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Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Eva Moskowitz/Joel Klein E-Mail Scandal

Eva Moskowitz has both friends and enemies in New York City. One friend is definitely Joel Klein, as Juan Gonzalez of the NY Daily News revealed last week when he released the 77 pages of emails sent between Moskowitz and Klein.

Moskowitz, wife of lawyer Eric Grannis, is the golden girl of charter schools and the apple of Joel Klein's eye. At least this is what the 125 emails sent between the two (see below) show. Several years ago, however, she managed to give a $350,000 donation of City Council money to the NEST+M school located at 111 Columbia Street in Manhattan's lower East side in order to get her son accepted there. (He was, and NEST is a public school, not a charter).

Joel Klein was made a figurehead Chancellor (remember, he has no contract)by Mike Bloomberg to reform public schools in New York City. Reform how, you may ask? In my opinion, the strategy was to dumb down the curriculum in math and reading, get rid of experienced, senior teachers, and then, when public schools got so bad they had to be closed (no effort made to fix them was part of the plan), bring in charter schools to save the day. Oh, and add into the plan a new way of grading schools so that the New York City parent community would be totally confused as to which school was good or bad on a given day. This "flavor-of-the-week" pattern is most useful when obstruction of parent protests is the focus.

That's what I think.

Anyway, below is the transcript of the discussion between Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez on democracy now!

Thanks, Amy and Juan!!! Great job!


AMY GOODMAN: Juan, following up on our debate on charter schools, you had a very interesting piece in the New York Daily News today.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Yes. Well, my column in the paper today—you know, there was a hearing yesterday in Washington of the Education Committee of the House of Representatives over reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, and the Obama administration wants to double the amount of money being spent across the country on new charter schools. And my column actually dealt with one of the people who testified at that hearing yesterday, the lead person testifying at the hearing, Eva Moskowitz, who runs the Harlem Success Academies, a group of about four or five schools in Harlem.

And I’ve been fighting now for months to get the email correspondence between her and the chancellor of the New York City public school system, Joel Klein. And the Department fought me for eight months. We needed a legal ruling. Our newspaper had to appeal to the State Committee on Open Government to get a legal ruling to force them to turn over the material. They finally did. And we actually published not only an article, my column in today’s Daily News, but on our website you can actually get the entire three-year email correspondence between these two figures.

And what it shows is an enormous amount of direct support by the top person in the public school system to these charter schools, in terms of raising money for them, overruling lower-level officials who were insisting that certain policies don’t allow them to do certain things. A very close relationship between the top chancellor of the New York City school system and this very small charter network leader in Harlem.

And, of course, Harlem has become the ground zero for the battle over charter schools, because there are about twenty-five charter schools in Harlem right now. Hundreds of parents are turning out in meetings. There are battles between pro-charter parents and anti-charter parents. It’s creating enormous divisions not only in New York City but throughout the country, as the government fails to improve the public schools but urges parents to continue to go into charters. So it’s a major issue across the country, and the Obama administration, of course, is coming out on the side of more and more charters and not dealing with some of the fundamental problems for how we improve our public schools.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we’ll link to that at

Eva Moskowitz has special access to Schools Chancellor Klein - and support
others can only dream of

Juan Gonzalez, NY Daily News, February 25th 2010

Schools Chancellor Joel Klein often lauds a small group of Harlem charter schools founded by former City Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz.

But few New Yorkers are aware of the access Moskowitz has to the chancellor or the special support he has bestowed on her program, whose four schools enroll just 1,300 of the city's more than 1 million public school students.

Since Moskowitz launched her first Harlem Success Academy in August 2006, Klein has attended at least 13 events for her schools, including several fund-raisers and private meetings with her, 125 e-mails between them show.

The e-mails, obtained by the Daily News under a Freedom of Information request, provide a glimpse into the close relationship - one that would make most principals green with envy.

They show that in addition to Klein's visits, Moskowitz:

- Secured the chancellor's help last year in landing a $1 million donation from a private Los Angeles foundation.

- Got Klein to intervene on her behalf in clashes she had with his subordinates.

- Boasted to him of organizing parent "armies" to advocate for Mayor Bloomberg's educational policies - and of flooding politicians with thousands of pro-charter school postcards.

The News requested e-mails pertaining to the efforts of Harlem Success to get more space in school buildings. The space issue is contentious in many city neighborhoods, and Moskowitz may be the best-known advocate of more public space for charters.

The e-mails clearly show Moskowitz had Klein's ear on the issue, even complaining to him about his aides.

"Dilly dalling [sic] bureaucrats don't want to confront principals," she wrote in June 2008. This was after a top school official refused to allocate Harlem Success Academy 2 an additional classroom in East Harlem's Public School 7.

"I still am short rooms and zoned school is getting more space than charters," Moskowitz said. "Your people will say am sure i am wrong. What they will say is simply not true."

"I've talked to John White [the official in charge of allocating school space] who will call you," Klein wrote back.

A few days later, Moskowitz told Klein that White was not giving her the space she wanted.

"Really could use your intervention," she wrote. "We need to quickly and decisively distinguish the good guys from bad. And yes take away resources from institutions that are harming children and give to those who are truly putting children first."

Not long afterward, the problem was apparently solved. "Help on space much appreciated," Moskowitz wrote.

Asked about her e-mails, Moskowitz said it is her job to advocate for her schools.

"I don't just quietly accept what is dished out to our parents and what I believe are unfair allocations of space that hurt my schools," she said.

At one point, she told Klein city Education Department policy kept her from getting enough mailing lists of public school kids for a marketing campaign for her charters.

"We need to be able to mail 10-12 times to elementary and pre-k families" Moskowitz wrote.

Five days later, Michael Duffy, the head of Klein's charter school division, wrote her:

"The Chancellor asked me [to] give you an update on where things stand with getting mailing labels to you and other charter schools."

Duffy was trying to "overcome the obstacles" of "privacy laws," he said, to make available all the labels Moskowitz wanted.

Klein spokesman David Cantor acknowledged the Moskowitz request led to a change in policy to provide more mailing lists.

"But it didn't only have to do with Harlem Success," he said. "Several charter schools were asking to be able to send mailings to families in their districts."

In a Jan. 11, 2009, e-mail, Moskowitz outlined her plans to build an advocacy network with other charter schools.

"What you are doing is so important," Klein responded. "Your charter colleagues are miles behind."

Since August 2006, the chancellor has attended several parent meetings at Harlem Success; two lottery drawings for its applicants; two poker night fund-raisers for the network at a Manhattan W hotel; an auction at Sotheby's of artwork by Harlem Success children, and several private breakfast meetings with Moskowitz.

"Klein hasn't been to our school in more than five years," said one principal of a high-achieving Manhattan public high school. "I've never had breakfast with him."

"The chancellor meets with several principals, charter school leaders and other N.Y.C. school operators just as often or more," Cantor said.

Cantor pointed to Geoffrey Canada, who operates two acclaimed Harlem Children's Zone charter schools, and to Richard Kahan, who runs the Urban Assembly network of public schools, as examples.

A spokesman for Harlem Children's Zone said Klein had visited its schools "maybe two or three times in the past six years."

Kahan said his network, which has existed for more than a decade and operates 22 schools, has had "maybe a dozen visits" from Klein.

The e-mails also show Klein appealed to Los Angeles billionaire Eli Broad to fund Harlem Success, helping Moskowitz get $1 million from Broad's foundation.

"Can't thank you enough for your support," she wrote Klein after getting the money last year.

"We plan to open our last 3 in Harlem in august 2010 and then move to Bronx," she added. "With 27 charters in Harlem [counting other non-Harlem Success charter schools] we will have market share and will have fundamentally changed the rules of the game."

Charter schools look good under Ed Department's grading system
Thursday, December 20th 2007, 12:05 AM

City school officials Wednesday extended their controversial A-F grading system to 14 charter schools - a month after critics blasted them for exempting charters.

The problem, said city charter-school chief Michael Duffy, was that the publicly funded private schools don't have to submit the same data to the city.

"Charters by definition are independent of the district, so getting information together for them is less straightforward," Duffy said.

Parents and teachers had not taken the opinion surveys that accounted for 10% of grades at other schools.

After critics objected, officials launched a pilot program with 19 charters authorized by the city, but five of those had not been open long enough to have gradable data.

Most of the remaining 14 earned A's or B's, including two - Williamsburg Collegiate in Brooklyn and KIPP Infinity in Harlem - that earned the highest total scores in the city.

A few did poorly, including the Peninsula Preparatory Academy in Far Rockaway, Queens, which scored an F.

Comparisons are difficult because without survey results, attendance accounted for 15% of charter grades but only 5% of public school grades.

The difference upset some charter advocates.

"We thought if charters are going to be graded, let's do it by the same methodology. If not, let's wait until next year," said James Merriman of the New York City Center for Charter School Excellence.

He predicted that when all 60 city charter schools are given the option to be graded by the same criteria next year, most will participate.

"Going into this, you want to believe you should be held to the same standard as every other school out there," said Julie Trott, founding principal of Williamsburg Collegiate. "As much as we believe we're doing well and serving students as best we can, it's nice to have outside confirmation."

School officials say they wanted charter grades out before parents consider applying for next year.

"Our desire is to get information into the hands of parents," Duffy said.

