The following article appeared in the NY Times.
This is our favorite section in the story below....""Michael Herman, the teachers' union chapter leader, said Mr. Everett was an excellent teacher who should be welcomed back to his job teaching law classes.
"It was an unfortunate isolated incident that got blown out of proportion," Mr. Herman said. "He wanted to make a difference in kids' lives, and he was doing that.""
That folks is one of the many problems of the teachers' unions.
June 7, 2006
Time Off? No Problem. But for Jail? Problem.
By ELISSA GOOTMAN
For years, the New York City school system has encouraged people to leave lucrative professions behind to work as teachers. But a disbarred lawyer convicted of theft may not have been what officials had in mind.
Investigators said yesterday that when the disbarred New Jersey lawyer, Thomas Everett, applied for a leave of absence from his job teaching at Sheepshead Bay High School in Brooklyn, he wrote that he had to take care of "problems with the state of New Jersey judicial system." In fact, they said, Mr. Everett needed the time off to go to jail.
In a report, Richard J. Condon, the special commissioner of investigation for the city schools, wrote that Mr. Everett, 59, was
disbarred in 2001 while being investigated by the Essex County prosecutor's office. In 2003, Mr. Everett started teaching at
But his past followed him. In May 2005, New Jersey officials finished their investigation, and Mr. Everett was arrested and charged with stealing more than $1 million while serving as the executor of two elderly women's estates.
In October, investigators said, Mr. Everett pleaded guilty to theft and misappropriation and was sentenced in January to a maximum of three years in prison, at which point he applied for the leave. After serving four months, Mr. Everett was released from jail on May 22 and placed in a supervised release program, forbidding him to leave New Jersey. According to the report, he owes $1.4 million in restitution to the families.
The Department of Education issued a statement yesterday saying it would move to fire Mr. Everett. That is what Mr. Condon recommended — not because of the conviction, but because Mr. Everett had not reported the conviction to the department's Office of Personnel Investigations, although he did tell his principal.
Nonetheless, Mr. Condon said Mr. Everett may have been done in by his own honesty, by offering an accurate if vague reason for requesting the leave.
"If he had come up with a good reason, even if it wasn't true, but one that passed the smell test, he probably would have been home free," Mr. Condon said.
Mr. Everett did not return a telephone call yesterday seeking comment. But according to the report, he said that heirs of his
clients, whom he described as "two little old ladies in nursing homes," had questioned his actions in handling the estates. He told investigators that he simply failed to keep good records of his billable hours.
Michael Herman, the teachers' union chapter leader, said Mr. Everett was an excellent teacher who should be welcomed back to his job teaching law classes.
"It was an unfortunate isolated incident that got blown out of proportion," Mr. Herman said. "He wanted to make a difference in kids' lives, and he was doing that."