Can Met Council on Jewish Poverty Recover From William Rapfogel Scandal?

Lavish Events Continue Despite Stolen Millions

Face of Disgrace: William Rapfogel was the face of the Met Council. Now he’s going to prison for fraud.
Met Council
Face of Disgrace: William Rapfogel was the face of the Met Council. Now he’s going to prison for fraud.

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Published May 05, 2014, issue of May 09, 2014.

(page 3 of 3)

Frankel left AIG in 2004, well before the firm required an $85 billion bailout from the federal government. He went on to Morgan Stanley, where he served in a similar role as global co-head of fixed income operations. That firm, too, was rocked during the financial crisis, borrowing more from the Federal Reserve than any other U.S. bank in the United States and losing billions in value.

When Frankel left Morgan Stanley in 2009, he was one of a large number of Wall Street refugees seeking new work. He found his new role outside the private sector.

At the Bloomberg administration, Frankel joined many big-time executives taking high-ranking city jobs. Not long after hiring Frankel, Bloomberg brought in former Wachovia and Goldman Sachs executive Robert Steel as deputy mayor for economic development. Steel’s predecessor, Robert Leiber, was a former managing director at Lehman Brothers.

Frankel’s move to Met Council came months before UJA-Federation of New York announced Eric Goldstein, another veteran from Wall Street, as its new CEO.

According to Rabbi David Teutsch, who heads the Center for Jewish Ethics at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, that’s a testament to the value of a Wall Street background — and an indictment of the Jewish communal apparatus.

“Somebody with those kinds of Wall Street connections is in a really good position to raise money for the organization,” Teutsch said. “Most people who go into Jewish communal work with the intention of doing good never develop the expertise or effectiveness [to run] an organization of this size…. It’s a comment on the failure of lay and professional leaders to nurture and develop and respect Jewish communal professionals.”

The new executives whom Frankel is bringing in with him come from similar business and civil service backgrounds, as opposed to the world of Jewish social and political activism that produced Rapfogel and Cohen. Eric Munson, Met Council’s new chief of staff, comes from the Department of Finance with Frankel. Joyce Bloom, Met Council’s new chief human resources officer, is a former chief human resources officer of a subsidiary of the Interpublic Group of Companies, the massive advertising agency holding company.

Rapfogel’s compensation at Met Council in 2012 — independent of the funds he took illegally — was $417,000. Frankel’s compensation is not yet publicly available from IRS records, and the Met Council did not respond to a request for this information.

Contact Josh Nathan-Kazis at nathankazis@forward.com or on Twitter, @joshnathankazis



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