Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Posted by THE BLACK POLITICAL CAUCUS OF WESTCHESTER at 10:01 AM
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
|CORRUPT MT. VERNON SCHOOL CHIEF JUDITH JOHNSON|
The administration of Interim Superintendent Judith Johnson continues to operate in an unscrupulous and unethical manner. As previously reported by Mount Vernon Exposed, there is a massive cover up going on at the central office while public continues to be stonewalled with getting basic information.
It appears that Judith Johnson plays by her own set of rules and does not believe in transparency and full disclosure. Mount Vernon Exposed publisher Samuel L. Rivers requested documents through the NYS Freedom of Information Law or F.O.I.L.
A response was received from the district but the written correspondence from the district was not in line with the Freedom of Information Law. The NYS Freedom of Information law states each entity subject to the provisions of this article, within five business days of the receipt of a written request for a record reasonably described, shall make such record available to the person requesting it, deny such request in writing or furnish a written acknowledgment of the receipt of such request and a statement of the approximate date, which shall be reasonable under the circumstances of the request, when such request will be granted or denied, including, where appropriate, a statement that access to the record will be determined in accordance with subdivision five of the Freedom of Information Law.
The Freedom of Information Law further states; 3. (a) Each entity subject to the provisions of this article, within five business days of the receipt of a written request for a record reasonably described, shall make such record available to the person requesting it, deny such request in writing or furnish a written acknowledgment of the receipt of such request and a statement of the approximate date, which shall be reasonable under the circumstances of the request, when such request will be granted or denied, including, where appropriate, a statement that access to the record will be determined in accordance with subdivision five of this section. An agency shall not deny a request on the basis that the request is voluminous or that locating or reviewing the requested records or providing the requested copies is burdensome because the agency lacks sufficient staffing or on any other basis if the agency may engage an outside professional service to provide copying, programming or other services required to provide the copy, the costs of which the agency may recover pursuant to paragraph (c) of subdivision one of section eighty-seven of this article. An agency may require a person requesting lists of names and addresses to provide a written certification that such person will not use such lists of names and addresses for solicitation or fund-raising purposes and will not sell, give or otherwise make available such lists of names and addresses to any other person for the purpose of allowing that person to use such lists of names and addresses for solicitation or fund-raising purposes. If an agency determines to grant a request in whole or in part, and if circumstances prevent disclosure to the person requesting the record or records within twenty business days from the date of the acknowledgement of the receipt of the request, the agency shall state, in writing, both the reason for the inability to grant the request within twenty business days and a date certain within a reasonable period, depending on the circumstances, when the request will be granted in whole or in part. Upon payment of, or offer to pay, the fee prescribed therefor, the entity shall provide a copy of such record and certify to the correctness of such copy if so requested, or as the case may be, shall certify that it does not have possession of such record or that such record cannot be found after diligent search. Nothing in this article shall be construed to require any entity to prepare any record not possessed or maintained by such entity except the records specified in subdivision three of section eighty-seven and subdivision three of section eighty-eight of this article. When an agency has the ability to retrieve or extract a record or data maintained in a computer storage system with reasonable effort, it shall be required to do so. When doing so requires less employee time than engaging in manual retrieval or redactions from non-electronic records, the agency shall be required to retrieve or extract such record or data electronically. Any programming necessary to retrieve a record maintained in a computer storage system and to transfer that record to the medium requested by a person or to allow the transferred record to be read or printed shall not be deemed to be the preparation or creation of a new record.
What is Judith Johnson hiding? Why is Judith stalling and stonewalling board members? Why isn’t Judith giving the asbestos reports to school board trustees?
Judith Johnson has not worked in the best interest of the taxpayers since her inception in Mount Vernon.
Will Judith do the taxpayers a favor and resign? Only time will tell.
Monday, October 28, 2013
|EMBATTLED MT VERNON SCHOOL CHIEF JUDITH JOHNSON|
|CORRUPT SCHOOL BOARD TRUSTEE LEN SARVER|
|SCHOOL BOARD TRUSTEE FRANCIS WYNN|
|CORRUPT MT VERNON SCHOOL CFO TIMOTHY COSTELLO|
Sources have told Mount Vernon Exposed that a massive cover-up is under way at the Board of Education central office located at 165 N. Columbus Avenue. Mount Vernon School Chief Judith Johnson is spearheading the cover up with assistance from School Board Vice-President Len Sarver and Assistant Superintendent of Business Timothy Costello.
