A longtime leader of the Young Adult Institute (YAI) Network serving people with developmental disabilities has left the organization for reasons that remain unclear.
Dr. Philip Levy had worked at YAI for forty years. He became president in 1999 and chief executive officer (CEO) in July 2009, taking the place of his brother Joel Levy who retired as CEO the month before and stayed on as a consultant.
On July 28, YAI announced that Philip Levy had retired as CEO and president at the conclusion of his contract June 30. Stephen Freeman, the organization’s chief operating officer, has been named the new CEO.
The announcement was followed four days later with a scathing article in The New York Times presenting the results of an investigation into the YAI Institute. According to the Times, Philip and Joel Levy had earned nearly $1 million per year at the Medicaid-funded nonprofit and used the organization’s money to purchase cars, pay college tuition for their children and buy an apartment in Manhattan for one of their daughters. The institute did not respond to requests for comment.
According to the Times, both Levy brothers resigned following the newspaper’s inquiry in June about the apartment purchase. The institute has only publicly announced Philip Levy’s departure. The newspaper claims that Joel Levy’s consultant position was part-time and paid him $250,000 annually.
According to the Times, the state’s Commission for Quality Care investigated finances at the YAI Institute in 2009. The results were sealed and obtained by the newspaper through a Freedom of Information Law request.
The Times also claims that the institute agreed to pay $18 million last year to settle a lawsuit with the United States attorney’s office for mischaracterizing workers’ job descriptions and qualifications to increase federal reimbursements. The institute admitted no wrongdoing in the case. Those results have also been sealed, the paper said.
The YAI Network was founded in 1957 and serves 20,000 people daily, providing group homes, day programs, educational services and transportation to people with developmental disabilities.
Eliot Green, chair of YAI’s Board of Trustees, praised Philip Levy. “Phil's contributions to the field are reflected in some of the prestigious awards which our organization has received during his tenure, including the American Psychological Association’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award,” he said.
Philip Levy said in a statement, “I've been privileged to work with a talented management team, who together created one of the best organizations of its kind in the country. This seemed to be the right time for a transition in leadership while allowing me to move on to a new stage of my career.”
This article was published in the September 2011 issue of Able News.