Former City Council member Eva Moskowitz makin' a bundle at nonprofit schools
Juan Gonzalez - News

Friday, February 27th 2009, 12:32 AM
Ex-Council member Eva Moskowitz made $371,000 for running four charter academies, more than Chancellor Joel Klein got for running 1,400 city schools.
Costanza for News

Eva Moskowitz, the former City Council member who founded a small chain of nonprofit charter schools, is a passionate and abrasive champion of the charter school movement.

She's also making a bundle.

Moskowitz, who makes no secret of her desire to create 40 charter schools across the city and run for mayor some day, raked in $371,000 in salaries in the 2006-2007 school year from organizations connected to her four schools, tax records show.

Those schools, Harlem Success Academy 1, 2, 3 and 4, have an enrollment of about 1,000 pupils, from kindergarten to third grade.

The nonprofit organizations connected to the schools have yet to file more recent tax returns, but Moskowitz said in an interview late Thursday she received $310,000 last year - the 2007-2008 year - $250,000 in salary and $60,000 in a bonus.

That means Moskowitz, who is responsible for four schools, makes more than Chancellor Joel Klein, who gets $250,000 to run 1,400 schools.

In 2006-2007, she even surpassed John Ryan, the former chancellor of the State University of New York, who earned $340,000 to manage some 70 campuses with nearly 300,000 students.

Needless to say, she left your run-of-the-mill public school principal, with an average annual salary of $124,000, in the dust.

Tax records show in her first year of operation Moskowitz made $85,000 as executive director of Harlem Success Academy, the group that receives DOE money to operate the charter schools.

At the same time, she received $186,000 as chief executive officer of the Success Charter Network, a separate nonprofit that provides "management services" to her schools.

Finally, she received $100,000 as an "independent contractor" for Friends of Gotham Charter School, which provides support finances for Harlem Success.

All three organizations share an address and list as officers Joel Greenblatt and John Petry, the millionaire hedge fund managers who bankrolled the Success Charter Network.

Moskowitz said her unusually high pay for 2006-2007, included compensation for months of planning work from the previous year.

"Yes, I earn a good living," Moskowitz said. "I also have an enormous responsibility to try and design 40 schools that are immensely successful. If your child walks into my school, I treat them like my child."

Charter schools are free to use the money they raise from outside sources any way they see fit - even if that means huge salaries for the chief executive.

Given that Moskowitz routinely complains that the Department of Education has failed to provide a fair share of funding for her students, it's fair to ask why she's paying herself so much for educating so few. Charters get about 90% of what it costs to teach each child and raise funds for additional money.

Parents from Moskowitz's schools vehemently defend the Harlem Success Academy and say their kids are making phenomenal progress. That could very well be true, but the DOE has not posted independent test results for any of the Moskowitz schools.

Her critics, who include educators, parents, the teachers' union and Harlem political leaders, say she is a relentless self-promoter.

They say she is not shy about packing public meetings with a parent group she has organized, and then demanding that other public schools give up their space to make way for her programs.

"We had one meeting in East Harlem last year where she bused in her [students'] parents, and the situation got ugly and tense as they kept demanding space in our school," said one East Harlem community leader.

This week, more than 500 parents from the Harlem Success Academy were bused to a hearing at Public School 241 in West Harlem, a school the DOE wants to phase out and turn over to Moskowitz.

"We're unwilling to accept failure," Moskowitz said. "PS 241 has failed for years on end, and it needs to change."

Parents who send their children to 241, along with the local Community Education Council, say the DOE is violating the law by eliminating a zoned public school and replacing it with a charter.

Mike Bloomberg Is Being Investigated For a Mysterious Disappearance of $750,000

June 14, 2010
G.O.P. Consultant Accused of Stealing Campaign Money

A top Republican political consultant was accused on Monday of stealing $1.1 million from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg during the campaign last year and using part of the money to buy a house.

The consultant, John F. Haggerty Jr., 41, lied to Mr. Bloomberg and other aides by saying that he would spend the mayor’s money, which was funneled through the state Independence Party, on Election Day ballot security and poll watching last November, said Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the Manhattan district attorney.

But Mr. Haggerty, who set up a company, Special Election Operations L.L.C., to execute the Election Day plan, spent $32,000, Mr. Vance charged, and kept about $750,000 for himself. The balance of the money, $450,000, went to the Independence Party.

About $600,000, Mr. Vance said, went toward Mr. Haggerty’s purchase of his childhood home in Forest Hills Gardens, Queens. Mr. Haggerty even wrote out bogus checks from Special Election Operations, Mr. Vance charged, in an effort to cover up the crime.

“The defendant’s fraud was an audacious scheme to steal funds in order to buy a house, cynically misusing our political party process to hide what is common thievery,” Mr. Vance said at a news conference.

Of the five counts listed in the indictment — first-degree grand larceny, second-degree money laundering and three counts of falsifying business records — the first is the most serious and carries a maximum punishment of 25 years in prison. But election lawyers say that if convicted, Mr. Haggerty would most likely face a few months.

Mr. Vance also filed a civil forfeiture action against Mr. Haggerty and his company, seeking the seizure of Mr. Haggerty’s house.

The indictment culminates a politically sensitive investigation by Mr. Vance. Before the indictment, there was buzz in the political world about the unusual way that the mayor’s campaign directed the payment, using personal checks from Mr. Bloomberg rather than the campaign’s official account.

Some lawyers and political analysts say the case could prove embarrassing to the mayor, in shining an unwelcome spotlight on one of his least favorite topics: how he spends his own money.

“The mayor filed a statement with the Board of Elections that he would only make campaign expenditures through his campaign committee,” said one lawyer familiar with the case who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the investigation. “But what might have happened here is instead of doing that, he gave personal funds to political parties to make political expenditures for him, and that could be stretching the rules.”

Mr. Vance emphasized that his office had found “no criminal misconduct” on the part of the mayor or his campaign.

But he added that a grand jury was reviewing evidence, and suggested that such evidence might pertain to the Independence Party. A lawyer for the party, under order from a judge, is expected to testify on Thursday before a grand jury.

When Mr. Vance was asked on Monday if the Independence Party was cooperating, he said flatly, “No.”

Asked how the mayor’s sophisticated campaign team might have been a victim of fraud, Mr. Vance hinted at the close relationship between the campaign and Mr. Haggerty, a longtime Republican activist who has worked for George E. Pataki and Jeanine F. Pirro, among other officials and candidates.

“They trusted him,” Mr. Vance said.

Mr. Haggerty pleaded not guilty Monday at his arraignment before a State Supreme Court judge, Larry R. Stephen. A lawyer representing him, Raymond R. Castello, pleaded not guilty on behalf of Special Election Operations.

Mr. Haggerty was released on his own recognizance. After the hearing, Mr. Castello told reporters that the investigation began as an inquiry into the possibility that money had been spent illegally by Mr. Haggerty.

“The indictment doesn’t show any money being spent illegally,” he said, adding that Mr. Haggerty had spent “hundreds of hours” working on ballot security issues.

Mr. Castello added: “He didn’t believe he was doing anything illegal. Mr. Haggerty has cooperated fully with the district attorney.”

Mr. Haggerty is now working on Carl Paladino’s campaign for governor.

Mr. Paladino’s campaign manager, Michael Caputo, said Mr. Haggerty would remain on the team, calling him “a loyal and straightforward man of character.”

John Eligon and Isolde Raftery contributed reporting.

From Betsy Combier:

When Mike Bloomberg won the election as Mayor of New York City, and he said to the public that he would take $1 as his salary, we all said that he was so rich, he did not take bribes...he gave them.

Looks like some major media - like below, the NY Post - are trickling out information on how true that assumption really was.

Remember Billy Thompson's laid-back run for Mayor in the past election? There was alot of talk about his wife's Museum getting funded by Bloomberg and his efforts to be elected being compromised.

Another would-be candidate, we were told, newly married Anthony Weiner withdrew from the race for mayor and his wife is working for Mayor Bloomberg.

I'm happy for Mike that he has so much money, but he must tell us what he is doing with it BEFORE it's too late to do something about it.

my two cents.


Mayor Bloomberg's money was able to buy silence concerning possible election miscues
Adam Lisberg, NY Daily News, February 28th 2010, 4:00 AM

Mayor Bloomberg's money was able to buy more than just consultants, polls and advertising in his reelection campaign last year: It was able to buy silence.

The mysterious $750,000 shell company that ran his Election Day poll-watching operation was paid by the state Independence Party, using $1.2 million Bloomberg gave from his own pocket.

Not a penny of it was disclosed until January. All the headlines about how operative John Haggerty can't account for the $750,000 came out after the election was over.

Separately, a coalition of real estate interests also gave $750,000 to the state Independence Party to support City Council candidates.

None of that was disclosed at the time, either, back when voters could have seen which landlords were dropping $45,000 apiece on those candidates - and could have voted accordingly.

A year earlier, Bloomberg dropped another $1.2 million on the Independence Party just as he was pushing to extend term limits with a professional-grade operation that never explained how it was funded.

All those donations went to an Independence Party account that reports its doings only in January and July - and is only supposed to be used for "ordinary activities," not "promoting the candidacy of specific candidates."

The law is flimsy, though, and Bloomberg and party officials believe it was porous enough to soak up the cash without penalty.

Critics say they broke the law, but since the donations were reported to the notoriously toothless State Board of Elections, don't expect a robust probe to find out who's right.