According to sources deemed reliable, school personnel, on orders from Judith Johnson have been working night and day shredding documents and destroying any paper trail regarding asbestos reports for schools within the district. Inspectors from the New York State Department of Health cited Mount Vernon school officials in December 2012 for negligence in remediating asbestos in the district.
The Mount Vernon City School district has been negligent in properly maintaining safe and healthy learning environments for the past 25 years. Voters have gone to the polls twice approving upwards of $130 million dollars to repair the aging and dilapidated schools in Mount Vernon.
“They stole all the money”, is a phase often used by school board Vice President Len Sarver. We must now investigate to find out who “they” is that Sarver frequently refers to.
There also seems to be a strange and uncanny connection between City Hall and the Mount Vernon City School district. While city officials are elected to handle city business, they often meddle in the affairs of the Mount Vernon City School District.
In 2009, County Legislator Lyndon Williams headed up an aggressive and fierce campaign to persuade voters to vote yes on the ballot for a $20 Million dollar EXCEL bond. Williams made his pitch by stating that the $20M million bond would have no tax implications for homeowners. A stipulation of this bond was that the funds can only be used for construction and could not be transferred into the general fund balance to offset or lower the tax levy.
Timothy Costello, the shyster, CFO of the Mount Vernon City School District, began to shuffle monies around and place it in areas that would be financially beneficial to him.
Costello talks out of both sides of his mouth and cannot be entrusted to prepare a budget in excess of $215 million. This is just another example of the fox watching the henhouse. An example of Costello’s hypocrisy was displayed during the heated public debate of the Armani Charter School, which, according to public statements made by Costello, would drain the already scare resources of the Mount Vernon City School district.
Costello was working as a double agent during the several years long legal battle over the Armani charter school. Costello worked hand in hand with former School Board President Charles Stern to find out where the money was to start the Armani Charter School. Stern also attends the Sinai Free Synagogue with his fellow partners in crime, Len Sarver and Timothy Costello. Stern’s wife Debra is the Executive Director of the Armani Charter School and pulls in an $80K salary courtesy of Mount Vernon taxpayers. Not bad for someone who doesn’t have a teaching certification. Stern is a licensed Social Worker.
Sources allege that in exchange for receiving 100% healthcare coverage, Costello would then help Stern find where the money was to start the Armani Charter School.
The Armani charter school leases space in the basement of The Friendship Worship Center. They also rent four classrooms on the first floor of St. Ursula School located on Lincoln Avenue. Armani charter school did not file the necessary paperwork with the City of Mount Vernon building department. Homeowners again were cheated out of thousands of dollars of building permit fees.
On Friday, investigators with Mount Vernon Exposed visited St. Ursula School after an anonymous tip was received that major funds have been expended in the past month in excess of $200,000. Investigators discovered a brand new Dell file server, dozens of brand new laptops, custom purple molding, custom purple chairs, and brand new desks. The laptops were not secured and left in plain sight.
Investigators also discovered new electrical lines installed. Sources familiar with investigation told Mount Vernon Exposed that the company that did the electrical work is a close friend of Trustee Len Sarver, who is also a Licensed Electrician.
Where did all of this money come from? How much did Stern, Costello, and Sarver unjustly enrich themselves?
Just this past summer, Costello with the assistance of Trustee Len Sarver, spent in excess of $1.3M to install a brand new roof at Pennington School. Undocumented illegal immigrants were used at the direction of Trustee Len Sarver and Timothy Costello to install the roof. Sources also told Mount Vernon Exposed that the company hired to install the roof also is connected to Costello and Sarver. Any person with an ounce of common sense knows that a roof doesn’t cost $1.3M to replace.
