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Friday, July 19, 2024

Donors To NYC Mayor Eric Adams Give More Than Legally Permitted

Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright, with her boss, at City Hall. Dec. 6, 2022. Credit: Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

 Remember one thing: it's always about money.

Betsy Combier

Contributions That Exceed Legal Limits Poured Into Eric Adams’ Campaign

Many of the donations, from people who do business with the city, won’t be officially identified for weeks, allowing the mayor to inflate the size of his campaign haul before the money is refunded.

BY GREG B. SMITH, The City, July 19, 2024, 5:00 A.M.

Donors to Mayor Eric Adams’ campaigns who do business with city government routinely violate the $400 limit on donations intended to thwart corruption — and the campaign’s latest filing this week is no exception. 

Executives at three school bus companies with multimillion-dollar contracts, as well as a real estate developer who deals with city government, are all on the city’s official “doing business” list — and all of them gave more than the legal cap to Adams’ 2025 campaign. 

Their donations are the latest among hundreds of instances in which individuals on the list gave more than the limit to Adams’ 2021 campaign and now his 2025 bid for re-election. Donors who exceeded the $400 cutoff have had the excess money refunded following Campaign Finance Board review — well after the campaign has touted its fundraising hauls in hotly competitive races. 

All told, both campaigns have refunded some $260,000 in donations from “doing business” donors that were over the $400 limit — far more than any other candidate in New York City history.

This week, Adams reported raising over $1 million in the last six months, more than double his closest competitor.

Included in that haul were donations from executives at two affiliated school bus companies, Boro Transportation and Consolidated Transportation, who each gave $400 in 2020, then another $400 in this month. Both provide yellow bus service for New York City public schools under city contracts.

A top officer at a third school bus company, Ozone Park-based Hoyt Transportation, which has a $323 million DOE contract, gave both a $400 donation and a $2,100 donation to Adams’ campaign on the same day, July 8, records show. 

The campaign accepted all of these checks without questioning them. (The Hoyt executive told THE CITY the $2,100 donation was actually from his wife and that it was misidentified by the Adams’ campaign.

Carolyn Daly, a spokesperson for the Boro and Consolidated executives, said the two executives “truly made an honest mistake by donating again and will request a refund in the morning. They do support Mayor Adams and feel he is running DOE/OPT very well and they have deep experience running school bus services for NYC.”

A similar scenario occurred with Harold Fetner, a real estate developer who is on the “doing business” list and gave the Adams campaign $2,100 on July 10 — $1,700 over the $400 cutoff. Barbara Wagner, a spokesperson for his firm, Fetner Properties, said after THE CITY pointed out the donation, Fetner asked the Adams’ campaign to refund the amount over the permitted $400 limit. She added that Fetner believes the “doing business” list record is “stale” and that he is working with the city clerk — who maintains city lobbying files — to “correct the record.”

In all, Adams’ 2021 campaign sent back 42% of the $440,000 in donations it collected from contributors on the doing business list. So far in the 2025 election, the rate of refunds is even higher, with 50% of the $144,000 collected returned. 

The only other candidate for mayor who has come close is Bill de Blasio, who had a refund rate of 40% in 2017 and 38% in 2013, according to Campaign Finance Board records.

Adams and his representatives have consistently asserted that his campaigns make aggressive efforts to vet donations to ensure they are within the letter of the law.

In response to THE CITY’s questions Wednesday, Vito Pitta, counsel to the Adams’ campaign, defended the campaign’s review protocols. He also noted that placement on the city’s “doing business” list is limited to lobbyists for and employees of entities seeking favorable treatment from City Hall who are directly involved in or have oversight of the interactions with the city agency.

“Only people on the doing business list are limited in what they can give to campaigns, not every executive from their companies,” Pitta said. “Additionally, the doing business database may not always be up-to-date and often includes individuals who made contributions before they were subject to the limits. The campaign will of course refund any contributions over the limit — as it always has — and has 20 days to do so once receiving notification from the Campaign Finance Board.”