The city's own Campaign Finance Board, by contrast, runs one of the nation's most rigorous monitoring programs for political spending. It audits campaigns, asks for supporting documents and holds candidates to account.

The CFB does it because most city candidates - Mayor Bloomberg not among them - run for office with tax dollars. In exchange for taking public money, candidates forswear big bucks from special interests and agree to intensive monitoring.

Still, clever candidates always find loopholes. The CFB plugged one last year after Bloomberg's challenger, William Thompson, complained that the mayor's personal donations were buying him support without any disclosure.

The CFB agreed. Starting this year, all candidates must report any cash they give from their own pockets to a party.

The board also wants to force outside groups to report their independent spending on city campaigns, so New York voters will have a full picture of who's backing whom before casting ballots.

"There's a gap in disclosure of political activity at the city level," CFB spokesman Eric Friedman said of the board's proposal, which it hopes to enact this year.

"When outside parties go out and spend money on behalf of a candidate," he said, "they're going to disclose which candidate they're supporting, and they're going to disclose where the money comes from."

For New Yorkers who want to know that, it would have been a helpful law during last year's campaign - and during the push to extend term limits a year earlier.

As the law stands now, though, a smart candidate can buy influence - and silence.

'Phantom' firm got $$ in re-elex
Last Updated: 10:35 AM, January 29, 2010

A $750,000 payment from Mayor Bloomberg's campaign was delivered to a mysterious Albany company that wasn't even created until one month after the November elections, The Post has learned.

In an unusual transaction, Bloomberg's campaign last month sent a $1.2 million check to the state Independence Party -- and the party in turn transferred $750,000 to a previously unknown firm called Special Election Operations. The Independence Party appears to have kept the remaining $450,000.

Special Election Operations has no Web site, isn't found in any Internet or database searches, and was incorporated with the state on Dec. 3, about a month after Bloomberg won re-election as an independent.

The address listed for the outfit, 121 State St. in Albany, is the same as a lobbying firm, Capitol Public Strategies, that is run by many former aides to former Gov. George Pataki.

A partner in the lobbying firm, Ryan Moses, a former state Republican Party executive director who answered the door when a Post reporter visited the address, said he had never heard of Special Election Operations and insisted it wasn't located at that address.

But an hour later, he called The Post to say he had been mistaken. "I didn't recognize the name," he said.

Bradley Tusk, the mayor's campaign manager, said two well-known and politically connected Albany lawyers, Jeff Buley and Mike Avella, were behind Special Election Operations.

Both worked in the mayor's campaign -- but each told The Post that they had no connection to the company and had never heard of it. Neither Buley nor Avella has an office at 121 State St.; both have offices elsewhere in Albany.

On paperwork filed with the state, the organizer of Special Election Operations was listed as Joseph Lipari, a tax lawyer with the firm of Roberts & Holland in Midtown Manhattan. He didn't return numerous calls. As a limited-liability company, no other company officials had to be identified on the paperwork.

Bloomberg's $1.2 million payment went into the Independence Party's housekeeping account, which can only be used for office expenses and party-building purposes -- and not to benefit a single candidate.

So if whatever work Special Election Operations did was strictly for Bloomberg and not all party candidates, it would violate state election law.

Sources said it could also violate the city's campaign-finance rules, since it would be considered an in-kind contribution that wasn't reported.

Independence Party Chairman Frank MacKay accepted "full responsibility" for hiring Special Election Operations but said he had no idea who cashed his party's check for $750,000.

MacKay claimed a consultant whose name he couldn't recall referred him to the company, whose principals he didn't know and couldn't name.

Howard Wolfson, the mayor's campaign spokesman and soon-to-be special counsel, said Bloomberg's contribution was intended to support the Independence Party's "field and Election Day operations around the state -- canvassing, turnout reports, machine checks."

But MacKay told The Post the party's election operation was only citywide.

Asked about the contradiction, Wolfson responded in an e-mail, "I'm not going to speculate on conversations you may have had with Chairman MacKay."

Wolfson repeatedly ignored requests since last week for the names of the people behind Special Election Operations.

Bloomberg has had a long and cozy relationship with the state Independence Party, to which he contributed $1.35 million in 2008 to boost Republicans running for state Senate.

Records show Bloomberg sent $600,000 to the party on Oct. 30 and another $600,000 on Nov. 2, a day before the election.

Wolfson said the party then hired a "specialist for human-resources activities since they weren't going to go out and hire each worker one by one and do all the paperwork that came with it."

Mike mystery money went to key elex aide
By DAVID SEIFMAN City Hall Bureau Chief, January 30, 2010

A $750,000 personal campaign contribution that Mayor Bloomberg channeled through the state Independence Party during last year's mayoral election landed in the hands of a top aide, The Post has learned.

The aide, John Haggerty Jr., served as a Bloomberg "volunteer involved in some of the activities" of Special Election Operations LLC, a hastily formed company that hired 200 to 300 workers to do poll watching on Election Day, according to Ken Gross, counsel to the campaign.

But the company didn't register with the state Secretary of State's Office until Dec. 3 -- a full month after the election.

Haggerty was also the recipient of a separate, eye-popping $120,000 personal contribution from the mayor on Nov. 20, which went to a political committee he had formed a month earlier and registered at his home in Forest Hills, Queens.

Until yesterday, mayoral aides and party officials had refused for a week to say who was behind Special Election Operations.

Frank MacKay, the Independence Party chairman, went so far as to claim that not only didn't he know, but that he couldn't recall the name of the consultant who supposedly recommended he hire the firm.

Special Election Operations listed an address in Albany that's the same as that of Capitol Public Strategies, a lobbying firm operated by aides to former Gov. George Pataki.
INTRIGUE: This lobbying firm is at the Albany address listed for the murky "Special Election Operations."

David Catalfamo, one of the partners in the lobbying firm, said he gave permission for the address to be used on Special Election Operation's incorporation papers, but that was the end of any connection to the company. Some members of the lobbying firm are close with Haggerty.

Although Haggerty worked in the mayor's re-election campaign along with his brother, Bart, Haggerty didn't get paid.

Sources said John Haggerty was instrumental in helping Bloomberg land the Republican ballot line in the face of strong initial opposition from some GOP leaders and that the mayor considers him a trusted adviser.

"There are two people that can get the mayor's ear anytime they want -- [Deputy Mayor] Kevin Sheekey and John Haggerty," said one source.

Leaders of the city Independence Party -- which has been feuding with MacKay for years -- suggested the entire set-up might be "corrupt."

"We have nothing to do with MacKay and Company and we're not the least bit surprised that what they're doing looks fishy, perhaps even corrupt," said Jacqueline Salit, a spokeswoman for the city party and a Bloomberg ally.

One veteran GOP consultant said he believed Special Election Operations was designed to dispense "street money" -- cash that's spread around on Election Day to volunteers and for such incidentals as lunch.

But Howard Wolfson, the mayor's campaign spokesman, insisted the $750,000 -- part of a $1.2 million personal contribution Bloomberg made to the state Independence Party right before the election -- didn't go for that purpose.

"The [Independence Party] made the same Election Day expenses that all party committees make every election for Election Day workers," he said in an e-mail.

"Because the IP does not have the infrastructure to handle this kind of activity in-house, it used Special Election Operations to handle the payroll payments to all these individuals."

Gross said he couldn't immediately provide a list of those workers, saying that was the responsibility of the state Independence Party. Haggerty didn't return repeated phone calls.

Bloomberg's $750K payment for election may have funded purchase of Queens home
Adam Lisberg, NY Daily News, February 14th 2010

When Mayor Bloomberg funneled $750,000 to a longtime Queens ally last fall, he thought he was buying a citywide poll watching operation.

He may have paid for a house in Forest Hills Gardens, too.

The house was the childhood home of John Haggerty Jr., the Republican operative who has claimed he was working as a volunteer on Bloomberg's third-term campaign.

Haggerty has ducked calls to explain how he spent the $750,000 payment, which went into his newly formed "Special Election Operations LLC."

The money was channeled through the state Independence Party, which got $1.2 million from Bloomberg's pocket right before Election Day.

Sources inside and outside the Bloomberg campaign say it was supposed to buy an extensive Election Day operation, with up to 300 workers paid $500 each to make sure there was no funny business at poll sites.

That only adds up to $150,000, though. One source says the Independence Party can't account for $300,000 to $400,000 of the rest of the money - and has drawn up legal papers against Haggerty to locate the rest.

"It's just infuriating," the source said. "Haggerty probably made money throughout the campaign one way or another."

Special Election Operations got its $750,000 on Dec. 11.(see financial report)

Six days later, Haggerty bought out his brother Bart's share of the family home - paying $1.6 million to the estate of their late father, records show.

It's unclear how much of the purchase was in cash, but Haggerty apparently did not take out a mortgage. The next month, records show, Bart had enough money to buy a $619,000 apartment in Forest Hills - again, apparently without a mortgage.

So where did the Haggerty brothers get that cash? After all, it had been almost a year and a half since their father, a respected longtime lawyer in Albany, passed away.

In his will, he split most of his estate between the brothers - though he gave an extra $30,000 to Bart "due to the extra care, support and effort he expended on my behalf."

Haggerty had another potential pot of Bloomberg cash to tap as well: The mayor gave $120,000 on Nov. 20 to a new political committee Haggerty set up, the 28th Assembly District Republican Committee.

