SEX! SEX! and some more SEX!... 'As proof mounted that the 73-page federal lawsuit was paper-thin...' Sex scandal old news and new news as New York Post attacks union leadership

[Editor's Note: The following article by Norm Scott of ICE and Ed Notes sums up the recent "sex scandal" that was brought out by the right wing New York Post as part of the conservative campaign against the unions and the leadership of the New York City teachers union, the United Federation of Teachers (Local 2 of the American Federation of Teachers; CTU is Local 1 for wonderful historic reasons too detailed to go into here). One of the more dismal realities of American journalism is that anything alleged in a lawsuit can be quoted as a reliable source for "news" because it has become public information. As the New York Daily News story (at the end, below) notes, the lawsuit that made the "sex scandal" allegations against Mulgrew was falling apart of the facts almost as soon as it was filed, but once it had been filed it could be sourced for a "news" story like the one that originally appeared in The New York Post (owner by Rupert Murdoch). Substance readers may or may not know that Michael Mulgrew is President of the UFT and one of the most important national leaders of the 1.5 million member AFT and the Progressive Caucus].

UFT President Michael Mulgrew faced some New York Post scandal mongering in May 2012.Mulgrew Mania, By Norm Scott

Name a school where a sex act never took place and I'll show you a religious school. Wait, I take back that last part.

In case you didn’t hear, the NY Post’s hit girl, Susan Edelman, did a story about UFT President Michael Mulgrew’s alleged affair with a guidance counselor at his school when he was a teacher there after a recent law suit was filed by a teacher with poor ratings. The suit claimed they were caught in the act in 2005 and it was covered up by the union and the DOE in a blackmail deal to force the union to give away numerous teacher rights in the 2005 contract and beyond. Ergo, that is the reason the teacher is facing potential termination. A Hail Mary pass to save his job. What rubbish! The blackmail, I mean. And probably the “caught in the act charge”. As to the affair, I had heard something about it years ago, but, who cares? As I said above, name a school where a sex act never took place….

The idea that the UFT had to be blackmailed to sell out the teaching corps is ludicrous when we know it is in their DNA to give away decades of hard won rights and pieces of the contract, whole chunks at a time. The interesting part of the charge was that Mulgrew took his supposed lady up the ladder with him to a juicy full-time patronage job at UFT headquarters. But really, does anyone expect people in power to function differently? Corporate leaders, government leaders, union leaders and just about anyone running anything always bring their lovers and pals along for the ride. I mean, why else do you want to come out on top if not for perks like that?

Well, the questions being asked on many of the blogs and in school lunchrooms is, did he or didn't he? If he didn't, he has a hell of a libel suit against the Post and the teacher and lawyer spreading the charges. But really, who cares?

My basic take it that it will be a hill of beans. How can it be proven? In today’s world what difference does it make if Mulgrew had a relationship with someone in the school other than the fact she got a full-time union position? The UFT is top-loaded with political patronage people feeding at the union dues trough; what’s one more? They used to say the same thing about Al Shanker and Sandy Feldman, who he tapped as his successor. She only worked one year as a teacher before going to work for the union. Rumors floated around for many years. If it was true, which I doubt, really, how quaint to think it wrong for union leaders to put their lovers on the payroll?

The court case will go nowhere. I totally disagree that there was any blackmail involved in getting the Unity Caucus leadership to sell us out. Selling out has been in their DNA since the early 70's -— you should see the materials we put out in those years. Like nothing changes. Why would a party like Unity Caucus with absolute power after running the UFT into the ground for 50 years worry about actually fighting the ed deformers when there are loads of opportunities for a union hierarchy to jump on the gravy train sucking money out of public ed and putting it in private hands?