Rudy’s Reforms

The “doing business” list emerged from the corruption scandals of the Koch administration as a 1998 reform to the city charter under former Mayor Rudy Giuliani that “sought to remove the influence of special interests in the election process.” In addition to banning corporate contributions, the amendments gave the Campaign Finance Board the power to regulate donations from individuals involved in city business.

Today, lobbyists, top executives at city contractors and city contract bidders, and any entity seeking a city license or franchise agreement are required to be included on the Doing Business List maintained by the Mayor’s Office of Contracts (MOCS), as are “senior managers” who have “substantial discretion and oversight” in business transactions with the city. 

Entities placed on the list also include real estate interests seeking zoning alterations or tax breaks or to lease city property or lease their properties to the city.

In his two campaigns for mayor, Adams routinely took money from real estate developers, lobbyists, social service executives and others on the list. A number of them ended up in top positions in his administration. 

For his 2021 race, they included Sheena Wright, now his first deputy mayor, David Banks, now the city schools’ chancellor, and Andrew Kimball, who is now New York City Economics Development Corporation president, records show. All had their excess contributions refunded.

Also among donors who gave over the limit was James Molinaro, the former Staten Island borough president who now works for Pitta Bishop — the firm Adams pays to vet the contributions to his campaign. Molinaro gave $900 in the 2021 campaign, $500 above the limit.

Another donor who exceeded the $400 limit, with a $1,000 check, was Mark Caller of the Marcal Group — a developer now facing criminal charges for allegedly bribing Adams’ former Department of Buildings commissioner Eric Ulrich. (Caller and Ulrich have both pleaded not guilty and the charges are pending.)

“Doing business” violations are far from the only reason Adams’ mayoral campaigns have refunded contributions — totaling millions of dollars in donations.

The 2021 campaign refunded portions of more than 1,700 donations amounting to more than $2.2 million, records show. Through July 15, the 2025 campaign has returned portions of 245 donations totaling more than $324,000 of $4.3 million raised to date.

Some of those refunded checks were identified by prosecutors, THE CITY and other media outlets as illegal contributions funneled through straw donors. In February one of Adams’ former cop pals, Dwayne Montgomery, pleaded guilty to orchestrating a scheme to steer thousands of dollars in straw contributions to Adams’ 2021 campaign.

Less visibly, the doing business list and its quirks pose integrity challenges.

Good-government groups have long criticized the loopholes and lack of oversight they say compromise the list, noting that MOCS relies only on information the entities seeking City Hall’s assistance choose to provide. There is no evidence MOCS double-checks claims, thwarting accurate accounting of who should be on the list.

“There are some big big holes in the law,” said John Kaehny, executive director of the non-partisan government watchdog group Reinvent Albany. “They’re just not going to pick up these things at MOCS. The whole thing screams out for change and it needs to be regularly audited.”

Reinvent Albany has proposed expanding the definition of “doing business” entities to include, among others, clients of lobbyists — an expansion that would apply to hundreds of businesses operating in New York City.

Kaehny noted that campaigns trying to hit a number by a deadline — in Adams’ case $1 million by July 11 — have little incentive to look closely at donors. The rules put the burden for reviewing donations on the Campaign Finance Board, which sends a notice back to campaigns in 20 days red-flagging illegal donations for refunds.

Kaehny noted that as it stands, campaigns “don’t have to worry about vetting their contributors. They’re off the hook for that. That liability would be an important check. Of course the campaigns would be a lot more careful if they had responsibility for vetting the donations. It’s ridiculous that it’s just on CFB.” 

Casino Bids

The doing business list itself suffers from omissions and inconsistencies.

Take SL Green’s Executive Vice President Steven Durels, who gave Adams’ 2025 campaign $2,100 earlier this month, at a time when SL Green had been lobbying City Hall for months to win support for its bid to open a casino in Times Square. 

