World Jewish Congress President Edgar Bronfman fired Israel Singer after becoming convinced the secretary general was embezzling funds, according to a letter publicized Wednesday.
In his first public response since his dismissal last Wednesday, Singer said Bronfman was "receiving bad advice" and warned him he would "regret having stained my good name." Singer had held senior positions in the organization for the past three decades.
Bronfman, who until recently was considered Singer's patron, announced the dismissal during a conference call with members of the WJC steering committee. The organization refused to issue an explanation at the time.
In a letter to European Jewish Congress President Pierre Besnainou, Bronfman said he decided to dismiss Singer after discovering he "had helped himself to cash from the WJC office, my cash. This had gone on for a very long time."
Bronfman did not provide any proof of his allegations. The letter was published by the JTA, the Jewish news agency.
"The final blow came when we discovered that he was playing games with his hotel bills in Jerusalem," Bronfman wrote.
Referring to his long friendship with Singer, Bronfman wrote that he went through "many weeks of crying to find out that I was so badly used by a man I used to love."
Commenting on news of his upcoming retirement, Bronfman wrote, "I am determined to leave only when this whole mess is cleaned up."
Singer described Bronfman's accusations as slanderous and said he had plenty of supporters and good friends.
Singer's prestige fell after allegations of his involvement in financial irregularities within the World Jewish Congress. The allegations were brought for investigation by New York State Attorney General, Eliot Spitzer, who revealed that Singer had used some of the money for personal use.
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