He did not respond to messages left at the house last week, or at the Rego Park office he rents for political operations. Bart did not respond to an e-mail.

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. has issued subpoenas in the case, which may deter them from talking even if Haggerty has done nothing wrong.

Bloomberg campaign officials have generally defended Haggerty, who ran Election Day operations for the mayor's 2001 and 2005 campaigns through the Republican Party.

They say he put together an extensive operation in November that could well have cost $750,000. Campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson said the campaign offered to pay Haggerty a salary or bonus, but he declined - which he would have been unlikely to do if he really needed money.

"The suggestion is unfair," Wolfson said. "If he was interested in money, he didn't demonstrate that during the campaign."

Bloomberg Meets With G.O.P. Chairs, Leaves Fast
By Azi Paybarah, New York Observer, February 25, 2009

Michael Bloomberg met with the five county Republican leaders this morning to seek approval to run in their party's primary, then left after a brief exchange with reporters.

That job was, for the most part, left to Bloomberg campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson, who said that although the mayor would like to run on the Republican line, his administration would continue to "govern" in a nonpartisan manner.

Here's what the mayor said before he left: "It was a nice meeting. These are five county leaders and we talked about the economy, the economy of the country, the economy of New York City in particular. We talked about elections and politics obviously, and I said the last two times I ran, I ran on the Republican line and I’d be honored to run again. We’ll see what they decide to do. But it was a nice meeting, a constructive meeting and most of the politics we discussed were not actually politics of New York City. We just talked about national politics and how we all hope that President Obama will be a good president, and this is not a partisan thing on a national level. We have a new president and it’s time for everyone to pull together and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Then, pointing to me, he said, “And you got a haircut.”

Then he excused himself, saying that he was late for a meeting.

Since Bloomberg is not a member of any party--he dropped his Republican registration around the time top aide Kevin Sheekey was pumping up speculation about a presidential run--he will need approval from three of five county leaders to make it onto a primary ballot.

Bloomberg's meeting with the chairmen at the Metropolitan Republican Club on East 83rd Street lasted more than an hour.

He had walked in with a gaggle of aides including Republicans Matt Mahoney and John Haggerty. Haggerty worked on Bloomberg's 2005 campaign when the Queens Republicans were split between Bloomberg and a former Republican city councilman Tom Ognibene. Haggerty has also waged an intense war with the leadership of the Queens Republican Party, which is now led by Phil Ragusa. Ragusa has said he'd back the mayor if Bloomberg rejoined the Republican Party.

While waiting with reporters on the sidewalk, Wolfson was chided for uncharacteristically wearing a tie. More than once, reporters joked to Wolfson that the meeting was taking too long, with one TV reporter asking Wolfson, "How long does it take to write a check?"

Reporters laughed and Wolfson grinned before saying that "it takes a long time" to talk about the mayor's record of accomplishments.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

EVENT: End Workplace Harassment and Bullying, or Mobbing

Many people understand that there is a national terrorist organization inside the American workplace right now. This organization has as it's leaders people who harass and bully those under them to get what they want, or encourage those people underneath them to use such tactics to gain leverage.

This is wrong, and a temporary means to an end.

There is a name for this, "workplace mobbing", or "bullying", but the actions taken, and the consequences of these acts, are so diverse, inhumane, and serious, that no words can describe them. Yet I will continue to try.

Betsy Combier

Mobbing as human bullying behaviour

Mobbing in the context of human beings either means bullying of an individual by a group in any context, or specifically any workplace bullying.

Though the English word mob denotes a crowd, often in a destructive or hostile mood, German, Polish, Italian and several other European languages have adopted mobbing as a loanword to describe all forms of bullying including that by single persons. The resultant German verb mobben can also be used for physical attacks, calumny against teachers on the internet and intimidation by superiors, with an emphasis on the victims' continuous fear rather than the perpetrators' will to exclude them. The word may thus be a false friend in translation back into English, where mobbing in its primary sense denotes a disorderly gathering by a crowd and in workplace psychology narrowly refers to "ganging up" by others to harass and intimidate an individual.

Research into the phenomenon was pioneered in the 1980s by German-born Swedish scientist Heinz Leymann, who borrowed the term from animal behaviour due to it describing perfectly how a group can attack an individual based only on the negative covert communications from the group".

Mobbing is also found in school systems and this too was discovered by Dr. Heinz Leymann. Although he preferred the term bullying in the context of school children, some have come to regard mobbing as a form of group bullying. As professor and practising psychologist, Dr. Leymann also noted one of the side-effects of Mobbing is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and is frequently misdiagnosed. After making this discovery he successfully treated thousands of mobbing victims at his clinic in Sweden.

In the book MOBBING: Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace, the authors say that mobbing is typically found in work environments that have poorly organized production and/or working methods and incapable or inattentive management and that mobbing victims are usually "exceptional individuals who demonstrated intelligence, competence, creativity, integrity, accomplishment and dedication".[4]

UK Anti-bully pioneers Andrea Adams and Tim Field used the expression workplace bullying instead of what Leymann called "mobbing" although workplace bullying nearly always involves mobbing in its other meaning of group bullying.

From the Mobbing-U.S.A. website:


* EMOTIONAL ABUSE in the workplace.
* "Ganging up" by co-workers, subordinates or superiors, to force someone out of the workplace through rumor, innuendo, intimidation, humiliation, discrediting, and isolation.
* Malicious, nonsexual, nonracial, general harassment.

Other expressions for MOBBING are:

* Bullying
* Psychological terror or aggression
* Hostile behaviors at work
* Workplace trauma
* Incivility
* Emotional violence

We consider MOBBING an emotional injury that impacts a target's mental and physical health. MOBBING is a workplace safety and health issue.

Public Hearing! Speak Out & Act Now To Help Stop Abusive Bosses
February 27, 2010 — bullyinworkplace

Connecticut Public Hearing

“Bullying in the workplace makes it miserable for people to go to work. It causes stress-related physical problems. It causes emotional distress that could be disastrous. Bullying is everywhere and we need to stop it.”

- Senator Edith Prague, Co-Chair, Joint Committee on Labor and Public Employees

State Senator Edith Prague has re-introduced legislation [House Bill 5285] that would require the state to document Workplace Violence & Bullying experienced by public employees. The Labor and Public Employees Committee will hold a public hearing on this bill on Tuesday, March 2nd at 2PM in Hearing Room 1E of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

Like many other states, Connecticut responded to the rash of workplace homicides in the 90’s. In 1999 then Governor Rowland enacted an Executive Order which included: any employee who feels subjected to or witnesses violent, threatening, harassing, or intimidating behavior in the workplace immediately report the incident or statement to their supervisor, manager,or human resources office.

The 2007 Procedure Manual on Violence in the Workplace issued by Governor Rell’s office quotes the FBI indicators of Workplace Violence and includes: intimidation, belligerent, bullying or other inappropriate behavior directed at others

As the tragic Yale murder reminds us all it’s time for preventions already in place to be strengthened and enforced.

You Don’t Have To Be From Connecticut To Support This Legislation

Call or Email Governor Jodi Rell and let her know that you support 5285 and want legislation already on the books enforced and strengthened to stop psychological harassment, domestic violence in the workplace and all other types of Workplace Violence.

To Testify In Person

"For those persons wishing to testify, we ask that they sign up at noon in Room 3800 (Labor Committee office). We also need 50 copies of written testimony, to be submitted at the time of sign-up.” – Senator Prague’s office

[Sneak Peek] No Job Is Worth Losing The Precious Gift Of Life
February 10, 2010 — bullyinworkplace

“She just kept badgering her and backing her into a corner
and my sister just felt helpless”
YouTube Video

Highest Workplace Suicide Rate: “No Jodies Should Die”

The year that Jodie died marked the highest number of workplace suicides ever reported by the fatality census [USDOL Report] . A jump of nearly 30% over the year before and soon to be released numbers are expected to be even higher.

Unfortunately even the USDOL admits numerous incidents aren’t reported since their data does not reflect incidents that happened at home instead of on the jobsite. Their figures show the most vulnerable groups are males (94%), aged 45-54 (36%), and white (78%). [see stats]

If you or someone you know has thoughts of suicide seek help immediately and contact your local crisis line or counseling center. Information and resources can also be found at: / American Foundation for Suicide Prevention / National Institute of Mental Health / Unsuicide Blogwith resource links - Suicide Prevention, Awareness, and Support Prevention, Awareness, and Support
Posted in Workplace Bullycide.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Joel Shatzky on "Co-Locating" Charter Schools Within NYC BOE Public Schools

February 26, 2010
Joel Shatzky, Huffington Post

Educating for Democracy: Charter and District School Parents Unite at Rally

At a rally held on the steps of City Hall on February 22, Lenore Brown, a Parent Advocate at Cypress Hills Public School and a member of the New York Coalition for Educational Justice, joined with Mona Davids, President of New York Charter Parents, in a united front against what they feel are the divisive educational policies of the Bloomberg Administration. The criticism centered on the way in which the Department of Education "co-locates" charter schools in a building with district schools.

Among speakers that demanded more accountability from Chancellor Klein were Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Councilman and Chair of the Education Committee Robert Jackson, and Councilwoman Melissa Mark Deverito.

Lenore Brown.

