographics of the neighborhood and put Mr. Silver’s political base in question.
A primary focus of their alliance had been a struggle to preserve the Jewish identity of the neighborhood they delivered for Mr. Koch all those years ago. Their battleground was some 20 barren acres along the southern side of Delancey Street, where, in 1967, the city leveled blocks of rundown apartment buildings.

More than 1,800 low-income families, largely Puerto Rican, were sent packing and promised a chance to return to new apartments someday. Now, nearly 50 years later, the land is still a fallow stretch of weed- and rat-ridden parking lots, though in the waning days of the Bloomberg administration, the city announced that the land would finally be developed into a complex called Essex Crossing, to include retail markets, restaurants, office and cultural space. And new apartments.“They’re the reason that this site has been empty for 50 years,” said Edward Delgado, known as Tito, who was a teenager when the city cleared the blocks and his family was evicted. He has been advocating for affordable homes at the site in the decades since.* The unseemly Ratner alliance with Silver and Rapfogel gets aired in Times's long look at stagnant Seward Park renewal area(AYR) * Assemblyman Kieran Lalor accused Silver of “the levers of bureaucracy and political favors to pursue segregation.”

Silver Lobbyists Team
Loeser has been consulting for the speaker for the past year along with Silver’s chief political adviser Jonathan Rosen; the Times and others noted the arrangement after Loeser came on board.  “My role for Shelly is not to speak for him, but to offer advice,” Loeser said. But “in this case it seemed clear that someone had to speak for Judy.” Judy Rapfogel remains a personal friend, Loeser noted. Mr. Loeser’s wife, Jessica, once ran Mr. Silver’s district office and is now a district leader in Mr. Silver’s Assembly district. Jessica is a lobbyists "zoning, economic development incentives, real estate transactions, landmarks preservation, and government relations.* Ex-Mayoral Aide to Help Assembly Speaker in Harassment Case (NYT) He will work closely with Mr. Silver’s main political consultant, Jonathan Rosen.


The Silver Ratner Rapfogel Atlantic Yards Joined At the Hip
But months later, he and Mr. Rapfogel quietly put their weight behind yet another new plan, from a handpicked developer who included no housing. According to official memos, Mr. Silver asked city officials to approve a “big box” store, like Costco, on the site. The developer, Bruce Ratner, would build it. The sponsor would be the South Manhattan Development Corporation, which Mr. Rapfogel then headed. The Rapfogels’ eldest son, Michael, finished law school in 2005 and soon went to work for Mr. Ratner. The job was seen internally as a way to please Mr. Silver, say people familiar with the son’s work; Mr. Ratner’s company rejects the notion. In 2006, the Public Authorities Control Board, over which Mr. Silver has significant control, approved Mr. Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn. Intervention by Mr. Silver and others enabled the project to retain a lucrative tax break, even as that break was actually being phased out.  In 2008, Forest City Ratner, which compared to other developers makes few political contributions, gave $58,420 to the Democratic Assembly Housekeeping Committee, which is controlled by Mr. Silver. That same year, Mr. Ratner helped raise $1 million for Met Council and was honored at a luncheon given by Mr. Rapfogel and Mr. Silver. “Bruce is responsible for much of the development and growth that’s gone on in Brooklyn and in Manhattan,” Mr. Silver said at the event. “He is a major force in New York City for the good.”* How Bruce Ratner Wins Approval for his Projects  * New Met Council Head Steering Group Away From Politics(Jewish Week) * Speaker Silver allegedly kept SPURA empty for decades (Real Deal) Together Silver and William Rapfogel sought to preserve the area's Jewish character

Illegal Petitions UJC?
Officials from the United Jewish Council of the East Side were involved in the signature-gathering effort for Gerson and a host of other candidates - including Silver himself, who is running to be a delegate to the Democratic judicial nominating convention - an effort that threatens the group's tax-exempt status.

Buzz: Rapfogel Sentence Fight
 
The call has gone out to friends of Willie Rapfogel to write letters describing how the indicted former Met Council leader help the community. The word on the street is that the prosecutors want Rapfogel to rat on Silver and his other pay to play political friends. No word yet if the elected offices who sent member items funds to the Met Council in return for cash will face legal charges or even be named.



