Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Case Closed, WJC Declares: Inquiry by New York State’s attorney general, Eliot Spitzer continues ...

27 Comments:

At 11:41 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

http://thejewishweek.com/news/newscontent.php3?artid=10379
01/12/2005
Case Closed, WJC Declares
But critics not satisfied by World Jewish Congress reform plans; probe still possible.
Gary Rosenblatt - Editor And Publisher
...

 
At 12:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was never anything to this "scandal" other than a play by Leibler to get Bronfman to step aside and allow himself to become President of the WJC. Leibler says that there have been no "independent" audits. Loeb and Troper audits almost every Jewish non profit in New York. Are all those other organizations also suspect? Is Price Waterhouse Coopers, who just finished another audit, also in collusion? Where does this end? Should the WJC bankrupt itself to pay for more accountants? They have already spent $1mm. I am sure the donors that Leibler and Rosenblatt are protecting would not be happy with that amount.

I would venture to say that Rosenblatt is also guilty of shoddy journalism. He has devoted many issues of his paper to the WJC and then did not even have the guts to travel to Brussels to cover the the climax of the story at the WJC assembly. Instead he has once again outsourced his reporting to his good friend Isi Leibler.

 
At 12:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A normal audit is not designed to detect fraud. It relies on the assumption of management good faith.

In this case, there was a hidden $1.2 million bank account in Geneva.

A forensic audit (designed to detect fraud) is now in order as management good faith may be in question.

 
At 12:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is the bad faith? There is no secret account. Why dont you check out the 850 pages of documents provided by the WJC? I did. Where is Leibler's proof of bad faith? This is the same story recycled by the same reporter/ editor/ publisher over and over.

Does Leibler have any support at the WJC? It did not seem like it to me. There was no one there, aside from some family members, on his side. Surely a man with right on his side can find a handful of partisans? Alas, he has none. Even Donath and the Swiss have backed away from him. Rosenblatt does a poor job in acknowledging this.

 
At 12:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I made no claim of "bad faith".

I simply stated that there are sufficient questions to call into question the "assumption of management good faith".

An independent forensic audit is in order to bring this controversy to an end.

The level of Leibler's support is irrelevant.

 
At 1:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The level of Leibler's support is hardly irrelevant if the Leibler/ Rosenblatt team's motivation here is to protect the public from the malicous motives of Singer and Bronfman. There does not seem to be anyone out there who believes any of Leibler's accusations other than Leibler, Rosenblatt, and perhaps you. Where is his proof?

 
At 1:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please identify something that would call into question management's bad faith? Sloppiness maybe, bad faith no.

 
At 1:11 PM, Blogger sol said...

additionally, these independent audits were done after the "assumption of management good faith", as you put it, was called into question. Loeb/Troper and Price Waterhouse were indeed looking at the possibilty of fraud.

 
At 1:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A $1.2 million bank account in Geneva that senior members of management and auditors did not know about calls into question the "assumption of management good faith".

 
At 1:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As do the other transactions mentioned in the various articles.

 
At 1:17 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

Hopefully, the independent inquiry by New York State’s attorney general, Eliot Spitzer will settle this once and for all.

 
At 1:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

who says the auditors did not know about the account? Go read the reports.

 
At 1:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>who says the auditors did not know about the account?
>Go read the reports.

You have to distinguish between internal auditors (not independent) and external auditors (independent).

See: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/525435.html

 
At 1:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the Haaretz article:
Leibler has rejected the results of three internal audits conducted by the organization, saying that they were not performed by professional accountants. He also rejected a fourth audit carried out by newly appointed WJC secretary-general Stephen Herbits, saying that Herbits is a close personal associate of WJC president Edgar Bronfman.

not performed by professional accountants? Loeb and Troper is not professional? I am sure that a lot of people would take issue with that.
The 4th audit was rejected because Herbits is Bronfman's friend?!? PWC is in cahoots with Herbits? Shocking!!!

According to that logic who is worthy to audit the WJC? Gary Rosenblatt?

There is no distinction in this article about internal vs. external. it is all excuses for Leibler to keep alive the "whiff of a scandal".

