Project VeritasProject Veritas

Teachers Unions 2016

Part 1

Teachers Union Officials Advise Cover Up of Child Abuse Through Drug Cartel Plan

Project Veritas journalists and James O’Keefe visit with the United Federation of Teachers office in Yonkers to meet with senior union officials to find out what would happen to a teacher who was guilty of abusing a child. Shockingly, our journalists found the union officials willing to engage in a cover up of child abuse and the violation of workplace rules. The officials can even be seen helping the journalist plot a cover up on hidden camera.

In O’Keefe’s video, Paul Diamond, the Executive Vice President for the Yonkers Federation of Teachers was caught on camera helping a PV journalist posing as a teacher who hit a child with covering up the incident. “ I think there are three scenarios that possibly could have occurred. Everybody forgot about it, which sounds like something that happened three weeks ago and nothing is being done about it sounds like it’s been forgotten.”

When O’Keefe and the journalist mention that harm may have been done to the child, the Union official who appeared more concerned with the welfare of the teacher over the child said, “You don’t have to be honest. I mean we can talk in theory… You’re a tenured teacher and you have. Tenured means you can only be dismissed if the board convinced a stranger that they’re right.” Diamond’s actions reveal that the Union itself prioritizes protecting adults over children, which is contrary to the ethical standards of educators. It also reveals a flaw in the system if a teacher can get away with abusing child.

When the Union official made it clear that the hypothetical situation involving child abuse would not get the tenured teacher fired, the PV journalist and O’Keefe decided to take the situation up a notch to see what else the union would be willing to cover up. “I was gone for two weeks,” said O’Keefe.

After asking O’Keefe whether or not he has an explanation for his lengthy absence from work, Diamond takes the issue to Patricia Puleo, President, Yonkers Teacher Federation, who proceeded to provide a number of creative cover-ups for O’Keefe. When O’Keefe mentioned that he went to Mexico for those two weeks, and said he could have a family member there, Puleo shockingly said, “You could. Your parents could have been down there, or your cousin could have been down there, or your brother and they were taken by drug dealers and you literally had to go bail them out and you didn’t know what to do and you lost your mind. You know people lose their mind. It was an emergency. Look, fall on your sword. You are so right I failed in my duty to call in and say I need emergency family medical leave. I failed to do that. The worst they’ll do is deduct you two weeks pay. That’s it.”

In the video, union officials have no problem covering up child abuse and fabricating situations for teachers who probably shouldn’t be teaching. Although the union is supposed to be a representative board for teachers, it has become a tool for covering up malfeasance and its top officials are overseeing the corruption and abuse. Before leaving the union office, the union president had this advice for our journalist and O’Keefe, “You don’t talk to anybody. I don’t care if it’s your best friend. I don’t care if it’s the phys ed teacher you went to high school with, you don’t fucking tell anybody anything…Because old loose lips sink ships.”


YFT Officials Video Response

Patricia Puleo denied that she said what she was caught on camera saying when James O’Keefe confronted her. Paul Diamond refused to answer and hid inside his car. Project Veritas

Yonkers Mayor Response

Mike Spano, the Mayor of Yonkers condemned the union officials and called for the union to be investigated. Project Veritas

Yonkers Board of Education Response

The Yonkers Board of Education released a statement this week about our undercover investigation.

The Yonkers Council of Parent Teachers Associations (YCPTA) also released a statement in which they also supported an investigation of the union officials who were caught on camera.

City Council President Liam McLaughlin called for the resignation of the officials who were caught on camera.

Four Yonkers City Council members said that nothing short of the resignations of Puleo and Diamond would suffice, and they vowed not to support a new contract until Puleo and Diamond stepped down.

Investigation Launched into YFT Officials

Brendan McGrath, the Yonkers inspector general has launched an investigation into the Yonkers Federation of Teachers.

The YFT officials allegedly submitted an apology letter to the Board of Education and are being investigated by the Yonkers Inspector General.

The American Federation of Teachers has hired an investigator to investigate the two union officials who were caught on camera in our investigation.

