The New York Post has an article about the recent scandal surrounding UFT head Mulgrew and his recent publicity.
UFT President Mike Mulgrew was caught “in flagrante delicto” with a guidance counselor at William Grady HS, where he taught before becoming the union’s boss, a bombshell lawsuit charges.
The accusation that Mulgrew was seen having sex with a co-worker in a woodshop at the vocational school, and that it was hushed up, comes in a rambling 73-page suit filed in Brooklyn federal court last week by Andrew Ostrowsky, a math teacher at Frank Sinatra HS of the Arts in Manhattan.
Ostrowsky, 35, names Mayor Bloomberg, Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, Mulgrew and the UFT, claiming the teachers union conspired with school officials to quash the scandal. It accuses the city of using the favor to “extort” labor concessions.
The suit claims that a custodian found Mulgrew and Emma Camacho-Mendez together at the Brooklyn school, and that the custodian and principal were “sworn to secrecy and denial.”
It charges the pair were shielded by then-UFT President Randi Weingarten to avoid embarrassment to the union leadership.
“Mulgrew was embroiled in a meretricious scandal for which anyone else would have been fired, ending his career as an educator,” the suit claims.
Mulgrew’s spokesman, Dick Riley, gave a curt response: “This lawsuit is a catalog of absurd, false charges which we expect the court to dismiss.”
Camacho-Mendez, now a UFT official, said, “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 lawyer who filed the suit, Joy Hochstadt, told The Post she is seeking evidence of the alleged tryst.
“Everyone has only hearsay knowledge, but almost everyone in the school talked about it,” the suit says.
Several former staffers at Grady HS have told The Post they believed Mulgrew and Camacho-Mendez, who is married, were romantically involved, and there were rumors of an encounter on a drafting table at the time.
“The sex thing, it’s between them and nobody’s business,” one said. “The thing that upset me is the patronage job to Mendez — rewarding her with a high-paying job with my union dues.”
In 2005, soon after the alleged incident, Mulgrew became UFT vice president for career and technical high schools. Around the same time, Camacho-Mendez transferred to the HS of Telecommunication Arts and Technology in Brooklyn, but got a part-time job in Mulgrew’s union office.
She was later given the full-time position of UFT liaison for special education. She gets two paychecks — $22,000 in UFT compensation on top of her $85,000 city salary, although she’s no longer a guidance counselor. In 2010, Mulgrew presented Camacho-Mendez with a UFT award.
“No one ever heard of this woman until Mulgrew brought her on board,” said a longtime UFT rep. “She had no union credentials.”
Mulgrew was tapped to finish Weingarten’s term in 2009, when she left to head the American Federation of Teachers. In April 2010, he was elected to a three-year term to succeed her.
One of the most powerful labor leaders in the country, the fiery Mulgrew has fought Mayor Bloomberg and the Department of Education on such issues as reversing the last-in, first-out policy in laying off teachers; plans to close struggling schools; and the public release of teacher ratings.
The UFT pays Mulgrew $250,400 a year, plus benefits.
Ostrowsky, a 10-year veteran, claims in the suit he’s being “targeted” for termination because an assistant principal gave him his first “unsatisfactory” rating last December. Supervisors also ordered him to undergo a DOE medical/psychological exam, but he wasn’t found to be unfit.
Hochstadt, who has sued the DOE over its notorious “rubber rooms” for teachers accused of misconduct, filed a similar suit for Ostrowsky last month in Manhattan Supreme Court.
She added the alleged sex scandal and coverup to the federal case, which complains the UFT has betrayed members by caving in to the DOE on several issues. Under one agreement, teachers “excessed” from closing schools, no matter their seniority, must work as substitutes until another school hires them. Walcott last week proposed buyouts for most of 831 educators in the Absent Teacher Reserve.
Ostrowsky seeks a purging of any negative documents in his file, and more than $600,000 in damages, including payment for “defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.”