 
At 2:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems to me the point is that there should be an external independent audit to clear this up.

 
At 2:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who is left to perform such an audit? What is to stop Leibler and Rosenblatt from rejecting another one? When will you concede that this is waste of donor's money?

 
At 3:04 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>Who is left to perform such an audit?

Numerous entities.

>What is to stop Leibler and Rosenblatt from rejecting another
>one?

The fact it will be (should be) independent.

>When will you concede that this is waste of donor's money?

Why don't we just get rid of all accounting oversight? Let's just rely on trust.

You didn't read the tagline on top:
Accountability and transparency within our institutions and leadership.

I want to know if my community is spending my money properly. In the long run, the external audit will be worth the money.

 
At 4:48 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

1)
http://thejewishweek.com/news/newscontent.php3?artid=10379
(01/14/2005)
Case Closed, WJC Declares
But critics not satisfied by World Jewish Congress reform plans; probe still possible.
Gary Rosenblatt - Editor And Publisher

Both sides in the increasingly nasty World Jewish Congress feud got what they wanted from the organization’s assembly in Brussels this week.

The leadership put on a display of solidarity, with the 540 delegates from around the world not only showing their support for Edgar Bronfman and Israel Singer by re-electing them unanimously as president and chairman, respectively, but by fully embracing their version of the internal dispute about alleged financial mismanagement and lack of governance as baseless and harmful.

Stephen Herbits, the longtime Bronfman aide at Seagrams who was elected WJC secretary general, cited the “vote of confidence in the governing board” as a sign that the controversy had been laid to rest finally, even as he pledged to revamp the WJC’s financial operations.

“This issue is closed,” he said, according to press reports.

And Isi Leibler, the senior vice president and former leader of Australian Jewry who has led the charge for reform within the 69-year-old organization, had his moment, however abbreviated, in the spotlight. Given 10 minutes to speak to the assembly rather than the 30 minutes he said was promised to him, he had a chance to make public his sense of martyrdom as he was heckled for listing the reasons he maintained the WJC needed a full, independent audit to restore its good name.

Leibler, who now lives in Israel, said that despite being vilified for his suggestion that large sums of WJC money have been misused, he was pleased to hear Herbits acknowledge the organization had operated its finances in a less than professional manner for years and that new reforms would be put in place.

“I have no doubt that in time the WJC will become transformed into a more democratic body,” Leibler told the delegates. “In that context I take pride that I have been fully vindicated.”

Rather than lose in the election of officers, as he surely would have, Leibler stepped down from his voluntary post, announcing that he “would not, in good conscience, remain an office bearer in an organization which remains under the control of the same leaders who led us into this morass.”

Herbits later told The Jewish Week the delegates were “hostile” to Leibler because they were tired of hearing his “unsubstantiated claims,” and that the longest debate of the three-day conference was over whether or not to let Leibler speak at all. Herbits characterized the conflict as “a personality dispute” based on “one man’s obsession.”

So who won in this struggle that has called unwanted attention to an organization known for its efforts to combat anti-Semitism and secure hundreds of millions of dollars in restitution for Holocaust survivors?

For now, the WJC leadership can point to a clear victory. Its top officials have been confirmed, its chief critic is out of office, and its pledge to improve its governance assures delegates that whatever sloppy bookkeeping may have been the order of the past is sure to change. The Brussels assembly voted to create a permanent finance committee (whose U.S. representative is Matthew Bronfman, Edgar’s son) and set up an annual audit. And delegates were given documents totaling more than 1,000 pages said to catalogue the conflict and prove the allegations to be false and malicious.

But the blizzard of documentation may prove more confusing than clarifying, and questions about the WJC’s past practices may not go away so fast. The leadership resisted calls by Leibler and several leaders of the Swiss Jewish community to conduct a full, independent audit that would go back several years and then be made public. The group’s officials say they have already conducted several audits, at considerable expense, which have turned up no irregularities. Still, enough suspicions have been raised — particularly about the transfer last year of $1.2 million to a Swiss bank account — that the Attorney General’s office in New York has opened a preliminary inquiry into the matter.

