The politically connected executive director of one of New York’s largest Jewish charities has been fired amid accusations he misused charity funding.
William Rapfogel was terminated as head of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty last week and an investigation is now underway by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, NBC 4 New York has learned.
Sources familiar with the investigation said the probe is examining what happened to some of the organization’s funds and whether any of that money might have been improperly funneled into the political campaigns of some New York City mayoral candidates.
Rapfogel did not comment on specifics but issued a statement through his attorney Paul Shechtman apologizing for his alleged wrongdoing and asking for forgiveness from family and colleagues.
"I deeply regret the mistakes I have made that have led to my departure from the organization," Rapfogel said. "I will do everything possible to make amends."
The Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty receives millions in city, state and federal tax dollars to help run its programs.
The organization claims it helps more than 100,000 New Yorkers, and Rapfogel served as its executive director for more than 20 years.
Rapfogel’s close ties to Democratic leaders had helped him become one of the leading nonprofit power brokers in the state. He is known to have close ties to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver; Rapfogel’s wife Judy is Silver’s chief of staff.
Sources said questionable accounting at the charity involved the organization’s contracts with at least one outside insurance company. Insurance contracts make up about 1 percent of the Met Council’s operating budget.
A Met Council spokesman issued a statement acknowledging "apparent misconduct in connection with the organization’s insurance policies" and added the charity has now retained an outside lawyer to help in the review.
"The Board is committed to ensuring Met Council’s operations are conducted with integrity and that they uphold our highest values," the council said.
A source familiar with the case said the investigation is looking to see where the money went and which mayoral candidates might have received improper funding. The source added it does not appear that any candidate was aware of any impropriety associated with campaign donations linked to Rapfogel’s alleged misconduct.