Nothing like a quick sex scandal to spice up a beautiful Sunday afternoon.
In a 73-page lawsuit filed by a Manhattan teacher, the President of the United Federation of Teachers prez Michael Mulgrew, known for his heated relationship with Bloomberg’s Education Department, has been accused of having sex with a guidance counselor at the high school he used to teach at in Brooklyn.
Apparently, a custodian walked in on him and Emma Camacho-Mendez in the workshop and, once caught, they forced the worker and the principal of the school to keep their mouths shut. Also, according to the suit, Camancho-Mendez was rewarded with a UFT job paying $22,000 a year on top of her $85,000 guidance counselor salary.
However, as with every scandalous accusation, there is an overblown twist. And this one is serious: the lawsuit also name-drops Bloomberg, Chancellor Dennis Walcott and other high officials as knowing about the incident.
One word: blackmail.
Andrew Ostrowsky, the math teacher from Frank Sinatra High School of the Arts who filed the lawsuit, has stated that, in order to get labor concessions passed in their favor, Bloomberg’s Education Department used the information against Mulgrew. If that accusation is true, this is a plotline of Oscar-winning proportions.
Mulgrew assumed the position in 2009 after Randi Weingarten, who the lawsuit claims knew about it as well but hid it for reputation reasons, stepped down to become the head of the American Federation of Teachers (United? America? Whatever). He was elected to a three-year term afterwards and denies all accusations of sexual mischief.
“This lawsuit is a catalog of absurd, false charges which we expect the court to dismiss,” said Dick Riley, a UFT spokesperson. Camacho-Mendez said she has never heard the allegations until now as well.
But it looks like the courts will have an easy time dismissing this one. It is reported that the lawyer of Ostrowsky, Joy Hachstadt, has no evidence whatsoever to present to the court and that her and her client are actually on the lookout for some. All they have now is “hearsay” evidence, which, in terms of the legal world, is near the equivalency of a $2 bill.
Ostrowsky also mentions in the suit that he was unfairly targeted for firing with a bad teacher rating and demands reparations for emotional distress. That might not be the best information to put into an argument to present in front of a jury. Quickly, the 73 pages becomes Angry Ex-Worker Seeking Revenge Vs. Boss.
We’ll see what the court thinks of that dyanmic in the coming days.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 20, 2012