Aish Ha Torah New York Vs Jacob Fetman

Jacob Fetman petitioned the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Kings County, to hear his appeal and it was denied by Justice Demarest.

Jacob Fetman maintains he is innocent. He says on an invite-only blog that “Aish NY used a sham ‘rabbinical arbitration’ that after 3 meetings decided I owe 20 million dollars!”

On May 28, 2014, Jacob Fetman wrote:

On May 27, 2014 I gave the court an affidavit showing the truth – the extreme duress of this ‘arbitration’ process, the illegalities of it (Ex Parte communication etc.) I hope and pray that Judge Demarest will take the time to review my affidavit and the suggestion I was making in the very last paragraph.

Rabbi Cohen made a huge mistake – the fact is I did not steal money from Aish! not $2.4 million and certainly not $20,000,000

I hope that an investigation will commence and I hope that the guilty parties will pay for what they did, the TERROR they put me and my family thru, the heartache, literary blackmailing me – abusing me, emotionally and physically to such an extent that I can no longer function properly.

In his appeal, Jacob Fetman asked: “Your Honor — I request that you refer this case to the NYS Attorney General Charities Bureau and the US Attorney General — I welcome and full and complete investigation. I have nothing to hide.”

Here are excerpts from Jacob Fetman’s appeal:

Aish HaTorah NY is a wonderful organization with a very important mission statement, headed by a thoroughly corrupt individual, Rabbi Kenneth Yitz Greenman. I knew of the myriad ways that he literally had his hands in donors pockets, but I felt that I could not protest because my job was on the line. I knew that this was the way things were run and if I didn’t go along with it, someone else would do this for him.

…Aish New York consistently and for years has reported Rabbi Greenman’s salary at a fraction of what it was. I was instructed by him to report his salary this way because he felt that donors will not give him money if they would know that his salary was between $350,000 and $400,000 per annum. His last reported W2 compensation was $101,409 which was about 25% of his real cost to the organization. Shielded from this report are tuition payments to his kids’ schools, his house mortgage which was paid direct from the Aish accounts, various trips and bills…that were paid directly by Aish and not reported. Perhaps the most egregious way of him shielding his income was by putting his wife Lauren on payroll for $50,000 a year.

For years I have felt that Rabbi Greenman was only holding on to me because I just knew too much. I knew of his corrupt ways of getting donations from his donors. Aish had an annual budget of approximately three and a half million dollars, but you cannot solicit a donor for a seven figure donation if your budget is relatively small, as no one wants to sponsor half of your annual budget. Rabbi Greenman came up with the idea of affiliates; unrelated parts of the organization which will be managed by us but will have nothing to do with us really. They would be wholly managed and run by outside directors, but Aish NY will run their budgets through Aish NY accounting books; thereby creating the net effect to show as if our budget is far greater than it really is…

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UPDATE JULY 22, 2015:

A source emails:

With regards to the allegations against Jacob Fetman, an attorney familiar with the case points out that Justice Demarest in her decision to confirm Rabbi Cohen’s award of $20,000,000 (twenty million dollars), made it clear that she did not review the merits of the case – her focus was to confirm or reject this award. As it is the public policy in NY state to uphold arbitration awards and because of the fact that there were no transcripts of the arbitration sessions (4 sessions totaling 140 minutes) she had no choice but to confirm the award – despite her reservations about Fetman’s allegations of the many violations of his Due Process. For example, in court it was acknowledged that a forensic report, which R’ Cohen bases his award on, was never provided to Fetman and in fact, once the judge ordered Aish to produce it (April 25, 2015 – almost 18 months after the award was issued), it was found to be dated AFTER the last session and on the date of the AWARD. Clearly, there was no chance for Fetman to dispute any of its ‘findings’.

It is note worthy that a criminal complaint which was alleged by Aish against Jacob Fetman is still pending in Brooklyn Supreme court for the alleged theft of $236,000 over five years – Mr. Fetman plead Not Guilty to this allegation and a trial is pending.

While Aish is a wonderful organization, with a very important mission, in court papers it was alleged by Fetman that executive compensation was substantially under reported and disguised as activities. Rabbi Greenman’s compensation over 2012 reported as (aish 990 filing) $101,409 taxable income and an additional $94,000 non taxable income was in fact almost double that. David Markowitz’s taxable compensation of $62,500 with an additional $50,000 non taxable compensation was in fact about $150,000. 2013 reported income for Rabbi Greenman was $118,310 taxable and combined compensation (with non taxable compensation) $216,929. Aish chose not to divulge any other executive compensation.

If the allegation against Fetman is correct – Aish NY, an organization with an internal budget of about $3 million dollars annually could have not “noticed” that $1.2 million annually was being stolen from it?? Why is it that Aish will not submit to examination of the ‘forensic report’ – what was the rush to issue an award when an attorney intervened on behalf of Fetman?

See attached Justice Demarest’s decision that Aish must produce the ‘forensic report’ to Fetman – when it was acknowledged that Fetman never received it. The award was issued 12/17/2013 – This decision by the court is 4/25/2015.

See the attached DA statement – Aish NY used Fetman and Merkaz the Center as a funnel to transfer monies from Project Inspire to Aish NY. Hundreds of thousand of dollars were transferred this way.

Lastly, see Dan Stein’s (Fetman’s original attorney and now the Chief of the Criminal Division at the US attorney General’s Office NY Western District) letter to R’ Cohen right after the award was issued and another letter to Mel Zachter, a noted accountant who agreed to examine the ‘forensic report’ but Aish never agreed.

R. Cohen’s decision states that Fetman took property from Aish which was proven in court that those properties were purchased prior to Fetman even working at Aish. That part of the award was struck out by the judge. The confirmation is pending an appeal.

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As a recent article in the Forward states – its well known that Courts rubber stamp arbitration awards. Rabbi Greenman and his excellent attorneys took advantage of this perfectly.

G – Dan Stein letter to R Cohen 12 27 2013 Mel Zachter agreement 5 30 2014 brooklyn DA press release Jacob-Fetman-grand-larceny-indictment decision of judge demarest that aish must get me the report before the beis din session

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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