During his Senate confirmation hearings as President Obama's nominee for treasury secretary, Lew was asked by Senator Grassley (Republican, Iowa) whether he knew of the agreement and if he had approved it. Lew said that Citigroup had been chosen through a competitive process and that he did not recall having any conversations with them about its bid. He said he did not believe he had approved its selection as a preferred lender, either. Subsequently, Lew left NYU for a job at Citibank.
This looks a lot like what happens in government, when government officials, friendly to corporate interests, end up with extremely rewarding jobs within the very corporations that they benefitted during their "service" in government. What concerns me are the ethics of this particular arrangement, one that passed off debt to students and then benefitted the executive who made the arrangements.
Lew left NYU voluntarily, yet he received a parting gift -- I can't see it as anything else -- of some $685,000. That's more money -- paid merely for leaving a job voluntarily -- than I could make in the next ten years working at NYU and teaching thousands of its students. It also was reported that Lew was given a sweetheart loan deal on a house worth 1.5 million dollars, $440,000 of which was forgiven by the university. This was on top of making $700,000 to $800,000 per year over five years. I get so disgusted that I have a hard time reading all of this without retching.
JB: Let's pause here, Michael. When we return, you can tell us more about the faculty's activism and how you got drawn into the fray. Readers, please stay tuned!
Michael Rectenwald, Ph.D., Global Liberal Studies, New York University.
Founder and Chair, Citizens for Legitimate Government
Professional Website: http://www.michaelrectenwald.comMichael is the author of numerous essays and three books, including The Thief and Other Stories (2013)
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