Durels is on the “doing business” list — but not for SL Green. He surfaces on the list instead as a “real property manager” under SLG Graybar, an SL Green subsidiary that has longstanding leases with the city.

Records also show senior managers at SL Green now involved in the lobbying of City Hall on the casino bid did not appear on the “doing business” list until after they’d made over-the-limit donations to Adams.

Brett Herschenfeld, an SL Green executive vice president and lobbyist for the firm, has donated $2,000 to Adams’ 2025 campaign — well above the $400 limit. But timing is everything.

Herschenfeld made two $1,000 donations in March 2022, at a time when he was not yet on the “doing business” list. Ten months later, in January 2023, records show SL Green reported Herschenfeld as targeting Deputy Mayor Maria Torres-Springer for “direct lobbying” in SL Green’s efforts to win City Hall support for the casino bid.

The same thing occurred with Andrew Levine, SL Green’s general counsel, who gave $1,000 in March 2022 to Adams’ campaign. Ten months later, SL Green filed lobbyist records listing him as principal lobbyist in the push to get support for the casino endeavor.

Herschenfeld wasn’t put on the city’s “doing business” list until March of this year, 15 months after records show he began lobbying City Hall. This time, when Herschenfeld made a $400 donation to Adams two weeks ago, the campaign refunded his check.

Levine, meanwhile, is still listed as “principal lobbyist” for SL Green on the casino bid but has yet to appear on the “doing business” list.

In response to THE CITY’s questions, a spokesperson for SL Green said the firm “employees adhere to campaign finance guidelines. In the rare instances where contributions inadvertently exceed permitted amounts, refunds are issued.”

The Adams campaign has also sent back other contributions before the Campaign Finance Board weighs in.

That includes a $2,100 contribution SL Green CEO Marc Holliday made in May 2023, shortly after he was listed in state records as a lobbyist for SL Green on multiple issues, including pressing Deputy Mayor Torres-Springer on the casino proposal.

At the time, Holiday was not yet on the “doing business” list so it’s not clear what triggered the campaign to refund the donation.

That was not Holliday’s first contribution to Adams’ political ambitions. In the mayor’s first bid for City Hall, Holliday hosted an August 2021 fundraiser after Adams had won the primary but before he was elected, raising $30,900 from 41 donors —including several SL Green executives and their relatives.

That fundraiser later made headlines when records surfaced showing a high-end sushi restaurant SL Green was trying to open in their premiere Midtown office tower One Vanderbilt jumped the line for a fire department alarm inspection.
As THE CITY reported, shortly after the restaurant, JoJi, went on an internal “Deputy Mayor for Operations” list, fire inspectors showed up and signed off on the alarm system in time for it to open on Sept. 14, 2022 — the 25th anniversary of the founding of SL Green.

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Antisemitism at Rutgers and Inside the NYC Department of Education

Jewish teacher sues DOE over antisemitism at NYC high school, shares abhorrent email: ‘All Jews need to be exterminated’

By Georgia Worrell and Priscilla DeGregory, NY POST, May 3, 2024

A Jewish teacher who said she was terrorized by students at her Brooklyn high school — including with swastikas, death threats, Nazi salutes and Hitler-loving comments — has sued over the heinous antisemitism that school officials allegedly allowed to run rampant.

Danielle Kaminsky, whose alleged ordeal was detailed in a front-page Post expose about hateful incidents at Origins High School in Sheepshead Bay, claims bigotry was “effectively promoted and encouraged” there, according to the Brooklyn federal lawsuit from Friday.

Kaminsky, 33, a global history teacher, claims she was the victim of a slew of antisemitic incidents since the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre — including an email she received saying, “All Jews need to be exterminated.”

According to the suit, from Oct. 8 through March — when Kaminsky was finally transferred to another school — students engaged in an array of “aggressive antisemitism” at Origins including marching through campus chanting “f–k the Jews,” and “Death to Israel!” while waiving the Palestinian flags, drawing swastikas on school grounds and glorifying Adolf Hitler, the suit claims.

