Monday, May 21, 2012

More Mulgrew

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.

Or not.

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:
  • 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.
I didn't totally buy this analysis especially since the story was bound to come out and made this comment in response:
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).
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.

My friends replied:
[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.

I agree with Ednotes that the Mulgrew-Camacho affair had nothing to do with the sellout 2005 contract. However, what annoys me more is how the top Unity leaders were silent on the vilification of 16 teachers, one being me, in the news media only a month ago and then complain that we should blindly support our union leaders without a full accounting of the story on how Emma Camacho-Mendez got her union job.
Chaz, you're right.

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.’’


  1. Norm,

    Hairdressers are like bartenders. They hear and know everything!! So please do tell!!!

    As for that janitor...expect to find him in some far off place not on the map after he gets his hush money.

    There is no doubt that the majority of the rank and file know Randi and Mulgrew are corrupt. The proof is in the lack of votes in the last few elections.

    People forget that Randi gave in on the parking permits too. She gave in on just too many reform items. The ATRs being the worst of it. And agreeing to use VAM and trusting Klein even though they knew he was a rat. And yes knowing that VAM was not a true indicator of a teacher's performance. Yet she had Leo write glowing reviews. And why did Leo write disparaging things about the principals who signed the petition to stop using high-stakes testing for evaluations? Sounds like the same tactics Klein and the reformers used against Ravitch.

    Mulgrew comes out like he is fighting Bloomberg, but in the end sides with him. His endorsement of the new eval agreement with Cuomo showed his true colors.

    As for patronage jobs, do you know whose son was behind the deal to buy the Broadway headquarters??? And look who is now in charge at the political end. Someone barely out of diapers. Everyone is either a relative or close friend.

    Yes Unity is more corrupt than the Teamsters. And every idiot who votes with Unity at the DA meetings will one day find themselves up shit's creek. The union will not protect them unless an opposition candidate threatens to take their place.

    I am waiting for people like JD to wake up. And yes, what has happened to good old Redhog who I had many a fight with? Did he stand up with the ATRs?

    I hope reporters are now being assigned to this story because it will make major headlines. Not the sex, but the connections between Randi and Klein, Gates and Bloomberg and how good teachers were screwed over.

    Why didn't the UFT advertise the SOS March on Washington and if it weren't for you, we wouldn't even have gotten a bus. Why aren't they writing front page headlines about the DVD written and produced by teachers and parents? Shouldn't this be celebrated? Unless you are in bed with charters and the reform movement.

    I really hope reporters out there are finally going to do what they are paid to do---investigate.

    Like I said Norm, you are the Woodward and Bernstein of education politics. The other reporters are either shills for Murdoch or crappy PR pushers like the ones at the NYTimes (with the exception of Winerip who actually does go out into the field and investigates.)

    This Mulgrew case may not have any teeth, but the Edwards case does come to mind. As does the Corzine. Either way, Mulgrew has proven himself to be a complete sleaze. (Now I need to take a shower.)

  2. The core issue is that Mulgrew appears to be in a quid pro quo with his former principal.

    As I said in my update, "So, Mulgrew had the goods on the principal, who kept hush-hush. Again, this cuts to the core of how this is a valid political story. Just how can you go toe-to-toe with opponents when the opponents have you in mutual agreements to keep hush-hush?"

    The Rubber Reporter's new details linked in my update reinforce the point about compromised leadership and restraint in advocacy.

    UPDATE at NYC Eye.

  3. Didn't you post a story awhile back by Philip Nobile saying that Weingarten told him and her lawyer Chris Callagay of NYSUT, former UFT Personnel Director Michael Mendel and Callaghan from the N.Y. Teacher that Klein had a "sex squad" digging into her personal life (before she came out) and she had to go to Condon to squash it?
    Just askin.'
    The real story is how Emma and Mulgrew rose through the ranks so fast. We all know that pensionable UFT part time and full time jobs are coveted by members- did Emma jump the list? No one else in Unity had a favored candidate who was overlooked? What exactly were her qualifications?
    Mulgrew's mentor Frank Carucci wasn't ready to retire but was pushed out by Weingarten in favor of Mulgrew.

