A close-up look at NYC education policy, politics,and the people who have been, are now, or will be affected by acts of corruption and fraud. ATR CONNECT assists individuals who suddenly find themselves in the ATR ("Absent Teacher Reserve") pool and are the "new" rubber roomers, and re-assigned. The terms "rubber room" and "ATR" mean that you or any person has been targeted for removal from your job. A "Rubber Room" is not a place, but a process.
More stories are out there today about Ivor Neuschotz, Mike Mulgrew, and Emelina Camacho-Mendez. Some are posted below.
Just to keep my part of this saga straight, I told anyone who asked me about what I knew of this tryst and alleged coverup that in 2004 the custodian of Grady HS found [Emelina and Mike] them in the act and told staff, "I finally caught them (Mike Mulgrew and Emelina Camacho-Mendez) in the act!!!!" I did not know the name Donald Herb until a reporter told me that he was the custodian. I never 'identified' Herb. Cant, as I never knew the custodian's name, and didnt know if indeed, the rumor was true. I believe it is, but Rachel Monahan is wrong about me identifying Herb. Didnt happen.
After being 'discovered', Mike and Emelina were moved to the UFT, and there was no investigation. The Dean told the Superintendent who told a teacher at another Brooklyn school that there was "other stuff" on Mike, and people should look into his conduct while at the school. Then Debbie at 25 Chapel Street told me she knew "stuff" about Mike Mulgrew, and he would not want her to reveal any of it, so she would not be spending any time in the rubber room. She left quickly, and never had any charges. All of this does sound familiar to anyone who has been through the Rubber Room experience. Only, nothing happened in Mike's case. This is the key issue. Why DIDNT anything happen, like substantiating or not substantiating the rumors at Grady??
We can see that Mike still received money from the DOE while negotiating for UFT members in 2008-2009, 2009-2010 :
See Through NY
For the faint of sight here are the numbers:
Michael Mulgrew, Department of Education, Subagency "pedagogical", position: Teacher, received $80,989 in 2008; $56,951 in 2009; and $1661 in 2010. Now we need to know what this is for.
I believe that what is important here is not the sex allegations, but why there was no investigation, as too many people were saying the exact same thing: that Mike and Emma had/are having a fling, and were given cushy jobs at the UFT as a result.
Nothing is new about this kind of 'politicking', which doesnt make it ok. What about Burton Sacks? Burt Sacks was Deputy Chancellor under Harold Levy in 2001. I was, in 2001, Editor of the Parents Association newspaper at Stuyvesant High School, The Bulletin. In November 2001, after the school staff and students moved back to Stuyvesant from Brooklyn Tech, Principal Stan Teitel asked me to keep Chancellor Levy company, as Levy made a second office for himself at Stuy to show everyone that it was 'safe' to be there. So, I went in and talked with Levy several times. One day I decided to tell him about the segregation at Booker T. Washington MS 54. While I was there with him, he told me that I had to speak with his Deputy Chancellor, Burt Sacks. He called Sacks, and we made an appointment.
Burt Sacks' office was on the 11th floor of 110 Livingston Street, Brooklyn. When I got off the elevator there was a guard in full uniform and a huge American flag in the corner on the right. The guard called Burt, told him I was there, and told the guard to let me in to his office. We - Burt and I - talked for several hours. He took notes. When I told him the it seemed to be the case that Principal Larry Lynch was taking money that he should not have, Burt told me "They - Principals - do it all the time."
When I got home, I sent him a fax thanking him for his time, and I asked what happens to principals who, as he told me, always take money from their schools. 5 minutes later my telephone rang, and Burt screamed more curse words at me than I have ever heard from anyone, before or since. He told me he would never say that about principals. He told me NEVER to contact him again. Never, never, never.
In or about November, 2002, I was at Tweed (NYC DOE headquarters) for a meeting of parent leaders, when we heard that everyone had to leave immediately in order for new Chancellor Joel Klein to have his cabinet meeting in the room we were in. I just happened to have the complete story of what Burt Sacks had said to me, as well as the details of what I uncovered at Booker T. Washington MS 54, in an envelope with "Chancellor Joel Klein" written on the outside. i assumed that Joel would want coffee, so while my friends left the room I walked s-l-o-w-l-y to the coffee machine, and was standing there when Joel burst into the room. He came over to me and introduced himself, and asked me how good was the coffee? I said it was delicious, and could I give him the envelope I had for him? He said "sure", poured himself some coffee, and sat down at the table with his cabinet, minus one. One chair was empty.
