The Daily News has some more salacious details on the outside tech consultant arrested yesterday for stealing $3.6 million from the city:
A cuckolded computer consultant hired to link the city's 1,400 schools to the Internet was charged Thursday with downloading $3.6 million into his crooked pockets.
Willard (Ross) Lanham, aided by corporate giants IBM and Verizon, masterminded the massive fraud to enjoy a life of luxury from 2002 to 2008, according to a scathing report from the special schools investigator.
"Lanham effectively stole from schoolchildren so he could buy fancy cars and valuable real estate," said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
Prosecutors described Lanham's greed as staggering. He was charged with looting the Department of Education while earning a $200,000 annual salary and living with his family in a sprawling, two-story Long Island home.
As he earned an illegal fortune off phony companies, inflated fees and a pair of no-show jobs, officials said, he built three luxury homes on a piece of abandoned Long Island farmland.
Once finished, Lanham even named the private street after his estranged wife, Laura Lanham.
The couple have since endured a long, angry and ongoing three-year divorce, with the wife dumping her 57-year-old husband to pursue younger men while blogging about her "cougar" lifestyle.
Willard Lanham - who faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted - smiled wryly when asked about his 42-year-old wife before he bolted from Manhattan Federal Court.
Willard Lanham also maintained a $600,000 fleet of high-end automobiles, including a flashy yellow Corvette, a Porsche, a Mercedes-Benz, a Lexus and a Cadillac Escalade.
He owned a $380,000 property in Bethpage, L.I., and held an interest in a multimillion-dollar Bridgehampton, L.I., development, according to court papers.
Just last week, he treated his family and a next-door neighbor to a pricey Florida vacation with a stay at the Hard Rock Cafe.
"It was an expensive trip," the teen neighbor told the Daily News before a young man from the Lanham house ran over to end the interview by slamming her front door shut.
The probe, aided by the city Department of Investigation, found Lanham was hired to work on three major DOE projects - including the highly touted "Project Connect."
The scam was simple: He hired contractors at low hourly rates, persuaded subcontractors to bill the city at a much higher rate and pocketed the difference, officials said.
In all, his Lanham Enterprises allegedly was paid $5.3 million for consulting work that cost his company only $1.7 million.
The accused swindler even ripped off his own brother, hiring him for a $40-an-hour consulting job while charging the city $225 an hour, a criminal complaint charged.
I am sure Bloomberg will try and blame this on just Lanham when he gets asked about this today on his WOR radio show, but the truth is that two major DOE vendors - and major American companies - also aided in and profited from the scam. The NY Daily News reports that:
Richard Condon, special commissioner of investigation for city schools, said IBM and Verizon "by their silence facilitated this fraud."
But both companies noted they cooperated with the probe, and neither business, nor any of their employees, were charged with a crime.
The Times reports that:
Verizon and I.B.M., the largest of the vendors involved in the projects, played a role in the scheme and profited from it, according to the city’s special commissioner of investigation, Richard J. Condon.
How many other outside consultants are stealing money from the DOE and being "facilitated" in the theft by vendors like IBM and Verizon?
We don't know, but neither does Bloomberg because he has done little to no oversight of the consultant jobs since he became mayor.
You see, Bloombert thinks outside consultants, because they are non-unionized, non-governmental employees, are by their very nature honest and worthy.
It's those nasty crooked governmental employees - like those teachers the NY Post has been chronicling all week, you know the 12 out of 75,000 who have done something unethical, unseemly, or illegal - who need oversight.
Accountability is NEVER
for the outside consultants and it is NEVER
for Bloomberg himself.
But now that Project Corrupt at the NYCDOE has been revealed, oversight MUST
be done not only on all outside consultant gigs, but also on the mayor himself.As John Liu said yesterday:
“Federal charges once again, that a consultant has stolen millions from the taxpayers are infuriating enough. Even more disconcerting, however, are indications that corporations with billions of dollars in City business have aided and abetted and profited from the scam. As with the CityTime scandal, oversight of subcontracting is acutely needed right now.”
This mayor CANNOT
be trusted with the city money without some independent oversight of what he is doing with it.
This mayor CANNOT
be allowed to claim he needs to lay off 6,166 teachers in order to save $300 million when he is squandering $550 million on tech projects like Project Corrupt that have little benefit to anybody who isn't on the Bloomberg/Klein/Murdoch crony payroll.
And make no mistake, former chancellor Klein and prime teacher hater Murdoch are BOTH
tied up in this corruption.
Murdoch now owns Wireless Generation, a tech/ed company that Klein - who now works for Murdoch - signed a bunch of DOE contracts with to bring tech services to the public school system.
How did this contract come about?
How did Klein come to sign it?
How did Murdoch decide to buy the company after Klein came to work for him?
So many questions, so few answers.
But there are plenty of things to mull over in this deal and plenty of oversight to do on the Wireless Generation deal as well as the other tech deals Bloomberg has done at both the DOE and other agencies.
Between CityTime, Project Corrupt at the DOE, the Independence Party/Haggerty corruption case and other problematic consultant jobs pointed out by Juan Gonzalez in the Daily News, we have more than enough evidence to see that Bloomberg CANNOT
get his way on financial issues involving the city without outside input.