IG Calls for YFT Officials to be Fired

The Inspector General of Yonkers decided that YFT Officials Patricia Puleo and Paul Diamond should be fired. This was a result of a lack of cooperation in the investigation by the guilty party. Project Veritas

Yonkers Official's Reactions

“We have asked Thacher to lead a thorough investigation of all sides of the episode. The scope will include determining if there was any breach of the professional and ethical obligations that these teacher union officials have to our students, parents, educators and the broader community.”

Randi Weingarten AFT President

“I found the content of this video to be disturbing and upsetting on many levels. I believe it warrants an investigation into the standard operating procedures of the Teachers Union’s leadership as it brings up questions of the improper safeguarding of our students’ well-being and potential theft of services.”

Mike Spano Yonkers Mayor

“We’re looking at this as a pattern of practice by the union, and whether or not this is something that they do as a matter of course. If there are people out there, teachers part of the 1,800 member union out there that have had an experience like this and have a conscience, they may want to come forward.”

Brendan McGrath Inspector General

“After having the opportunity to review the Project Veritas videos and subsequent interviews by Yonkers Federation of Teachers (YFT) President Patricia Puleo and Vice President Paul Diamond, the Yonkers Board of Education Trustees and Superintendent Dr. Quezada are appalled at what we saw and heard.”

Rev. Steve Lopez Board of Education President

“There is much good that happens in our schools and many fine teachers and employees. We cannot let the actions of a few outshine the hard work and dedication of so many, but we also cannot allow a situation where a cover-up could be directed by City employees to hide allegations of child abuse, use of racial epithets, fraud and theft of honest services in the school system. We feel those responsible should resign immediately.”

Liam McLaughlin City Council President

“Beyond the growing national embarrassment this situation has caused, we worry for both the safety of our children and the integrity of the personnel and time & attendance systems and procedures in place at the Yonkers Public Schools. What kind of people would conspire to conceal child abuse and assist in covering up a teacher going AWOL for two weeks without permission?”

John Larkin City Council Majority Leader

“Fraud is a very serious accusation that this City Council will not abide, especially in light of the City’s recent budget crises caused by misassumption of funds at the Board of Education, we owe a fiduciary duty to the people of the City of Yonkers to see corrective action taken. The Inspector General must be directed to look into this right away.”

Mike Breen City Council Member

“These tapes reflects very poorly on our beloved City and its employees and they are difficult to watch. The two City employees depicted therein display blatant disregard for the integrity of our school system and do not appear to be overly concerned at the prospect of defrauding the City and manipulating the system for personal gain. This unethical and amoral behavior has now been rebroadcast to tens of millions of viewers throughout the nation. What a sad day for Yonkers.”

Dennis Shepherd City Council Member

“In light of the information released regarding the allegations of the improper practices of the Yonkers Federation of Teachers Union leaders, I am petitioning for the launch of a full investigation. After viewing the videos provided, it would be an understatement to say that I am disappointed by the example. The contents of the video justify an investigation and force me to question how often these situations may occur within the Yonkers Public School system.

I implore the Inspector General to act swiftly, yet appropriately as the reputation of the Yonkers Public Schools and the City of Yonkers can ill afford to allow such alleged actions to continue at the expense of the safety and security of our children.”

Christopher Johnson Democratic City Councilman

Part 2

Middle School Health Teacher Caught On Camera Offering Cocaine

This second video of the Project Veritas undercover teachers union series shows how some teachers don’t practice what they preach and could potentially get away with drug abuse on campus. While Project Veritas journalists were at the New Jersey Educators Association (NJEA) Conference in 2015 revisiting the unethical stomping ground of the teachers previously featured in James O’Keefe’s "Teachers Gone Wild” undercover series, PV journalists encountered Robert Klein, a middle school gym teacher at Howell Township Middle School in New Jersey.

In O’Keefe’s video, Klein invites PV journalists to his hotel room at the Borgata to party on November 5, 2015. When the journalists encounter Klein, he invites the journalists to snort cocaine with him, and tells the journalists about his drug use as a teacher.

“I am a teacher. I’m not driving around with fucking weed in my car. But I’ll have it delivered to my house. If you come to my home, Like this, you come to my home at night, you come to my room now, I have booze, I have water, I have blow at the house…you know whatever anybody wants I have there, and I don’t mind having it there. Because it’s easy, it’s just one guy who delivers it and drops it off,” said Klein.

