Carlos Carbonera, the Spanish-speaking friend of Rabbi Asher Zeilingold who served as Rabbi Zeilingold's interpreter on his recent "investigative trip" to Postville, attended the Minneapolis Community Kollel dinner tonight and spent a considerable amount of time telling people that Rubashkin was innocent of the charges reported in the Forward's recent exposé. Carbonera also was heard telling people that the OU has "investigated" and "cleared" Rubashkin, as has a Conservative rabbis group.
I can only say that all of these people stand to lose much if Rubashkin is found to have committed the worker abuse reported in the Forward. In particular, the OU – which certainly knew of the abuse as it was happening – will be forced to explain their silence on this issue, a silence matched by the OU's pre-PETA exposé silence about Rubashkin's throat-ripping and animal abuse, it's post-PETA denials, and its continued silence about the many violations of tzaar baalei hayyim (animal cruelty) law inherent in many of the food productions they certify.
For the OU, this is Baruch Lanner all over again, except worse. This scandal threatens to bring down their cash cow – the hundreds of millions of dollars in kosher supervision money sheltered by their tax exempt church/synangogue status.
If the OU has followed Rabbi Zeilingold's lead (and Rabbi Z has exactly the same loss potential here, just in smaller amounts) and whitewashed Rubashkin abuses, and if this can be reasonably proven, the only answer is to clean up the OU itself. The OU's complete books must be made public, a forensic audit must be done and made public, and all senior staff must be removed if found tainted, either by those audits or by the Rubashkin coverups.
I suspect the "Conservative rabbis" Carbonera spoke about will turn out to be a handful of Conservative rabbis concerned that the repeated scandals with Rubashkin will cause people to stop keeping kosher, and who therefore have latched on to Rabbi Zeilingold's "findings." If so, a firm public statement from those rabbis distancing themselves from Carbonera's remarks is enough. If it is more than that, and if Rubashkin is reasonably proved guilty, more drastic steps will need to be taken.