The Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty will be able to continue receiving New York State funds in the wake of the scandal that has seen its former CEO charged with stealing millions from the charity.
The New York State attorney general and comptroller announced Thursday that they had reached an agreement with the Met Council, a leading Jewish social services agency. The agreement, which coincides with two parallel agreements reached with city agencies, provides “assurance that Met Council is implementing critical reforms to prevent the misuse of public funds,” Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a press release.
Among the reforms the council agreed to are implementing enhanced governance and personnel policies, hiring a general counsel and chief compliance officer, engaging a new outside auditor, appointing at least two new independent board members to be approved by state and city officials, and training board members and key personnel yearly in ethics and nonprofit compliance.
The agreement notes that Met Council’s board has already conducted its own investigation and replaced certain senior management.
The agreement comes a week after New York State’s attorney general announced that one of former Met Council CEO William Rapfogel’s alleged co-conspirators pleaded guilty to grand larceny, money laundering and tax fraud.
Joseph Ross, who pleaded guilty last week, was the owner of Century Coverage, a Long Island insurance company that submitted inflated bills to the Met Council, allegedly sharing the extra money with Rapfogel and using some of it for campaign contributions to elected officials. Rapfogel, who had headed Met Council for more than 20 years, was fired from his post in August and arrested in September.
"The agreements we reached with the state and city are good news for the thousands of New Yorkers in need who depend on [Met Council] every day for vital services," the agency said in an unsigned statement sent to The Jewish Week Monday.
"Collectively, these agreements reflect the shared work undertaken by Met Council and various government agencies to address our governance processes and internal controls. Importantly, these agreements will allow Met Council to continue to receive funding for its programs through city and state contracts."
The statement added that Met Council would to additional measures to ensure that its "governance and operational structures are second to none" so government agencies and donors can have better confidence.