Medicaid money created quite a nice life for the Levy brothers from Flatbush, Brooklyn.
The brothers, Philip and Joel, earned close to $1 million a year each as the two top executives running a Medicaid-financed nonprofit organization serving the developmentally disabled.
They each had luxury cars paid for with public money. And when their children went to college, they could pass on the tuition bills to their nonprofit group.
Philip H. Levy went as far as charging the organization $50,400 for his daughter’s living expenses one year when she attended graduate school at New York University. That money paid not for a dorm room, but rather it helped her buy a co-op apartment in Greenwich Village.
The rise of the Levy brothers, from scruffy bearded social workers in the 1970s to millionaires with homes in the Hamptons, Sutton Place and Palm Beach Gardens, reveals much about New York’s system for caring for the developmentally disabled — those with conditions like cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and autism.
We see this every time a government program is privatized. It becomes fraught with waste and abuse. The savings promised never materialize. The people in charge get filthy rich on the taxpayer’s dime and their workers get paid less than if the program was run by the government.