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Lax Government Oversight Cited As Catalyst For Willie Rapfogel Scandal

Lax government oversight may have enabled the scandal involving William Rapfogel, the former executive director of the Metropolitan Council for Jewish Poverty, according to The New York Times.

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.

Rapfogel’s alleged financial misconduct was revealed by anonymous letter rather than government audit or oversight. An anonymous source cited by the Times said Rapfogel, who headed the Met Council for more than 20 years before his dismissal in August, inflated the social service agency’s health insurance payments by several hundred thousand dollars a year. He then split the proceeds with politicians who supplied grants to the Met Council.

The state Assembly has allocated up to $1 million in some years to the Met Council. Rapfogel is a childhood friend of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and Rapfogel’s wife has been Silver’s chief of staff for more than 30 years.

“I deeply regret the mistakes I have made that led to my departure from the organization,” he said following his ouster by the Met Council.

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