After admitting that he does cocaine and smokes marijuana, Klein continued to emphasize how he uses his knowledge from working with drug dogs on the campus of the middle school he teaches at, and how it has taught him how to carry drugs and not get caught. “But if someone says to me, you’ve got to drive over like three towns away from where I live and pick this up, and drive home, I’ll be like no. Like I work with the police in the school district with the drug dogs and they teach us, and they teach our kids how the drug dogs sniff out drugs. No we’re not putting drugs in my car! Blow different. You put it in your pocket, it’s nothing,” said Klein.

When PV journalists suggested that Klein should be careful with his drug use since he is a teacher, he became suspicious and tried to check the  journalists for hidden recording devices. “What, look at you two. You got fuckin’ wires on? [teacher grabs PV journalist and pats him down] No look at this guy, he’s got a wire on.”

Klein calmed down and the journalists were not caught, but they were once again offered cocaine from Klein. “Let’s go. Let’s go have drinks. If you want some blow you can have a bump. You can do whatever you want,” said Klein.

After the conference, PV journalists visited Ronald Villano, a New Jersey Education Association official in Klein’s district. The PV journalist suggested that she knew a teacher with a drug problem, without revealing Klein’s name. We wanted to find out whether the union would help the teacher. Surprisingly, the union official was giving advice on how the teacher could avoid being caught with drugs on campus.

To prove the hypocrisy of the physical education and health teacher even more, Project Veritas presented Klein with the New Star Learning “Stay Ahead Award,” for Excellence in Drug Abuse Awareness on April 20, 2016. While accepting his award, Klein had this advice for his students: “Give yourself a natural high instead of doing drugs,” said Klein.


Howell Township Superintedent's Statement

Howell Township Public Schools Superintendent Joseph Isola, released a statement saying that Robert Klein has been placed on administrative leave. Project Veritas

Howell Township Middle School Principal's Reaction

After the second video was released, we called Michael D’Anna, the interim principal of Howell Township Middle School South to get a comment. He said, “we are aware of the video and it has become a personnel matter. We are looking into it. That teacher is not here today.” Project Veritas

Howell Township Police Criticize James O'Keefe

The Office of the Chief of Police in Howell Township, New Jersey couldn’t seem to decide whose side to take after seeing the video, so they released a public statement on the Howell Township Police Facebook page criticizing James O’Keefe’s tactics. Project Veritas

Howell Township Official's Statements

“The employee in question has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of our investigation. This is a personnel matter and we are not at liberty to discuss further at this time.”

Joseph Isola Superintendent, Howell Township Public Schools

“The employee in question has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of our investigation. This is a personnel matter and we are not at liberty to discuss further at this time.” –On CBS News

Michael D'Anna Interim Principal, Howell Township Middle School South

“The outfit responsible for this video has a history of this outrageous conduct. Mr. Klein will explore all legal options for the damage to his reputation.” –On News 12 New Jersey

James Uliano Lawyer for Robert Klein

Part 3

NEW VIDEO: More New York Union Officials Caught on Camera Covering up Child Abuse

The third video of the undercover union series shows a continuation of teachers unions and their willingness to cover up child abuse in the workplace. In this third video, other United Federation of Teachers (UFT) representatives across New York echo the same unethical sentiments of the Yonkers and New Jersey officials who were caught on camera.

In James O’Keefe’s video, three interactions with three separate union officials are documented, all of whom encouraged the journalist to cover-up or hide the fact that the teacher hit a child.

As one can see in the video, each time Project Veritas visited a different union representative about the hypothetical situation which involved hitting a child, PV journalists were advised to not worry about it and to keep their mouth shut about what happened. Robert Levine, a UFT representative in Brooklyn told the PV journalist that a tenured teacher will be protected by the union, even if the teacher hit a student.

Like the union officials in Yonkers, Levine further demonstrated and admitted that the union prioritizes protecting teachers over children, even in cases of abuse. Because the union officials are not reporting the malfeasance some teachers admit to them, many teachers could potentially be getting away with child abuse, courtesy of union officials.

As long as nobody rats out the teacher, the teacher has nothing to worry about.  Kerry Broderick from White Plains New York said just about the same thing.

