Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I'm Not a Crook

Former Chancellor Harold Levy and Al Sharpton. Levy preceded Joel Klein as a corporate no-nothing about education chancellor, both having been granted waivers by the NY State Education Department's Richard Allen and the State Board of regents. The whole gang should be taken out with their coats over their heads.

Leonie Haimson to the NYC Education News listserve:

In today’s Daily news, Juan Gonzalez hits it out of the ballpark again – just in time for Al Sharpton’s big pow-wow this week w/ Klein, Bloomberg, Arne Duncan, Michelle Rhee, and Mayors and charter school advocates from throughout the country – all singing the praises of Mayoral control and the wonders of charter schools. At the same time, according to the column, Sharpton seems to be disavowing his support for mayoral control, and expresses opposition to “privatizing schools and corporate payoffs in education."

Yet at the time when Sharpton joined up with Klein to form the “Education Equality Project”, some of us were rather suspicious, given that he had just come up with $1 million, enough to settle w/ the feds who were about the indict him for tax fraud.

Now it looks like at least half of these funds were provided by Plainfield Asset Management, the hedge fund of former Chancellor Harold Levy. This hedge fund is heavily invested in gambling and is lobbying the city and the state to acquire Off Track betting and Aqueduct race track. The funds for Sharpton were officially donated to a 501C3 organization that promotes charter schools, a “charitable” organization that allows the donors to take a hefty tax deduction, but then apparently funneled to Sharpton’s operation, which is a 501C4 lobbying group, with no tax-deductibility allowed.

At the time EEP was announced, we wrote on the blog the following:

Until recently, Sharpton was under the cloud of numerous investigations. Most prominently, federal officials accused him of owing nearly $10 million in payroll taxes, and threatened him with criminal prosecution. According to news reports, “Sharpton’s civil rights group had failed for several years in a row to file income tax returns, obtain workers compensation insurance, or disclose how much it was collecting in donations or paying its top employees, as required by law.”

Just ten days after launching the Education Equality Project, Sharpton came up with $1 million, which he promptly handed over to the IRS as a downpayment; in turn, the feds agreed to drop criminal charges if he paid back what he owed the government over the next few years.

….So where did he get the $1 million? As Sharpton explained to the Daily News, “"I make money, so I can pay." Another mystery is who is funding the Education Equality Project. Until recently, David Cantor, the chief communications officer of the DOE, was listed as the main press contact on all its press releases; now they are being sent out without any names attached. Is this effort being subsidized by tax dollars that should be going towards improving our schools? Or as Cantor recently announced to our list serv, is the source of funding an “anonymous” donor, but someone other than Bloomberg? If so, who might that be?

Mayoral control = lack of corruption? I don’t think so.

There is still the question of where the other half a million came from that allowed Sharpton to settle with the feds.

See Juan Gonzalez’s dynamite column.
Rev. Al Sharpton's $500G link to education reform


  1. We should also ask Sharpton where did he obtain the money to pay for his children to go to the elite Country Day School Polly Prep in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Where did he find all this money to pay $28.000 a year for each one. YES< HE IS A CROOK.


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