Is YU Serious About Its Sex Abuse Probe?

It is now almost five months since the Forward broke the story about Rabbis Macy Gordon and George Finkelstein sexually abusing students in Yeshiva University’s high school. YU promised a serious probe. Richard Joel, president of YU, completed such a probe for the OU about the Lanner scandal in 5 months.

This time, the investigation is lagging with no end in sight. They have not even contacted individuals who have publicly identified themselves as victims. Nor have they contacted Rabbi Yosef Blau, a well-known advocate of sex abuse victims who works for YU and could be expected to tell them a lot if they asked.

In spite of appeals and petitions, YU has not yet committed itself to fully report the results of the probe.

Many YU constituents have chosen to give YU the benefit of the doubt and are awaiting the results of the probe. I think YU will eventually forfeit the sufferance of its heretofore loyal supporters.

I find it hard to believe that YU’s administration is oblivious to the risks to its reputation. Yet they persist in delaying tactics. I have to believe that there is something worse that they are covering up or they are governed by an astoundingly obtuse board. Either way, it seems like they are not serious about their probe. However, the Forward is serious about covering this story. If YU continues on its path it will just suffer reputational death by a thousand cuts in the press.

3 thoughts on “Is YU Serious About Its Sex Abuse Probe?

  1. One could speculate that YU has decided to emulate the super Charedim in covering up its sins. Also, their inaction, will hopefully result in donors withdrawing support. YU was one of many Jewish institutions damaged by Bernie Madoff. This will be a two part comment, the second half discussing the financial statistics re YU’s loss in the Madoff scheme–the size of their original investment, the amount to which it had grown on paper, and the total amount so far recovered from the Trustees, Picard and Sheehan (chief counsel) responsible for recovering victim funds, and clawing back from “winners” where necessary..

  2. I have been examining what is known online re YU’s losses from the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. The YU CFO at the time documented that the actual principal of investment was never directly through Madoff himself, but fully in a hedge fund linked to Madoff, Ascot Partners which had “substantially” all of its assets involved with Madoff. The original principal investment is documented to have been 14.5 million. On paper, and over 15 years, that “investment” had grown to 110 million. The 14.5 million was claimed to be a “portion” of YU’s then current endowment. J. Ezra Merkin had been a University trustee but susequently resinged. Madoff had been on the University Board, but resigned.
    Per article published by CNBC on Feb. 12, 2013, 9.3 billion, more than half of the 17.5 billion lost by Madoff’s victims had been recovered.
    More returns of principal have ensued, and ostensibly still going on.
    From here, my research has slowed down. It is known that Picard the trustee has “clawbacked” (“clawedback”) from many institutions imaginary profits, in order to make other institutions whole on their original capital investment..
    I am still researching this, and don’t know if the numbers of the clawbacks are available, but it sheds, perhaps, an additional light on the financial status of YU, current or potential. There will be another post, as I progress, with a very interesting link to current status, and perceptions of Madoff as having been merely a conduit for other major financial institutions and hedge funds. It is claimed, by subsequent developments well after the discovery of the Ponzi scheme, that Madoff had actually become a part of the financial fabric of international financial markets, and that he was less a recipient of the money than a conduit for others to more the money around and make huge returns of their own, as long as they turned a blind eye to obvious signs of fraud.
    A number of large financial institutions and hedge funds are TRADING in Madoff bankruptcy claims. The current going rate is 77 cents on the dollar, suggesting a belief that more funds will be found (or clawed back????). These trading instruments have been called “better than Greek bonds”.
    I began this research for the purpose of discovering the financial situation of YU, what monies, if any, were clawed back from their “imaginary” paper gain of 95.5 million dollars.
    I am still researching this area, would appreciate help from Yerachmiel or anyone. I do not know if that number is publicly available. I would imagine that loss of future donor amounts as a reaction to the sex scandal and lack of transparency may possibly be a motivating factor in the current unwillingness to publicly reveal the full extent and details of the sexual abuse at YU over the years, and the concomittant common ‘sweep it under the rug, make it go away” syndrome.
    I do not have answers yet re the financial status of YU, and whether any funds were clawed back, from the 95.5 million imaginary profit on their original 14.5 million investment in Ascot Partners. And, I do not know if that information is available.

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