It is important that which board members voted to approve the expenditure of the funds to replace the roof at Pennington. Where did Costello find the money to replace the roof? This is the same Timothy Costello that said he couldn’t find $750K to provide buses so that the children could get to and from school. There are no buses in the City of Mount Vernon. Children must get to school the best way they can.
Tonight school board members are meeting to discuss important issues regarding the school district. School board members can no longer remain silent while officials high up the food chain continue to fleece taxpayers. School board members must step up to the plate and demand that school officials do right by our children. We can no longer have 2 or 3 board members fighting for what is right while the other board members allow Judith Johnson, Timothy Costello, and Len Sarver destroy the City of Mount Vernon.
When it was made public that there was asbestos at Parker School, School Board Trustee Francis Wynn told News 12 that she was going to investigate the matter immediately. Instead Wynn is working behind the scenes with Sarver and Johnson to cover up the asbestos at Parker School and other schools in the district. Attached to this article you will hear the full-unedited interview between News 12 and Francis Wynn.
School Board Trustee Francis Wynn’s relationship with Judith Johnson is troubling. Wynn defends Johnson at any cost, even when the education and the safety of our children have been compromised. Over the next few weeks, Mount Vernon Exposed will inform the public as to which board members are working interest of the taxpayers and which ones that need to be fired next year come election time. Stay tuned…To be continued…………..
Friday, October 25, 2013
MOUNT VERNON CITY SCHOOL CFO STEALS FROM POOR STUDENTS WHILE CREATING $2 MIL SLUSH FUND FOR SCHOOL CHIEF
|CORRUPT SCHOOL CFO TIMOTHY COSTELLO|
|EMBATTLED MT VERNON SCHOOL CHIEF JUDITH JOHNSON|
|CORRUPT SCHOOL BOARD TRUSTEE LEN SARVER|
It has been one week now since news broke of the asbestos scandal involving Mount Vernon School Chief Judith Johnson. Johnson still isn’t forthcoming and still has not provided board members with asbestos reports even though the reports have been made public on this site. Instead she has been hiding behind school board attorneys and using tactics to stall and deny information to the public and school board members.
Johnson treats board members as if they are her servants and her employees. Johnson lacks integrity and accountability. Three guidance counselors personally hired by Johnson are now facing criminal charges for changing test scores in Peekskill, Johnson’s last place of employment.
Judith Johnson must come clean with the taxpayers and the children of Mount Vernon. Why hasn’t she released the reports to the public or to School Board Trustees? Are our children at risk for asthma and lung cancer?
We must get to the root cause analysis on exactly how these problems came to exist in city schools and why they went unaddressed for such a long time. Mount Vernon Exposed will now begin to connect the dots and show the public how long the corruption has been permeating the Mount Vernon City School District.
Money disappearing from school budgets and going into a slush fund for Superintendents started with the hire of Assistant Superintendent of Business Timothy Costello, a very close friend of embattled school board trustee Len Sarver. Len Sarver stands accused alongside Mount Vernon School Chief Judith Johnson of purposely hiding asbestos reports from the public and steering lucrative school contracts to vendors favorable to both.
Mount Vernon Exposed is pleased to announce that work was done at Cecil H. Parker Elementary School to remediate the mold issue. Sources have reported to Mount Vernon Exposed that crews have been working feverishly day and night to cover up any trace of mold and water damage after it was made public that Parker school has been neglected since 2005 and didn’t address deficiencies found by inspectors from the New York State Department of Health. However, sources confirmed to Mount Vernon exposed that friable asbestos wasn’t disposed of properly in accordance with applicable state laws.
Many questions remain regarding the removal of mold and the abatement of asbestos at Cecil H. Parker Middle School. For starters, who removed the mold? Was this put out for competitive bid? Did Judith Johnson and school board trustees Len Sarver unjustly enrich themselves by awarding lucrative construction and electrical contracts to vendors of their choosing? Was the mold and asbestos removed by a licensed professional?
Let’s get back to Timothy Costello. Mr. Costello is a crook and a sheister in every sense of the word. Costello was hired by former Mount Vernon Superintendent W.L. Sawyer, another crook who was more concerned about having sexual relations with his subordinates than the education of the children. Sawyer was cited for having an improper relationship with an employee of the Mount Vernon City School District.