Herbits and, via video, attorney Robert Abrams, assured the Brussels delegates that the WJC was cooperating with the Attorney General’s office and looked forward to an examination that would clear up any impression of misdeeds. “There was sometimes insufficient attention given to administrative management and control,” said Abrams, a former Attorney General recently hired by the WJC to expedite this matter. The general impression left, though, was that these issues could be resolved and perhaps obviate a full-scale inquiry.

But several Swiss Jewish officials are adamant about pursuing their call for a probe into past WJC activities. Two former WJC employees, Daniel Lack, who served as legal adviser, and Maya Ben Haim, who directed the Geneva office, were not permitted to speak at the Brussels conference. They have called for a serious look into the $1.2 million account — asking who activated it and why didn’t they know about it — but WJC officials say their complaints are based on bitterness over having been let go. (Virtually everyone involved who has raised questions about the WJC’s finances over the last six months has either been dismissed, given generous compensation, marginalized, or all three.)

What is clear is that the Swiss account funds in question came from the Jewish Agency to the WJC. Avraham Burg, the former Jewish Agency top official, told the Brussels delegates the money was for WJC pensions, including one for Israel Singer. But Salai Meridor, the chairman of the Jewish Agency, and Chaim Chesler, the treasurer, rose to say the funds were not for pensions but for outstanding annual payments.

Herbits told The Jewish Week they were each correct and that the statements were “not contradictory but supplementary.” He said the report shows the funds totaled three years of back pay for what had long been a $500,000 annual payment from the Jewish Agency to the WJC, and that the WJC then decided to try to use the funds for pensions, with Singer included.

A number of leaders of Jewish organizations are concerned about the possibility of an in-depth investigation of the WJC by the Attorney General’s office. They worry that any potential finding of mismanagement would not only damage the WJC’s reputation but raise questions about how other Jewish organizations maintain their charitable funds, and may make potential contributors more reluctant to give.

Even those supportive of the WJC and its work assume that the organization, whose budget is about $10 million, functioned for years as a mom-and-pop operation with Singer and Bronfman making financial decisions, not accountable to anyone else. And even those critical of past WJC financial dealings are upset that the controversy was not contained internally and that it has received such wide attention. Most blame Leibler for that.

The question now is whether the dispute is over, or just moving to a new turf — from the WJC itself to the Attorney General’s office. That office is not talking, but with the inquiry in motion and at least a few former WJC officials, lay and professional, willing if not eager to tell their stories and pursue their call for an in-depth audit with the results made public, it seems clear we have not heard the last of the controversy.

2)
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/525435.html

WJC's Isi Leibler steps down
By Yair Sheleg

BRUSSELS - World Jewish Congress vice-president Isi Leibler announced his resignation from the organization yesterday at the WJC's annual assembly in Brussels yesterday. Leibler said he made the announcement after coming to the conclusion that he had no chance of getting reelected to the post.




Leibler's resignation marks the end of an ongoing, harsh dispute between the WJC vice-president and the chairman of the organization's board of trustees, Israel Singer, but will not of the issues that occasioned the dispute.

Leibler told Haaretz yesterday that he was resigning because he "came to the conclusion that I cannot remain in an organization that requires me to give a stamp of approval to activities I deem inappropriate, and after it became clear to me that I will not be reelected to the position."

Leibler said that despite his resignation, "the organization will hear from me if they don't make good on their promise to rectify the manner in which it is run, which, as they also admit today, is inappropriate."

The conflict between Leibler and Singer revolves around the former's demand for an investigation into the transfer of $1.2 million from the organization's New York headquarters to a bank account in Geneva and the subsequent transfer of the money by Singer into a trust account held by his friend, attorney Zvi Barak.

Leibler has rejected the results of three internal audits conducted by the organization, saying that they were not performed by professional accountants. He also rejected a fourth audit carried out by newly appointed WJC secretary-general Stephen Herbits, saying that Herbits is a close personal associate of WJC president Edgar Bronfman.

Yesterday, the Congress was presented with Herbits' 1,050-page report clearing Singer of all the allegations that have been voiced against him in recent months. The report includes documents to show that WJC funds have been handled properly.

