Long Island schools scandal
September 26, 2005 9:54 AM   Subscribe

The Bad Superintendent. How the Roslyn (N.Y.) school district became an ATM machine.
posted by xowie (40 comments total)
 
...invented by the Department of Redundancy Department.
posted by gene_machine at 10:04 AM on September 26, 2005


(I think you mean RAS Syndrome)
posted by Plutor at 10:07 AM on September 26, 2005


You can say that again!
posted by jonmc at 10:11 AM on September 26, 2005


Yeah, yeah. Whoop-de-frikken-do. You know, language is defined by usage, not by "rules". At this point, I'd say that the phrase "ATM machine" has sufficient language saturation that it's no longer incorrect to use it, in exactly the same way that someone "correctly" using nice to mean "precise" would be incorrect.

It even sounds better to use "ATM machine", I think.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:29 AM on September 26, 2005


'Bad'? This guy stole millions...from a school district! Todd Lokken.
posted by toddlok at 10:36 AM on September 26, 2005


I had to provide my SIN number to the bank so I could get a PIN number to use their ATM machine. I even got charged the GST tax for the service. And when I got to the store, the cashier couldn't read the UPC code on the NIC card I wanted.
posted by solid-one-love at 10:37 AM on September 26, 2005


To get back on track...what a great story! Education, Parents, Children, Corruption, and exotic male dancing Homosexual two-timing. Dude must have thought he was in the white house.
posted by srboisvert at 10:38 AM on September 26, 2005


ditto, that was a fascinating read
posted by poppo at 10:41 AM on September 26, 2005


It's weird, but over here, we tend to call them cash machines, rather than ATMs, but my youngest son, aged 6, still insists on calling them cash machine machines.

Me: "It's gives out cash, not machines. So it's a cash machine."

Jr: "Yes. That's why it's called a cash machine machine."

/derail
posted by veedubya at 10:42 AM on September 26, 2005


I hear Harvey Keitel is playing him in the movie.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:43 AM on September 26, 2005


Annnyway...That first article is the one to read; it's full of fascinating details about an almost unbelievably audacious crime in a very wealthy school district. Of course, the fact that my county is in the midst of its own little school embezzlement scandal might have something to do with my interest. Anyway, great news post, xowie.
posted by mediareport at 10:44 AM on September 26, 2005


Fave bit:

Says one parent: “Suddenly it’s not Frank in a Ford Taurus with his pants way up to here—it’s Frank with his hair slicked back and a face-lift.” Parents and teachers couldn’t fail to notice long light scars behind his ears. A few years into his tenure, he showed up to a parents’ meeting with small bruises around both eyes. He said he had been boxing, but people in Roslyn know an eye tuck when they see one.
posted by mediareport at 10:49 AM on September 26, 2005


Wow, I'm really surprised this guy was able to do this. Were there no checks and balances? Did no one notice the fact this guy was living such a lavish lifestyle?

What good is 12 years in prison going to do? It won't help pay back that $2million. Why not make him work and burden him with so much debt he lives right at the poverty level? If he fails to work then we should send him right to prison. Didn't Martha Stewart say that house arrest was worse than the actual prison? In 60 months if he had a $60,000 a year job he could pay back the $2million. I think the punishments should get a little more creative.
posted by geoff. at 10:55 AM on September 26, 2005


/derail
I second the 'usage' argument. Rules are there (ostensibly) to facilitate communication and flow. "ATM machine" in this case flows well with the sentence. It's more euphonious. Euphony and enunciation are more important than syntax, y'all.


...and what is it with the fixation on prescriptive grammar and such on this board?
posted by Smedleyman at 11:00 AM on September 26, 2005


if he had a $60,000 a year job he could pay back the $2million

Would *you* hire him?
posted by mediareport at 11:04 AM on September 26, 2005


"Did no one notice the fact this guy was living such a lavish lifestyle?"
Seconded, geoff. I'm astonished the auditor was in on it. It would be tough to investigate from the opposite end. If it says "$x for textbooks" you might assume they were outdated or whatnot and had to be replaced or to cover any of the myriad unfunded mandates that come from the state and the fed, etc.