Costello, a failure, never surpassed the $100K salary mark in life. That is until he came to the Mount Vernon City School District to drink from the public till. Costello’s salary prior to arriving in Mount Vernon was $92,000. Today Costello receives a whopping $190,000+ salary and benefits courtesy of Mount Vernon taxpayers. Not bad Timothy.
Timothy purchased his current house at 4 Alameda Place in 2007 for $478,000. In recent weeks, Mount Vernon Exposed has received complaints from taxpayers in Costello’s neighborhood stating his property assessment is well below the average that homeowners in Costello’s neighborhood pay for similar structures with the same square footage.
|TIMOTHY COSTELLO'S HOME|
Costello also receives several other perks not afforded to other employees of the Mount Vernon City School district. Mr. Costello receives 100% medical coverage courtesy of taxpayers while Administrators and teachers pay 50% towards their medical coverage and civil services employees contribute 35% towards their health care costs. What type of quid pro quo arrangement is in place that allows Timmy to receive 100% medical coverage? It is time for Obamacare Mr. Costello.
So why does Timothy get 100% medical coverage? Timothy wins favor with every school Superintendent that he works for. Timothy is responsible for preparing the budget and finances as the Assistant Superintendent for Business. In other words, he is the Chief Financial officer or CFO for the Mount Vernon City School district.
Every school is allotted $150K per year for textbooks, visual aids, and other materials for educating our children. The schools that are succeeding and have passing test scores spend all of their allotted funds by the end of the school year while the failing schools, had nearly 90% of the $150K left in their budget at the end of the school year. Makes no sense.
So Timothy, thinking he was a genius, illegally and without authorization from the School Board Trustees, diverted the funds from the schools that never used their textbook money into something called the “general fund”. Such diversion requires approval from the State legislature. At the time of press, Mount Vernon Exposed could find no such legislation authorization Mr. Costello’s unethical actions.
Timothy then goes to the Superintendent and tells them that he has “newfound” money and they are free to spend it how they see fit. They Superintendent’s are now beholden to Mr. Costello and free to hire as many consultants as possible. Consultants connected to Costello are now legally allowed to rape Mount Vernon taxpayers for millions and millions of dollars. The consultants are usually friends of Costello and Johnson or Costello and Johnson are looking to gain employment from after their tenure is done with Mount Vernon City Schools.
Mount Vernon Exposed has also gathered evidence to suggest School Board Trustee Len Sarver is in financial trouble. The evidence also suggest that former school board trustee Marc Stuckey was correct when he stated that Sarver’s hand is in the cookie jar.
Sarver owns property located at 138-140 N. 5th Avenue. This is also the building where Sarver runs his “so called” electrical business. On June 23, 2010 Sarver put the building up for sale for $599,000 and also for lease at $10 per square foot or $4583.33 per month.
|LEN SARVER'S PROPERTY|
With no buyers in site, Sarver again put the property back on the market on October 25, 2012 at $525,000 and also for lease at $12 per square foot or $5,500 per month.
On October 18, 2013 the very next day after a press conference was held announcing the asbestos cover up at Cecil H. Parker elementary; school trustee Len Sarver put the property located at 138-140 N. 5th Avenue, back on the market for $500K, $100K less than he was seeking.
All evidence suggests that Sarver is trying to unload this property very quickly because he is having cash flow issues. Could it be that Sarver knows it is only a matter of time before he is indicted for betraying the public trust? Does Sarver need the proceeds from the sale of the house for his legal defense? If Sarver was such a successful businessman, why is he selling the building where he runs his business?
Mount Vernon Exposed checked with city officials and it was discovered that taxes are up to date on 138-140 North 5th Avenue and on Sarver’s primary address located at 12 Carwall Avenue. Where is Sarver getting the funds to pay his property taxes taxes? School board trustees serve 3 year unpaid terms.
Timothy Costello and Len Sarver are good friends and also attend together, the Sinai Free Synagogue located at 550 N. Columbus Avenue.
Next Issue………”Millions diverted from school fund balance to contractors connected to Timothy Costello and Len Sarver” ………