Firings At 92nd Street Y Include CEO

Four employees are out at the 92nd Street Y – including Executive Director Sol Adler – after an internal investigation revealed an alleged kickback scheme as well as an undisclosed personal relationship by its longtime chief executive.

The organization is not affiliated with the YMCA but rather the Young Men’s and Young Women’s Hebrew Association (YM-YWHA). It’s a member of the Jewish Community Centers Association of North America and an agency of the United Jewish Appeal-Federation.

The 92Y provided emails sent to staff and board members in recent weeks that explained the firings but declined to comment further. The organization received an anonymous letter earlier this year alleging that a “managerial employee in the Facilities Department” had demanded and received improper payments by vendors. A special committee and outside law firm investigated, determining “strong evidence of wrongdoing” by a facilities employee who had a prior felony conviction, according to a 92Y letter sent to staff and board members on July 12.

The employee was not identified but reportedly it’s believed to be Salvatore Taddeo, who left the organization in February, before the letter was received. Taddeo, who was director of facility operations, construction and real estate, served 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to fraud and conspiracy in January 1999. He was convicted in 1997 with members of the Genovese and Bonanno crime families for participating in a “pump-and-dump” stock scheme.

A second letter to staff on Friday did not identify the facilities employee but it did peg him as the son-in-law of Catherine Marto, identified as the liaison for board and donor relations. She was terminated “for incomplete or inaccurate answers to investigators” and two other employees were terminated for “engaging in and failing to report suspected inappropriate behavior.” The two other employees were not identified.

It was during this investigation by 92Y that it was revealed Marto and Adler had been “engaged in an undisclosed long-term personal relationship.”

Adler entered the hospital “very suddenly,” just before the Y’s first letter on July 12, and the board decided not to take action “out of concern for him and compassion for his family as we sought to learn details of his condition.” There was no immediate information on his condition or the hospital he entered.

This past Friday the Y notified Adler of “our intent that he not return to the 92Y.” Deputy Executive Director Henry Timms was installed as interim executive director until the board finds a permanent successor.

Adler served as executive director since 1988 and was on staff since 1976. He earned total compensation of $436,370, including a base compensation of $342,590, last year, according to the organization’s IRS Form 990. He twice held the position of acting executive director and served as associate executive director for administration and director of budget and finance. Previously, he was employed as a senior field auditor for Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Greater New York.

Results of the investigation were turned over to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the Y said. The D.A.’s Office declined comment, citing policy that it does not confirm or deny ongoing investigations.

The board also announced that it has hired an independent accounting firm to assist in implementing best financial practices and it will undertake a top-to-bottom governance review.

The 92nd Street Y reported total revenue of $79 million in its most recent fiscal year (ending June 2012), nearly half of it raised through membership fees and more than half from contributions and grants.