- Last Updated: 5:42 AM, May 22, 2012
- Posted: 1:15 AM, May 22, 2012
Mayor Bloomberg took a swipe at the embattled teachers- union chief yesterday — saying the labor leader’s assertion that a lawsuit against him is absurd could just as easily apply to the union’s outlandish filings against the city.
UFT chief Michael Mulgrew was accused in court papers last week of selling out union members’ work protections in order to cover up a 2005 sexual tryst with a colleague in a Brooklyn school — a charge his spokesman dismissed as “absurd.”
Bloomberg suggested the conspiratorial claims against the union chief were similar to the union’s wild allegations in several lawsuits against the city challenging its motives for closing struggling schools.
“I was glad to read this weekend that the UFT suddenly opposes lawsuits that are full of ‘absurd, false charges,’ ” Hizzoner said at a Google event in Chelsea. “I presume that means that the UFT will now withdraw its own suits that are trying to block us from fixing our worst schools so that they can protect failing teachers.”
The UFT filed its latest lawsuit earlier this month, challenging 24 unusual school closures that leave the students in place but require all the teachers to reapply for their positions.
Pressed to comment on what he thought of the actual charges in the lawsuit, the mayor said he didn’t know.
“I actually have no idea where the stories came from,” he said.
The lawsuit filed by Queens high-school teacher Andrew Ostrowsky alleges that Mulgrew rendezvoused in a classroom with guidance counselor Emelina Camacho-Mendez, when both were working at William Grady HS in Brooklyn.
The up-and-coming labor leader brought his alleged paramour up the union ladder with him.
The mayor and schools chancellor colluded in a coverup of the incident — gaining contract give-backs from the union in exchange for remaining silent, according to the rambling federal court papers.
Ostrowsky claims it was the erosion of work rights that prohibited him from successfully challenging a recent negative rating.
“Everything in the lawsuit is false,” Mulgrew said yesterday, speaking directly about the claims for the first time. “It really does read as a book of crazy fiction.”
Ostrowsky’s lawyer, Joy Hochstadt, admitted in the court papers that she had no concrete proof of the alleged sexual tryst — but says it was witnessed by the former principal and a custodian.
Yet the custodian whom sources identified as the witness in question flatly denied to The Post yesterday that he had seen any tooling around in the shop room.
“The guy didn’t do nothing in front of me. If they did do something like that, I would have thrown them out,” said retired custodial helper Donald Herb.
Additional reporting by Yoav Gonen, Reuven Fenton and Julia Marsh