Name a school where a sex act never took place and I'll show you a religious school. Wait, I take back that last part.UPDATE: See update below with link to the NY Post article featuring Jeff Kaufman of ICE.
There has been all kinds of speculation and comment about the Mulgrew story. Did he or didn't he? Well if he didn't he has a hell of a libel suit. My basic take it that it will be a hill of beans – unless the custodian who supposedly caught them speaks, how can it be proved? And really do you care if Mulgrew had a relationship with someone in the school other than the fact she got a full-time union position? Do you know what they used to say about Shanker and Feldman? She only worked one year as a teacher before going to work for the union. Really, how quaint to think it wrong for union leaders to put their lovers on the payroll.
I don't think the court case will go anywhere and I totally disagree that there was any blackmail involved in getting the Unity Caucus leadership to sell us out. Selling out has been in their DNA since the early 70's --- you should see the materials we put out in those years. Like nothing changes. Why would a party like Unity with absolute power worry about actually fighting the ed deformers when there are loads of opportunities for a union hierarchy to jump on the gravy train. (Really, some ambitious reporter should look into the ways the union can make some money off things like Common Core, charter schools, testing, professional development, etc.)
Will the scnadal affect Unity/Mulgrew in the UFT elections next March? I doubt it. I can't see the people running against Unity/New Action making it an issue and New Action will endorse Mulgrew even if he is a serial killer in order to gain those precious 8 Exec Bd seats handed to them by Unity. But I would expect the issue of Unity patronage to be brought up by groups REALLY running against Mulgrew. We always have been bringing it up. But maybe this time the story will strike a chord with the rank and file.
The story seems to have come out from more than one direction, not surprising given that there were a lot of people talking about it at Grady. While the Post "broke" it -- and there have been all sorts of charges as to why --- as some ed deform plot to discredit union leaders --- certainly true --- but in fact it was teachers/co-workers who leaked it.
As Michael Fiorillo commented on my earlier post on the Mulgrew Story
John Kenneth Galbreath said that all revolutions are the kicking in of a rotten door, and we all know the UFT structure is rotten, despite the presence of decent, hard working people in the union. That's the destiny of every entrenched, single party state, and that's the potential significance of this story: at a certain point, the superstructure is so internally compromised that it can no longer support itself, and crumbles before a gust of wind.Yes, the state of rot and sense of betrayal by the people running this union runs deeper and deeper. So people have talked. While I barely know or have much contact with Mulgrew, what I see when I go to a DA is someone who at first seemed like a breath of fresh air compared to Randi, has begun to rot like a house guest who stays too long. A wise guy who thinks he's the cat's meow, making snide jokes and nasty little comments, even to his own people.
You know he stepped on some toes along the way and seems to have more than a few enemies he made at Grady. Or maybe – you think Randi ratted him out to make herself look good?
Aside: I once wrote something along the lines that Mulgrew would be more popular than Randi and she actually said something to me like, "not true." So don't put anything past her.
I was called by some reporters today and I think I spoke on the record for some of it so you may see some quotes in the papers (I hope they are accurate and not out of context but if they are you will hear about it here.) And I did speak to one reporter at the Post who I have some respect for. So did Jeff Kaufman. I'm not sure if Jeff and I totally agree on the ramifications but we do agree that the key is the misuse of a union job, though unless the allegations are proven true, how can we prove it? [UPDATE: Jeff's take is quoted below -- I don't totally agree but will comment separately].
I told the reporter that so many union jobs are political -- District reps, DUH. These 40 or more -- who's counting --- are the plantation overseers used to manage the chapter leaders so naturally Randi eliminated elections in 2002 just as I was retiring and considering running in District 14. Hope it's not my fault.
How about Ron Isaac at the NY Teacher, the notorious Redhog who was rewarded with a $62k job for humping the 2005 contract? Try to find something Isaac has written at the NY Teacher recently. He IS the invisible man.
And Betsy Combier for I think $55k -- I really don't recall if I or she wrote about that story but it is a good one where she FOILed the DOE for some info on a top UFT official and Randi panicked and offered her a job, despite telling people she despised her. In August 2010 Mulgrew fired Betsy around the same time he fired Jim Callaghan, 2/3 of the so-called SWAT ATR team (Isaac was the third). So I am sure that Mulgrew has some anger being tossed his way.
Here is one theory floated today by a core ICE member. Call it blackmail not by the DOE but by union powers that be.
- Mulgrew caught with Mendez at school.
- Principal, DOE, union, and newspapers cover up, despite fact that people at school knew.As Unity faithful Mulgrew could have just been transferred to a low profile union job but instead was placed in stepping stone position as union vice president.
- Cover up continues. Mulgrew goes through apprenticeship showing what a good fit he is to do Unity's bidding.
- Mulgrew handpicked by Weingarten and DOE to be union president not despite but because of his vulnerability.
- That's how they can control him.
and in a separate email by a GEM person :
Ponder this:I didn't totally buy this analysis especially since the story was bound to come out and made this comment in response:
- How many times have folks asked/wondered where the hell Mulgrew came from and why the hell he is president?
- Could it be that Randi chose him because she had the perfect thumbscrew on him; she did him and his lover a huge favor and they have a secret to keep; what better way to have a figurehead that you can control? Straight out of the laws of power.