    Mulgrew- innocent or guilty- is now in the same position as all the rubber roomers- tried in the press.
    If true- let's not forget the two women teachers who were fired for having sex in an empty classroom. THe D.O.E. has a "moral turpitude" clause.

    If not true, he got his commupence on the front page! He and Weingarten refused to come to the defense of the rubber roomers, who were presumed innocent (but not by the UFT leaders) until proven guilty

  4. The other rumor is that Weingarten doesn't or didn't have state certification as a teacher for the longest time. Supposedly Klein/Bloomberg had that on her.

    1. You guys keep missing the point.
      They don't need anything on Randi or Mulgrew because both of them are on their side. They are front men there to control the unions so they never get radical -- like in Greece or France.

      Of course Randi may have had a bogus license. Did anyone ever see her in their ed classes? And they covered for her during her phony 6 years of teaching when in fact she only taught full-time for 6 months. They placed her at Clara Barton HS not far from where she lived and Leo was there as chapter leader to take care of her. She took him with her when she left.

  5. Doesn't Leo Casey's wife work as his secretary? What's with these guys??

  6. Randi did not teach full-time for six months. Find one student or teacher in NYC who can confirm this. She was listed as full-time but popped in part-time during the week.

    “Today, on behalf of 150,000 educators in New York City, I am filing a lawsuit against Rupert Murdoch and the New York Post for libel.
    We have had enough fake stories in this paper and Sunday’s article about an affair that never happened and a cover up that never happened is the latest in a series of attacks on teachers in general and unions in particular. This is not an attack on me- I have thick skin to go along with my thick skull.
    This is an attack on everyone who works with our students.
    As we know, Mr. Murdoch’s stock in trade in England is to hire people to pay off top government officials for phone records of the Royal Family and to blackmail others to get his way in business deals. His son has had to resign in the wake of this scandal and others are going to jail.
    This practice of McCarthyism has no place in our city. I am ashamed to have taken part in similar smears when I was one of the directors of the “Weingarten for UFT president” campaign and we distributed a Red-baiting letter accusing her opponent, Kit Rachlis, of being a Communist. The author of the letter was Jeff Zahler who was promoted to UFT staff Director and later promoted to work with Weingarten in D.C and got his nephew Adam Ross a $190,000 year job at the union, even though there were 175 applicants ahead of him.

  8. I am suing for $500 million but for myself. The money will go to our members who have not had a raise since 2007, which is NOT my fault- it’s Randi Weingarten’s fault because in 2009 she told me and other Unity Caucus members that Mayor Bloomberg promised us eight percent raises over two years if we stayed out of the mayor’s race. As we now know, what Weingarten really wanted was Bloomberg’s support for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton.
    I am also calling on the Central Labor Council, which has 1.1. million members in the five boroughs, to boycott the Post and its advertisers. The Post readers can get their sports news on the UFT website. I am rejecting the advice of my press secretary Dick Riley and Randi Weingarten who tell me that boycotts “never work” NOTWITHSTANDING the Birmingham Bus Boycott, the boycott of South Africa over apartheid, the grape and lettuce boycott of the United Farm Workers, the boycott of anti-union newspapers owned by William Randolph Hearst in the 1930s, as well as the boycott of the three major league baseball teams in New York during World War Two war that ultimately led to the signing of Jackie Robinson in 1946.
    I am also issuing an apology to all our members who languished for years in the rubber rooms and were ridiculed by the so-called reporters at the New York Post. Mistakenly, I believed you were all guilty of something but again- I must blame Weingarten and Staff Directors Ellie Engler and LeRoy Barr who told me that the D.O.E. had the goods on you, even though in most cases, Klein and his lawyers couldn’t prove their cases. I stood by silently when Klein publicly said you were all drug addicts and pedophiles. This is my public amend. I vow from now on to fight for the rights of every member, even if your principal has a business/romantic or other relationship with a UFT staff person or has given preference in hiring to a relative of a UFT staff person. There will be no more free rides for abusive principals.
    Finally, Mr. Murdoch’s New York Post must be held accountable and this lawsuit will be a start. Neither I nor Emma did anything wrong.
    I will so testify under oath and I demand today that Mr. Murdoch come forward out of his sink hole to debate me on live FOX News to prove these scurrilous charges or apologize.”

