JLC records loss after ‘substantial unforeseen’ fees in review of former boss

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JLC records loss after ‘substantial unforeseen’ fees in review of former boss

Communal group raised an emergency £2 million Covid fund to support those in need, but was pegged back by a costly review in claims of financial impropriety

Jonathan Goldstein, former chair of the Jewish Leadership Council, speaking at an event for PaJeS in 2018
Jonathan Goldstein, former chair of the Jewish Leadership Council, speaking at an event for PaJeS in 2018

The Jewish Leadership Council has posted a loss owing partly to “substantial unforeseen” fees from the review into allegations of financial impropriety by its former boss.

The charity’s full 2019 accounts show it has spent £328,000 in legal and professional fees in the wake of a independent review which said former chief executive Jeremy Newmark withdrew tens of thousands of pounds in “potentially questionable” transactions.

After it emerged that the trustees in 2013 had not thoroughly investigated Newmark’s expenditure, the Charity Commission threatened to do so, prompting the JLC to pay for lawyers and forensic accountants to conduct an independent review. The review failed to reach conclusions on several allegations against him and police decided not to pursue the case.

The commission was reassured by the panel’s report, published in early 2019, but the charity was still hit by what it this week called “significant, unbudgeted and unforeseen additional unrestricted expenditure”.

It said these costs, totalling £144,953, were incurred in the final stages of the review and “included substantial legal and professional fees and an associated Governance Review”.

It paid £183,873 in 2018, totalling £328,826 since the allegations aired.

The JLC also said the annual Chanukah in the Square event, which is attended by hundreds of British Jews gathering at Trafalgar Square in London, made a loss “which further impacted the financial performance”.

Despite the legacy issues relating to Newmark’s tenure, the JLC said its fundraised income “has remained strong in 2019, with a total of £1.2m coming from more than 45 donors, many of whom have renewed their support”.

The charity has raised an emergency £2 million Covid-19 fund to help more than 230 Jewish families and businesses struggling financially as a result of the pandemic.

The JLC said its trustees had “taken robust and effective action since the 2019 year-end to improve the organisation’s financial position,” as chair Jonathan Goldstein praised the new joint chief executives, Claudia Mendoza and Michelle Janes.

“Their appointment and prudent plans for 2020-21 should see a return to the improved financial situation the JLC achieved in 2018,” he said.

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