EDITOR’S NOTE: This is Part Three in an investigation of the symbiotic relationship between Rupert Murdoch, his company News Corporation, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his privately held company Bloomberg LP.
Whatever happened to Cathie Black?
That’s one of the loose ends in this ongoing investigative series that has been troubling.
In review of the previous two articles, there are many common threads and timeline links between the Bloomberg Administration’s Department of Education (DOE) and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.
There’s Joel Klein meeting on several occasions with Murdoch while he was the DOE Chancellor before moving on to News Corp. to head its education initiative. There’s the News Corp. purchase of the DUMBO-based Wireless Generation (WG) for $360 million shortly after Klein joined the company. There’s the ongoing work that (WG) does for the DOE and the recent $27 million no-bid contract the state gave to WG to do the same work they’ve done with the city.
There’s the report that more than a dozen similar companies would have bid on the contract if allowed. There’s the teachers union, the state assembly and the Working Families Party all urging State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli not to approve the contract until all possible conflict of interest allegations are thoroughly investigated, and News Corps questionable ethics are further vetted out.
All these items have been playing out in the media, but what happened to Black – a woman with close ties to Murdoch, and who was Bloomberg’s uncharacteristic pick to replace Klein as DOE chancellor? A woman with no educational credentials who barely spoke to the press, yet captured the media’s attention while lasting a little more than three months before Dennis Walcott replaced her as chancellor?
A DOE spokesman said Black no longer was with the DOE and had no forwarding address for her.
Several searches on the Internet as to what Black is now doing proved fruitless, so the next step was to try to contact her husband, New York City attorney Thomas E. Harvey. Here things suddenly turned interesting.
The first item under Harvey’s name on Google stated that that he was Senior Counsel for Governmental Affairs of the Institute of International Education (IIS) in New York City. Established in 1919, the IIE seeks to promote closer educational relations between the United and other countries. Its contributors and sponsors reads like a who’s who of countries and major corporations, and includes the DOE.
But IIE spokesperson Leena Soman said Harvey served as the senior counselor for government affairs for seven years, from 1998 to 2005, and no longer works for the organization.
Subsequent research revealed that Harvey has worked with and has strong ties with American intelligence agencies. This includes serving as special assistant to the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) under its former director George H. Bush, serving as General Counsel and Congressional Liaison of the United States Information Agency.
Upon Black’s appointment as chancellor several media outlets noted Harvey practiced law with the Wall Street firm Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy. According to law firm’s website, he is no longer with the firm.
Interestingly, the firm lists William H. Webster as a senior partner. Webster is currently chairperson of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, and is the only American to serve as the director of both the CIA and the FBI.
Through marriage, Harvey and Black are closely associated. Much in the media has been made about Bloomberg knowing Black through her fun social parties and her being a media executive, but given her husband’s work raises a startling and perhaps paranoid question.
Could Black’s appointment as chancellor been a plant perhaps to divert media attention away from something else?
Neither Black nor Harvey could be reached at press time.
Calls and emails to the United States Department of Justice to look into possible conflicts of interest between News Corp’s interest in the education business and the DOE were not returned at press time.