As I left the room (my friends were telling me I better hurry up), I looked back at Joel Klein, and saw that he had taken all the documents out of the envelope and was reading it. Everyone at the table was sitting, not saying anything. I got into the elevator and went to the first floor. I was talking with my friends when Burt Sacks comes running to the elevator and he said "Hello, Betsy! How are you? I'm very late!" I said, "yes, I think the meeting just started." Burt got into the elevator and went upstairs to the second floor.
The next day, newspapers posted how Burt Sacks retired. Within two weeks Burt was Randi Weingarten's Assistant at the UFT:
BULLETIN BOARD; Teachers' Union Hires a Troubleshooter
By Abby Goodnough, NY Times, Published: December 04, 2002
SACKS, a consummate Board of Education insider who retired last week
after 33 years, has a new boss: RANDI WEINGARTEN, president of the
United Federation of Teachers. Mr. Sacks, a liaison to the community
school districts and a troubleshooter for five chancellors, will be a
senior adviser to Ms. Weingarten, doing the same kind of crisis control
he was known for in the New York City public schools system. Education
officials said Mr. Sacks would be a valuable addition to the union's
staff because he is well connected and is an expert at easing tensions.
''He's another set of antennae for Randi,'' one official said. Abby
And what about David Hickey? How did he end up at the UFT as Assistant to the Staff Director, after being involuntarily removed from his previous position, I believe the PBA?
Stay tuned. Below are some articles, showing how much the Daily News supports Mulgrew. The newspaper was sued by Neuschotz, remember, and there was a settlement. Maybe the newspaper knows what happened?
Sex scandal allegations involving Michael Mulgrew are ‘bull’
The sensational allegations of classroom sex against teachers union President Michael Mulgrew in a federal lawsuit are “bull,” said a former staffer named as a witness.
Donald Herb, 69, of Brooklyn, a former custodial worker at William E. Grady High School who retired seven years ago, said he saw nothing of the kind.
"I didn't see anything. I'm telling you the truth. I'll take a lie detector test if I need to,” he said.
“If I did see something I would've reported it and had Mulgrew removed from the building.”
Last Wednesday, Queens math teacher Andrew Ostrowsky filed a federal lawsuit alleging the union was blackmailed into making labor concessions in exchange for covering up the scandal for Mulgrew.
The lawsuit does not name the witnesses other than to say the custodian and principal knew first-hand.
Former teachers union staffer Betsy Combier has identified Herb as the witness.
But Herb said he supported Mulgrew, calling him a “good guy.”
“We could tell he was a fighter back then. Now he's got some power and they're trying to take him down. That's all this is about."
The city has confirmed Mulgrew was never removed from the classroom for any investigations during his teaching career, contrary to the lawsuit’s allegations. He also was never found to have committed wrongdoing by any investigators.
As proof mounted that the 73-page federal lawsuit was paper-thin, Joy Hochstadt, the oddball lawyer who filed the allegations, emailed the press Wednesday, complaining that her conversations with journalists over the last few days had caused her to miss a filing deadline on a separate case.
She also defended her claims about the Mulgrew scandal, saying that the “the dates and the capitulation all fit” for the blackmailing conspiracy she alleges.
“As I wrote to Mike Mulgrew yesterday, it was NOT my intent to embarass him, it was to stop the extortion of eroding teachers rights,” she wrote.
A Brooklyn principal who hired students to renovate the school library never told the kids they could be exposed to asbestos, two students involved in the project told the Daily News.
Guillermo Mollins, 17, a junior at Grady Vocational High School in Brighton Beach, said yesterday that the five students tapped by Principal Ivor Neuschotz had no idea they shouldn't disturb floor tiles believed to contain the cancer-causing dust.
"We were just kids. We didn't know anything," Guillermo said.
Franchon Dixon, 17, another student who worked on the library, said: "We weren't even told about it. The principal just wanted to get the library done."
A Brooklyn principal directed students and a teacher to tear down library walls and shelves even though he knew the room contained asbestos, then tried to cover up the incident, teachers union officials said yesterday.
Ivor Neuschotz, principal of Grady Vocational High School, received a letter of reprimand, a Department of Education spokeswoman said, with more disciplinary action pending an investigation.
Neuschotz ordered the work done last month after getting a $300,000 grant to renovate the library, but union officials say the costs have climbed to $500,000 for cleanup instead of a $90,000 asbestos removal.
They say everything in the library, including books and computers, will have to be thrown out, and they fear that other grants will be withdrawn.
"He said the abatement was too expensive," said Michael Mulgrew, the school's union rep. "It wouldn't allow him to do what he wanted to do in the library - cappuccino machines? I don't know."
A letter of reprimand? A bit harsh, don't you think?