Two More Charged in Rapfogel Case
Two more charged in Rapfogel case(Newsweek) The case is closely watched in Albany because Rapfogel’s wife is the longtime chief of staff to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Silver and Rapfogel are close friends. Neither Silver nor his chief of staff have been accused of any role in the case.A felony complaint released Tuesday accused David Cohen and Herbert Friedman in the case in which Schneiderman has said $5 million was taken from the charity over 20 years. Schneiderman says some kickbacks were used for political contributions. Cohen was executive director from 1989 to 1992 and was executive vice president from 1992 to 1995. After that, Cohen was a consultant for the charity until August 2013. Friedman was chief financial officer of the charity from 1991 to 2009.* More Charges in Scheme to Defraud a Charity(NYT) * * Two more people have been charged in the case involving $5 million that was taken from the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty under William Rapfogel’s


The New York Times reports: *Alleged Rapfogel accomplice cops to role in Met Council ripoff * Alleged Rapfogel accomplice cops to role in Met Council ripoff(NYP) Things were looking grim for a longtime pal of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver after an alleged accomplice copped a plea Wednesday in a long-running scheme to steal more than $7 million from a leading Jewish charity. Joseph Ross, 58, pleaded guilty to grand larceny, money laundering and tax fraud during a sealed proceeding in Manhattan Supreme Court, according to a spokeswoman for Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.* Man Admits Role in Theft of $7 Million From Charity(NYT) The terms of Mr. Ross’s plea were sealed, as were the minutes of the proceeding before Justice Obus, and the spokesman would not provide details. Several have suggested that the authorities have been skeptical of Mr. Rapfogel’s account of the events, but it is unclear what he has said that has raised their suspicions.              
Media Asks Speaker Silver if He Will Get Even With Cuomo Over the Moreland Commission Actions
Media Blinders
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver could not say whether his conference would harbor bitter feelings towards Gov. Andrew Cuomo over the Moreland Commission probe, and added that he feels secure in his post as speaker, The Buffalo News writes: * Silver open to Cuomo tax plan, with a condition(Capital)
Silver Judge Change
Judge steps aside in sexual harassment lawsuit against Assembly Speaker Silver and former pol Vito Lopez (NYDN)Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Joan Madden said Tuesday that she is recusing herself because she has a long--standing friendship with James Yates, who is Silver's lawyer.* Judge removes herself from Silver case(NYP) * Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Joan Madden removed herself from a case brought by two of Vito Lopez’s sexual harassment victims against the Assembly and Speaker Sheldon Silver because she is a former colleague of Silver’s in-house counsel * Speaker Silver feels secure in leadership post: "I think I have the support of all the members & we go from here." 
Sheldon Silver's latest legal fees coincide with William Rapfogel arrest--aide denies any links
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has spent $65,000 on legal fees since September, related to the state ethics commission’s probe into former assemblyman Vito Lopez’s sexual harassment allegations, the Daily News reports: 

Do Your Think Silver Has Spoken to Willie Wife Judy Rapfogel His Chief of Staff?
Micah Kellner’s general election effort to keep running on the WFP line after losing the primary to Ben Kallos is a cynical effort to use this year’s matching funds to get some free mail to use as KY in an effort to ease his way into his next Assembly race. I’m betting it backfires.

We need Jerry Brown in NY! Our "reformers" in NY spend all their pol capital on criticizing street cops while ignoring the corrupt pol syst!

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Non Profit's Dark Pool$


NYP Secret Pots of Public Dollars Guarantee Corruption


Rapfogel’s Albany enablers(NYP Ed)The report is called “Spending in the Shadows,” and it cites $3 billion in “off-budget” cash that will be spent in New York this year via “ ‘lump sum’ pots of money” on the sheer say-so of individual politicians. It’s a sweet setup for the pols, their pet projects and the groups that get the taxpayer cash. Remember, Rapfogel’s Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty got $90 million from all government sources ­last year. Thanks to secret money “pots,” key budget decisions don’t have to be debated publicly. They can be made after the budget is passed, on the whims of individual officials, and kept from public view. Groups that get cash can then direct donations back to the pols who arranged the funding, just as Rapfogel is thought to have done. It points to scandals involving Sen. Malcolm Smith, ex-Sen. Shirley Huntley and ex-Assemblyman Vito Lopez as examples.* The Cuomo administration is putting a hold on new state contracts involving the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, with six contracts totaling $11.3 million set aside until the attorney general’s investigation is completed, the Daily News’ Ken Lovett writes * Former Bronx Charity Head Busted By NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman(NYDN) * Ex-Director of Charity Is Charged in Theft(NYT)  * Penny Harvest Charitable Group to Stay Afloat With City Money(NYT)
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2nd Indictment in Rapfogel Scandal