    1-Mulgrew is a wimp at heart. Like Weingarten did, he spends all day conniving for his next big move. Mulgrew is great at sounding tough and acting tough by filing lawsuits, but he doesn’t have the heart of a fighter. His motto is: “Where’s Mine?”
    2-the UFT has Howard Wolfson’s company, the Glover Park Group, on its payroll at $10,000 per month. He is also Bloomberg’s Deputy Mayor and once worked for Murdoch. The Post might start asking what he does for the money.
    3-the UFT has Howard Rubinstein, New York’s premier publicist, on its payroll and he never heard the words “newspaper boycott.” He is a pal of Murdoch and doesn’t need his other clients being put on ice by Murdoch.
    4-Strook, Strook and Lavan, Weingarten’s former law firm, is paid millions of dollars per year by the UFT alone and doesn’t want the Post poking around as to what they did for the dough.
    5-Riley used to work for, among others, Ed Koch, David Rockefeller and City Council Speaker Peter Vallone. He left the UFT just two months after his five-year pension was vested but then returned when Mulgrew dumped Ron Davis for no good reason. ,,,,,,,,People like Riley live in fear of bullies like Murdoch and always think they might need a job at the Post any day now.

  9. Norm - it is soooo tiring to hear you continue to repeat "my" story with the false information that I was fired like Jim. I was told I was not needed any more after the so-called closing of the rubber rooms in 2010. I received a commendation letter from Ellie and Mike Mulgrew, saying I did a wonderful job. Jim Callahan was, indeed, fired. You also seem stuck on the claim that I FOILed the personnel file of Rona Freiser and Randi got nervous, then hired me even though Randi supposedly despised me? First, I dont now, and never have, cared whether or not someone despises me. So why not just give up on your false facts, Norm, and go with the fact you dont know what happened, at all, when I was hired. Read my book when it gets published.

  10. Thanks Betsy for clearing this up. I must have dreamed that phone call from you telling me that Randi had called you a homophobe for foiling Rona's partner. And also that email from you telling me that the DOE had informed the UFT that you were foiling Rona. Or that email you sent me with the attachment from Adam Ross hinting at a job. And your keeping me abreast of the negotiations, including how that non-disclosure agreement they were asking you to sign was growing in size by leaps and bounds. And of course my telling you to foil Rona in the first place based on an insider tip because of her betrayal of the teachers at John Adams HS -- I gave you the info because you were involved with some of those teachers. Phew. For a long time I thought all that stuff was real and that you actually owed me part of your salary at the UFT as a finders fee for getting the ball rolling.

  11. Didnt you post the Weingartem email calling Combier a homophobe? Why would Weingarten hire a homophobe? Would she hire someone she called a racist?

  12. If Combier is defending Engler, why does she say on her website that she has a liquor cabinet in her office, making het sound like an on duty boozer?....combier also says in her site that Mulgrew and Engler sued Newsday but the case was settled.....sued them for what? And this the first we heard about it? never happened and is yet another example of her planting rumors....let her produce evidence for once...

  13. Why did adam ross offerCombier a job the same week she was investigating Rona Frieser and her partner? Raise your hand if you think this was a coincidence....why did Combier, allegedly investigating the union, take the job? What happened to her Frieser story?

  14. Who was Friesers partner? Anyone know why she was also being investigated?

  15. There is no doubt that the majority of the rank and file know Randi and Mulgrew are corrupt. The proof is in the lack of votes in the last few elections.


Comments are welcome. Irrelevant and abusive comments will be deleted, as will all commercial links. Comment moderation is on, so if your comment does not appear it is because I have not been at my computer (I do not do cell phone moderating). Or because your comment is irrelevant or idiotic.