It's almost like detecting a casino skim. If the top guys are involved, you're not going to be able to see it from the inside.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:08 AM on September 26, 2005


posted by Deathalicious Yeah, yeah. Whoop-de-frikken-do. You know, language is defined by usage, not by "rules". At this point, I'd say that the phrase "ATM machine" has sufficient language saturation that it's no longer incorrect to use it, in exactly the same way that someone "correctly" using nice to mean "precise" would be incorrect.

It even sounds better to use "ATM machine", I think.


And that attitude, right there, is exactly why we have a prevalence of poor grammar in our society. "ATM machine" is incorrect, just like "I could care less" and "partially destroyed" are incorrect. Unless people start correcting themselves, pointing out mistakes, and swatting bad grammar with the rolled-up newspaper of goodness, English will slide downhill like a runaway bobsled of incoherently screaming children into the compost heap of language.

/derail
posted by fandango_matt at 11:11 AM on September 26, 2005


While the FPP only links to/mentions the Roslyn district, there've been a fair bit of other scandals with Long Island schools in the last month or two. A federal audit of some districts has been announced; one district wasted $5.1 million over two years, and there was another district that "found" an extra $700,000 (fourth paragraph), after they had to cut sports & arts programs.
posted by Godbert at 11:15 AM on September 26, 2005


English will slide downhill like a runaway bobsled of incoherently screaming children into the compost heap of language.

Oh please. Who is the ultimate arbiter of what is absolutely correct given that language has been changing and morphing forever? Language is alive and changes all the time. Unless you plan on going back through history and picking the precise time at which EVERYTHING was correct in your opinion, your argument is ridiculous. "Sliding downhill" makes no sense if there was never any flat ground. Name a time when people "pointing out mistakes and swatting bad grammar" ever changed anything in the history of language.
posted by spicynuts at 11:20 AM on September 26, 2005


Given that the description vs. prescription debate comes up time & again, someone interested should take it to MeTa.

/hopefully, last derail.
posted by Gyan at 11:23 AM on September 26, 2005


I once used an EFTPOS terminal that for real and no kidding asked me for my "SECRET PIN NUMBER." Not the personal identification number number I tell everyone or have tattooed on my forehead, but my secret one. But if I told the machine, it wouldn't be secret anymore, would it, so I told the terminal that I couldn't enter the secret number. Then Scotty and I pretended to shoot Bones with our fingers, and the EFTPOS terminal exploded, and I totally nailed a green chick. Booyah.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:24 AM on September 26, 2005


How is it that a $250 000 salary with a $500 car allowance is not enough (I suppose that limits the number of boytoys you're legitimately allowed to support)? I wonder what the median income in Roslyn is, if a school superintendent's Brooks Brothers suits and plastic surgeries go unremarked.

What I find really interesting is that he took certain pains to hide his embezzlement but only went so far. The fact that he set up a dummy company with an address connected to him suggests that he was awfully confident in his ability to keep the scam going.
posted by palinode at 11:34 AM on September 26, 2005


"The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that the English language is as pure as a crib-house whore. It not only borrows words from other languages; it has on occasion chased other languages down dark alley-ways, clubbed them unconscious and rifled their pockets for new vocabulary." James Nicoll, 1846 - 1918

"Sliding downhill" makes no sense if there was never any flat ground.

Amen. You've already lost the compost heap fight, fandango.

/joining derail
posted by mediareport at 11:43 AM on September 26, 2005


palinode : I wonder what the median income in Roslyn is, if a school superintendent's Brooks Brothers suits and plastic surgeries go unremarked.

