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His scheme defrauded and looted investors in a string of Long Island real-estate deals, leaving names off mortgage documents and funneling sales profits to others, such as the Kabbalah Centre, which came out .9 million ahead.
Goldman pleaded guilty to the scheme and made recent proffers to cooperate with the government.
The Bergs’ lavish lifestyle, one executive says, is “100 percent subsidized.”Kabbalah Centre tax attorney Shane Hamilton contends that the Bergs include ordained rabbis who are “treated as ministers of the Gospel” and are thus entitled to “a parsonage as part of their compensation.” Hamilton says some household services are provided by chevre, center members who take a vow of service and are supplied with basic necessities in exchange for 12-hour days of labor.
Hamilton will not “confirm or deny the taxability of any of the specific services” and also declines to say whether the chevre, or the Bergs, pay any income taxes.
Despite the fundraising success of Raising Malawi, which collected a reported million in donations and spent .8 million on the planned academy, the girls’ school has been abandoned and the Raising Malawi foundation has imploded.
From its inception in 2006, the pop superstar has been the face of Raising Malawi, generating headlines around the world by adopting two Malawian children, writing and producing a documentary about Malawian orphans, and hosting high-profile fundraisers, including a star-studded event in 2008 co-hosted by Gucci in a 42,000-square-foot transparent tent on the north lawn of United Nations headquarters.
Goldman was often seen at the Manhattan temple, introduced as an attorney by millionaire garment businessmen.Berg sired eight children with her, but soon after the rabbi’s death in 1969 he left his wife for his former secretary, Karen.Two years later they launched their own idiosyncratic brand of Kabbalism, popularizing what had until then been teachings reserved for advanced Talmudic scholars.The Bergs eventually expanded to 77 centers and study groups around the world.The Kabbalah Centre’s impressive growth has been paralleled by the volume of its detractors, some of whom have labeled it “Jewish Scientology.” Disaffected followers have accused Berg and his family of treating congregants like personal servants, housing them four to a bedroom, paying them a -a-month stipend, and advising them to apply for food stamps. taking some of our sacred books and reducing it to mumbo-jumbo, all kinds of hocus-pocus.”Berg, who is now 81 and referred to by insiders as “the Rav” (an honorific meaning teacher), is still very much the patriarch of the Kabbalah Centre, despite a stroke in 2004.
The real-estate firm then failed to file a tax return, indicating it was a dissolved corporation and wiping out Geddes’s investment.