A second person has been indicted in the Met Council scandal, this time a Long Island insurance agent.* Insurer Charged With Theft From a Charity(NYT) Joseph Ross was arrested on Wednesday and charged with helping a longtime Jewish community leader loot more than $7 million from the Metropolitan New York Council on Jewish Poverty.The insurance company, Century Coverage in Valley Stream, N.Y., has provided its services to the organization, known as Met Council, for more than two decades. It appears that investigators have concluded that the amount of money stolen between the early 1990s and August 2013 was greater than they had believed. In the complaint charging Mr. Rapfogel, the total amount of the theft was listed as in excess of $5 million. But the complaint against Mr. Ross says the total amount of money stolen was in excess of $7 million.* Disgraced Sheldon Silver pal gave kickback money to politicians: alleged co-conspirator(NYDN)
William Rapfogel, the former head of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, ordered some of the $7 million in illicit profits from the charity kickback scheme to go to politicians, his alleged co-conspirator said. Joseph Ross, whose insurance brokerage company was allegedly involved in the scheme, says that he regularly delivered to Rapfogel checks for political contributions.

Rapfogel Public Matching Fund Corruption Scandal
A Sheldon Silver pal who’s enmeshed in a massive charity kickback scheme ordered some of the illicit profits to go to politicians, his alleged co-conspirator said. A filing Thursday by the state Attorney General’s Office says Joseph Ross admitted that former Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty head William Rapfogel told him “to make contributions to campaigns of various politicians and to political organizations” using some of the $7 million in kickback money they’d pocketed over the years.  The complaint against Mr. Ross, which was sworn out by Gerard Matheson, an investigator with the attorney general’s office, said that Mr. Rapfogel used some of the stolen money to provide political contributions to candidates for city, state and federal offices in the names of Century owners and employees. It said that Mr. Rapfogel instructed Mr. Ross to make contributions to various candidates and political organizations, and that Mr. Ross regularly delivered checks for the contributions to Mr. Rapfogel. The complaint said that more than $120,000 was provided to candidates for city offices, and tens of thousands of dollars more went to candidates for state and federal offices. Met Council, a nonprofit organization that receives tens of millions of dollars in city, state and federal financing, cannot legally make such contributions itself.* Insurer charged with theft from NYC Jewish charity(WSJ)
 Rapfogel's Non Profit Tax Shelters Connects to political payoffs 


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More Problems For Speaker Silver 

An Anonymous Whistle-Blower Exposed a Scandal at a Jewish Charity: A letter sent to the board of directors  of the Metropolitan New York Council on Jewish Poverty

Did Vito Lopez Drop A Dime on Silver and Rapfogel For Revenge?

An Anonymous Whistle-Blower Exposed a Scandal at a Jewish Charity(NYT) it says Met Council directed skimmed monies to pols who gave them grants. A letter sent to the board of directors of the Metropolitan New York Council of Jewish Poverty led to the firing of its chief executive, William E. Rapfogel.* Times digs into investigation of the Met Council's Rapfogel; will it touch Silver and/or Forest City?(Atlantic Yards Report) The Met Council scandal that cost Willie Rapfogel his job was revealed not by an audit or other government effort, but through a whistle-blower’s letter, highlighting the lack of oversight of nonprofits.  The Metropolitan New York Council on Jewish Poverty scandal, where insurance money was improperly siphoned off, “has the potential for significant political ramifications,” according to the Times. According to one allegation, the money was also given “to politicians who supply the government grants to the nonprofit organization.” William Rapfogel's Non Profit Tax Shelters Connects to political payoffs (True News Investigation)


