Head of New York Jewish legal aid group resigns over financial scandal

Gabe Friedman

NEW YORK (JTA) — The head of a Jewish legal aid charity for low-income New Yorkers has stepped down amid a federal investigation into his alleged “accounting irregularities.”

Yisroel Schulman, 51, has resigned as president and attorney-in-charge of NYLAG, the New York Law Journal reported Friday. Sources told the Law Journal that the case involves Schulman’s “handling of finances” but that “NYLAG’s financial stability was not at risk.”

“We are confident the matter involving our former CEO will not interfere with the important legal services our dedicated team provides New Yorkers on a daily basis,” NYLAG spokesperson Camilla Jenkins said in a statement.

NYLAG, which Schulman helped found in 1990, offers legal assistance to residents of the five New York City boroughs, Long Island, and Rockland and Westchester counties who cannot afford a private attorney. The organization, which is a member of the UJA Federation of New York’s agency network, employed 250 people in the 2014 fiscal year and had a budget of $20 million, the Law Journal reported.

In a letter to the NYLAG board on Feb. 3, Schulman defended his track record at the organization and did not comment on the probe into his conduct.

“During my tenure, NYLAG has grown from a small ‘mom and pop’ operation of only a few staff members covering a few legal areas to one of this country’s largest, most outstanding and innovative civil legal service providers,” Schulman wrote.

NYLAG told the New York Law Journal that it served 65,000 low-income New Yorkers in 2014.

Schulman will be replaced by Beth Goldman, 52, who was appointed as New York City’s commissioner of finance in 2013 by Mayor Bill de Blasio. Goldman will start her new position at NYLAG on Feb. 17.