Herbits acknowledged, however, that reforms were needed to improve management and control at the nonprofit organization, which was set up to promote Jewish rights and has collected millions of dollars in restitution payments on behalf of Holocaust victims around the globe.

3)
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/526581.html

For the WJC, the investigation has only begun
By Yair Sheleg

The World Jewish Congress met this week in Brussels in part to resolve the public fighting that has overtaken the organization. But the stepping down by the organization's leading critic has not resolved the issues

BRUSSELS - The heated clash that has thrown the Jewish institutional world into an uproar in recent months seemed to be dying down this week, at least temporarily. It has been a wrestling match between three ranking officials of the World Jewish Congress, the political umbrella organization of world Jewry. The brawl pitted the chairman of the organization's governing board, Israel Singer, who enjoyed the backing of the WJC's president, millionaire Edgar Bronfman, against the organization's senior vice president, Isi Leibler.

Leibler voiced complaints about an irregular transfer of WJC funds from New York to a Swiss bank account and from there to a trust account in London, and has demanded an independent investigation of the affair. Bronfman and Singer had spearheaded the campaign in which Swiss banks were asked for restitution of Jewish assets dating to the Holocaust era. Thus, suspected financial irregularities - involving a Swiss bank account, no less - had the makings of a particularly embarrassing scenario.

But what had seemed in the Jewish and Western media to be a wrestling match between rivals of equal strength was revealed this week, at a plenary assembly of the WJC in Brussels, to be distinctly lopsided: Nobody defended Leibler, who, once he grasped the hopeless balance of forces arrayed against him, opted to resign rather than submit to the humiliation of failing to be reelected.

Even the representatives of the Swiss Jewish community, who until now were Leibler's biggest supporters in his campaign to investigate the affair (in actual fact, they raised it before him), made no effort to defend him, and essentially accepted a report submitted by the newly appointed "transition director" of the WJC, Stephen Herbits, who cleared Singer of all suspicions.

Will Leibler's resignation put an end to the affair? Maybe not.

On December 31, the New York Times reported that the office of the attorney general of New York State, Eliot Spitzer, had begun a preliminary inquiry of allegations against the WJC, the first round of what could evolve into a full investigation.

The WJC is treating the development with the utmost seriousness and has already retained Robert Abrams, a former attorney general of New York, to plot its defense. In addition, representatives of the organization were promising representatives of the Swiss Jewish community only last week, on the eve of the WJC's plenary assembly in Brussels, that a comprehensive examination would be made of the operation of the Geneva branch over the past decade, Herbits' report notwithstanding.

Herbits, who was appointed as the new secretary-general of the World Jewish Congress this week, admits that the organization has suffered from transparency and management problems, and that he intends to effect changes in the WJC as part of his new administrative role.

"A new finance committee has to be appointed, with outside members," he said. "A new bookkeeping system is required."

Between the lines of this statement, there may be hints of criticism by Bronfman's handpicked representative toward Singer - the WJC's key administrative executive for the past 20 years. Herbits' appointment as secretary-general further underscores the criticism.

Leibler now says that despite his resignation, he is pleased by this managerial accomplishment.

"I believe that the changes announced by Herbits will eventually demonstrate that I was right," says Leibler. "There is a need to transform the entire management system of American Jewish organizations. True, in this regard there is no worse organization than the congress, where one person [Bronfman] decides everything. But a lot of organizations are not managed properly, and I am hoping that what happens in the congress will be a signal to all of the organizations to improve their management culture."

The entire affair has elements of a dramatic film. In April 2003, then-secretary general of the WJC Avi Beker appointed a new manager of the organization's Geneva branch: Maya Ben-Haim, an Israeli attorney living in the city. Shortly after she took up her post, Ben-Haim discovered that Jacques Chamach, the veteran comptroller of the branch - who had also once served as comptroller of the entire organization - was drawing close to $2,000 a month more than the salary he was supposed to receive. Ben-Haim decided to fire the 79-year-old Chamach, despite the fact that he was then recovering from a heart attack. She informed Beker and Singer of the move at a meeting in London in late June 2003.