FBI Found $400,000 in Rapfogel House -Where did he get this kind of Cash?
The Met Council scandal & NY’s nonprofit nightmare(NYP)
Rapfogel began to steal from the Met Council shortly after he became its leader in 1992, eventually allegedly taking $5 million with the assistance of two confederates
Sheldon Silver pal busted for theft, money laundering(NYP) The arrest came after an investigation by the offices of state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli into funny business involving the charity’s books and insurance policies.*Former Chief of Jewish Charity Stole Money Early and Often, Prosecutors Say(NYT) * Ex-Charity Chief Is Charged(WSJ)* Ex-powerbroker and charity CEO William Rapfogel charged in $5M theft(NYDN)
William Rapfogel Scandal Widens as Met Council Axes Key Consultant(Forward) Dovid Cohen Bounced on Same Day as Disgraced Chief. The Metropolitcan Council on Jewish Poverty ended a long-term relationship with its former executive director on the same day that it fired his successor, William Rapfogel, who has since been charged in a $5 million kickback scheme, the Forward has learned. Rabbi Dovid Cohen who ran the group in the 1980s, was dumped as a paid fundraising consultant for the Jewish anti-poverty agency in August, an individual familiar with the Met Council said. Because of the ongoing investigation, the source declined to be identified.

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Rapfogel Corruption Closing In On Silver
SPEAKING OF WHICH: It’s an open question how long embattled Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver will keep his job—but if he steps down, the Legislature would face one of the most heated succession battles in a generation (City and State). Speaker Silver Faces sexual Harassment Lawsuit and Unwinding of His Friend Willie Rapfogel Scandal Investigation At the Same Time* Another lobbyist leaves a Silver-connected firm, reports Patricia Lynch Associates * Speaking of Which (part 2) The next transition may not be so smooth.(City and State)* 
SILVER PUSHING JUNE PRIMARY Once Again, Assembly Pushing June Primary * Assembly Democrats introduced legislation to move the state’s primaries from September to June to save an estimated $50 million, but Senate Republicans have balked at the bill in the past, Gannett reports * the mass exodus theory: "entire class of the most senior members could retire w/ Silver should he decide 2 step down" * Former Assembly Speaker Mel Miller thinks Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle has a shot at succeeding the current speaker, Sheldon Silver, even though he’s an upstater.

Judy Hires A  Lawyer As Her Council Contributions Connects to Slush Fund Brokerage Firm* Judy Rapfogel has ties to insurance broker her husband is charged with fleecing
Lovett: Judy Rapfogel hires lawyer as investigators probe husband's alleged $5M kickback scheme (NYDN) State investigators spoke to Sheldon Silver's chief of staff about her knowledge of former Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty CEO William Rapfogel's alleged kickback scheme. Investigators believe he hid up to $400,000 in the couple's homes.  Judy Rapfogel, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s chief of staff, has hired a lawyer in connection with her husband’s criminal case, with investigators interviewing her about what she knew of his alleged $5 million kickback scheme
The small Long Island insurance brokerage that William Rapfogel padded payments to from his Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, was also paid by Rapfogel’s wife, Judy, during her City Council campaign, The New York Times reports * The case against her husband has raised questions about seemingly outsized car insurance payments Judy Rapfogel’s NYC Council campaign made in 1997 to the same brokerage at the center of William Rapfogel’s MetCouncil scandal.*  A spokesman for Mr. Silver said last week that Ms. Rapfogel was also not aware that her 1997 campaign had paid Century. “This was 16 years ago, and even then Judy’s focus was on asking people for their votes, not the office paperwork,” said the spokesman, Stu Loeser.

Today's NYT Article casts some doubt on Judy (and )'s stmts they didn't know what Willie was up to Sheldon Silver says he hasn't spoken to friend accused of stealing $5 million from charity(NYDN)

Judy Says She Never Knew About the 400,000 her Husband Hid in the House Sheldon Silver aide says she didn't know of husband's alleged theft (NYDN)


Micah Kellner’s general election effort to keep running on the WFP line after losing the primary to Ben Kallos is a cynical effort to use this year’s matching funds to get some free mail to use as KY in an effort to ease his way into his next Assembly race. I’m betting it backfires.





Part I True News Exclusive
How Tax Payer Are Being Fleased out of Hundreds of Millions of Tax Dollars By Real Estate billionaires


The average New Yorker pay real estate tax on their properties as well capital gains tax when the propertifes are sold.  In recent years greedy devlopers have come up with a way not pay capital gains taxes.  The law was changed by Speaker Silver and his buddies to allow non profits who do not pay any taxes to sell capital gains tax credits to greedy developers, saving them millions. 

The Rapfogel scandal if properly investigated will expose how the biggest greedy real estate developer avoid paying any taxes on capital gains for their luxury developments.  The city has lost 6000 cops and thousands of teachers because of this lost tax revenue from developers. 

