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Report: Bloomberg skirted rules to get funds to groups

NEW YORK (JTA) — The mayor of New York City violated government contracting rules in funneling money to two Jewish groups, The New York Times reported.

Between 2002 and 2006, the Times wrote, the office of Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave $1.1 million to the fervently Orthodox Agudath Israel of America and $400,000 to Ohel Children’s Services from a special discretionary fund. The funds can be disbursed only if requested by a City Council member.

The Bloomberg administration contends that Councilman Simcha Felder requested the funds, but the Brooklyn Democrat told the Times he never made the request. A Bloomberg spokesman contradicted Felder’s account.

Though neither of the Jewish organizations is implicated by the revelations, they come at a time when the Orthodox community is reeling from the recent arrests of five rabbis and other Orthodox Jews in a money-laundering probe in New Jersey.

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