So, as we noted earlier, the state's largest teachers union has some potential problems because it has been receiving $3 million a year in kickbacks from the giant investment firm ING in exchange for steering teachers into investment portfolios that don't make much money. The whole ripoff scam was exposed by a business reporter from the L.A. Times who was working on a story about how labor unions nationwide were exploiting their members in this manner.
In this morning's NY Post, F.U. Dicker reports that Attorney General (and Governor wannabe) Eliot Spitzer has been investigating the NYSUT scam for seven months.
So, I'm assuming that an attorney general with his eye on the governor's mansion would pay particular attention to an election year case like this that involves the most powerful special interest group in the state. Fair assumption? Knowing that this investigation was moving along and producing (what sounds from Dicker's Spitzer sources to be) fruitful information, you'd think he had given some prior thought to whether or not he should accept the endorsement of NYSUT at its annual convention in Rochester this weekend.
If all of these facts are on the mark, why then would Spitzer's decision to "abruptly cancel plans to receive the endorsement yesterday" need to be abrupt at all???? Was it abrupt because he previously figured no one would find out about the investigation before the election (that pesky L.A. Times!)???? Was it abrupt because his political handlers didn't anticipate how inflammatory the charges might be until it spilled into the press this week??? Did Dicker call it "abrupt" to make the story an easier sell with editors???? Who knows. It would appear that Spitzer had clearly been scheduled to give his acceptance speech in front of the union, and that clearly a decision was made at the last minute that it wouldn't look very good to be seen breaking bread with the subjects of his investigation.
Wasn't this obvious seven months ago when the NYSUT investigation began?
UPDATE: One Chalkboard reader, who happens to teach in a NYC school, writes to ask whether the UFT participates in NYSUT's voluntary plan. Leo Casey answers that question by noting that the UFT has nothing to do with this baby, and reprints NYSUT chief Dick Ianuzzi's statement on the matter.
UPDATE II: Eduwonk says that NYSUT has some 'splainin to do...
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