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Thursday, May 24, 2012

10 Necessary Questions for Michael Mulgrew

"Moses showing the Ten Commandments,"
by Gustave Dore' (1865)

Moses brought down the tablets with the 10 commandments. Philip Nobile, admittedly a lesser luminary, merely has 10 questions to ask our UFT President, Michael Mulgrew.  

If the worst one could say about Michael Mulgrew is that once upon a time at Grady High School he fulfilled the adulterous fantasy of many teachers, then I’m not throwing the first stone. The boys of the Unity Caucus are famous for having a good time. Whether Mulgrew and Emma Camacho-Mendez did the lust and thrust in his shop several years ago is relatively small potatoes, even if there were evidence. But I would have preferred faster and more furious denial.

If the sex never happened at Grady, then Hochstadt’s grand conspiracy-blackmail-extortion theory wrapped in a suicidal lawsuit collapses. So why didn’t Mulgrew come out swinging in Sunday’s Post, at least to defend the honor of his good friend Ms. Camacho-Mendez? Instead, he told paid spokesman Dick Riley to say that Hochstadt’s “lawsuit was a catalog of absurd, false charges which we expect the court to dismiss."    
Bill Clinton proclaims, "I did not have sexual relations
with that woman."
Mulgrew’s Monday email to members was similarly bloodless in reference to “false and absurd claims of a wide-ranging conspiracy and personal misconduct, without stating any actual proof of either.” But why not a simple, case-closing statement: “I did not have sex with that Guidance Counselor at Grady.” Wouldn’t you rush to say that or its equivalent, if you were Mulgrew and you and your good friend were maliciously accused in the Post? Wouldn’t you have announced a libel suit against your greatest enemy in the press?

That’s what bothers me. Mulgrew is not acting like an innocent man. If he was spied in flagrante at Grady, it follows that there was a cover-up of some kind. So far, evidence goes in the other direction. The Daily News reported on Tuesday that “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.”  Even Donald Herb, the retired custodian who supposedly saw the grappling lovers told the News that Mulgrew was 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." And Ivor Neuschotz, the former Grady Principal allegedly in the know, has kept silent.
Emma Camacho-Mendez's comment about
her alleged affair with Mulgrew was "clueless," says
Philip Nobile. 
Despite this cold trail, I’m leaning in the direction of the original sin---until Mulgrew and/or Camacho-Mendez convince me otherwise. The rumor is too widespread and robust to discount on Mulgrew’s tepid denial and Camacho-Mendez’s clueless comment in Sunday’s Post: “I have no comment on that. It’s the first I’ve heard of such an allegation. I have nothing to say to you.”   
The court of public opinion is not the same as the court of UFT opinion. Randi was compromised when she was in the closet and covered up Klein’s secret swiftboat campaign against her, only to be protected by Special Commissioner of Investigation Richard Condon who also covered up Klein smear operation at Tweed. That’s what Randi told me,  Michael Mendel, Jim Callaghan, and NYSUT lawyer Chris Callagy in 2008.  Mulgrew needs to come clean with members, to assure us that he is not compromised. 
Herewith are ten questions to set the record straight:
1. Did you have a romantic relationship with Camacho-Mendez when you were both at Grady? Have you had a romantic relationship with her at any time? 

2. Did you have sex with her within Grady? 

3. Comacho-Mendez told the Post that she had never heard the Grady rumor before; what about you? 

4. The rumor has surprisingly long legs despite lack of confirmation; did anything happen at Grady that might have started it? 

5. Granted the circumstances, the appearances, and your and Camacho-Mendez’s less-than-indignant denials, you can understand why some members like me are skeptical and want a detailed response to the Hochstadt suit, even though it lacks proof. Will you hold a press conference and answer questions? 

6. Will you sue Hochstadt, Betsy Combier, and the Post for reckless disregard of the truth? If not, why not? 

7. Norm Scott mocked Hochstadt’s grandiose claims while expressing contempt for Unity’s entrenched leadership: “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?”  Your response? 

8.  Randi came to your swift defense against Hochstadt, but you were silent last month when the Daily News, with the connivance of Walcott, smeared Eric Chasanoff  as a pervert teacher. Why did you let Eric twist in the wind? 

9. The 10-minute “open mike” at the start of Executive Committee meetings is the only chance that rank-and- file members have to confront you and your cabinet. But you allowed Secretary Michael Mendel to censor that small window of opportunity, forbidding dissenting members to speak more than once a term. Is this your idea of democratic process? 

10. One more thing: Are you sorry that you cynically killed the DA resolution to endorse Bill Thompson against Bloomberg, thus assuring four more years of teacher bashing?  

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