The Bloomberg Pfzer Payoff
After the 2009 election Bloomberg gave the  Pfizer site to a group run by UJO of Williamsburg and Vito Lopez as as payoff for support/ According to insiders Rapfogel's Met Council was to be a partner in the Pfizer deal. Before his removal from Albany, Lopez as Housing Chairman controlled what gets built in NYC. Lopez made his mini me Erik Martin Dilan the chairman of the Council's Housing & Buildings Committee. At one time all the city developers who wanted tax breaks or government $$$ had to go through Lopez. Lopez was the lead pol on getting the tax breaks for Extell's ONE57.  Lopez though his non profit Bushwick Senior Citizen Council is one of the cities biggest non profit developers.  What needs to be investigated are non profits like Vito's Communlife and Met Council that sell he rights to 421-a tax certificates to luxury developers and who got what money.  Century Coverage Corp gave heavily to Brooklyn candidates connected to Vito Lopez.



.-
The Peter Fine Cover Up Connection to Carrion and Luxury Developers Tax Breaks
“Atlantic Development and Peter played a very important role in helping us expirand our senior housing,” said William Rapfogel, CEO of the council. 

 In 2010 investigators from the city Department of Investigation and the Manhattan district attorney’s office raided the Soho offices of Atlantic Development, reportedly part of an ongoing investigation of the firm’s possible use of cash to influence various projects. During the boom, Atlantic Development generated millions of dollars in revenue by selling the rights to 421-a tax certificates to developers Larry Silverstein and Joseph Moinian — a common exchange between affordable housing and luxury developers. Silverstein and Moinian, in turn, used the certificates to offset the expenses tied to luxury high-rise apartment buildings. As a top city official, mayoral hopeful Adolfo Carrion went to bat for a major developer who had arranged to provide an architect for renovations to Carrion’s Bronx home, the Daily News has learned.  Carrion provided the help to developer Peter Fine when Carrion was Bronx Borough President and the developer was wrestling to win city approval for a $300 million project of apartments and retail space, Boricua Village.

Rapfogel is in trouble because of Century Coverage Corporation contributions to pols
Peter Fine's Atlantic Development so much money to pols that common causme wrote a press release about them: CommonCause/NY Responds to Daily News Exclusive about Adolfo Carrion & Peter
Common Cause/NY Responds to Daily News Exclusive about Adolfo Carrion & Peter Fine - See more at: http://www.commoncause.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=5287775&ct=12989039#sthash.2LdRIuSK.dpuf
Mr. Fine is among the most prolific political donors in New York. Since 2004, he has personally given $458,130 in donations to state and city politicians and committees. During this same period, aggregate donations from Atlantic Development Group, Mr. Fine and his wife, and Atlantic Development Group co-founder Marc Altheim and his wife total nearly $1 million. 
Mr. Fine is among the most prolific political donors in New York. Since 2004, he has personally given $458,130 in donations to state and city politicians and committees. During this same period, aggregate donations from Atlantic Development Group, Mr. Fine and his wife, and Atlantic Development Group co-founder Marc Altheim and his wife total nearly $1 million. - See more at: http://www.commoncause.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=5287775&ct=12989039#sthash.2LdRIuSK.dpuf

Is Rapfogel Instant Apology Designed to Limited An Investigation Into His Housing Deals
In a statement released by his lawyer, Mr. Rapfogel apologized for unspecified “mistakes” and said, “I will do everything possible to make amends.”  "How deep does this go? It’s hard to say. The authorities might have had a better chance of flipping Rapfogel had they arrested him before this became public. In that case, they may have been able to accumulate evidence demonstrating complicity between Rapfogel and his allies in government.  It’s a little strange frankly, that we know so much about this and the man at the center has already apologized and no one is in cuffs. All of that spells money being returned and slaps on wrists as one man takes the fall. More often than not it’s the feds who use RICO statutes to go after wider conspiracies involving government corruption. But this time it’s the AG and the Comptroller both of whom have ties to the Democratic establishment." YNN



After A NYP Editorial On Rapfogel's Albany Enables Cuomo Puts Hold On New State Contracts
The Cuomo administration is putting a hold on new state contracts involving the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, with six contracts totaling $11.3 million set aside until the attorney general’s investigation is completed, the Daily News’ Ken Lovett writes




 
The NYC Pols Were Getting Checks From Employees of A Long Island Insurance Firm and They Did Not Know Anything Was Wrong?  Come on
“Pursuant to this agreement, the defendant regularly delivered checks for political contributions to Rapfogel, who in turn gave the checks to the various politicians and their political organizations,” the court papers say. The filing does not identify the politicians, and there's no indication the recipients were aware the funds were tainted."A spokeswoman for the AG’s office declined comment on the specific complaint, but said, “Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is committed to rooting out corruption in New York’s not-for-profit sector.”