But when Kaminsky, 33, spoke up about it, the school retaliated against her, the suit alleges.

Campus manager Michael Beaudry — the other plaintiff in the suit — supported Kaminsky and made a bid for the administration to intervene, but was also allegedly punished for speaking out.

The students conducted their campaign of hate within a New York City public school, emblazoned it in graffiti on its furniture, scribbled it on blackboards, circulated it in emails and text messages, and repeated it on papers and notes foisted on, and taunts directed at, Jewish teachers and students,” the suit charges.

Kaminsky and Beaudry’s alleged nightmarish experiences were part of a wave of antisemitic incidents reported at New York City schools in the wake of the terror group’s attack on the Jewish state — including one anti-Israel riot by students at a Queens school that left a teacher cowering in fear.

Schools Chancellor David Banks is set to testify on Wednesday before the US House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce — the same congressional panel that has grilled presidents of elite universities about antisemitism on campus.

“Students and staff deserve to be safe and respected in their school and Origins High School is no different. We will review this lawsuit,” said Department of Education spokesman Nathaniel Styer.

During the hateful march at Origins on Oct. 11, students chanted “death to Israel” and other vitriol — but school officials didn’t mete out any punishments, according to the lawsuit.

This only “emboldened” the student to start “directing antisemitism at Jewish teachers and students,” the documents allege.

Kaminsky says the school’s lack of punishment for bigotry at school meant it could thrive. She received a slew of hate including students writing “die” on her class door.

One student the day after, drew swastikas on Kaminsky’s blackboard during class, others left post-it notes on her door and bulletin board and around school saying “death to Israel,” the filing claims.

But Interim Acting Principal Dara Kammerman “fueled” the bigotry by failing to punish the students and instead hosting a restorative justice circle — which the teens called the “Pro-Palestinian Circle,” the suit claims.

Kaminsky and another Jewish teacher at Origins received a particularly vicious email titled “filthy Jew Kaminsky” on March 5 from someone threatening: “All Jews need to be exterminated. Their doors kicked in in the middle of the night. A bullet put in each of their heads.

“Through all history, the k–es are purveyors of mass death and suffering. They will never stop until
they are stopped. Kaminsky the foul whiny Jew has no place in America let alone a school
system. Here’s hoping the Muslim students put an end to her, and that it’s both terrifying
and very painful,” the email continued.

Kaminsky and Beaudry’s lawyer Jim Walden said they don’t know who the email was from and hope to find out over the course of litigation.

Roughly a year earlier, Kaminsky was forced to removed at least 10 students from class for “abhorrent behavior” in which they spewed hateful remarks during a presentation from two interns of the Museum of Jewish Heritage ahead of a school trip.

One student said he would “take money out of dead Jewish people’s corpses” and another added “why would anyone want to help the Jewish people” — comments forcing Kaminsky to interrupt the presentation several times and excuse students from the class, the filing alleges.

The museum’s invitation for students from Origins to visit on a school trip was rescinded after the incident, the papers claim.

 Beaudry had warned Kammerman against hosting the “Pro-Palestinian Circle” in the aftermath of the student march, telling her she wasn’t allowed to engage with students in political speech, but she responded “I’m doing it,” the suit claims.

Shortly after on Oct. 25, 2023, a Jewish student sent Kammerman a letter saying he felt threatened and requested to be transferred to another school, according to the lawsuit.

Kammerman also failed to punish a student who was one of the students who left hateful post-it notes around school and who was caught on Jan. 9, 2024 with fireworks in her jacket pocket, the suit says.

“Kammerman intervened on [the student’s] behalf to forestall her arrest, as NYPD was eventually altered to the incident,” the court documents claim.

And things continued to escalate with one student posting on a classroom message board with Kaminsky “f–k u” and “ima bomb this school,” the filing alleges.

