Followers of Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto, whose image as an adviser to high-profile businessmen and athletes was tarnished after millions of dollars in donations to his congregation went missing, are alleging that 5W PR CEO Ronn Torossian and others were involved in a scheme to frame the rabbi.
Federal investigators told The New York Times this week that they are examining the role of Torossian, as well as other former associates, in the disappearance of the money.
Members of Pinto's congregation claim Torossian, and Ofer Biton, a former aide to the rabbi, were involved in a strategy to leak "purportedly damaging information about the rabbi to reporters." Neither have been charged with a crime.
An aide to Pinto told the Times that she heard Torossian demand $500,000 from the rabbi after a dispute over an apartment. Torossian threatened Pinto with negative publicity, she told the newspaper.
For his part, the 5W executive told the Times that “I have kept this matter quiet to protect my privacy and to preserve the safety of my family. I am afraid of this gangster and this cabal of liars.”
In 2008, 5W admitted that an employee wrote inauthentic blog comments to defend client Agriprocessors, a producer of kosher and non-kosher meat products.