Two days after that meeting, Singer flew to Geneva and forced Chamach to leave his sickbed in order to sign a bank order to close down a special account of the WJC - of which Ben-Haim was unaware - that contained some $1.2 million, in the Swiss bank USB. The funds were transferred to an account in London, which was held in trust by a friend of Singer's, Israeli attorney Zvi Barak.

Trust account for whom?

There are differing versions for whom the trust account was held. According to the Swiss-Jewish weekly Tachles, the personal beneficiaries of the account were Singer and his wife, Evelyne. According to the report released this week by Herbits, the beneficiary of the trust was the WJC. Barak refused to answer questions from Haaretz on the affair, citing attorney-client privilege, but stressed that the client he is representing is not Singer, but the Congress.

In any event, the account was evidently closed so hastily that sufficient precautions were not taken: the bank's transfer fee was not paid, and the account became overdrawn.

In October 2003, Ben-Haim was informed by USB that the account was overdrawn by $40, leading to her discovery of the account about which she had no previous knowledge. She reported this to Beker, who asked her to look into the subject. A month later Beker abruptly left the organization and was awarded a severance of $1 million for his 13 months of work at the organization's headquarters in New York (this compensation was awarded independently of arrangements related to his employment in the organization's Israel branch).

Needless to say, the retirement agreement obliges him to refrain from interviews or to speak publicly on matters concerning the WJC. Indeed, Beker refused this week to be interviewed by Haaretz on this matter. A senior WJC official claimed this week that Beker was dismissed not because of the inquiry into the Swiss account, but due to his refusal to side with Singer in the squabble with Leibler, and his tendency to "maintain neutrality".

Ben-Haim continued to pursue her inquiry. In March 2004 she was informed of the immediate closure of the Geneva office and the dismissal of all the employees, including herself. The legal advisor of the branch, Daniel Lack, who was among the discharged employees, called for an independent investigation of the matter. He was backed by Professor Alfred Donath, president of the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities, the community's umbrella organization. Donath sent a memorandum on the matter in April 2004 to senior WJC officials.

At this point, the affair was woven into the old difference of opinion between the right-leaning Leibler and the left-leaning Bronfman and Singer. The three have had some vociferous arguments in recent years at WJC gatherings and in the media. At one of these heated discussions, Singer, known for his no-holds-barred style, called Leibler a fascist.

The dispute made headlines in August 2003, after Bronfman sent President George W. Bush a letter in which he criticized Israel's construction of the separation fence and even called on Bush to pressure Israel and the Palestinians to move ahead on implementation of the road map. At the time, Leibler issued a public call for Bronfman's resignation, arguing that the leader of a Jewish organization may not express political criticism of Israel in public.

Vice-presidents Leibler and Elan Steinberg joined those demanding an investigation. In July 2004, the WJC's "operations committee" demanded that the money be transferred back to the organization's bank account in New York, and this was done several weeks later.

Committee's failures

But a month later, Bronfman made a change in the make-up of the operations committee, claiming that it was in response to criticism from Jewish communal leaders of the committee's failures. He expanded it under a new name - "steering committee" - by adding local leaders, and threw vice-presidents Leibler and Steinberg off the committee. Steinberg lost his job soon afterward; Leibler, who was not an employee of the organization but an elected official, could not be fired.

The affair was made public in September, first in the American Jewish press and then in newspapers such as The New York Times and the Swiss newspaper Facts. A battle of differing versions of who leaked the affair to the media also broke out. WJC officials were pointing their fingers at Leibler, while Leibler counter-charged that it had been a sophisticated ploy by Singer, intended to represent Leibler as a "mole" and damage his standing in the organization.

There was also agitation within the WJC against Leibler and Donath, the two elected officials who continued to call for an investigation. The European Jewish Congress - a branch of the world organization, to which the Swiss Jewish community belongs - demanded Leibler's resignation.

In order to engineer Leibler's dismissal, an assembly of the organization was convened this week in Brussels, at which all of the senior officials were supposed to run for re-election to their posts. The assumption was that given the overwhelming criticism, Leibler would have no chance of reelection.