Students also went after a Jewish teacher they found out was gay, with one student getting arrested after threatening he would “pull you into the back of a van and rape you because you are gay,” the complaint says.

When the student eventually came back to school he wore a “Hitler-style mustache drawn under his nose” and stepped into a classroom with other students and “performed the Nazi salute” — in an incident caught on school surveillance cameras, the court papers claim.

In a separate incident on January 22, two students — who were caught on video posting a Palestinian flag in Kaminsky’s room — approached her when she was alone, saying “How do you feel about Hitler?” — which she took as a threat, the filing claims.

Kaminsky requested to transfer schools multiple times but instead was met with retaliation including unfounded “disciplinary conferences” and threats of low performance ratings, the court papers claim.

She was eventually transferred to a school in Queens in March 2024 but was told she could only stay for three months and would need to find another school after. Kaminsky was also restricted from most digital systems and processes that teachers were ordinarily given, the suit claims.

Similarly, Beaudry, 48, was also retaliated against, having been given three notices for “disciplinary conferences” in January 2024 and he was forced to work from home starting March 5 until his “investigations” were resolved, the filing claims.

He was removed as athletic director on March 22, which “had the effect of reducing his compensation,” the suit alleges.

They pair are suing for unspecified damages.

The Post first exclusively reported on Kaminsky and Beaudry’s experiences in March with Kaminsky saying at the time: “I live in fear going to work every day.”

“This had been devastating for Danielle and Michael,” Walden told The Post. “Obviously, no one seeks to be an educator only to be a target of racist attacks.”

“But to be belittled and disparaged by—and worse, to suffer reprisals from—those is charge has been a monumental challenge. The story of their resilience is a lesson in courage,” the lawyer said.

Kaminsky and Beaudry were invited to speak at a forum in Washington DC Friday hosted by the not-for-profit Brandeis Center where they shared their experiences with congressional staff, their lawyer Jim Walden told The Post.

“It seems to have been a complete abdication of responsibility, and then an attempted cover up,” said Mark Goldfeder, who serves as senior counsel at the Brandeis Center, about school officials’ alleged inaction.

He urged Congress to “hold their feet to the fire” in the upcoming House hearing on “Confronting Pervasive Antisemitism in K-12 Schools.”

Walden said his clients are waiting to find out whether they will be invited to testify next week at the hearings that Banks will take part in.

“Every country in the world is represented in NYC Public Schools, and our schools are not insulated from global events, nor the hate, fear, or bigotry that accompanies times like these. To address the pernicious threat of antisemitism, Chancellor Banks’ ‘Meeting the Moment’ plan focuses on addressing incidents quickly with appropriate discipline, education, and engagement with our communities,” Styer said.

Kammerman and reps with the city Law Department didn’t return requests for comment.

Additional reporting by Joshua Christenson

Emails to the post claim that pro-Israeli students had to move their BBQ out of Vorhees Mall, even though pro-Palestinian students had been allowed to camp there. [photo: Rutgers Chabad]

Rutgers Associate Dean of Students Kerri Willson refused to allow the Jewish students to gather at the spot, saying no events could be held on campus after the last day of classes on Monday, April 29.                  Rutgers Chabad

Rutgers forces Jewish BBQ off campus after giving into anti-Israel encampment's demands

by dspectomyp, NY POST, May 4, 2024

Rutgers University refused to let a Jewish group hold a pro-Israel barbecue on the campus’ Vorhees Mall, despite allowing pro-terror protesters to camp there for days, emails obtained by The Post claim.

Rutgers Associate Dean of Students Kerri Willson refused to allow the Jewish students to gather at the spot, saying no events could be held on campus after the last day of classes on Monday, April 29 — despite allowing the encampment to drag on until May 2.

The Kosher cookout was set to mark the end of a grueling semester for Jewish students at Rutgers, which has seen pro-Hamas students plaster a pro-Israel student’s picture all over their dorm; spray paint pictures of Palestinian terrorists on campus sidewalks; and scream “Hitler would have loved you” at Jewish students.

