Rabbi Pinto’s Charity Spent on Luxury Travel, Jewels - Forward.com
Pinto, who has reportedly declared his intention to seek the post of Sephardic Chief Rabbi in Israel next year, has alleged in media reports that he has been the target of blackmail, and that funds have been embezzled from his organization. Notwithstanding these allegations, questions about his organization’s finances remain.
Documents obtained by the Forward reveal extensive spending by Mosdot Shuva Israel, Pinto’s New York-based educational and charitable organization, on luxury travel and expensive jewelry. Some of these documents have also been obtained and published by the Israeli press
Among the expenses covered by the not-for-profit organization:
•a $75,000 bill for a month-long stay at a luxury hotel in Buenos Aires, Argentina;
•a $65,000 ring;
•$28,000 for fine men’s clothing.
A representative for Pinto’s organization has declined to comment on the Forward’s findings. But on December 20, the New York Times, citing unnamed officials, reported that federal law enforcement is investigating two former Pinto associates. Meanwhile, in an interview aired on December 18 on Israel’s Channel 2, Pinto defended some of his organization’s spending. Asked why his organization had rented the Hamptons home, Pinto responded: “Because that’s where the people of the yeshiva live. That’s where the Hasidim of the yeshiva live during Passover.” The Marker, an Israeli business newspaper, reported December 20 that Pinto told followers that a former volunteer had made the decision to rent the home even though Pinto had been offered free accommodation elsewhere.