NEW YORK – William E. Rapfogel, a prominent Jewish figure and power broker in New York, has been fired from his position as executive director and CEO of the the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, the organization announced on Monday.
New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli told The New York Times that Rapfogel would be investigated as part of the state’s new anti-corruption task force.
The Met Council, in its statement, said it “recently became aware of specific information regarding financial irregularities and apparent misconduct in connection with the organization’s insurance policies.”
Rapfogel, it said, had been terminated, effective immediately, after 21 years at the council’s helm.
The council also stressed that “the [ongoing] investigation has not revealed evidence that any current employees of the Met Council engaged in any wrongdoing.”
Rapfogel was informed of his termination last week while on vacation.
A source close to the investigation told the Times that the investigation against Rapfogel was “very serious.” Part of the investigation will look at whether tax dollars that were intended for contracts with the Century Coverage Corporation, an insurance company in upstate New York, were in fact going to political campaigns.
Rapfogel was known to be politically active and to have close ties with New York City’s Democratic leaders, NBC News reported. In addition, both he and his wife Judy have served or are still serving as staffers for the likes of former New York City mayor Edward I. Koch and current Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver.
Rapfogel was also known to host an annual legislative breakfast ahead of the Israel Day Parade, which this year took place on June 2 and included most of the major candidates for New York City mayor. In the past, its attendees have included New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and Senator Charles Schumer.
In a statement released through his lawyer Paul Shechtman, Rapfogel apologized.
“I deeply regret the mistakes I have made that have led to my departure from the organization,” the statement said. “I apologize to our dedicated officers and board, our incredible staff, and those who depend on Met Council. I let them all down. I pray that my family and friends and all who care about Met Council can find it in their heart to forgive me for my actions. I will do everything possible to make amends.”
The Met Council says it provides services and aid to over 100,000 New Yorkers living in poverty every year.