The encampments finally ended after administrators caved into protester demands, including blanket amnesty for demonstrators.

Kelly Shapiro, co-founder of Students Supporting Israel, which organized the barbecue, called the university’s stance an “antisemitic double standard.”

“If they let them camp out for three days, almost four, how is it we can’t have a two-hour barbecue?” asked Rutgers junior Camilla Vaynberg.

The barbecue was instead held at nearby Buccleuch Park, and catered by local restaurant Bridge Turkish and Mediterranean Grill, which was flooded with nasty online reviews after the event.

Despite being forced off campus in the middle of finals, about 100 to 150 people turned out for the barbecue.

“They can try to intimidate us but we’re not afraid to be pro-Israel on campus,” said Students Supporting Israel co-president Michael Batushansky.

Kelly Shapiro, co-founder of Students Supporting Israel, which organized the barbecue, called the university’s response a clear “antisemitic double standard.”                                                               Rutgers Chabad

“Our pride won’t be squashed,” added Vaynberg.

Rutgers did not respond to the Post’s request for comment.

Antisemitic graffiti found at NYC elementary school while schools boss claims to Congress incidents dealt with in ‘appropriate fashion’

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Can You Lie on a Job Application? No...But Read The Fine Print


Jessica Bader
When a stellar employee is charged with actions he/she did not do, and a judge or arbitrator finds the individual guilty as charged without any evidence, should they be punished forever?

Or, should an educator who makes a bad mistake be prohibited from ever working again?

I think not.

Having studied the transcripts and/or worked on more than 300 Ed. Law Section 3020-a arbitration cases, I can say unequivocally that many - even most - people charged with 3020-a charges throughout New York State have been treated unfairly by procedures that deprived them of due process and resulted in a punishment they did not deserve. I'm talking about employees who have received $500.00 fines and those who have been terminated. It doesn't matter, yet it should.

When any of these folk search for another job, they will be told to fill out an application. In this application are questions such as:

1. "Have you ever been charged with misconduct"?

2. "Have you ever been arrested?"

and other similar inquiries into your past employment and personal history.

What if a jealous boyfriend or ex-wife makes up that you abused him/her, which has no truth to it?

You can cry all you want. The form you have to fill out has a box to check "yes" or "no". There is no room to explain. The form wont hear you.

I don't think that is fair.

Therefore, in the case posted here concerning Jessica Bader, I believe she deserves to be seen in a new light, and given a chance to prove herself without being prosecuted all over again in the media.

Whenever one of my clients receives an unfair/excessive punishment, I always am ready and willing to support them in their job search. They almost always get a new job, with new responsibilities that free them from the bad stuff. Everything happens for a reason, and anyone can do better and be better.

Just sayin...

Betsy Combier

Jessica Bader, ex-James H. Vernon School principal, charged with falsifying employment applications

By Michael O'Keeffe and Dandan,

The former principal of James H. Vernon School, whose teaching certificate was suspended for four years for engaging in what officials called an inappropriate relationship with a student, was charged Monday in Nassau County District Court with falsifying employment applications submitted to the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Central School District.

Jessica Bader, 52, falsely answered “no” on applications that asked if she had ever resigned from a position as an alternative to charges or termination, according to Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly.

Bader, of Nesconset, also falsely answered “no” when asked if the applicant’s professional certificate had ever been suspended by a government agency, Donnelly said. Bader, previously known as Jessica Zimbler, pleaded not guilty Monday at an arraignment before Nassau District Court Judge Jaclene Agazarian.

Bader is charged with three counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing and three counts of second-degree offering a false instrument for filing.

She was released on her own recognizance and was ordered to return to court on April 11. If convicted, Bader faces up to 1 1/3 to four years in prison.

