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Saturday, May 6, 2023

Special-Education Teacher Marina Golfo Gets 3-Months of Paid Sick Leave While In Federal Prison Camp For Fraud

Special-ed teacher Marina Golfo tricked her DOE bosses into paying sick leave
during her three-month prison stint for fraud

Special Education teacher Maria Golfo evidently was found guilty of defrauding the Department of Education, and then was put into Federal prison for 3 months, but got paid by the NYC DOE for "sick leave". See the article posted below that was published in the NY Post.

 When I think about all of the wonderful, decent, honest teachers, Assistant Principals and Principals who have been charged with misconduct and then forced into a 3020-a and terminated, and then read a story like the one below, I get upset that the NYC DOE is so random and arbitrary when dealing out fines, suspensions and terminations as punishment for wrong-doing.

The Special Commissioner of Investigation Unit, SCI, is largely responsible for punishing the wrong person, or not punishing the right person.See Veronica Hernandez Case. The so-called "investigators" are anything but that, and tout themselves as "independent" from the DOE yet get paid heaps of money by the NYC DOE. Whenever someone gets a lot of money from their employer, do you really believe that they would go against what the employer wants? No.

For example, consider Gerald Conroy, Deputy Commissioner of the Office of the Special Commissioner of Investigation for the New York City School District. He filed an Affirmation in the Supreme Court in a case I worked on, and he wrote in that Affidavit that he "believed" that anyone who went to Wild Child was guilty of fraud and deceit when they handed in vaccination cards 'without' (he wrote) actually getting the shot.  He was never able to prove anything against these people, and now everyone accused by him are back to work (except several who resigned and moved on to other jobs). 

Gerald Conroy's salary 2020-2021, SCI ( In 2022 he made $190,554.

Yet no one at the NYC DOE caught Marina Golfo and her three months of sick pay while in jail?

There you are, proof of incompetency, political dumbness, whatever.

Betsy Combier

Editor, ADVOCATZ Blog

NYC special-ed teacher collected 3 months of sick pay from prison

By Matthew Sedacca and Susan Edelman, NYPOST, April 22, 2023

A special education teacher tricked her clueless bosses at the city Department of Education into giving her three months of paid sick leave — while she served a federal prison sentence for defrauding taxpayers and stiffing students, The Post has learned. 

Golfo spent three months at Federal Prison Camp Alderson in West Virginia.

Speech therapist Marina Golfo, 49, collected $24,367 in salary last year while sitting in a cell at West Virginia’s all-women’s, minimum-security Federal Prison Camp Alderson, the Special Commissioner of Investigation for city schools found. 

“You’ve got to admire her nerve, if you don’t admire her stupidity,” said Ellen McHugh, a member of the Citywide Council on Special Education.

In October 2018, Brooklyn federal prosecutors charged Golfo and seven other employees with defrauding the Early Intervention Program, which serves developmentally challenged children and is overseen by the state Department of Health.

Golfo, a Long Islander, was accused of bilking taxpayers of $156,000 over the prior three years by submitting fake treatment notes and invoices for more than 1,500 therapy sessions she never provided. Many sessions were scheduled to occur in the homes of children or caregivers.

She pleaded guilty in July 2021 to healthcare fraud, was sentenced to three months in prison and ordered to pay restitution for all the money disbursed, according to court documents. But she inexplicably remained on the DOE payroll.

Weeks after entering the clink in September, Golfo submitted an online request to her DOE managers for paid sick leave. She included a doctor’s note explaining that she was too ill to come into the office and should remain at home.  

Golfo also submitted requests to prison and court officials for “compassionate release” due to health risks she faced from COVID-19, along with her elderly parents’ need for a caretaker, according to court records. She was denied on Oct. 6, with US District Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto writing that neither her health conditions nor her parents warranted a reduced sentence.

On Nov. 1, the brazen educator asked DOE for an extension of her sick leave through Dec. 1, which was two days after the end of her prison term.

Shockingly, the city approved the request, apparently not realizing its employee was a jailbird. In total, she raked in a quarter of her $97,469 annual salary from behind bars.

But the DOE was initially well aware of her criminal case, which was jointly announced in 2018 by the city Department of Investigation and the US Attorney’s Office. A week after she was charged in Brooklyn federal court, DOE even rubber-roomed Golfo — reassigning her to a Committee on Special Education office in the Bronx while awaiting trial, according to SCI and a letter from a former colleague. 

The DOE’s Human Resources division told SCI investigators it was unaware that Golfo was requesting time off from the slammer — despite her 2018 arrest having been widely reported — because she never informed the agency or her managers about her sentencing.

Delivering a lesson in unabashed chutzpah, Golfo told SCI investigators she did not know she had violated DOE sick-leave rules, claiming that she did not think her location mattered because she could not have come into the office, regardless, due to her illness. She suffered complications from shingles, court records show.

Golfo did not return messages from The Post.

SCI said it first received a complaint about Golfo’s improper use of sick pay from a tipster in December 2022. The DOE finally fired her on Jan. 31 — about a month before SCI gave its findings to schools Chancellor David Banks on March 6.

It’s unclear whether Golfo returned to work for the two months between her prison release and her firing. The DOE would not answer any questions.

Special Commissioner Anastasia Coleman recommended that DOE require Golfo to return the pay she pocketed while incarcerated. She also said DOE should bar her from any further work with the department. 

“Her actions were clearly more deliberate than she acknowledged to investigators,” Coleman wrote. 

Ken Girardin, a fellow with the Empire Center for Public Policy, a government watchdog, blasted the DOE for failing to keep track of an employee’s incarceration — and enabling Golfo to collect her salary on top of it. 

