Report: WJCs March of Living paid illicit funds

In new revelations in the unfolding World Jewish Congress fundraising scandal, Jewish Week and Globes has reported that March of the Living disbursed some $700,000 in questionable payments to an associate of Israel’s suspended finance minister and of Israel Singer, the president of the Claims Conference.

Curtis Hoxter is an associate of Israeli Finance Minister Avraham Hirchson, who has stepped down while being investigated for corruption, and of Singer, who was fired from the World Jewish Congress in March over allegations of financial impropriety.

Singer remains president of the Claims Conference, an umbrella organization that has paid millions of dollars to March of the Living, a Holocaust education group that brings students to Poland and Israel.

According to the Jewish Week report, March of the Living began payments to Hoxter totaling $709,000 in 2003. That was the same year Singer “was instructed to stop funneling unauthorized payments to him via the World Jewish Congress — payments that had by then totaled $657,600,” according to the report.

According to tax records, the March of the Living payments to Hoxter took place over three years and purportedly were earmarked for fundraising services. But Hoxter has never registered with the New York State attorney general as a fundraiser or fundraising counsel, and said he did not recall specifics of what he did for the payments he received.

Singer has denied wrongdoing.

Eliezer Singer, Israel Singer’s son, relayed a statement from his father to the Jewish Week, saying, “I’m not involved in allocating Claims Conference funds and certainly have no say or interest in any consultants that grant recipients might choose to hire.”

Meanwhile, supporters around the world are lining up behind Singer in his quest to remain president of the Claims Conference. Last week fresh support came in the form of letters from Agudath Israel and prominent Holocaust survivors. Singer is the lead negotiator for the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, which has secured billions in restitution payments for Holocaust survivors.

The show of support came after the umbrella body of Australian Jewry expressed its opposition to Singer remaining as Claims Conference president.

The WJC will determine who it supports as the next Claims Conference president during a steering committee meeting this month.