From Wikipedia:
The median income for a household in the village is $72,404, and the median income for a family is $101,622. Males have a median income of $65,156 versus $45,221 for females. The per capita income for the village is $47,166. 4.1% of the population and 1.3% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 2.9% of those under the age of 18 and 2.7% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
posted by Godbert at 11:45 AM on September 26, 2005


Man, what an amateur.
posted by delmoi at 11:47 AM on September 26, 2005


James Nicoll, 1846 - 1918

Goodness. Someone should tell him to stop posting to RASFF.

Though I suppose being undead would explain his unnatural ability to "survive" serious injuries on a seemingly daily basis.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:48 AM on September 26, 2005


[Thanks, ROU; I just found out that "cribhouse whore" quote is missourced by a couple of centuries at the Quote of the Day site. Still a great quote, though.]
posted by mediareport at 11:57 AM on September 26, 2005


...with Tassone taking out a monthly average of $21,747.

For FSM's sake. That's about 25% more than my annual income. I'm also assuming that they didn't pay any tax on the money they stole.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 12:01 PM on September 26, 2005


They could recoup some of their costs by getting a refund on the "$33,000 skin treatments."
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 12:05 PM on September 26, 2005


geoff.: What good is 12 years in prison going to do?

It's called justice. When you steal $8M-$12M, it should also be called "getting off lightly."

It won't help pay back that $2million.

Try following the links. He stole far more than $2M. Do you not think there should be an element of punishment as well? If you're caught with your hand in the till, is just giving back what you stole (or, in this case, far less than you stole) sufficient?

Didn't Martha Stewart say that house arrest was worse than the actual prison?

And we should believe her on that. After all, she wouldn't lie or anything.

I think the punishments should get a little more creative.

I'm not sure how much of a deterrent the threat of prison really is, but I think it would be even less of one with the sort of "punishment" you propose.
posted by wheat at 12:18 PM on September 26, 2005


MeTa
posted by grouse at 12:24 PM on September 26, 2005


"I think the punishments should get a little more creative."

Perhaps reverse the plastic surgury?

I believe theft/embezzelment by a public official is worse than by 'regular' people. You have violated the public trust. It is not the same as say robbing an ATM machine...

I can almost respect a straightforward thief. Someone who by their wits sneaks in and dismantles an alarm and heists some cash in a bank or some jewels or something.
Almost. They still deserve jail.


But I can't abide someone like this. How can you steal from money that is supposed to go for children's education? That's worse than a bent cop, man.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:41 PM on September 26, 2005


Argh! Spell check works like ass on this POS work computer.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:42 PM on September 26, 2005




I had to provide my SIN number to the bank so I could get a PIN number to use their ATM machine. I even got charged the GST tax for the service. And when I got to the store, the cashier couldn't read the UPC code on the NIC card I wanted.

That begs the question, doesn't it?
posted by spazzm at 3:48 PM on September 26, 2005


Okay, one more:
Isn't it ironic that a theft from an educational institution results in a discussion about proper linguistics?
posted by spazzm at 3:57 PM on September 26, 2005


In Missouri back in the day, I was quite amused/befuddled by one bank's rebranding effort from United Missouri Bank, acromynized as UMB, into UMB Bank...aka United Missouri Bank Bank.
posted by nomisxid at 4:45 PM on September 26, 2005


Oh I don't think we should go easy on him. I'd just much rather see him toil away in poverty working to pay back the school under a house arrest for twenty years.

Why would Martha Stewart lie about house arrest?
posted by geoff. at 6:21 PM on September 26, 2005


Why would Martha Stewart lie about house arrest?

"Please, Brer Fox! Don't fling me into that briar patch! Do anything you want, but please don't fling me into that briar patch! That'd be just awful!"
posted by mediareport at 6:36 PM on September 26, 2005


Here we call them TIME machines, and the M stands for Money so it's all good.
posted by dial-tone at 7:45 AM on September 27, 2005


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