Five Arrested, Fraud Alleged In Probe of N.Y.C. Elections
Fallout from a sweeping investigation of New York City's last local school elections hit hard last week, two weeks before voters in the city's 32 community school districts return to the polls on May 7.
The developments included the arrest of five Bronx school officials on charges of ballot fraud, a report alleging widespread corruption in a troubled Bronx district, and a guilty plea by a former Brooklyn principal accused of stealing public funds and pressuring teachers to join a political club.
In the vote-fraud case, prosecutors charged that administrators in District 10 in the Bronx induced homeless people, nursing home residents, and college students to apply for absentee ballots that were then cast by others.
Chancellor Rudy F. Crew said the officials had been reassigned to jobs "that do not involve contact with any students, parents, school staff, or schools." They would be fired if convicted, he added.
The charges, like last week's other developments, stemmed from a probe of the 1993 local-board elections by the school system's special commissioner of investigation, Edward F. Stancik.
Another target of that probe, the Brooklyn principal, agreed to repay $20,000, resign, and perform community service in exchange for probation.
Earlier in the week, Mr. Stancik released a report accusing the school board chief in District 9 in the Bronx of repeatedly using school staff members, equipment, and funds for personal gain.
Responding to preliminary allegations of wrongdoing, Mr. Crew had earlier summarily suspended the entire boards both of District 9 and District 7 in February.
Both boards sued, and last week a state judge in the Bronx reinstated the District 7 board, an order that Mr. Crew has appealed. The judge chided Mr. Crew for overreacting to a television newscast that explored allegations that school employees were pressured to attend fund-raisers to keep and get jobs.