William Rapfogel Scandal Widens as Met Council Axes Key Consultant

Dovid Cohen Bounced on Same Day as Disgraced Chief

Peas in a Pod: The Met Council on Jewish Poverty terminated its long relationship with Dovid Cohen on the same day that William Rapfogel was fired over a $5 million insurance kickback scheme.
courtesy of met council
Peas in a Pod: The Met Council on Jewish Poverty terminated its long relationship with Dovid Cohen on the same day that William Rapfogel was fired over a $5 million insurance kickback scheme.

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Published September 25, 2013, issue of October 04, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

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.

Cohen now works as executive director of the Jewish ambulance service Chevra Hatzalah. He was executive director of the New York-based Met Council from 1979 until Rapfogel succeeded him in 1992. Besides his continued work for the agency as an executive consultant, Cohen spoke at its annual Legislative Breakfast in June.

When it fired Rapfogel and disclosed the existence of the alleged scandal, the Met Council made no mention of the move to end its years-long relationship with Cohen.

A statement the agency released August 12 said that its internal investigation had revealed no wrongdoing by current Met Council employees. Cohen was a former employee and a contractor.

Cohen did not respond to numerous messages left on his cell phone. His attorney, Alan Abramson, declined a request for comment.

A felony complaint filed against Rapfogel in Manhattan Criminal Court on September 24 charged him with having stolen $5 million from the Met Council over two decades. But it described a criminal scheme that began even before the Met Council hired Rapfogel.

According to the complaint, a Met Council employee initiated the scheme shortly before Rapfogel became executive director. That employee, who talked to investigators, allegedly brought Rapfogel into the scheme once Rapfogel was hired. The Met Council employee is not identified in the complaint.

Abramson did not respond to an inquiry asking whether Cohen was that employee.

The alleged scheme operated as a simple kickback: The Met Council would overpay for insurance to a company called Century Coverage, then a confederate at the firm would return the money to Rapfogel and his co-conspirator at the Met Council.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.