A Bronx nursing home and assisted living facility serves an almost exclusively non-Jewish population. Even so, the nonprofit has sent more than $20 million dollars to hasidic and Orthodox charities, mostly yeshivas and other institutions owned by the Belz, Skvere and Sanz hasidic dynasties, many located in Israel. Some money even went to Aish HaTorah to convert non-Orthodox Jews to Orthodoxy. Sitting on the board of this Bronx nonprofit are some of the most powerful men in the haredi community, men who sit on the board of Agudath Israel of America and the Orthodox Union. One of them, Abraham Biderman, is the new head of the scandal-plagued Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, the Jewish community's NYC anti-poverty arm that was looted of millions of dollars by its former CEO William E. Rapfogel, who like Biderman is an Orthodox Jew.
Above: The Bronxwood Home for the Aged
The Forward reports:
A Bronx old-age home whose board includes several high-powered Orthodox Jewish activists has sent at least $20 million to dozens of ultra-Orthodox organizations in an unusual, decades-long arrangement.
The not-for-profit, called the Bronxwood Home for the Aged, runs a home care agency and an assisted living facility, which serves largely non-Jewish seniors. It has sent one dollar out of every 10 it has earned in revenue since 1997 to Hasidic yeshivas, Orthodox activist groups and a proposed Israeli medical center, among other Jewish charities.
State and federal Medicaid funds provide roughly a third of Bronxwood’s revenues, according to a 2009 audit report. Other funds come from Medicare, private insurance and out-of-pocket payments from the home’s hundreds of elderly residents.
Experts say that it is extremely unusual for a not-for-profit assisted living facility to make large grants to unrelated charities. “I’ve never heard of a nursing home or assisted living, or any care organization, paying out that much,” said David Grabowski, a professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School, who studies long-term care for older adults. “Most of them have pretty vulnerable, frail and needy residents… The idea that they would take dollars out of that setting seems kind of backwards.”…
Bronxwood’s seven-member board of directors includes some of New York’s most powerful Orthodox activists. Board member Abraham Biderman, New York City’s commissioner of finance and of housing under Mayor Ed Koch, is the newly appointed president of the scandal-plagued Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, one of the city’s largest Jewish social service organizations. He also serves on the boards of the ultra-Orthodox umbrella organization Agudath Israel of America and of the billion-dollar Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. He has been on Bronxwood’s board since 2007.
Another Bronxwood board member, Marcel Weber, is a former chairman (and current honorary chairman) of the board of directors of the Orthodox Union, the large centrist Orthodox umbrella group. Mendel Zilberberg, who joined the Bronxwood board in 2010, is also on Agudah’s board.…
A 2009 draft audit of Bronxwood’s assisted living program estimated that the organization had overcharged Medicaid by $7.6 million on its $8.4 million tab for 2006 and 2007. Of the 200 Medicaid claims reviewed in preparation of the draft audit, 195 “had at least one error,” according to the report issued by the New York State Office of the Medicaid Inspector General. OMIG plans to take action on the audit within the next 30 days, according to a spokesman for the office.…
Since 1997, only one non-Jewish charity was given any money by Bronxwood, Concerts in Motion, which arranges for musicians to perform at hospitals, nursing homes, and for homebound elderly. It got $175,000.
Read the Forward's much longer detailed report here.