Will the scandal affect the Unity/Mulgrew team in the UFT elections in March 2013? I doubt it. I’m working with a new group, Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE), which has announced it is running a slate against Unity/Mulgrew in the elections. MORE put out a statement that said: “MORE is committed to democratic, activist unionism and accountable leadership. Our members have devoted years to challenging the Unity leadership's pattern of bargaining away our rights and calling each give-back a victory. We have also opposed the undemocratic functioning of the Unity leadership which has marginalized opposition voices and discouraged membership activism. At the same time we will not join with the New York Post in its crusade against teacher unionism because it is a campaign not just against Michael Mulgrew but against all New York City educators. The recent scandal to which the Post has dedicated at least two days of coverage is typical of the journalistic standards one would expect from a Rupert Murdoch publication.”

Many bloggers, even internal critics of the union leader, have jumped all over the sleazy NY Post owned by the out and out criminal, Rupert Murdoch. (Did they hack Mulgrew’s phone?)

One of my fellow MORE members, Michael Fiorillo, commented: “John Kenneth Galbreath said that all revolutions are the kicking in of a rotten door, and we all know the UFT structure is rotten, despite the presence of decent, hard working people in the union. That's the destiny of every entrenched, single party state, and that's the potential significance of this story: at a certain point, the superstructure is so internally compromised that it can no longer support itself, and crumbles before a gust of wind.” Well, I’m not so sure it is about to crumble, at least until a group like MORE can convince enough people to support them.

Blogger South Bronx School wrote: “We as teachers and UFT members in this time of constant change and attack from the outside must not let our petty little sh-t to get out, especially in the New York Post. The only method to remove Mulgrew and his ilk are to educate the teachers on how we can affect change from within and take ownership of the power many of us yet to realize we have.” — Shame on Joy Hochstadt and Andrew Ostrowksy).

NYC Educator said: “I don't need to recount the stories about the UFT President. The Post has done a fine job of that, demonstrating it does not discriminate between lowly teachers and union leaders. It's willing to convict any and all of us without a trial, without a hearing, without conscience, and without reservation.” --(Trash Teachers! Sell Papers!)

My guess is the Mulgrew story has a shelf life of about 10 minutes. The one-sided role the Rupert Murdoch faux press plays will leave a lasting after taste that hopefully will continue to discredit and undermine his entire agenda. And hopefully take Joel Klein, his BFF – at least until one or both of them are doing perp walks – with him.


[Editor's Note: Below is an update from the New York Daily News on the story, which basically refutes on of the major claims supposedly based on the lawsuit filed against the union.]

Sex scandal allegations involving Michael Mulgrew are ‘bull’ BEN CHAPMAN, RACHEL MONAHAN New York Daily News, Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The sensational allegations of classroom sex against teachers union President Michael Mulgrew in a federal lawsuit are “bull,” said a former staffer named as a witness.

Donald Herb, 69, of Brooklyn, a former custodial worker at William E. Grady High School who retired seven years ago, said he saw nothing of the kind.

"I didn't see anything. I'm telling you the truth. I'll take a lie detector test if I need to,” he said.

“If I did see something I would've reported it and had Mulgrew removed from the building.”

Last Wednesday, Queens math teacher Andrew Ostrowsky filed a federal lawsuit alleging the union was blackmailed into making labor concessions in exchange for covering up the scandal for Mulgrew.

The lawsuit does not name the witnesses other than to say the custodian and principal knew first-hand.

Former teachers union staffer Betsy Combier has identified Herb as the witness.

But Herb said he supported Mulgrew, calling him a “good guy.”

“We could tell he was a fighter back then. Now he's got some power and they're trying to take him down. That's all this is about."

The city has confirmed Mulgrew was never removed from the classroom for any investigations during his teaching career, contrary to the lawsuit’s allegations. He also was never found to have committed wrongdoing by any investigators.

As proof mounted that the 73-page federal lawsuit was paper-thin, Joy Hochstadt, the oddball lawyer who filed the allegations, emailed the press Wednesday, complaining that her conversations with journalists over the last few days had caused her to miss a filing deadline on a separate case.

She also defended her claims about the Mulgrew scandal, saying that the “the dates and the capitulation all fit” for the blackmailing conspiracy she alleges.

“As I wrote to Mike Mulgrew yesterday, it was NOT my intent to embarass him, it was to stop the extortion of eroding teachers rights,” she wrote.


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