It was known by too many people. I knew years ago. So now it comes out, which it inevitably would, does Randi lose her control over Mulgrew? I think not. She is not stupid. She didn't pick someone who would screw her. (careful here).My friends replied:
One explanation is that Mulgrew was sent into teaching like Randi was and was tapped from day one-- he was the chosen one coming from some place like the carpenter's union ----a farfetched idea but we did talk about how the machine just wouldn't hand over the union to a basic unknown. If Mulgrew was groomed as a possible successor earlier than we thought, then they would really have had to scramble to protect him and then all this might make sense. But I think not. Unity Caucus doesn't need to have anything on anyone to keep them in line. Anyone who became president would have been vetted to follow the line. Maybe Randi tossed Bodden because she couldn't be sure --- too much self respect on Bodden's part, perhaps.
Do they need something on Leo Casey for him to do what he does?
The important story is how they can use the patronage machine on our dues to put people in jobs. I believe that this makes it an election campaign issue -- no matter who they ran for president.
[Randi] Having this kind of leverage over someone makes a huge difference in dynamics and decision-making and I don't think it should be taken as coincidence.
I think that having a leader who is known by those around him to have been corrupted and then moved may be part of the package. If people see that you can do all kinds of stuff and be caught and still move up this is a lesson in union politics for those close to the situation at the school and within the union. We know that across the board people in the union have learned that whistle-blowing gets the wrong people in trouble.
It reminds me of books by Greg Palast and John Perkins about the role of the US government agencies and corporate ambassadors in corrupting, bribing, entrapping, blackmailing, threatening, and if need be eliminating government leaders throughout the world. Not only does this control the leaders themselves, but also those around who see what the deal is.
I still would like to see someone get information about the history of the UFT and Mulgrew's father's Carpenters' union that was supposed to have some role in launching the UFT. But that just sets him up as a good candidate, someone with the right ideology. Making a mistake that puts him at the mercy of the higher ups is what insures that he will not stray. This is mafia politics.
There were some questions raised as to why I never published the story. Here is some background.
I first heard I think in 2008 or 2009 with a call from someone who told me the story but gave me the name of someone to call who was closer to it. I really wasn't all that interested even though my contact was urging me to use it in the 2010 election. I laughed it off -- true or not true, name a school where a sex act never took place and I'll show you a religious school. Wait, I take back that last part.
After a few months of not doing anything I received a call from the other person who had all the dope - supposedly. I remember I was driving and couldn't talk. Her number was private and didn't show on my cell phone and I didn't pursue it any further because doesn't everyone have sex in school? I thought it was in the contract: Article SXd5.
(Some of my esteemed colleagues used to tell me which classrooms they did which sex act in, though not with whom. And we had a gym teacher at one time who had an office with a cot.... well, I won't go on. All I know is that I was left off that team, but wasted a hell of a lot of time trying to figure out who matched up with whom.)
There has even been some speculation about why if I knew I didn't publish the story. There was a hint that maybe I didn't know and am just making it up, though why I would do that makes no sense. In fact there were actually some conversations within ICE about the story in terms of the 2010 election. I don't remember if we heard about being caught in the act on school property -- we really didn't think it that important a story. What would we do --- engage in the kind of low-life actions as Unity would? (Remember the red baiting in the 2007 election). If we wanted to be like Unity we'd join them. I seem to remember possibly some reporter from the Post asking me about this not long ago and of course I wasn't giving that up, especially to the Post.
Here are some interesting comments on Perdido St School blog by Chaz who makes a great point.
They threw the Daily News 16 under a bus.
They did little to nothing to defend you.
But now they'll expect your undying devotion to Mulgrew.
It's hypocritical and shitty and the only satisfaction I get out of it is this: if it's an untrue allegation, now Mulgrew knows how it feels to be smeared as a "perv" in the press.
And then there is the lady who cuts my hair whose good friend was once married to Mulgrew. But that's another story for another time.
UPDATE: NY Post May 21
I don't know how much of what Jeff said was used in the story but the emphasis here on whether the UFT traded off givebacks to suppress the story is nowwhere I would go. Jeff told me he talked about the patronage system but that didn't make the story. I have been more involved with MORE than Jeff has and my sense is that they are not going to focus on this issue but will issue a statement soon that will clarify where MORE stands. Look for it on Ed Notes and the MORE web site.
‘Sex coverup’ with counselor should force UFT President Mulgrew out: foes
An outraged UFT chapter leader yesterday called on union boss Michael Mulgrew to step down if he traded away his members’ rights to school officials who hushed up his alleged classroom affair with a guidance counselor.
The startling accusations came in a federal lawsuit filed in Suffolk County that names Mulgrew, the United Federation of Teachers, Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott.
Jeff Kaufman, a union chapter leader at Aspirations Diploma HS in Brooklyn, said he and other teachers “would expect him to resign’’ if he’s guilty.
Kaufman, an outspoken member of a faction that opposes Mulgrew, said, “We have an election next year, when a group of us will be mounting a battle to unseat him, and if we find there’s anything suggesting any proof to the allegations — that he gave up something to suppress the story — we’ll be all over him for it.
“The question is whether stories like that were suppressed and something was given for it.’’