Trust, but verify

Trust, but verify

Rabbi Engelmeyer would have us think that all is OK at the Holocaust Claims Conference, and perhaps it is (“The scandal that never was,” July 26). Unfortunately, Rabbi Engelmeyer does not present us with any proof to back up his claims; proof of the sort that evidences good corporate governance. Given the large sums entrusted to the conference, one might wonder whether independent audits were performed. If so, what were the results? Were the books in good order? Was transaction testing performed and were accounts reconciled? Were internal controls designed and working properly so as to discourage the sort of events that took place?

Rabbi Engelmeyer states that the conference successfully pursued funds on behalf of Holocaust survivors. What about the second part of the process? Do we know whether the funds were allocated appropriately? Did they go to the truly deserving or elsewhere? Again, this is part of good governance. “Trust, but verify” should be the operating motto. Where did the funds go?

Yes, we’d like to believe that all of our communal trustees and officers are scrupulously honest and faithfully discharge their responsibilities. However, we sadly note that our community has been plagued by numerous scandals – for example, the UJC financial scandal (several years back) and the OU/Baruch Lanner scandal (investigatory report sealed and never released to the public), to name just two.

Good governance and transparency are called for. We, the laity, deserve nothing less.