Candidate For Teachers Union President Once Busted In Corruption Probe

BY BUDDY NEVINS

 

A Broward Teachers Union official, who pleaded guilty to corruption earlier this year, is running for president of the group, according to another candidate in the race.

The last two BTU presidents were tossed from office under a cloud of criminal charges.

This time if Bernie Schultz wins the union presidency, she would already have had criminal charges against her before taking office.

 

Bernie Schultz

 

Schultz and the BTU could not be reached for comment.

One of Four

Schultz is one of four candidates running to take over from Pat Santeramo, said Davie Council Member Bryan Caletka, a teacher who is also running for union president.

Santeramo is awaiting trial on charges he stole roughly $300,000 from the union.  He is accused of racketeering, grand theft, campaign contribution violations and money laundering.

As one of Santeramo’s inner circle, Schutlz was scooped up in the same probe that snared Santeramo.

She pleaded guilty in April to one misdemeanor campaign finance violation in connection with a union scheme to avoid political contribution limits in the campaign of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill McBride.

A contribution was made in her name, although it wasn’t her money, according to prosecutors.

Schultz cooperated with prosecutors, received a year’s probation and adjudication was withheld.

After her arrest, Schultz remained first vice president of the BTU. She was recently named by the BTU as their representative to the assemblies for the American Federation of Teachers and the Florida Education Association.

She was elected a Broward Democratic Party committee precinct woman in the August primary.

  The Election

The BTU has been on the defensive for years, fighting local budget, Tallahassee antagonism against labor organizations and charges of corruption.

The union has roughly 10,000 members and all are eligible to vote for president.

October 2 is the final day to accept ballots.

The recent scandals – the president prior to Santeramo was busted for child pornography and sent to federal prison – are on the mind of one candidate.

Caletka has been a union representative at Western High for the past seven years. Caletka told Browardbeat.com,“I am the only candidate who is not a BTU insider.  I’m not a BTU insider. I’m not a BTU insider.”

The winner in this union race must get 50 percent-plus one. So there may be a runoff among the four candidates.

We’ll be hearing about this one for some time.



7 Responses to “Candidate For Teachers Union President Once Busted In Corruption Probe”

  1. Teacher says:

    Teachers need to clean house at their corrupt union. candidates who worked closely with Santaramo should be ignored and defeated.
    If not, the BTU can’t be taken seriously.

  2. Lamberti is garbage says:

    She should work for co-criminal Lamberti.

  3. JP says:

    Is Caletka just looking to hold another office so he can have what he perceives as power? Let’s see. Lost County Commission race. Went back to Davie. Ran for some water position-did he win? And now this. He is a joke.

  4. SAM FIELDS says:

    Let me start off by saying that I don’t know Bernie Schultz from Sgt. Schultz.

    Here’s what I do know.

    She did not plead to some unrelated minor crime like having an “open container” or “spitting on the sidewalk”.

    She pled to a charge that involved a criminal conspiracy to corrupt the use of teacher dues money.

    I am shocked the State Attorney did not make divorcing herself from BTU activities a condition of the plea.

    I am even more shocked that she continues to have a post in the BTU or that even one teacher would vote for her.

    “Can we reset the Union meeting because President Schultz has to meet with her Probation Officer”?

    She has shown herself to be a person of weak character who will do anything to hang on to a BTU paycheck.

    If she has to testify against Santeramo the prosecutor will have to disclose all the dirt they have on her (it’s called Giglio material). I suspect Santaremo’s lawyer already has the material. I don’t think you will be seeing any mention of this in Schultz’s campaign material.

    Any teacher that votes for her has morally forfeited their right to discipline a child for cheating on an exam.

  5. Tiny Bubbles says:

    Finally something that nut Sam Fields writes above that makes sense. That proves the adage a broken clock is right twice a day. I’m still waiting for the second time.

  6. sam fine says:

    You are aware that our present vice president Bernie Schultz will be running for president. What should have happened as you of already suggested in one of your columns is that she resigns due to the fact that she was convicted of a misdemeanor in regards to the illegal election contributions that she made. I myself have personally asked her to resign to avoid bad publicity as we are now getting.
    • You might want to know is that even though she was asked to return overpayments of salary as was the president before the AFT stepped in she did nothing. Bernie and Pat were notified by executive board members at an open meeting that they were overpaid for the last 4 years and we requested that they repay the overpayment. Even though it was proven that they were overpaid neither one acknowledged the overpayment, nor voluntarily made arrangements to repay. It wasn’t until the AFT formally came in and confirmed what was already told them that they make arrangements to repay the excess salaries that they accepted over 4 years. This is just another example of the disregard for the executive board.
    • They both took their BTU salaries and lump sum for the year which is illegal because it constitutes a loan rather than salary.
    • She and Pat resented the fact that executive board members went over their heads and reported the problems that were occurring at the BTU and asked them to come in and audit our records. Prior to the audit that was done in the winter of 2011, executive board members had praised our organization in having accumulated a budget surplus that would allow us not to raise dues. Within weeks the audit report appeared and our total surplus was almost gone even though executives of the BTU were fully aware that our surplus was depleted even more than could be imagined. Even though the audit was done for that year it was not completely understood that the BTU had huge deficits the previous years which were still not accounted for.
    • Official PERK reports to the state were filed erroneously with made up numbers to make it look like the union was still in good shape.
    • Executives at the BTU were using personal credit cards to accumulate points for travel and expenses which they used personally.
    • Due to that original report and further investigation by a select few on the executive board we initiated the original request for the AFT to come in. It was only until the newspapers reported the letter being sent to the AFT, that an official letter was sent to the AFT by the president to request such an audit.
    • Bernie sat there quietly for 3 months and did and said nothing as to what was going on. She never questioned the budget even though she was on that committee and new that the return checks that she herself received were never noted any place.
    • Pat and her would give out gift cards to employees for Thanksgiving and Christmas with their names on the cards to make it seem like they were paying for it but it was really coming out of the BTU budget. Thus making themselves seem so generous but in reality not laying one penny out of their own pockets.
    • During the whole process that the AFT financial audit was occurring and information was leaking out Bernie showed no leadership and instead quietly sat there while others on the executive board continually voiced their opinions in opposition to the executives that were sitting there.

  7. David Herrmann says:

    She is a thief. Why the teachers do not kick her out from the building? Behind the scene a group of old gaurds (old BTU Exec. Bd Member) are working for her. The only interest she has in the BTU is high six figure salary. Why the Schools Board does not fire her since she is already convicted of a crime. I heard that she is still in the School Board payroll. I am totally confused??

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