Leibler saw it coming, and hastened to announce his resignation even before the vote could be held. He later told Haaretz that he would soon take up a new post, as head of an Israel-Diaspora relations unit of the "Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs," a policy research institute headed by former Israel ambassador to the UN Dore Gold.

The pension account

Bronfman appointed his friend Stephen Herbits in late August to manage the affairs of the Congress during the "transition period," until the organization could be reorganized and a new charter prepared. Herbits was also asked to draft a comprehensive report on the Geneva bank account affair. He approached four international accounting firms, which confirmed that at no stage had the money left WJC control, and therefore, "there is no indication or experience of irregularities."

However, this does not explain the various transfers of funds, or the mass firings. Herbits himself supplied an explanation this week, in the comprehensive report he submitted to the WJC assembly.

Singer, as well as other senior WJC officials, refused to answer questions on this matter, referring all inquiries to Herbits.

In conversation with Haaretz, Herbits summed up the highlights of his investigation: the money did not come from the ongoing budget of the organization, but from a $1.5 million sum that was allocated by the Jewish Agency to the WJC. Herbits says that Singer decided to use the money to ensure his pension and that of several other employees at the organization's office in New York, due to concerns that upon his patron Bronfman's retirement from the organization - Bronfman is now 75 - these pension funds would not be guaranteed.

Singer transferred the money to Switzerland, with the aim of adding it to a pension fund already set up there for officials of the organization in New York. However, when the Swiss insurance company refused to do so, Singer decided to withdraw the funds. The panicked emptying of the bank account was, according to Herbits, intended to "prevent a situation in which a new employee, who is not a certified public accountant, would control such a large sum." Herbits says that Singer carried out the transfer through Barak's trust account, "because Barak is an expert on pensions and is the chairman of the Jewish Agency's pension fund."

Herbits argues that all of the people raising allegations only did so after being discharged. Conversely, Leibler argues that at the time he wrote the memo, he was still on the "operations committee" and was only thrown off it after writing the memo.

In any event, it is abundantly clear that the echo of the affair through the Jewish and Western media was generated not only by the allegations - after all, Leibler raised mainly questions, not explicit charges of criminal violations - but by the status of the WJC in general, and of Bronfman and Singer personally.

In 1986, the two men were behind the disclosure of the Nazi past of former UN secretary-general Kurt Waldheim, spearheading the international struggle against him. In the mid 1990s, Edgar Bronfman and Israel Singer headed the campaign for restitution of Jewish assets dating to the Holocaust. They waged the drawn-out campaign against the Swiss banks and were responsible for threatening sanctions against these banks in the U.S.

It is easy to understand, then, why suspicions of financial irregularities in the World Jewish Congress found such a warm reception among those who were never too pleased about the aggressive campaign pursued by the organization, and in particular the suspected irregularities in a WJC account in a Swiss bank.

Avraham Burg, former speaker of the Knesset and former chairman of the Jewish Agency - and an old friend of Singer's - attended the assembly in Brussels. He said this week that he had already heard comments from colleagues in Switzerland who said, "So it seems that our money is actually good - when it is controlled by a Jewish organization."

Among the parties involved in the affair, it was conjectured that the Swiss Jewish community's demand to investigate the affair partly stemmed from their past objections to the WJC's campaign against the Swiss banks (for fear that it would cause anti-Semitic reactions, as indeed did happen).

Donath denies the claim. Personally, he supported the campaign against the banks in the past, although, he says, "It is true that several of my colleagues in the community were opposed to it."

 
At 5:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One more question for the whistler:

If Price Waterhouse Coopers, one of the leading accounting and audit firms in the world, is not considered independent, then who is?

I think that you need to consider the fact that audits have been performed, legitimate questions have been asked and answered, and Leibler and Rosenblatt are still not satisfied. It is time for the community to understand that this is not about accountability. It is about politics.

Maybe if Rosenblatt was more interested in the facts he would have gone to Brussels or at least read the 1000 page report from the WJC on this issue. That report presents plenty of accountability.

We should all ask ourselves whether Leibler and Rosenblatt are trying to save the WJC or destroy it. The feeling at the assembly was clearly that he was interested in the latter. I hope your motivations are the former.

