Friday, December 07, 2012

Profitable not-for-profits 

Satmar Hasidim — they're just like everybody else!

New Yorkers got a look inside the insular culture of ultra-Orthodox Brooklyn this week thanks to the sexual-abuse trial of a prominent Hasidic leader in Williamsburg.

Despite all the outward oddities of the man on trial — his black suit, untrimmed beard and lengthy side-curls — it turns out he's right smack in the mainstream of secular political life in New York.

He has a not-for-profit cash cow, too.

Nechemya Weberman, an unlicensed counselor accused of sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl in his care, testified Wednesday that he ripped off a charity he founded ostensibly to help poor Brooklynites.

"You used this not-for-profit for personal gain?" asked a Brooklyn prosecutor.

"Yes I did," Weberman replied, admitting that he spent donations meant for his group, B'Lev V'Nefesh, on tuition for his kids' yeshiva — and that its cash was also spent at stores like BMG Corset & Lingerie.

Creepy, sure. But par for the course in New York, where politicians routinely turn nonprofits into personal piggy banks.


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