Activist: Another teacher-union ‘sting’ video coming Wednesday
James O'Keefe — the New Jersey conservative activist behind videos including one he says shows a Howell teacher offering cocaine to his undercover investigators — told New Jersey 101.5's Bill Spadea Tuesday he's got another video exposing teachers' and unions' bad behavior coming.
In an interview on Spadea's morning show, O'Keefe said his Project Veritas will release the third in a series of videos on teachers and their unions Wednesday.
O'Keefe's Howell video was met with annoyance and suspicion by Howell officials, who also put Howell Middle School North teacher Robert Klein on paid suspension after its release last week.
In the video, Klein, video-recorded secretly a hotel room at a New Jersey in an Atlantic City hotel room during the 2015 New Jersey Educators Association conference in 2015, appears to speak about his own drug use and techniques for avoiding drug-sniffing dogs.
The video also shows a later interview with a person described as a union official about Klein's alleged drug use. The union official says Klein "should know better" than to use drugs.
The union official also says he would "strongly urge him" not to bring the drugs to school, "but I would strongly urge him to turn himself in to get help. To get rehab.”
"Okay so he should keep his mouth shut," the Project Veritas investigator asks. "That’s what you would say."
"Ah yeah. Because he’s jeopardizing his job," the union official answers, also acknowledging the school might turn him into police.
In his conversation with Spadea Tuesday, O'Keefe described that as a union "coverup." He said people attack his methods, but "it's usually because they are politically aligned."
"You have exposed tremendous hypocrisy, at least among individual people. who are involved in this," Spadea told him.
The video shows a mock awards ceremony O'Keefe staged at the school — purporting to honor Klein for his anti-drug efforts.
Howell's police chief has said he's investigating two potential criminal concerns:
“One, the conduct of the teacher who appeared to be engaged in illegal drug activity," the chief, Andrew Kudrick wrote in a message on the police department's Facebook page. "And two, the actions of the reporter who gained access to the school using a fictitious name and under false pretenses.”
"I'm just annoyed and shocked the the debate is over how the video was obtained vs what is going on with the protection of bad behavior," Spadea said.
In his interview on Spadea's show, O'Keefe didn't say what the third video would demonstrate. An earlier video in the series alleged a union official advised fraud to cover up child abuse.
O’Keefe, a Rutgers University graduate, first made a name for himself in 2009 by discrediting the now-defunct community organizing group known as ACORN in videos purporting to show the nonprofit’s employees giving advice to a sex worker and her pimp (who actually were O’Keefe and his associated in disguise) on evading taxes and smuggling sex workers.
The undercover videos, however, were later themselves discredited. O’Keefe had to pay $100,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by an ACORN worker in his video, who O’Keefe had portrayed as conspiring to break the law but who in reality was playing along in order to gather evidence against the pair. After the encounter, the worker called police — a fact not reported by O’Keefe at the time.
In 2010, O’Keefe was sentenced by a federal judge to three years probation and 100 hours of community service after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of entering federal property under false pretenses. O’Keefe and three others were arrested after two them disguised themselves as telephone repairmen in an attempt to surreptitiously record the staff of U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu in her New Orleans office.