Concerns were expressed for what Davids described as "educational apartheid" in pitting parents of neighborhood children against each other for space for their children's education. Disturbing stories were told by parents of the negative results of "co-locations" that deprived young learners of needed class space. At High Ridge High School, they said, the school library has been closed for two years. At one elementary school, they said, 72 classrooms would be needed to accommodate children while the school only contains 55. The overall message conveyed in a chant at the rally was clear: "We need the truth!"

Since the charter school movement has been getting considerable attention these days from adherents and critics, I believe it's important to hear the voices of charter school parents themselves. The following interviews are of parents who believe in charter schools as a "choice" for their children to get a better education. But they now have serious questions about the way in which the schools their children attend are being administered.

Mona Davids, founder and president of the New York Charter Parents Association, is both a supporter and critic of charter schools. With an 11-year-old daughter in a charter school, she has had experience as a parent leader in a public school from which her daughter graduated. The same daughter now attends a new charter school in the same building. Davids, who was featured in the NY Post, Gotham Schools and Center for Education Reform as the charter parent advocate fighting for public school choice in New York City, was instrumental in the effort to co-locate the charter in her daughter's public school building. Were it not for Davids' campaign, the under-utilized public school building would not have been sited to house Equality Charter School. However, Davids, a strong supporter of charter schools, is alarmed at the lack of accountability and transparency in charters and the divisiveness of the charter movement in New York City.

Among her concerns and suggestions and those of other charter school parents I interviewed are the following:

1. That the charter schools which are only located in minority neighborhoods are pitting blacks against other blacks. The perception of district school parents is that charter schools in the same building as theirs are taking space and other resources away from them.

2. That the use of testing divides students into those who "fail or thrive"; and that many charter schools are pushing out low-performing, special Ed and ELL (English Language Learner) students. The money appropriated for their education is not following the students because these funds are left in the charter schools' budget for the school year. This creates a financial burden on the district schools receiving the expelled and "counseled out" charter students, creating more animosity towards charter parents.

3. Charters need more oversight and accountability in addition to test scores. An example of what happens without strict oversight is a charter which expelled 48 students prior to the state tests to ensure that the school received high test scores. Parents complained but the NYC Department of Education initially ignored them.

4. Most charters refuse to make their charter and by-laws available to parents and, when forced to, charge parents $.25 per page for hundreds of pages of documents. Many parents, therefore, cannot afford to buy a copy of their school's charter and by-laws, which should really be made available to all parents by posting it on their website.

5. The use of strict and indiscriminate behavior modification techniques at some charter schools in molding the students. Their devastating effects on children's psyches must be addressed and changed.

6. The lack of Parent Associations independent of the charter board of directors also needs to be addressed. Parents are presently not viewed as stakeholders and only useful when needed to advocate for more funding.

I would like to stress again that these parents are supporters of charter schools and would like there to be more of them, but not until the issues regarding accountability, transparency, parents' rights, and students' rights are addressed. These parents want charter school reform. They want the state legislature to amend the charter school act to increase accountability and transparency in charters.

Davids cites as an example of a charter school that went very wrong: East New York Prep. Its principal, Sheila Joseph, has been recently put on a two-year probation, and the charter school is scheduled to be closed in June. In one year there was a 100% turnover in the staff at the school. As already mentioned, 48 students were expelled late in 2008 just before a new set of standardized tests were to be administered. According to a DOE report cited in Gotham News (January 26, 2010), Joseph has made a $5,500 payment to a new member of her board that happens to be her son's father. She did not file a revision of the school charter in order to become school superintendant at a salary increase of $60,000.

Yet, in a DOE evaluation of East New York Prep for 2008-2009, the first item mentioned is "the excellent leadership of the principal, who has a clear vision [and] is starting to create a dynamic school." And, true to the DOE's data-driven evaluation of success, one of the criticisms was that the school needed to "improve the use of data to better analyze the performance of different groups of students. ..." If the DOE could miss the serious problems mentioned, what standards are they looking for to consider a school a "success?"

Several of my informants, all but one with children in charter schools, have expressed other concerns. An education organizer reported that when she canvassed parents in her area of the Bronx that the local school was going to be closed, most of the parents had no idea that their children were going to lose their school. Their "new" school was to contain a charter school and the parents were worried about how space would be shared with the children's public school.

(For those who feel that the "lotteries" conducted are a fair way to place children in charter schools, it should be noted that this can be a self-selecting process, especially since in areas where there are many non-native English speakers, even the significance of a lottery might be missed.)

According to a New York Post article, one of my sources, Mariama Sanoh, declared."They're saying they [the charter schools] don't have the resources to deal with kids with [a] disability. Instead of helping me, they're trying to push him out to a real public school that will give him what he needs."

In an e-mail to the Post, Principal Julie Johnson blamed the high attrition rate largely on the school's mobility. The academy has moved or been slated to move into four buildings in less than four years. She called allegations that the school wasn't serving special-education students, who make up 15 percent of the school's population, "inaccurate."

"We are proud of our service to our special-education students," she wrote, adding that "the parents decide whether to move the students [out of the school] or not."

But Sanoh has a different story. Her child is presently being "counseled" to leave the school. In the meantime, Sanoh has gone thousands of dollars out of pocket to try to get a proper diagnosis of her child's disabilities through private services. As she herself says of this school:

[My child's school] has lost a vast amount of students this school year alone, including those that have special needs. Charter schools are kicking these children out as early as November once they have received the funding for them. They are forcing these students back into district schools, which are 'real public schools,' knowing that they service all children regardless of their needs. So why do these charter schools continue to accept public money when they are not 'true public schools'? Public money deserves public accountability!

In a recent study of the performance of charter schools that seemed favorable in comparison to public schools in terms of performance on standardized tests, it was noted that charter schools have considerably fewer high-needs and English-language learners than those in public schools. The average charter school population has only one quarter as many students who lack English proficiency compared to public schools: 4% compared to 15% and had less than 10% special education students compared to 16.4% in public schools. (Daily News, 10/29/09)

Among the demands that were made by the parents at the Charter School Lobby Day in Albany on February 2 were that the charter school law must be changed to require more accountability and transparency in financial matters; that the special education programs be retained and strengthened, and that those teachers who stand up for students who are being mistreated be protected against arbitrary firing. Other demands include: equal per pupil funding and a lifting of a cap on charter schools; an independent Parents Association; a formal complaint and grievance process for parents; a better process in citing charter schools in public school buildings to avoid the friction that is "ripping apart communities"; the maintenance of ELL and Special Ed students, no longer expelling or counseling them to leave the school; state receivership, prohibition of for-profit charter management organizations; and that the NYC DOE no longer be an authorizer of new charter schools -- the Board of Regents should, exclusively.

When asked to comment, a spokesperson for Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, Peter Cunningham, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Outreach, said: "Mr. Duncan supports good charter schools and not bad ones. We want the same accountability for all schools."

The parents of charter school children feel that these schools should be available to anyone who wants their children to go there, but they believe that many serious problems must be addressed if they are to have confidence that their children are getting the best education they deserve. All parents want the best education for their children and if the district schools were not failing, there would no need for charters. Until the district schools are sufficiently improved and no longer undermined and set up to fail, parents will continue to flock to charters.

I would only wish to add that the purpose of this article is not a blanket condemnation of charter schools in New York City but to raise questions about how wide-spread these concerns are before a great many more of the schools are established as a "solution" to the problems of public education in this city. One can hope that with the uniting of charter school parents with district school parents the hopes of such advocates as councilwoman Mark Deverito can be realized: "All schools need the opportunity to be great."

Lenore Brown has been an outspoken advocate for many years, too!! (grandmother of eight)

Parents storm Dept. of Education offices in rage over 8th-grade policy
BY Carrie Melago, DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER, Friday, March 14th 2008, 12:08 AM

Read more: Parents and activists furious over a tougher eighth-grade promotion policy stormed Department of Education headquarters Thursday, demanding a meeting with Schools Chancellor Joel Klein before Monday's vote on the plan.

About 50 members of the Coalition for Educational Justice rushed the front door of education headquarters and chanted "Let us in!" and "We want Klein!"

The protestors wanted Klein to postpone the vote on the proposal, which holds back eighth-graders for failing one of four courses or flunking standardized math or reading tests.

For weeks, the group has demanded that the Panel for Educational Policy reject the proposal unless officials first adopt a plan to improve middle grades.

Thursday, they marched up the steps of Tweed Courthouse and demanded to speak with Klein.

"He's the decision-maker, but when it comes to meeting with the chancellor directly, he won't meet with us," said Lenore Brown of Brooklyn, who has eight grandchildren in public schools.

Security guards kept the crowd at bay while leaders negotiated with Ed Department officials. Four protesters were allowed inside to discuss their concerns but left when they were told Klein wasn't available.

Education officials say they are developing a "middle grade success plan" for the coming school year, and staff members have held regular meetings with the opponents of the policy.

"We have met many times with CEJ and will continue to," said the chancellor's press secretary, David Cantor.

Mayor Bloomberg has said the proposed policy is a way to ensure students are better prepared for the rigors of high school and continues his fight against social promotion.

