Arthur Abba Goldberg is being sued by Southern Poverty Law Center

One of the more popular topics SFGN has covered during its existence is the “Ex-Gay” ministry. In 2010, shortly after the newspaper launched, a joint investigation with the organization Truth Wins Out revealed the frontman for an “ex-gay” Jewish organization was indeed a con man and convicted felon.

Arthur Abba Goldberg, leader of JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality) was serving as President of a New Jersey temple where he promoted reparative therapy for gay people. Goldberg authored “Light in the Closet: Torah, Homosexuality and the Power to Change” in which he claimed people with same-sex attractions could change because there is no genetic cause for homosexuality.

SFGN and Truth Wins Out discovered Goldberg was a ex-con who served 20 years in federal prison for defrauding the U.S. government. In the 1980s, Goldberg was known as “Abba Dabba Doo” on Wall Street for his investment schemes.

“We have long considered Arthur Goldberg a con-artist, but our investigation shows he is also an ex-con,” Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen said in an article published February 15, 2010.

Ex-Gay Ministries have long been a sensitive topic and wedge issue. Recently, PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays) erected a billboard in Virginia showing photographs of identical twins with the words, “One gay, one not. We believe nobody is born gay.” Further review of the billboard revealed the model used, Kyle Roux of South Africa, was in fact gay and not a twin.

“This latest episode solidifies PFOX’s reputation as a gutter organization that is more than willing to scrap the bottom of the barrel to promote a discredited myth,” Besen said.

Time and time again, ex-gay ministries have been discredited and proven to be fraud, Besen says, with unfortunate collateral damage. Co-founder of Love in Action, what is believed to be the first modern ex-gay ministry, John Evans, passed away this month from heart failure.

Evans quit the ex-gay ministry after his friend, Jack McIntyre, committed suicide because he could not change his sexual orientation.

In Goldberg’s case, the ex-con is facing a lawsuit from the Southern Poverty Law Center for consumer fraud. The New Jersey Supreme Court disbarred Goldberg in 1995 citing his criminal convictions and his “reckless indifference to a conspiracy of considerable magnitude.”

Investigators found Goldberg had knowingly conspired with others to enter into a fraudulent scheme to sell fake bond issues and take commissions on them anyway.

Goldberg orchestrated a scheme that bribed public officials, deceived investors and issued bogus checks to nonexistent parties. In exchange for underwriting $300 million in bogus deals, Goldberg and his investment firm, Matthews & Wright, received a fee of $10.6 million. They created the impression these bonds would be used to help construct desperately needed single-family housing in Guam and elsewhere.

In 2012, the Southern Poverty Law Center sued Goldberg, JONAH and others on behalf of four young men and two mothers. The lawsuit alleges that JONAH's conversion therapy amounts to consumer fraud. The case is expected to go to trial in Jersey City, NJ this April.