JNF CEO to repay $525,000 loan from charity immediately

JTA

(JTA) — The CEO of the Jewish National Fund will repay a $525,000 loan he received from the charity.

The office of New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman last week sent a letter to JNF calling on the organization to recover the loans made to JNF CEO Russell Robinson and its Chief Financial Officer Mitchel Rosenzweig by the end of the calendar year.

The letter came after The Forward published an article on July 27 about the loans, made in the 2015 fiscal year, which violate a state law barring charities from lending money to their officers.

The loans were included in JNF’s tax filings for 2015, and were granted, according to the documents, “to facilitate the purchase of real estate” to both men, Haaretz reported.

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JNF told the Forward that the men have been paying back the loans in regular installments and are being charged interest at the prime market rate, the interest rate banks offer well-qualified borrowers.

“As always, JNF is in full compliance with the laws and regulations of the State of New York, and follows all legal procedures as specified by the NY Attorney General, and will respond to any requests made by the Attorney General as in the past,” JNF spokesman Adam Brill said in a statement to the Forward.

Brill told the publication New York Jewish Life over the weekend that Robinson would repay the loan by August 1, “to make sure there is no sense of impropriety.” Brill also noted that since Robinson and Rosenzweig are executives not officers or directors, which are limited to board members, the group believes they were entitled to receive the loans.

In 2015, Robinson earned $436,000 from JNF, and Rosenzweig earned $306,000, the Forward reported, based on the charity’s 990 tax filing.

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