Only 1,300 out of 77,000 eighth-graders were held back last year, but nearly 18,000 would be in danger of failing under the new proposal.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The NYC BOE Perp Talk

I'm announcing the start of a new series:

Criminals at the New York City Board of Education

I'll put the series on the right of this blog, and use the headline "The NYC BOE Perp Talk" which is obviously a take-off on the police term "Perp Walk". Wikipedia defines perp walk as: an American slang term which refers to the police practice of intentionally parading an arrested suspect (or "perp", short for "perpetrator") through a public place so that the media may observe and record the event. The suspect is typically handcuffed or otherwise restrained, and is often dressed in prison garb.

The NYC Perp Talk will be more damaging, because I will post the person's name and information on this blog and my website where it will be forever preserved in cyberspace.

In this series, I will post any indictment by an 'official' agency - such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation - of an employee of the New York City Board of Education (see below). I do not accept rumors, allegations, or other such hearsay, but I'll take anything that you've got and investigate.

Once proof is given of wrong-doing beyond a shadow of doubt (my shadow of doubt, because I can), the person's name will be posted as well as all of his/her acts that were illegal, unreasonable, or simply wrong. This way, all readers will know where to find the miscreants.

So, start the drums!

My first inductee into this Hall of Shame is, of course, Joel Klein. While he has not been found guilty of fraud, bribery, extortion, and the like....yet, we do believe that the day may come when he makes a perp walk out of the doors of Tweed with his coat hiding his face and his hands in handcuffs. So, all we will add to his entry into this illustrous crowd is the article I have named "Kleingate".

Another inductee is MILTON SMITH, recently indicted for extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion, conspiracy to commit bribery, and bribery. Now you know why the bus routes were changed on January 29, 2007, the coldest day of the year.

Department of Justice Press Release

For Immediate Release
February 11, 2010 United States Attorney's Office
Southern District of New York
Contact: (212) 637-2600

Former NYC Department of Education Inspector Sentenced in Manhattan Federal Court to 15 Months in Prison for Extortion and Bribery

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that former New York City Department of Education ("DOE") inspector MILTON SMITH was sentenced today to 15 months in prison. SMITH was found guilty following a one-week jury trial before United States District Judge BARBARA S. JONES on February 27, 2009, of conspiracy to commit extortion, conspiracy to commit bribery, and bribery.

According to the Indictment and the evidence at trial:

SMITH worked as an inspector in the DOE Office of Pupil Transportation ("OPT"). OPT sets the specifications for bus routes; oversees the process by which private bus companies bid for and obtain certain bus routes; processes requests from bus companies to have certain routes classified as "extended" (and hence subject to larger contract payments) because they begin earlier or run later than standard DOE bus times, including midday and field trip routes; and conducts safety and mechanical inspections of school buses. SMITH was specifically assigned to the OPT division responsible for providing bus and other transportation services to special education students.

From approximately 2000 to 2004, SMITH solicited and accepted tens of thousands of dollars in cash payments from various private bus company owners who held transportation contracts with DOE. In exchange, SMITH funneled field trip bus routes -- worth hundreds of thousands of dollars -- to certain bus companies. At times, SMITH fabricated certain bus routes that were neither needed by DOE nor performed by the bus companies, and assigned those trips to the bus companies who paid him. SMITH also took payments in exchange for overlooking certain safety and mechanical violations in connection with routine DOE bus inspections.

SMITH, 56, of Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania, was found guilty of all charges against him: one count of conspiring to use his official position at DOE to extort bus company owners; one count of using his official position at DOE to extort bus company owners; one count of conspiring to receive bribes to influence his actions as an employee of an agency, the DOE, that received federal program funding; and one count of receiving bribes to influence his actions as an employee of the DOE that receives federal program funding.

In addition to the prison term, Judge JONES sentenced SMITH to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution in the amount of $21,500.

SMITH is the seventh and final defendant who is a current or former DOE supervisor or inspector to plead or be found guilty in this case. On February 17, 2009, GEORGE ORTIZ, 64, of Bronx, New York, pleaded guilty to extortion and bribery charges and was sentenced to 30 months in prison. On February 6, 2009, NEIL CREMIN, 61, of Queens, New York, and IRA SOKOL, 70, of Brooklyn, New York, pleaded guilty to bribery charges. CREMIN was sentenced to four months in prison and SOKOL was sentenced to three years probation. On April 8, 2008, JEFFREY DUNAT, 53, of Staten Island, New York, pleaded guilty to extortion and bribery charges. On April 23, 2008, DORON WINKLER, 58, of Pomona, New York, pleaded guilty to extortion and bribery charges. On April 25, 2008, GEOFFREY BERGER, 58, of the Bronx, New York, pleaded guilty to extortion and bribery charges. DUNAT, WINKLER, and BERGER have not yet been sentenced.

Mr. BHARARA praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General and Office of Labor-Management Standards, the New York City Police Department, and the Special Commissioner of Investigation for the New York City School District.

This case is being prosecuted by the Office's Organized Crime Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys ELIE HONIG and KENNETH POLITE are in charge of the prosecution.

On second thought, I'll induct Mr. Smith's accomplices, George Ortiz, Neil Cremin, Ira Sokol, and the Maddalone Brothers:

GEORGE ORTIZ and fellow supervisors NEIL CREMIN and IRA SOKOL

Former Board Members-Trustees of NYC Transit Union Plead Guilty
Submitted by Carl Horowitz on Fri, 11/13/2009 - 18:00

When they weren't serving in their capacity as union officials, Nicholas and Paul Maddalone shook down bus company owners. Now they're set to join several partners in prison. The Maddalone brothers, formerly board members and assistant trustees of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181 in Queens, N.Y., on September 10 pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on various extortion and bribery charges. They allegedly had obtained tens of thousands of dollars in coerced payoffs related to a federally-subsidized program for special education students in the New York City public school system.

NYC School Bus Inspectors Sentenced, Union Officials Indicted in Bribery Scam
Submitted by Carl Horowitz on Tue, 07/14/2009 - 16:30

Even with the Genovese crime family less overtly in the driver's seat, Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union hasn't been entirely clean. But the union's legacy of corruption recently received a major blow in Manhattan federal court with a round of criminal actions. On May 26, Neil Cremin, a former New York City Department of Education (DOE) school bus inspector, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to four months of incarceration to be followed by four months of home confinement and ordered to make $30,000 in restitution to the DOE. Some two weeks later on June 8, George Ortiz, a former DOE school bus inspector, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison to be followed by two years of supervised release and ordered to make restitution of $5,000. Each had been accused of extorting and/or accepting bribes. Between these actions, brothers Nicholas and Paul Maddalone, former board members and assistant trustees of the Queens, N.Y.-based Local 1181, which represents about 15,000 New York City school bus drivers, mechanics and escorts, were indicted on June 1 for extortion, unlawful payments and conspiracy to commit bribery.

New York City School Bus Inspectors Plead Guilty
Submitted by Carl Horowitz on Thu, 04/09/2009 - 23:47

Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) in Queens, N.Y. for years had been in the pockets of the Genovese crime family until the union's leaders were brought down by federal racketeering charges a few years ago. And even after the parent union placed the local under trusteeship, there was some additional cleaning up to do. Last spring, four New York City school bus inspectors and supervisors were indicted for various acts of extortion, bribery and bribe-taking going back to the mid Nineties. Neil Cremin, Ira Sokol, George Ortiz and Milton Smith at the time pleaded not guilty. But the evidence against them was too strong. On February 6, Cremin and Sokol pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to receiving bribes; Ortiz and Smith pleaded guilty in the same court to extortion and receiving bribes.

NYC School Bus Inspectors Charged with Extortion, Bribe-Taking
Submitted by Carl Horowitz on Sun, 06/15/2008 - 23:00

Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union in Queens, N.Y. long had operated as a subsidiary of the Genovese crime family before its leaders were taken down on racketeering charges by federal prosecutors a couple of years ago. Local President Salvatore Battaglia, Secretary-Treasurer Julius Bernstein, and benefits manager Ann Chiarovano either had been convicted by a jury or entered a guilty plea. One-time acting Genovese boss Matty “the Horse” Ianniello also went down. Late in 2006 ATU International President Warren George (pictured at right) placed the local under temporary trusteeship.

Yet there was some unfinished business. On May 13, four New York City school bus inspectors and supervisors – Neil Cremin, George Ortiz (retired), Milton Smith, and Ira Sokol – were arraigned in Manhattan federal court following the unsealing of indictments against them for acts of extortion, bribery and bribe-taking going back to the mid Nineties and totaling at least $1 million.

Also inducted, thanks to the crack team at South Bronx School blog:

Mychael Willon

Thanks, SB!

Friday, February 5, 2010


Starting at around 6PM and lasting until 3AM on January 26-27 2010, more than 3,000 outraged New York City residents showed up at a fake school board meeting (the Panel For Educational Policy has no administrative or executive function, violate their own Bylaws, have no minutes, and obstruct public discussion) to protest the closing of 20 New York City public schools by the pretend Chancellor of the New York City Board of Education, Joel I Klein. This is a fact.

Who could not care less that he has alienated the public school parents, teachers, administrators and public leaders of NYC: the pretend chancellor, Joel I. Klein. Read below for my statement as to why this all is happening.
And I'll put my name on it:
Betsy Combier

For 13 years Judicial Watch has been in a lawsuit with the former Clinton administration over files, missing emails, and personnel records that were collected by FBI agents illegally. Informaniacs like me are interested in cases involving emails and files, especially if the withholding of relevant information from the public involves a man we in the New York City public school community know as "Chancellor", Mr. Joel I. Klein.