"These developers have been subpoenaed by Moreland yet their donations helped get these candidates in tonight's debate" Sal Albanese



Breaking II The End is Near For Silver

NYC finance commissioner David Frankel to replace Willie Rapfogel as head of Met Council
City finance commissioner moves to Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty(NYDN)

City finance commissioner David Frankel is set to replace the embroiled William Rapfogel as the head of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty.
Poverty Group Appoints City Official as New Chief
Are the Feds Involved?
DiNapoli On Rapfogel Probe: ‘Stay Tuned’(YNN) “We’v been building strong relationships with law enforcement, whether it’s local district attorneys or the attorney general and we’re working with U.S. attorneys offices now more than we have in the past,” DiNapoli said.

__________________________________________________________________________________
What is the Real Rapfogel Story

The Daily News Looks At the Campaign $$$ Rapfogel Gave Out But It Does Not Look At the Building Met Council Did and the Tax Credits They Gave Out to Luxury Developers
Sheldon Silver ally recently fired as CEO of Met Council under investigation for shady donations to politicians (NYDN)  Investigators are looking into whether William Rapfogel overpaid the insurance provider for the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty and then directed the provider to make political donations to politicians who funded the Met Council. Investigators are looking into whether Rapfogel overpaid the Met Council’s insurance provider, Century Coverage of Valley Stream, L.I., and then directed Century to make political donations to politicians who funded his organization. They’re also looking into whether William Rapfogel pocketed kickbacks from the insurance provider.
An investigation by the Daily News has uncovered new evidence of Rapfogel helping politicians, apparently skirting a law that bars charities from getting involved in politics.



Follow the money(NYDN Ed)
Met Council's Rapfogel got too cozy with the politicians who fund his organization
Sources close to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver say he has no intention of firing his longtime Chief of Staff Judy Rapfogel despite her husband being the focus of a criminal investigation involving alleged kickbacks to his nonprofit
 
All roads lead to Shelly(NYP Yet again the stench of scandal wafts over New York. Yet again a man whose organization has received millions from taxpayers finds himself under criminal investigation. And yet again the connections reach to the top: to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.The man under investigation is William Rapfogel, who was fired last week as executive director and CEO of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty. The organization relies for a good chunk of its money on government grants, much of which has been provided by Silver and his allies via member items. Oh, did we mention that Rapfogel is married to Silver’s chief of staff?


Silver gal tarnished by hubby (NYP) She’s not staff, she’s family. For 37 years, Judy Rapfogel has been at Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s side. Now, as her husband potentially faces jail, Silver has her back. Those close to the state’s second-most powerful politician say the...

Piling On Silver (YNN)
Shelly pal booted in ‘kickback’ scam(NYP)
Sources said Rapfogel is under criminal investigation for allegedly taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks in a scheme he allegedly concocted to inflate the council’s insurance bills so he could keep the overcharges for himself.

Kellner Loses A Union
32BJ rescinds its endorsement of Kellner and calls on him to drop out

Attorney General Investigating New York Power Broker(NYT  The state attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, is investigating allegations of financial malfeasance involving William E. Rapfogel, the president of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty. * William Rapfogel Fired From Met Council Amid Criminal Probe(Jewish Forward)* Also, Comptroller DiNapoli is working with AG's office on investigation of Met Council, says spokeswoman Jennifer Freeman
Shelly pal in charge of Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty being probed for alleged 'financial irregularities' in group's insurance policies(NYP)* Cuomo still not denouncing Silver, amid more bad news   Rapfogel even served on AG Eric Schneiderman’s advisory panel on nonprofit revitalization, but now he’s in the AG’s cross hairs. *  City comptroller candidate Eliot Spitzer attacked Scott Stringer for his support of a Midtown rezoning plan during a debate, prompting Greg David of Crain’s to guess that internal polling shows it to be unpopular: http://bit.ly/13Wk7Co

