Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Eva Moskowitz Can't Pay Rent For Her Charter Schools But Can Afford $31 Million For New Offices

Eva Moskowitz criticized Mayor de Blasio as a hater of children in the latest issue of More Magazine (whatever that is):

Controversial Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz attacked Mayor de Blasio in an interview with More magazine, calling him a "former operative of the teachers' union."

"At best, we've prevented the mayor from acting on his hostility in the most dramatic, consequential way for children," she said of her former political rival in the City Council.

In February, de Blasio tried to revoke space in traditional public school buildings for three Success Academy schools, and received huge backlash from critics and Gov. Cuomo, who helped organize a wave of charter school students to rally in Albany and later signed protections to allow them free space in public school buildings.

In the profile, on newsstands Tuesday, Moskowitz decries the state of public education in New York City and paints herself as a warrior for students who face placement in struggling schools.

"I'd be bullied, maybe, if children weren't at stake," she said. "But my momma-bear instinct kicks in when people try to do bad things to children. And the school system on a regular basis is doing bad things to children."

She continued ripping into city public schools, saying the majority are "incredibly segregated and getting unbelievably poor results."

"There are many, many hundreds of schools I would not send my own children to," she added.

Juan Gonzalez reports that Moskowitz is taking in more than half a million dollars as CEO of Success and paying $31 million deal for new Wall Street offices - here is much of that Gonzalez report

Last November, Moskowitz, who for years boasted of opening her Success Academy Charter Schools in the city’s poorest neighborhoods, quietly shifted her corporate headquarters from Central Harlem to 95 Pine St. (aka 120 Wall St.).

The new offices will cost her organization $31 million over 15 years, according to its most recent financial report.

The same report shows Moskowitz received an eye-popping $567,000 during the 2012-2013 school year. That’s a raise of $92,000 from the previous year, and more than double the $212,000 paid to Schools Chancellor Carmen FariƱa.

The move to Wall Street took effect just months before the much-publicized battle between Moskowitz and Mayor de Blasio over who would pay the rent for three new Success Academy charter schools the mayor had refused to place in public schools.

In March, Moskowitz organized a charter school protest in Albany against de Blasio’s decision. She followed that with a multimillion-dollar television ad campaign financed by her hedge fund backers.
Gov. Cuomo and the Legislature responded with a new law requiring the city to pay rent for all future charter schools.

As a result, the school system is spending $5.3 million this year to house the three new Success Academy schools in buildings owned by the Catholic Archdiocese.

Meanwhile, Moskowitz and her administrators — records show the size of her central staff doubled last year to 258 — are headquartered in 58,000 square feet of office space in the Financial District, at a more than four-fold increase over their Harlem rent.

And Moskowitz is not the only Success Academy exec who enjoyed a hefty raise and salary last year.
At least five officials at the nonprofit network, which had some of the highest scores on state tests of city public schools, were paid more than $240,000 last year, though only 2,800 pupils were enrolled in its schools at the time.

The network’s Executive Vice President Kerri Hoyt, for example, received a $104,000 raise, to $366,000. Its director of pedagogy Paul Fucaloro jumped by $100,000, to $246,000.

Ryan Alexander, the network’s former chief financial officer, was paid $350,000.

So almost simultaneously as Moskowitz is pleading poverty over paying rent for her charter schools and having over $5 million in attack ads run against de Blasio last spring, she's finishing moving her staff into their new offices on Wall Street and raising the salaries of some of her consiglieres by a $100,000 or more.

Last week Moskowitz demurred answering a question posed by NY1's Errol Louis on whether she was thinking of running for mayor in 2017 - but it was a coy demurral and served very much as a trial balloon for a 2017 run.

When I posted about that story, I noted this:

There is a huge downside for Eva if she decides to run.

Success Academies will get the kind of public scrutiny it so far has mostly avoided.

There's nothing better than a run for a higher office like NYC mayor to shine some light on a person's business practices.

You can see a little of what I'm talking about in this Gonzalez piece - and that's just the stuff that Eva has to report in her public disclosure.

Imagine what an intrepid reporter like Gonzalez will find once he starts rooting around in her business and talking to former employees or Success parents who hate her and have an axe to grind (and reportedly, there are many of those.)

But even what's already out there is damaging enough.

Let's say Eva chooses to run in 2017 against de Blasio, claiming she's doing it for the children or whatever.

She attacks de Blasio over the rent issue and de Blasio, now in a campaign for his political life, takes the gloves off he kept on in the last fight with her and launches back with

a) You paid $31 million for new offices at the same time you were claiming you couldn't pay rent to the city for space.
b) You raised the salaries of your top five employees, some by more than $100,000
c) You paid yourself $567,000 - more than double what the NYC chancellor gets
d) Tell us again why Success Academies couldn't pay rent for space and now forces the city to pay millions to subsidize your salaries and office space?

And that's assuming there's not some other scandal between now and 2017 that supersedes this rank Moskowitz hypocrisy (e.g., financial improprieties, cheating scandal, etc.) 

Moskowitz is very good at garnering headlines and playing the poor victim, but once she throws her hat in the political ring again and runs for mayor, I think some of those headlines will turn on her and she really is going to be victimized - by her own business practices and track record.


  1. Let's not forget cherry picking students and counseling out those who are not a good fit. What percentage of ELLs and Special Ed students are being serviced compared to city wide averages?

    1. Yes, good point. That's the kind of thing she'll have to deal with if she runs.

  2. C'mon, give her a break: it's good business practice to be located near your clients, so of course she'd be on Wall Street.

    1. The address is a building for non-profits, but it sure does come with a swanky price tag.

      And as you note, Michael, close proximity to her Wall Street clients.

  3. She needs to be investigated as well as Cuomo

    1. Absolutely. But doubtful it will happen without some big scandal breaking that forces it.