See Judicial Watch and the Cara Leslie Alexander lawsuit, and dont miss Linda Tripp's January 22, 1999 deposition where she describes a thug who worked for the Clintons named Joel I. Klein.

White House sued by five whose files were obtained.(Nation)
Article from:The Washington Times (Washington, DC) Article date:September 13, 1996Author:Thibault, Andy

"The first five of more than 900 former White House staffers have come forward in a class-action suit seeking more than $90 million in damages for the Clinton administration's improper procurement of their secret FBI background files.

Named as defendants in the suit are the White House, the FBI, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, former White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum, former White House personnel security director D. Craig Livingstone and Anthony Marceca, a former U.S. Army civilian employee who had been assigned to the White House.

"We expect to confirm and further expose that the misconduct was not limited to low-level operatives, as the Clinton administration now asserts, but was orchestrated from the highest levels," said lawyer Larry Klayman, chairman of the government watchdog group Judicial Watch, who filed the suit yesterday in U.S. District Court.

The five plaintiffs are David Lee Black of Washington, a retired Bush appointee to the Department of Energy; Joseph Nelson Cate of Washington, who served as an unpaid volunteer in the Bush personnel office; Marjorie Anne Bridgman of Annandale, who served in the Reagan administration and on the Bush transition team; Patrick Beers of Boston, who served on the Bush advance team; and Cara Leslie Alexander of Fairfax County. Miss Alexander was not available yesterday, and Mr. Klayman could not immediately say what post she held.

Many others are expected to join the class action or file separate suits. Among those who said they have met to consider such suits are James Cicconi, President Bush's deputy chief of staff, and Ron Kaufman, deputy personnel director in the Bush administration.

The suit, which has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, claims violations of the Privacy Act of 1974. Sensitive personal material in such files often includes unproved allegations.

Mr. Clinton has called the FBI records search "a bureaucratic snafu," without explaining how the files of so many Reagan-Bush officials were "mistakenly" obtained and why they remained at the White House for about two years.

Mark Fabiani, Mr. Clinton's special associate counsel, declined to comment yesterday.

Mr. Livingstone was forced from his job in June after revelations that his office in late 1993 and early 1994 improperly obtained the files. He said that Mr. Marceca gathered the files in a bureaucratic blunder and that he knew nothing about them until this spring.

The White House files request became public after Rep. William F. Clinger, Pennsylvania Republican and chairman of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, discovered that former White House travel office chief Billy R. Dale's background records were sought seven months after he was fired.

FBI Director Louis J. Freeh confirmed that the Dale files were among the "unquestionably unjustified acquisitions" by the White House, along with those of Barney Brasseaux, another travel office employee fired in 1993.

Mr. Dale's file was sought on a form containing then-White House Counsel Nussbaum's stamped name, although Mr. Nussbaum said he had no information on why his name would have appeared on the form.

Mr. Dale was indicted on two embezzlement charges and acquitted by a federal jury, which deliberated just two hours after a three-week trial.

A protege of Mr. Freeh's, FBI general counsel Howard Shapiro, became the target of a Justice Department investigation after House leaders accused him of collusion in the burgeoning file scandal.

Mr. Clinger said Mr. Shapiro "lost his credibility to represent the FBI before this Congress" after tipping off the White House about potentially damaging information in FBI files about Mrs. Clinton.

Mr. Shapiro acknowledged in testimony before the Government Reform and Oversight panel that he tipped off the White House counsel's office July 15 that the FBI had discovered notes of a 1993 FBI interview crediting Mrs. Clinton with Mr. Livingstone's appointment as White House personnel security director.

He defended the move as "a good-faith attempt at being nonpartisan" because the file material had been subpoenaed by a GOP-controlled House committee.

Mrs. Clinton has publicly denied that she ordered the hiring of Mr. Livingstone."

What is shocking is that brilliant financial magnate Michael Bloomberg fell for the "expert fixer" public relations spin, and brought Joel Klein's threats and "Attorney" personhood to the equally brilliant New York City public school community. Did anyone in Mayor Bloomberg's cartel really believe that we, the general public, would not figure all of this out?

I have said for years that Joel Klein is "Chancellor" in name (and on the NYC BOE stationery) only, as he does not have a contract. When I first received confirmation of this from the FOIL officer Susan Holtzman in 2005, I asked myself, "Why doesn't he have a contract?" Education Law Section 2590-h says that he MUST have a contract:

"* § 2590-h. Powers and duties of chancellor. The office of chancellor
of the city district is hereby continued. Such chancellor shall serve at the pleasure of and be employed by the mayor of the city of New York by contract. The length of such contract shall not exceed by more than two years the term of office of the mayor authorizing such contract. The chancellor shall receive a salary to be fixed by the mayor within the budgetary allocation therefor. He or she shall exercise all his or her powers and duties in a manner not inconsistent with the city-wide educational policies of the city board. The chancellor shall have the following powers and duties as the superintendent of schools and chief executive officer for the city district, which the chancellor shall exercise to promote an equal educational opportunity for all students in the schools of the city district, promote fiscal and educational equity,increase student achievement and school performance and encourage local school-based innovation, including the power and duty to...."

What that is about, I believe, is Mayor Bloomberg (at left) brought Klein to New York City to be the Attorney that represents NYC BOE personnel when they are sued for violating contractual rights and laws. He is, therefore, a "fixer". For example, the Corporation Counsel told Plaintiff/teacher Hipolito Colon that he cannot get relevant and material information from Defendant Klein (whom he sued in his official AND individual capacities) nor can he depose Klein, because this information is withheld as "Attorney-Client Privilege".

Linda Tripp's deposition on January 22, 1999 supports this opinion of Joel Klein.

On the Judicial Watch website under "filegate", is the story of the Clintons' attempt to cover up the gathering of personal information, the death of Vincent Foster, Monica Lewinsky, and other such activities. Evidently the Clinton White House procured the private FBI files of Alexander and Duggan in 1993 and 1994 respectively by claiming the two individuals required access to the Clinton White House. One problem. Neither individual worked for the White House any longer and therefore did not require access. This was simply a ruse by Clinton officials to get their hands on the files, something they did with regularity. In fact, one FBI official testified they made 488 such requests based on the bogus claim of "access" in a single year! The Clintons called in a man to cover up for them, current New York City "Chancellor" Joel I. Klein.

Alexander, et al. v. FBI, et al.

In the early 1990’s, President and Hillary Clinton violated the privacy rights of their perceived political enemies by wrongly accessing and misusing the FBI files of Reagan and Bush I staffer and others. This scandal became known as "Filegate." In pursuing its Filegate investigation, Judicial Watch learned with the help of whistleblowers Sheryl Hall and Betty Lambuth that the Clinton-Gore White House had hidden over 1.8 million e-mails from courts, Congressional investigators and independent counsels for nearly two years. Plans were also uncovered to destroy the files. To keep the e-mails secret, Clinton-Gore White House officials threatened contractors and staff with their jobs or jail time. Once the failure to produce the e-mails was revealed, the cover-up began; a cover-up that included obstruction and false testimony. Then, on hearing the testimony of the White House whistleblowers, a federal court judge ordered the testimony of former high-level Clinton-Gore White House officials in a court hearing to examine the threats, obstruction and alleged false testimony. (Editor- see "Whistleblower Protection - Sheryl Hall" and "Whistleblower Protection - Betty Lambuth")

Evidence showed that the e-mails are incriminating and covered virtual all of the Clinton-Gore scandals, yet these e-mails were not considered by Independent Counsel Robert Ray who gave the Clinton-Gore White House a clean bill of health. (View ethics complaint.)

In January 2001, the e-mail files were placed under custody of the National Archives (NARA) and were restored, costing the American tax-payers over $13 million.

In December 2002 the court ordered the files be searched. The NARA is responsible for responding to all special access requests and subpoenas that are made pursuant to the Presidential Records Act (PRA). The PRA generally restricts public access to the Clinton Presidential and Gore Vice Presidential records for five years after the end of the administration and for specific records for an additional seven years.

Judicial Watch is representing plaintiffs in a class-action suit filed by the White House employees of Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations whose FBI files were wrongly accessed by the Clinton White House. The FBI and White House are being sued for breach of the Federal Privacy Act while other individuals, including Hillary Clinton, are being sued for invasion of privacy. (Go to the website for more information, including the legal documents).

If there is one legal case that exemplifies the "never-give-up" attitude of Judicial Watch and its attorneys it is the Filegate lawsuit, which was filed 13 years ago when Bill and Hillary Clinton still occupied The White House. As long-time readers of the Weekly Update know, over the years, Judicial Watch has continued to aggressively pursue justice in this matter, earning some key victories along the way (like the discovery of the hidden White House emails, to name just one example).

And just this week, on October 19, we filed a "Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment," asking the U.S. District Court to rule in favor of two Filegate victims, Cara Leslie Alexander and Joseph P. Duggan (Cara Leslie Alexander, et al. v. FBI, et al., C.A. No. 96-2123 (RCL)).

At its core, Judicial Watch's Filegate lawsuit is the Clinton White House's illegal maintenance of the private FBI files of hundreds of former Reagan and Bush officials.