Bader, an English teacher at East Meadow High School from 1999 to 2005, was asked to resign or face disciplinary action for engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a student, Donnelly said. The New York State Department of Education suspended Bader’s teaching certificate for four years in December 2007.

Bader’s attorney, Joseph Carbone, of Farmingdale, said the suspension resulted from a kiss between his client and an 18-year-old, when Bader was in her early 30s.

Nassau prosecutors said she checked “no” when she applied for a position as the director of humanities at Oyster Bay-East Norwich schools in 2022, and later as principal at the third-grade to six-grade Vernon School in 2023.

Carbone said she responded “no” because a former lawyer told her the suspension would be expunged from her professional record.

Carbone said kissing the student was “inappropriate” but argued Bader had served her suspension and has excelled as an educator throughout her career. He said the criminal charges will make it difficult for her to find work as a teacher or administrator and are vastly disproportionate to the accused's alleged infractions.

“She has already been punished pretty severely,” said Carbone.

Bader worked at schools in Brooklyn and Queens after her teaching certificate was reinstated. She served as an assistant principal at a Queens middle school.

A spokeswoman for Oyster Bay-East Norwich schools declined to comment on the charges filed against Bader.

In October, Oyster Bay-East Norwich Superintendent Francesco Ianni made a Part 83 referral to the state Education Department’s Office of School Personnel Review and Accountability, alleging Bader “has committed acts that raise a reasonable question as to her moral character based on Ms. Bader’s material misrepresentation of employment history,” Ianni wrote in a complaint.

Newsday obtained the complaint through a Freedom of Information Law request.

A state Department of Education official said the department could not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation into the matter.

Under Part 83 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, the state investigates allegations of lack of “good moral character” lodged against certified educators to determine whether the educator has the “good moral character” to retain the certificate.

Ianni did not specify how he found out but wrote it “came to my attention” that Bader had worked at another district, namely East Meadow.

“Upon hearing of the information in September, I met with Ms. Bader and she stated that her license was suspended after resigning from a previous district and admitted that she was not truthful in her past employment history, including but not limited to her license being suspended,” he wrote.

Bader submitted her resignation as principal of the Vernon School on Sept. 27. The next day, Ianni wrote to the community that Bader “will be away from the building for some time."

The school board approved her resignation on Oct. 10. At that time, Ianni did not give further explanation other than to say that it “had nothing to do with any issue with our students or staff” and that the district relied on “the applicant's truthfulness in providing the required information for the posted position.”

Ianni made the Part 83 referral on Oct. 20.

Saturday, April 20, 2024

The Husband of Queens High School Superintendent Josephine Van Ess Makes a Nice Profit As a Vendor For the NYC Department of Education

The $650 suits sold by The Modern Day Man program, come in bright colors.Instagram @thenewportschool

From Betsy Combier, Editor: 

If corruption and fraud is your interest, the New York City Department of Education is a delight. 

I am always so amazed that Chancellor Banks and Mayor Adams believe that "mayoral control" means "take all the money, or as much as you want or think you can take without anyone coming after you". For the 2024 school year, that amount is about $37.5 billion. Of course, this includes making sure your friends and family get rich too.

 Just sayin...

Betsy Combier

NYC school chief’s husband is DOE vendor selling mentorship program with flashy $650 suits for kids

by Susan Edelman, NY POST, April 20, 2024

The husband of a Queens school chief is being paid tens of thousands in taxpayer dollars to provide a mentoring program for boys that includes the purchase of flashy $650 suits, The Post has learned.

The arrangement, which has the blessing of Chancellor David Banks, financially benefits Queens South High School superintendent Josephine Van Ess, and reeks of cronyism, critics say.

Ed Van Ess is married to Queens South High School Superintendent Josephine Van Ess.Facebook Ed VanEss

Edward Van Ess, the superintendent’s husband, is co-founder and co-owner of “The Modern Day Man,” a for-profit company, with business partner and fashion designer Ilbert Sanchez.