“I’ll tell you right now if it’s any of the principals that I can think if I would strongly suggest she just keep her mouth shut, learn her lesson and never do anything like that again,” said Broderick.

In the Bronx, we also found union officials who advised our journalist to stay quiet about the abuse. “So leave it like that. And pray that maybe he’ll never come forward… If the kid says something whatever just keep it secret, I don’t know,” said Eliu Lara, the UFT Bronx High School District Representative.


Proved that this is not an isolated incident

Our third video revealed the truth that this behavior of the Union Officials is not an isolated incident–in fact it is a systematic result of the mission of Teachers Unions: to protect bad teachers, even at the expense of children’s safety. Project Veritas

Video Quotes

PV Journalist:
“What if the kid never comes forward?”

Robert Levine, UFT Representative:
“Well, if they never come forward then he doesn’t have anything to worry about.”

Kerry Broderick, White Plains Teacher Association President:
“If it’s been over a month and there’s been no conversation with the building level principal then I would let it go.”

Eliu Lara, UFT Bronx High School District Representative:
“Don’t worry about it. Don’t worry about it.”

PV Journalist:
“He hit a kid and nobody was around it was just him and the kid in the classroom.”

PV Journalist:
“And he’s worried that if anybody finds out he’ll lose his job.”

Robert Levine, UFT Representative:
“Well that is very very serious. You know we don’t report that, okay. That’s not my job to report anything like that.”

PV Journalist:
“So if he came to you and told you he won’t get in trouble?”

Robert Levine, UFT Representative:
“He won’t get in trouble from me. I won’t report that to anybody outside. I do just the opposite. I’m here to protect teachers.”

Part 4

Teachers Union President Admits To Abusing Children

The fourth video of the undercover teachers union series shows a systemic problem of corruption within the teachers union that extends far beyond New York City. In this fourth video, the President of the United Teachers of Wichita admits to physically assaulting children in the classroom and being protected by the union.

In James O’Keefe’s video, an interaction takes place between several Project Veritas journalists and Steve Wentz, the President of United Teachers of Wichita. Throughout several interactions, Wentz admits to being physically abusive to his students and not caring about the consequences since he is the president of the union.

When Project Veritas journalists first encountered Wentz, it was at the National Council of Urban Education Associations (NCUEA) between June 26-29, 2015 at the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista in Buena Vista, FL. The Project Veritas journalist engaged him at the bar where Wentz made a disturbing admission.

When the undercover journalist asked Wentz whether he did this to a student, he said, ““I’ve done this more than once and I said, but I will guarantee you, I will kick your fucking ass.”

Wentz admitted that the union would punish him for his actions if they ever found out, as he even described his actions as “over the line”. However, Project Veritas wanted to find out whether or not Wentz would admit to the same confession he made in Orlando, but while in his role as union president.

A different Project Veritas journalist posed as the uncle of the student who Wentz bragged about threatening and he confronted Wentz in Kansas. The journalist originally planned to confront Wentz at the union office where Wentz was clocked in, but a union employee said that Wentz was at a dentist appointment. When the PV journalist tracked Wentz down, he was at a coffee shop.

When the journalist confronted Wentz about his confession to threatening several students, Wentz denied it, saying, “I have never said that to a kid at school.”

However, when the journalist said that he would be contacting the union or the police, Wentz said, “Okay, go for it. I mean first of all, I’m the president of the union, so…,” suggesting that his position of authority would make him immune to any consequences.

After Wentz continued to deny what he originally said in Orlando, the PV journalist continued to press Wentz, who became increasingly more defensive and argumentative, using profanity and even resorting to threats. “What I say to my kids is my fucking business, Dan. This conversation is over and I tell you what? If you show up again, I’m gonna call the cops.”


USD 259 Lauches Investigation

The School District in Wichita launched an investigation into Steve Wentz’s abusive behavior towards children. Susan Arensman issued a statement to KAKE:
“As we would with any allegation, we are following protocol and investigating appropriately. There is nothing more to share at this point.”

Brought Issue to National Attention

The fourth video in our series made a lot of local news coverage in Kansas, and also highlighted that this issue is not just a regional problem: it is a national one.