Specifically with respect to Judicial Watch's clients, the Clinton White House procured their private FBI files in 1993 and 1994 respectively by claiming the two individuals required access to the Clinton White House. One problem. Neither individual worked for the White House any longer and therefore did not require access. This was simply a ruse by Clinton officials to get their hands on the files, something they did with regularity. In fact, one FBI official testified they made 488 such requests based on the bogus claim of "access" in a single year!

And to make matters worse, not only did the Clinton White House misstate the facts to get the private FBI files, it held on to them for almost three years!

Now, after 13 years of pushing the same tired justification for this illegal handling of private information, the FBI and the Obama White House (defending corruption in the Clinton White House) have asked the court to rule in its favor by filing a "Motion for Summary Judgment." (A "summary judgment" is granted when there is no genuine issue of material fact in dispute and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.) We filed our own Cross Motion for Summary Judgment in reply, and here is our basic argument:

Over the long and complex history of this matter, certain key facts have remained irrefutable. First, FBI background investigation files are perhaps some of the most sensitive records that the federal government maintains on individuals.

Second, the FBI has never disputed that it sent literally hundreds of these files to the Office of Personnel Security ("OPS"), a component of Executive Office of the President (EOP), despite the fact that OPS's requests for the records were, in the FBI's own words, "without justification and served no official purpose." Indeed, the FBI has admitted that it failed to "institute sufficient protections to effectively safeguard the records"...and that their handling of the matter resulted in "egregious violations of privacy."

...There can be no genuine dispute that the FBI violated the Privacy Act by failing to establish appropriate administrative safeguards to insure the security and confidentiality of its background investigation files and that its failure to do so was in flagrant disregard for Plaintiffs' rights under the Privacy Act.

Third, regardless of the circumstances under which OPS acquired the records at issue, there has never been any dispute that OPS continued to maintain them long after it was known that the persons who were the subjects of these records never worked at the Clinton White House and had no need for access to the Clinton White House.

As we further noted in our Cross Motion, even Bill Clinton himself has said his administration should be held accountable. Clinton told historian Taylor Branch in preparation for his recently published book, "those files did not belong at The White House," and that they "should have been isolated and returned immediately." According to Branch, Clinton said "[h]is administration should and would be held accountable."

We agree.

But the Obama administration has taken the legal position that the Privacy Act does not apply to the Executive Office of the President and the Clinton FBI files scandal was not a scandal.

This will be worrying to those of us concerned about the Obama White House's collecting "fishy" emails and compiling an enemies list of new organizations, radio hosts, businesses, and industry associations to attack and smear. Is the Obama defense of the FBI files scandal less about that Clinton scandal and more about what his White House is up to now?

Deposing Corrupt Politicians - Filegate Depositions

In Alexander et al. v. FBI, et al., the case commonly known as “Filegate,” Judicial Watch represented plaintiffs from the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations who claim that the Clinton administration gained illegal access to their FBI files. Hillary Clinton is mentioned specifically as a defendant in the case. The FBI and White House are being sued for breach of the Federal Privacy Act while other individuals, including Mrs. Clinton, are being sued for invasion of privacy. Below you will find the depositions of three of the most notable figures in the case.

James Carville was the former campaign manager and political consultant to President Clinton. He is questioned in this case regarding his knowledge of White House activity that involved the files in question. George Stephanopoulos was a senior political advisor to President Clinton as well as his press secretary and communications director at various times in the administration. He was also questioned about his knowledge of Filegate. Linda Tripp, a White House employee during both the Bush and Clinton administrations, provided Judicial Watch with perhaps its best evidence of all. It is Tripp that reveals a direct connection between Mrs. Clinton and the illegally obtained files.

See Filegate Depositions

Filegate: Did they have your file?
and, the list of deceased persons reportedly associated with the Clinton administration

Attorney General Gonzales' aide says she'll plead the Fifth

The Raw Story

JW Files Appeal with Supreme Court Challenging Hillary Clinton's Eligibility to Serve as Secretary of State
Wednesday, January 6, 2010 at 1:34pm

Judicial Watch: High Court Has an Obligation to Stop an End-Run Around U.S. Constitution

Contact Information:
Press Office - 202-646-5172, ext 305

Washington, DC -- January 6, 2010

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that on December 31, 2009, it filed an appeal with the United States Supreme Court in its lawsuit on behalf of U.S. Foreign Service Officer David C. Rodearmel challenging Hillary Clinton's constitutional eligibility to serve as Secretary of State (Rodearmel v. Clinton, et al. on appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia).

Judicial Watch's lawsuit, filed on January 29, 2009, maintains that the Ineligibility Clause of the U.S. Constitution prohibits Clinton from serving as Secretary of State and that Mr. Rodearmel cannot be forced to serve under the former U.S. Senator, as it would violate the oath he took as a Foreign Service Officer in 1991 to "support and defend" and "bear true faith and allegiance" to the Constitution of the United States. A three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court dismissed Judicial Watch's lawsuit on October 29th, ruling that Mr. Rodearmel lacked "standing" to bring the lawsuit. The court did not address the constitutional merits of the lawsuit itself.

As Judicial Watch notes in its brief, federal law provides that an Ineligibility Clause appeal related to the position of Secretary of State may be brought directly to the U.S. Supreme Court within 20 days of a judgment on the validity of the appointment. Moreover, the law states, "The Supreme Court shall, if it has not previously ruled on the question presented by an appeal...accept jurisdiction over the appeal, advance the appeal on the docket, and expedite the appeal."

There are two key questions at issue in this lawsuit, according to Judicial Watch's Supreme Court appeal (technically called a "Jurisdictional Statement"):

(1) Whether an Officer of the United States, when placed in a position where he must either violate his oath of office or risk substantial, adverse consequences to his employment, has standing to maintain a challenge to the appointment of a constitutionally ineligible superior.

(2) Whether members of Congress who are otherwise ineligible for appointment to an office in the Executive Branch under the plain language of Article I, section 6 of the Constitution, can have their eligibility restored by an act of Congress.

With respect to the issue of standing, Judicial Watch contends that Mr. Rodearmel "demonstrated in the district court that he is being injured in his employment by being required to serve under, take direction from, and report to a constitutionally ineligible superior, Mrs. Clinton. This is because [Mr. Rodearmel] has been placed in a position where he either must violate his oath of office or risk substantial, adverse consequences to his employment."

With respect to Congress' attempt to circumvent the Ineligibility Clause by "rolling back" compensation for the position of Secretary of State to the level in effect on January 1, 2007, Judicial Watch maintains: "This [fix] does not and cannot change the historical fact that the 'compensation and other emoluments' of the office of the U.S. Secretary of State increased during Mrs. Clinton's tenure in the U.S. Senate."

"The Supreme Court has an obligation to settle the Ineligibility Clause issue once and for all," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "If our government and courts will not observe even the plain and unambiguous provisions of the Constitution, then we are cut adrift from the anchor of law and liberty and the rule of law is in jeopardy. We hope the Supreme Court takes this opportunity to vindicate the Constitution."

Rodearmel v. Clinton
Appeal to the Supreme Court: Jurisdictional statement

Article I, section 6 of the U.S. Constitution provides:

"No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time."

This provision, known as the "Emoluments" or "Ineligibility" clause is an absolute prohibition and does not allow for any exceptions. The "Ineligibility Clause" is interpreted by most as designed by our Founding Fathers to protect against corruption and ensure the separation of powers among the three branches of government.

On January 29, 2009, Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit against newly confirmed Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on the ground that she is constitutionally ineligible to serve as Secretary of State under the Ineligibility Clause. The "emoluments" or salary of the U.S. Secretary of State increased at least three times during Mrs. Clinton's most recent U.S. Senate term. That term, which began on January 4, 2007, does not expire until January 2013, regardless of Mrs. Clinton's recent resignation.

Judicial Watch's lawsuit is on behalf of Foreign Service Officer and State Department employee David Rodearmel, a retired Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army Reserve Judge Advocate General Corp. See Rodearmel v. Clinton, Case No. 09-171 (U.S. Dist. Ct., Dist. of Col.)). The lawsuit maintains that Mr. Rodearmel cannot serve under Secretary of State Clinton as it would force him to violate an oath he took as a Foreign Service Officer in 1991 to "support and defend" and "bear true faith and allegiance" to the Constitution of the United States. For more information on Mr. Rodearmel, see below.

In December 2008, Congress attempted to evade the clear prohibition of the Ineligibility Clause with a so-called "Saxbe fix," reducing the Secretary of State's salary to the level in effect on January 1, 2007. This maneuver, first used in the Taft Administration, has been more frequently used in recent years by both parties, most notably allowing Republican Senator William Saxbe to become U.S. Attorney General in 1973 and Democratic Senator Lloyd Bentsen to become Treasury Secretary in 1993. A similar "fix" has been enacted for Senator Ken Salazar to join the Obama Cabinet as Secretary of the Interior. These attempted "fixes," however, are insufficient, as they cannot alter the historical fact that -- as in Mrs. Clinton's case -- salaries increased during the terms for which these officials were elected, thereby violating the Ineligibility Clause.

The lawsuit was reviewed on an expedited basis by a special three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia who held that Mr. Rodearmel did not have standing and did not comment on the constitutional questions. Judicial Watch filed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Legal Documents

Obama Administration Denies Judicial Watch FOIA Request for White House Visitor Logs