SquareState.net has published a chain of e-mails between former DPS superintendent-turned-Senator Michael Bennet, current Denver Public Schools superintendent Tom Boasberg and board members Jeannie Kaplan and Teresa Pena about the DPS pension financing deal that made headlines in the New York Times last week.
While the e-mails can be a bit hard to follow for non-banking whizzes, the comments posted by readers are interesting -- especially those by controversial board member Andrea Merida.
The e-mails show what anyone following the situation already knows -- that Kaplan had asked repeatedly for an update on the deal for more than two years. In the comment section, Merida applauds SquareState's publishing of the evidence.
I'm glad my colleague, Jeannie Kaplan, is being vindicated here. She did the right thing by asking for a periodic update on the financial status of these pension transactions. We have been pushing for disclosure, but the other side does everything possible to keep from discussing details.
The "other side" comment is evidence of the deep division on the board -- a rift the district tried to heal early on with at least one therapy session. (Read Education News Colorado's coverage of that session here.)
Another comment posted by Merida references a more recent flap regarding Merida's failure to disclose her paid position as a staffer for Democratic Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff while at the same time criticizing Pena's connection to the Bennet campaign.
My failure to disclose myself as a Romanoff staffer when I was addressing an issue in my capacity as a board member was blown out of proportion in retaliation for our pressure.
That's how they roll.
Now, Merida is trying to preempt any fallout from the discovery that she worked this past legislative session as an aide to Representative Mark Ferrandino, who is calling for an audit of DPS's "pension-related issues." On her website yesterday, Merida said she no longer works for him -- but looks forward to the outcome of the audit.
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