. and report a Jewish charity group leader being investigated for misuse of tax dollars. William Rapfogel: "After 21 years at the Metropolitan Council...I deeply regret the mistakes I have made that led to my departure." * "Investigation is looking 2c where the $ went & which mayoral candidates might have received improper funding"* Here's a link where Quinn cut funding that went to a sister organization to the Met Council  * "The invitees include Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty CEO William Rapfogel"   *William Rapfogel: I Apologize(NYDN)
Rapfogel Off Facebook and Twitter
Christine Quinn returns $25,000 in campaign donations tied to insurance firm at center of William Rapfogel scandal, rep says. 
bill thompson spx says campaign will see if rapfogel scandal dates back to when he received money from insurance company at center of probe 
Silver Never Knows Anything Mr. Rapfogel’s lawyer, Paul Shechtman, said his client’s conduct was not known to Mr. Silver. “Whatever Willie did, his wife and Speaker Silver knew nothing about it,” Mr. Shechtman said.
Bill Thompson received $15,350 since 2003, none in the current mayoral cycle. Bill de Blasio received $1,650 in the last election cycle and Anthony Weiner received a single $4,900 donation that is being used in the current cycle.  A de Blasio rep said the campaign would be returning the $1,650 from its 2009 account.
Spitzer says comptroller "shouldn't be political, esp when it comes to the pension funds ... Invest with caution."* Haile Rivera, a Democratic candidate for , is calling on to resign immediately. Benjamin Brafman, a lawyer representing Joseph Ross, the insurance company’s chief executive, said only, “Mr. Ross is aware of the investigation and intends to address the issues raised in a responsible fashion.”


Was there gambling also going on in Silver's Place?
Silver Stunned And Saddened By Rapfogel News: Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says he is both stunned and sadd...

Silver Never Knows Anything
Mr. Rapfogel’s lawyer, Paul Shechtman, said his client’s conduct was not known to Mr. Silver. “Whatever Willie did, his wife and Speaker Silver knew nothing about it,” Mr. Shechtman said.
 
Investigators are, among other angles, looking at the relationship between Mr. Rapfogel and Century Coverage Corporation, an insurance company based in Valley Stream, N.Y., according to people familiar with the investigation. Investigators are focusing in particular on generous contributions that the company’s chief executive, Joseph Ross, and other employees have made to candidates for New York City offices. The company’s employees have given almost $120,000 to various candidates since the late 1990s, including $26,175 to several candidates in 2013. Company officials could not immediately be reached for comment. *
CFB Show Us the Money
A search on @NYCCFB didn't show any 2013 donations by Century Coverage employees nyc-mayor-2013.blogspot.com/2013/08/Christ… @davidwchen @unitedNYblogs 
 
City Coucil candidate Vito Lopez cancels second public appearance in 5 days 

NYP Are Asking AG and Comptroller to Investigate What Pols Who Gave $$$ to Rapfogel Got in Return
Silver Made DiNapoli Comptroller and Supported Schneiderman For AG
Albany’s Rapfogel problem(NYP) Albany watchdogs are vowing to “follow the money” that the head of a major Jewish charity is accused of stealing from the group. Question is, are they willing to follow it back to where it leads? Which is ­Albany. Great. But why stop there? As The Post wrote just last week, “the politicians and the system that provides taxpayer funding to groups like [the Met Council] scream out for equal scrutiny.” Was there a quid pro quo? Which pols got donations and then OK’d funding for the council? What other charities — and pols — are engaging in similar hanky-panky?



NYP AG Who Is Investigating Rapfogel Conflict of Interest
Records show that state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was friendly with William Rapfogel, whom he is investigating in a kickback scheme, though his office said their past history would not impact the criminal probe 

AG’s history with ‘kickback’ honcho(NYP)
 State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was friendly with social-services honcho William Rapfogel before launching a
criminal probe of him, records show. Schniederman appointed Rapfogel, the former longtime CEO of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, to serve on his 32-member advisory panel on nonprofit revitalization in 2011.

 Hoping to secure their standing with the next administration, New York City taxi and livery car companies have poured money into the mayoral candidates’ campaigns

1 comment:

  1. Tks very much for your post.

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