Is New Leadership Needed at the Claims Conference?

from The Jerusalem Post:

Scandal at the Claims Conference

[Today], the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) will be holding its annual meeting in New York. Proceedings will be overshadowed by the recent exposure of a massive misappropriation of funds, which will be regarded as one of the ugliest Jewish organizational financial scandals in our time.

The New York-based Jewish Week recently made the shattering disclosure that the FBI was investigating fraudulent misappropriation of at least $7 million, possibly substantially more, over the past decade from the Article 2 Fund created in 1995 by the German government to provide quarterly pensions to eligible Holocaust survivors. The task of administering the payments had been delegated to the Claims Conference.

… If the Claims Conference, which apparently failed to oversee the utilization of funds in other areas, is now facing yet another scandal, it would surely be appropriate to launch an independent forensic audit to cover its broad operations to allay concerns and instill confidence in the Jewish world that adequate oversight is being applied. There is no suggestion that malfeasance on the part of the directors was involved, but there surely should be accountability for what appears to have been gross incompetence. The problem is that there is little likelihood of the leaders being brought to task because of the conflicts of interest of board members to retain the benefits for their respective organizations.

This latest scandal highlights the urgent need to infuse the Claims Conference with new leadership and restructuring of its board to satisfy the Jewish public that restitution funds are managed in an exemplary manner.