“In the private sector, three days of sick leave raises concerns. Three months should’ve been setting off flashing red lights and sirens,” Girardin said.  

DOE’s wasteful spending on Golfo’s salary outraged special education activist Fatimi Geidi, who ripped the city for failing “the students that need the most support” — even as it warns of cuts in public-school spending

“Everybody involved needs to be ashamed,” said Geidi, 37, the mother of two developmentally challenged students, one of whom attends public high school. “We’re arguing about the budget and you’re literally throwing it at somebody that committed fraud.”

Former Queens Superintendent Jennifer Carreon Sues the NYC DOE For Racist Policies and Discrimination

 What is going on at the NYC Department of Education?

On March 4, 2023 the NY POST did a story on District 31 Superintendent Dr. Marion Wilson who allegedly sent out racist text messages to Chancellor Banks and others, vowing to "get rid of white principals" and “clean up this island”

See:   City probing anti-white texts linked to black superintendent

Dr. Marion Wilson [photo: Jason Paderon]

And the current news from District 31 (Staten Island) is that there is chaos going on. PS 46 Principal Heather Jansen (who is white) was removed on May 1, 2023. MUCH more about that in a future post.

Never a dull moment, folks.

Betsy Combier

Editor, ADVOCATZ Blog

Jennifer Carreon has filed a $20 million discrimination lawsuit against the city Department of Education.Helayne Seidman

By Susan Edelman, NY POST, May 6, 2023

A Filipino-American woman replaced as a Queens superintendent by her black male deputy has filed a $20 million race and gender discrimination suit against the city Department of Education, The Post has learned.

Jennifer Carreón, 45, contends Chancellor David Banks demoted her to install her less-experienced No. 2, David Norment, out of desire to elevate black males.

The Manhattan Supreme Court suit, filed this week, is the first to legally challenge Banks’ choice of superintendents since he made all 45 reapply for their jobs last year in what he called “a shakeup.”

One of 12 removed, Carreón was assigned a lesser bureaucratic role.

The Asian-American Pacific Islander attended NYC public schools from K to 12, growing up in subsidized housing in Lower Manhattan. She started working for the DOE as a teacher in 2002, rising to principal, assistant superintendent, and acting superintendent. She was appointed District 27 superintendent in 2019 by then-Chancellor Richard Carranza.

Carreón told The Post that she hired Norment as her deputy, and took him under her wing. “I was fostering and nurturing his leadership,” she said.

She even encouraged him to become a superintendent.

“When the process opened, he did tell me that he wanted to apply for the Bronx, because that’s where he lives. I said, ‘Oh, good luck, Let me know what I can do to support you.’” 

To her surprise, the DOE invited Norment to a District 27 town hall to compete with his boss for her job.

Norment, an ex-principal at PS 140 in Jamaica, told the Community Education Council that he’d be the best leader to “turn around” schools with low test scores.

Carreón claimed that she was replaced by David Norment because Chancellor David Banks wanted to elevate black males.

“I have been a good fit,” Carreón argued at the town hall, saying she connected with immigrant parents and upheld high expectations for students.

In a final blow, Banks introduced the winners at a City Hall press conference.

“I didn’t have any clue,” Carreón said. “Everyone was texting me, “Why aren’t you here? Why is your deputy here?’

“It was a huge shock. I was devastated, because I was succeeding. I was highly effective. That was my last evaluation.”

Banks made all 45 superintendents reapply for their jobs last year.
Matthew McDermott

Desmond Blackburn, Bank’s since-departed deputy chancellor for leadership, had previously praised her 20-minute PowerPoint pitch — in which she described her accomplishments and plans — to remain in the post.

After her ouster, she said, Blackburn gave no explanation except, “The chancellor decided to go in a different direction.”

“It’s not a different direction because they hired my deputy,” Carreón said. “I taught him how to do things, and he needed some work. He needed more growth and was not as experienced, or ready to take on the largest district in Queens and one of the largest in the city.

Carreón originally hired Norment (second from right) to be her deputy.
Twitter D27NYC

District 27 covers 50 schools with 41,500 students in southern Queens and the Rockaways. The students are 41% Hispanic, 21.9% Asian-American, 20.6% black, and 9.9% white.

Banks bowed “to the discriminatory push by certain members of the community to select Norment solely because of his race,” the suit charges.

Lisa Johnson Cooper, president of District 27’s Community Education Council, a panel of parents who interviewed the candidates, told The Post she got personal Facebook messages from residents urging support for “the brother,” referring to Norment.

Cooper, who is black, wrote back: “Y’all vote by party line and by color. That’s crazy to me and no, I’m not getting ‘the brother’ in.”

In an orientation for the newly-installed superintendents last July, Carreón heard from colleagues that a member of the chancellor’s team commented openly, Look around the room – what do you notice? There’s a black male at every table,” the suit says.

Carreón, like several other displaced superintendents, accepted a newly created title, executive director of School Support and Operations, in Lower Manhattan’s District 1, at the same salary, $187,400. The appointed superintendents got raises to $215,000 or $230,000.

“I feel degraded,” she said. “I’ve worked so hard my entire career, did everything you’re supposed to do, and exceeded expectations. Everything was always pointing upwards.” 

Carreón’s lawyers, Davida Perry and Brian Heller, also have pending race-discrimination suits against the DOE on behalf of four white women and a white male who all claim that ex-Chancellor Carranza demoted and replaced them with less-qualified people of color.

DOE and city Law Department officials would not comment.