Another NYC Department of Education VIP is Arrested.
Then there's this: SEVEN PLEAD GUILTY IN SCHOOL CUSTODIAN CASE
Corruption is everywhere within the NYC Department of Education, for a long time. When does it end?
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A former Education Department bigwig used his position as food czar to line his own pockets by awarding a contract to a company he co-owned, prosecutors charged Wednesday.
Eric Goldstein is accused of illegally profiting off the contract with Somma Foods, which grabbed headlines in 2017 for serving kids chicken tenders with bone and metal inside.
Goldstein ran the city’s Office of School Support Services and was responsible for handing out millions of dollars in contracts to food vendors that serve students across the city.
Behind the scenes, his co-conspirators referred to him by his code name, “Roger Rabbit,” prosecutors said.
Prosecutors alleged Goldstein used “his official position and considerable influence” at DOE to award the contract to Somma. He also allegedly took bribes directly from the company, an FBI agent said in a criminal complaint filed in Brooklyn Federal Court.
Goldstein was arrested along with Blaine Iler, Michael Curley and Brian Twomey, who also had stakes in the foodservice company.
The three entrepreneurs “regularly reached out to Goldstein outside official NYC DOE channels,” asking him to exert his influence over the Education Department’s food program, SchoolFood, the FBI agent says.
Officials don’t name the company in court documents, but Goldstein’s alleged co-conspirators are listed as executives for Somma Foods — which became infamous for serving chicken tenders with bone and metal fragments, eventually causing someone to choke.
DOE officials terminated the contract with Somma in 2017 after public outrage — but not before Goldstein could reap profits through his ownership in the company and direct bribes from his co-conspirators, prosecutors say.
At one point, Iler allegedly transferred Goldstein $20,000 after sending an email demanding that the company’s chicken product appear on DOE food menus two times a month, the complaint says. Prosecutors said $7,000 of that money was then transferred into a bank account for Goldstein’s divorce lawyer.
Goldstein’s influence helped Somma maintain its contract even after complaints began piling up, federal officials said. The company was nearly fined in 2016 for failing to deliver enough chicken nuggets, but Goldstein stepped in and had the fine waived, according to the complaint.