Arthur A. Goldberg
Arthur Abba Goldberg (born 1940) is an American businessman, disbarred attorney and leader in the ex-gay movement. He is the former Executive Secretary of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), co-founder and co-director of Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH), president of Positive Alternatives to Homosexuality (PATH) and principal of the Center for Gender Affirming Processes (CGAP). Before his involvement in the ex-gay movement, he was best known as the mastermind of a massive municipal bond fraud.
He received his B.A. majoring in Government, with a minor in English from American University with general honors, and a J.D. from Cornell University where he wrote for the Cornell Law Review and was also the editor of the Cornell Law Forum from 1964 to 1965. He was a professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law and Deputy Attorney General of New Jersey. He was licensed to practice law in both New Jersey and Connecticut.
Business activities and conviction for fraud
As Executive Vice President and a major stockholder of Matthews & Wright Inc., a Wall Street investment bank, he orchestrated a massive fraud from 1984 to 1986 in which the firm sold over $2 billion of fraudulent municipal bonds to several cities. The victims were mostly impoverished communities with large minority populations—such as the territory of Guam; East St. Louis, Illinois; East Chicago Heights, Illinois; Chester, Pennsylvania and Sac and Fox Reservation in Oklahoma. Goldberg and his associate, Frederick Mann, netted $11 million in unlawful profits from the scheme.
Among the fraudulent bond issues were $300 million in bonds to finance single-family housing projects in Guam, $223 million in bonds to finance a riverfront housing project in East St. Louis and $335 million in bonds to finance a trash plant in Chester. However, none of the projects were ever built because Matthews & Wright underwrote them with worthless checks.
The Philadelphia Inquirer exposed the scam in a series of articles in 1987. In December 1987, a federal grand jury in Guam indicted Goldberg and Mann on 52 counts of bribery, conspiracy and fraud. Soon afterward, federal authorities were forced to transfer the case to the United States District Court for the Central District of California; so many of Guam's residents had been defrauded that it would have been impossible to empanel a jury. He was indicted on separate charges in Illinois soon afterward.
Facing the prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison, in July 1989 Goldberg pleaded guilty in a Los Angeles federal court to three counts of mail fraud. Later that month, he pleaded guilty in an East St. Louis federal court to one count of conspiracy to defraud. In October 1989, Goldberg was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison and five years' probation. He was also fined $400,000 (later reduced to $100,000 on appeal). In a separate action, the Securities and Exchange Commission banned Goldberg from the securities industry for life and ordered Matthews & Wright to permanently close its doors.
Immediately following his conviction for fraud, Goldberg was suspended from practicing law in New Jersey. He was subsequently disbarred in both New Jersey and Connecticut. Following his conviction, fines, and jail term, Goldberg stopped using his middle name "Abba"; for most of his professional life he had been known as "Arthur Abba Goldberg." Instead, he began calling himself "Arthur A. Goldberg" or simply "Arthur Goldberg."
Since the 1960s, Goldberg has been involved in community service and was active in resettling immigrants from Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. In 1974, he founded the Committee for the Absorption of Soviet Emigres in Jersey City.
Details of Goldberg's convictions resurfaced in February 2010, when an investigative report by Truth Wins Out and South Florida Gay News revealed that Arthur Abba Goldberg was the same Arthur A. Goldberg of JONAH, a connection that had not yet been made public.
Views on homosexuality
While attending New York University, Goldberg's son and the son of Elaine Berk both came out as gay. Goldberg and Berk found that much of the ex-gay movement was strongly associated with charismatic Christianity. Wanting a spiritual alternative for same-sex attracted Jews, they co-founded Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH). In the 1960s, Goldberg traveled to the American South, and now "employs the language of civil rights to argue that people should have the right to change their sexuality."
Goldberg "uses Jewish law texts and scientific study to get to the individual root causes of same sex attraction and help those who are unhappy with their lifestyle reassert their gender identity and change their life." In 2008, he wrote Light in the Closet: Torah, Homosexuality, and the Power to Change. In the book, Goldberg claims that there is no genetic cause of homosexuality, and argues that homosexual orientation can be changed through reparative therapy.
- NARTH: NARTH Officers, retrieved 16 February 2010.
- Homosexuality: JONAH offers choice Seth Mandel, The Jewish State, November 9, 2007.
- Tanya Erzen, Straight to Jesus: Sexual and Christian Conversions in the Ex-gay Movement, University of California Press, 2006, pp. 48-49, 149-150; ISBN 0-520-24582-2, ISBN 978-0-520-24582-2.
- Seth Mandel, Homosexuality: JONAH Offers Choice in The Jewish State, November 2007.
- Norm Kent, National Anti-Gay Leader Is a Convicted Felon, Con Man in South Florida Gay News, February 15, 2010
- United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
- Syllabus by the Office of the Clerk of the Supreme Court of New Jersey, December, 1995
- Howard Goodman; Barbara Demick (1989-10-01>). "Bond Fraud Scandal's Latest Chapter: Prison". The Philadelphia Inquirer. p. C1.
- Deloitte, Haskins quits as Matthews auditor. The Pittsburgh Press, February 5, 1988
- Besen, Wayne. Ex-Gay Icon is Secret Ex-Con Who Specialized In Bilking Poor Communities. Truth Wins Out, 2010-02-15.
- "Soviet Dissidents Finding Happiness in Jersey City". The Palm Beach Post. May 3, 1978. p. C2. Retrieved February 17, 2010.
- Richard Cohen, Gay Children, Straight Parents: A Plan for Family Healing, InterVarsity Press, 2007; pp. 69-75, ISBN 0-8308-3437-0, ISBN 978-0-8308-3437-2.
- Red Heifer Press, retrieved February 16, 2010, cf A Jewish Perspective on Can Same-Sex Attraction Change at Arutz Sheva.