 
At 6:30 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>If Price Waterhouse Coopers, one of the leading accounting
>and audit firms in the world, is not considered independent,
>then who is?

You simply don't understand the difference between an internal audit and an external audit.

>I think that you need to consider the fact that audits have
>been performed, legitimate questions have been asked and
>answered, and Leibler and Rosenblatt are still not satisfied.

Which may be a good reason to have an external independent audit.

>It is time for the community to understand that this is not
>about accountability. It is about politics.

Actually, it's about accountability.

>Maybe if Rosenblatt was more interested in the facts he would
>have gone to Brussels or at least read the 1000 page report
>from the WJC on this issue. That report presents plenty of
>accountability.

Again, you simply don't understand the difference between an internal audit and an external audit.

>We should all ask ourselves whether Leibler and Rosenblatt
>are trying to save the WJC or destroy it. The feeling at
>the assembly was clearly that he was interested in the latter.
>I hope your motivations are the former.

I suggest instead of impugning people's motives you consider my blog's tagline: Accountability and transparency within our institutions and leadership.

A simple independent, external audit would likely clear this up once and for all.

 
At 6:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I appreciate your consistent refrain about my lack of understanding of accounting.

However, I have an MBA in Accounting and Finance from an Ivy League Businesss School and have served as CFO of two companies. You are throwing around terms that you do not understand. The audits that have been performed do meet the standard of external, independent, and impartial. You are allowing yourself to be misled by people with an agneda. It is a shame since I think that generally this blog performs a service for the community.

 
At 6:49 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

If you are correct than it should be simple to have an external auditor come in and audit the information and produce an independent external report and put this to rest.

 
At 7:01 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>However, I have an MBA in Accounting and Finance from
>an Ivy League Businesss School and have served as CFO
>of two companies.

My experts indicate that your stated background does not include practical experience with the external side of auditing (other than dealing with the external auditors who come in and do not make their working papers or audit testing methods and criteria available to you). So, I do not believe you appreciate the necessity of an independent, external audit in cases like this.

 
At 7:16 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>I appreciate your consistent refrain about my lack of
>understanding of accounting.

Please indicate where I said anything of that sort. I did not.

You simply are ignoring the necessity of effective non-profit governance framework that not only has an effective board, internal auditors, and executive management but also external auditors. These are the four cornerstones of good governance.

Given the suspicious transactions and internal conflict, the external audit is a necessary element in clearing this up.

 
At 8:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well now that you brought the "experts" into this I guess that the only way you might be satisfied is with a decision from the AG on whether there is wrongdoing here. I disagree with your assessment that Leibler has identified ANY wrongdoing at the WJC even after one year of trying. I think that if you were to read the 1000 page WJC document you will realize that not only is this all political posturing and conjecture by Leibler and Rosenblatt (who did not go to Brussels or read the report) but your quest for accountability will be satisfied. I do appreciate the constructive dialogue though.

BTW who are Leibler and Gary Rosenblatt accountable to? At least Singer has stood before delegates from 88 different Jewish communities around the world and been reelected. He has been elected as President of the Claims conference and is accountable to holocaust survivors the world over. That is a heavy burden of accountability. What about some respect for that?

 
At 8:52 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>I disagree with your assessment that Leibler has
>identified ANY wrongdoing at the WJC

Not my assessment. My assessment is that there are suspicious or troubling (or any way you want to characterize them) transactions that indicate an external audit is warranted to clear the air.

>BTW who are Leibler and Gary Rosenblatt accountable to?

Rosenblatt is but one of a number of reporters reporting on this. The 4th estate's job is to raise questions. The WJC's job (like any other accountable organization) is to answer them fully. I think you are overstating Rosenblatt's role in this.

Leibler is reponsible for any false statements to the AG's office.

As to Singer (like any other leader), kabdeihu v'chashdeihu (respect and suspect).

 
At 6:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Btw, the report from the plenary in Brussels that clears Singer is up on the wjc website:
https://www.worldjewishcongress.org/plenary/index.cfm
check it out and tell me what you think. I think this really proves that this is about one man (Leibler's) obsession with bringing down the organization, what's your take?

 

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