Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Sunday, June 26, 2011

NYCDOE Breaks Law In Order To Pay Off Crony Consultant, Joel Klein In Illegal Contracts

The Daily News covers the story this morning:

The city Department of Education evaded state law to pay a controversial consultant $287,500, officials with the city controller's office charge.

Even after the Education Department's $20 million teacher-recruitment contract with The New Teacher Project got rejected in March on technical grounds, the city sneaked through three payments last month, the officials charge.

"We have requested a meeting with DOE to address their persistent attempts to circumvent the Education Law and pay outside consultants without registered contracts," said Mike Loughran, a spokesman for Controller John Liu.

A review by Liu's office after it discovered the New Teacher Project payments found that the city Department of Education also attempted to pay $1.3 million to Wireless Generation.

The company is now owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. and overseen by former city Schools Chancellor Joel Klein.

Liu's office blocked that payment because it had rejected the Wireless Generation contract earlier this month, saying Klein had not filed a necessary letter recusing himself from involvement in the contract.

The city Law Department and the city Department of Education, however, consider both contracts to be valid and are not recognizing the controller's rejection.

In a Wednesday letter to Deputy Controller Geneith Turnbull, city Law Department Contracts Division Chief Steven Stein Cushman blasts the controller's attempts to thwart its deal with The New Teacher Project, calling it "not consistent with the Education Law.

"Accordingly, the DOE rejected your return of the [New Teacher Project] contract and deemed the [New Teacher Project] Contract registered," he wrote.

Liu has to take Bloomberg, the DOE and the city Law Department Contracts Division to court to force this issue.

The DOE does NOT get to circumvent the law just because they want to pay off cronies at the New Teacher Project and Wireless Generation.

The Law Department Contracts Division does NOT get to declare a contract legal when the controller has rejected it.

And the Klein connection just smells bad.

In fact, the Klein connection needs to be looked at very closely.

How much of the $1.3 million DOE contract money does Klein get, either directly or indirectly, as a News Corp. employee overseeing Rupert Murdoch's K-12 online education division?

Klein himself signed this contract with Wireless Generation when he was chancellor and now stands to profit from it working for News Corp. overseeing Wireless Generation.

The impropriety on the face of it is bad.

Worse is the DOE's insistence on making these payments when the controller has rejected the contract because Klein refused to recuse himself from the contract.

In the same week that Bloomberg continued to threaten layoffs for thousands of teachers and STILL is cutting school budgets to the bone and forcing class sizes ever higher, how is it that he gets to hand out this contract money to consultants and cronies when the controller has rejected them?

He gets to do it because nobody takes him to court for it.

John Liu needs to remedy that forthwith.

In fact, this might be a job for the U.S. attorney's office as well.

Given the corruption that has been endemic with many of the outside consultant contracts handed out by the Bloomberg administration, any other contract that smells this bad on the face of it may just be as rotten as the CityTime Project contracts, the Willard Lanham contract and the Judith Hederman scandal.


  1. Great job by Liu and I cannot wait for the piece of crap Quinn to somehow try to forge her way into this scandal. How many times must New Yorkers see the same scenario play out as the Alphonse and Gaston parts played by Bloomberg and Klein are played out? Liu is a warrior and not afraid of them. Plus Quinn the front runner for mayor after the Weiner implosion needs to be upstaged by other potential candidates. Klein is corrupt and I wish they would start looking into the school construction authority contracts-that is the big corruption scandal.

  2. I was cleaning up my desk at school a couple of days ago and came across the ethics rules for DOE employees. It certainly appears to me that Klein violated them. Or did he get a waiver?

  3. Problem with the school construction biz is that at least some of it is mob controlled. Maybe more than "some". Perhaps Liu is a bit more afraid of taking on The Mob, then The Fag?

  4. Nope, Klein got no waiver. He didn't recuse himself from the contract process, according to Liu. That's why the contract was rejected by the controller's office. But the DOE is trying to go ahead with the contract payments anyway. Same goes for the NTP contract - in fact, they have already made $287,000 in payments even though Liu rejected that contract for technical violation in how the contract was drawn up.

    It seems that ethics, rules and accountability are only for teachers, not for former chancellors, central office Tweedies, the mayor, or his corporate ed deform cronies.

  5. Actually, I was indulging in a little sarcasm with my waiver remark. To me, what Klein did was a clear-cut case of conflict of interest and his sorry ass should be hauled up on charges. You are absolutely right, RBE, that the rules and accountability are only for teachers. If any teacher were found out to have engaged in even a penny-ante bit of unethical dealing, there would have been hell to pay. And probably the Post and Daily News would have been all over the story.