Wichita Officials Statement

“Wichita State asked me to come out and talk to their new teachers in education about classroom discipline and I went… I mean, ex- military, I’m sure you… I mean you know, there were times in my class where I had a kid do something crazy and you know… I told him when the bell rings, I said hang on, hang on a minute, I want to talk to you. So the bell rings everybody leaves and I go over, shut the door, lock it, pull the shades down, take all my shit out of my pockets and I go, do you really want to kick my ass? Do you really think I’m a motherfucker? Son, go for it and I’ll give you the first shot.” –Statement secretly recorded by Project Veritas Journalist

Steve Wentz President, United Teachers of Wichita

“Kansas educators are committed to the success and safety of every student. This is something Kansas NEA and AFT Kansas take seriously as both a professional and moral obligation.

Kansas NEA and AFT Kansas have been made aware of a heavily edited video being shopped to the media purporting to show a local association leader making inflammatory statements. The tenor and tone of those statements as they are presented in the video do not reflect the principles of KNEA or AFT Kansas. The unedited footage that forms the basis of this inflammatory video is being withheld by the video promoters, which prohibits a full evaluation.

This video is one element of a smear campaign promulgated by a known criminal who masquerades as a journalist in order to engage in deeply divisive and politically motivated attacks that promote his partisan political agenda. In fact inflammatory and serious allegations are being made by the video producers that are not supported even by the heavily edited footage that has been publicized, and important context is missing from key portions of the video.

Manufacturing and concocting stories to entrap people, James O’Keefe has largely been rejected by serious journalists as nothing more than an ideological attack dog. The hallmark of the O’Keefe-style character assassination is to fabricate a story and ignore any semblance of principle or integrity in search of the narrative he was hired to secure.”

Marcus Baltzell Kansas National Education Association (KNEA)

Featured In

Major Media Coverage

6/8/16 "Teachers union would rather cover up abuse than protect our kids" New York Post

6/8/16 "News 12 Covers Teachers Union Investigations" YouTube

6/15/16 "Middle school health teacher caught on hidden camera offering cocaine to undercover reporters and boasting his job had taught him how to avoid getting caught" Daily Mail

6/28/16 "O’Keefe Sting — Teachers Union President Brags About Threatening Student: ‘I Will Kick Your F***ing Ass’" Breitbart

Additional Media Coverage

6/10/16 "Yonkers mayor calls for halt to teacher contract talks" lohud

6/15/16 "Don't 'judge until we get the whole story' on YFT: Readers lohud

6/17/16 "Investigator hired in Yonkers teacher union case lohud

6/9/16 "Ambush video sparks calls for Yonkers resignations lohud

6/14/16 "Yonkers union seeks renewal for leader in ambush video lohud

7/6/16 "Reisman: Yonkers IG calls for removal of union chiefs lohud

6/11/16 "What were they thinking? Editorial lohud

6/12/16 "Statement by Yonkers Federation of Teachers Bargaining Team in Response on Mayor Mike Spano’s Call to Suspend Contract Negotiations" Yonkers Tribune

6/7/16 "Undercover video shows unions go to ‘extraordinary lengths’ to cover child abuse, bad behavior by teachers" Bizpac Review

6/7/16 "O’Keefe: Teachers Union Officials Advise Fraud to Cover Up Child Abuse" The Washington Free Beacon

6/21/16 "EXPOSED: Local Teachers Union Protects Abusive Teacher" Labor Pains

6/18/18 "Polémica por video de maestros en Nueva Jersey…¿compartiendo cocaína?" El Diario

6/18/16 "O’Keefe makes local news catching school teacher offering cocaine to students" Long Room

6/16/16 "New O’Keefe Sting Catches Teacher Peddling Cocaine At Teacher Convention" Daily Caller

6/16/16 "Howell teacher on leave after reported drug video" App

6/17/16 "N.J. teacher suspended after conservative activist video claims drug use"

6/17/16 "NJ police investigate activists who released undercover teacher drug video" NJ1015

6/28/16 "District, teachers union investigating undercover video of union leader" The Wichita Eagle

6/28/16 "Wichita teachers union president on video" Before It's News

6/29/16 "Wichita teachers union president on video" Voice for Liberty

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