As Heard On The Jim Quinn Show This Morning........

John A. Quayle blueoval at SGI.NET
Mon May 5 22:54:58 MDT 2003


The looters liberals ignore
Michelle Malkin
May 2, 2003
Townhall.com

Peter Jennings and the New York Times couldn't get enough of the looting 
stories out of Iraq. But they couldn't care less about a massive, 
systematic looting scheme here at home that is robbing America's 
schoolchildren and rank-and-file teachers blind.

These homegrown plunderers have been accused or convicted of siphoning 
precious educational resources to pay for homes, hotel bills, mink coats, 
crystal, fine art, furniture, vacations, car repairs, football tickets, 
limousine service, their children's private school tuition, and Democrat 
party lobbying.

These sticky-fingered fiends are based in Washington, D.C., Miami-Dade, 
Fla., and in gilded office buildings across the country.

These are the looters liberals ignore: the greedy leaders of America's 
public teachers' unions.

While Democrats fumed over a handful of pilfered artifacts in Baghdad last 
month, the son-in-law of a top Washington, D.C., teachers' union official 
pleaded guilty in federal court to money laundering charges involving 
nearly half a million dollars' of union funds. Michael Wayne Martin created 
a bogus company and funneled more than $480,000 in checks from the 
Washington Teachers Union into a bank account for the fake firm.

Martin kept some of the money for himself to cover personal expenses 
including his home mortgage, credit card bills, car notes, vehicle 
maintenance, home improvement projects, his kids' school bills, Washington 
Redskins tickets, and limo service. The rest of the booty was repaid to 
former union president Barbara Bullock; her aide, Gwendolyn Hemphill 
(Martin's mother-in-law); and former union treasurer James Baxter.

All three are subjects of a federal grand jury investigation; they are 
suspected of embezzling a grand total of at least $5 million in funds over 
seven years. Earlier this year, FBI agents seized luxury items from their 
homes or businesses, including African art, designer clothes, handbags, 
wigs, a 50-inch flat-screen, plasma television, furs, a crystal ice bucket 
and a 288-piece set of Tiffany sterling silverware.

In a separate court hearing this week involving the Washington union's 
parent body, the American Federation of Teachers, U.S. District Judge Emmet 
G. Sullivan lambasted national union officials for failing to audit the 
Washington leadership. "It's a sad commentary," Sullivan noted. "It seems 
everyone in a responsible position fell asleep at the switch. The only ones 
who were vigilant were the thieves, who took everything that wasn't nailed 
down."

An even bigger scandal is brewing in Miami-Dade County, Fla., which is home 
to the nation's fourth largest, ailing, failing, overcrowded school 
district. Federal and local investigators this week raided the mighty 
United Teachers of Dade headquarters, hauling off boxes of financial 
records belonging to union head Pat Tornillo. Tornillo, a Democrat heavy 
who commands a $4 million annual payroll (including his own $243,000 yearly 
salary), is suspected of diverting union funds to pay for homes, hotel 
bills and other perks, according to the Miami Herald.

So much for the poor students still crammed in portable classrooms failing 
their tests.

Tornillo oversaw a disastrous spending binge on real estate and used the 
union's political and economic clout to secure lucrative construction and 
insurance contracts for cronies, set the school year calendar, stack the 
school board, dominate Florida Democrat Party circles, and maintain the 
highest average teacher salaries in Florida.

"The mismanagement and lavish lifestyle and all of the perks at the 
members' expense have been pretty obvious,'' local union critic Damaris 
Daugherty told the Herald. So obvious, and yet so thoroughly ignored by big 
government elites who refuse to acknowledge what a bureaucratic parasite 
the teachers' union apparatus has become.

As muck-raking journalist Peter Brimelow argues in his devastating new 
expose, <http://www.thbookservice.com/BookPage.asp?prod_cd=C6134>The Worm 
in the Apple: How the Teacher Unions Are Destroying American Education, 
teachers' union monopolies have put a chokehold on our education system, 
much like the "trusts" that stifled American businesses a century ago. 
Through their collective bargaining power, forced dues schemes, and 
"self-perpetuating staff oligarchy," the "Teacher Trust" has succeeded in 
providing ever more money and benefits not for students -- but for 
themselves. This power grab would not have been possible without a 
socialized government school system immune from private competition and 
sustained by a bottomless well of taxpayer funds.

But hey, when it's done in the name of public schoolchildren, it isn't 
"looting." It's "professional development."

©2003 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

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