The company, which also does business as “Excellence in Every Thread,” has been hired so far by at least 10 mostly elementary and middle schools — six in the high-poverty Brooklyn district where Josephine Van Ess used to work as deputy superintendent.

It has collected $221,750 in Department of Education funds — all but $5,000 paid out in the past five months, records show. 

Van Ess and Sanchez charge schools $16,000 to lead six weekly sessions for boys meant to build self-esteem, and guide them toward personal and career success.

Optional “add-ons” include field trips costing $2,500 and $1,500 each for sessions on topics such as substance abuse and financial literacy.

The program also provides “custom” suits tailored by Sanchez’s primary business, “Garcon Couture.” 

The fitted suits — priced at $650 each — come in bright colors like purple and magenta.

“It’s unacceptable,” a Brooklyn principal said. “We have children in shelters and temporary housing who need basic necessities and everyday clothing  — not pricey pimp suits.”

The DOE refused to explain whether the schools or the students’ families pay for the suits.

Neither are “required to purchase suits to participate,” said spokeswoman Chyann Tull.

“Suit purchases are an optional service that the vendors provide.”

After The Post inquired about the program on Friday, the price list was deleted from the company website.

The City Charter requires that any full-time city employee with an ownership interest in a company doing business with the city either relinquish it or disclose it to the Conflicts of Interest Board.

Banks sent a letter to the COIB on July 10, asking the board to grant Josephine Van Ess, who makes $205,000 a year, a waiver to retain her “imputed ownership interest” in her husband’s company.  He owns 50%.

Businessman Edward Van Ess and his wife Josephine Van Ess, superintendent of Queens South high schools. [Facebook Ed Van Ess]

The Van Ess business “does not conflict with the purposes and interests of the City,” Banks told the COIB.

The chancellor also noted the company is a registered “Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise.” Mayor Adams and Banks have made the hiring of Black- and women-owned vendors a priority.

The COIB granted a waiver on July 31, but set several conditions that bar Josephine Van Ess from any involvement in her husband’s company or in any DOE discussion or decision concerning the company.

The company agreed not to “solicit or do business” with schools in Districts 27, 28, and 29, which she now oversees in southern Queens, but it “seeks to pursue and perform work for all other DOE schools,” the COIB waiver states.

Josephine Van Ess supervised six of the 10 schools that have hired her husband’s company in Brownsville’s District 23 when she worked as a deputy superintendent for nearly three years before Banks promoted her in June 2022.

She has many contacts there.

The current superintendent, Khalek Kirkland, extolled the Modern Day Man program on X this month.

Van Ess was hired by then-District 23 Superintendent Miatheresa Pate, now a chief of school support, who has come under scrutiny for running a side business selling leadership conferences, online courses and books.

Danika Rux, Bank’s deputy chancellor for leadership, also served as a District 23 deputy superintendent.

Rux was promoted in a secret deal to give her husband a DOE managerial job in exchange for dropping his work for the DOE as a vendor.

“It’s a family enterprise — the family and friends of Banks and Adams,” the Brooklyn principal charged.

Chancellor David Banks, center, endorses vendors Edward Van Ess, at left, and Ilbert Sanchezinstagram @themoderndaymannyc

Two principals in District 23 — Marica Myrie at Mott Hall IV middle school, and Arabelle Pembroke, at Riverdale Avenue Middle School — gave video “testimonials” praising “The Modern Day Man” on its website.

After The Post’s inquiries, this price list was deleted from the Modern Day Man website.

City rules forbid employees to let vendors use their NYC titles in promotional material without written permission by their agencies.

Penalties include fines of up to $25,000 per violation.

The DOE would not say whether it granted the two principals permission.

The principals did not answer questions.

The DOE had no comment on criticism of the COIB waiver, but defended The Modern Day Man.

“The vendor’s programming is built on the foundation of providing mentorship and a safe space for the young people involved, not in providing custom suits,” Tull said.

Edward and Josephine Van Ess did not return messages.