Little public figure Charles Stam was the villain of New York Magazine's cover story on the terrible nonsense that goes on at tony prep school Horace Mann. Stam harassed a teacher for being a liberal feminist, and even lied about having a tape of her calling him a Nazi in an attempt to get her fired. He was promptly elected student body president! We posted a small picture of him from the Horace Mann yearbook earlier this week, and that made Stam sad. He emailed Gawker boss Nick Denton to ask that we remove his "personal material" from the site. Instead, we will reprint his email. It's after the jump, along with the sad tale of school head Thomas Kelly's toxic waste playground for the poor kids, and why it's all Eliot Spitzer's fault.
Sometimes it can be sad to be newsworthy. Sorry, Charlie!
Tom Kelly was selected to run Horace Mann by the school's board, over the protest of the school's staff. He came from a public school background, and had done admirable work with mentally handicapped kids, but he also allowed a construction companies to dump their toxic garbage all over school grounds.
Here are the dumps in question. Kelly justified this by pointing out that the companies were nice enough to place brand-new athletic fields on top of the landfills. Critics counter that these fields will give the kids cancer and also they are illegal. The State of New York closed the fields and the taxpayers were stuck with the bill for cleaning them up.
Here's a fun factoid: the toxicity of the fields was revealed the same fall that Kelly started at Horace Mann. Then-Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is a Horace Mann alum. His wife Silda is on the board of trustees—and was on the search committee that picked Kelly.
Spitzer only sued one of the three towns that took the cancerous construction garbage through illegal no-bid contracts. It was Eastchester, not Kelly's town of Valhalla. Take from that what you will!
In 2006, the Valhalla field finally reopened, mostly safe for use. Mostly.
The soil was analyzed for PCBs, pesticides, metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and volatile organic compounds. Most chemicals for which testing was performed were not detected in the soil, according to the DEC. But of the chemicals that were detected, most fell below state safety guidelines.
Levels of PAHs above state guidelines were found only in sample TP-7, which was the soil taken from the steep slope on the western side of the athletic field, facing Columbus Avenue. In that sample, the DEC acknowledged that levels of PAHs exceeded state guidelines, but concluded that "routine exposure to soil on the slope is probably unlikely." The agency noted that the District should maintain the grass cover on the slope to further reduce the potential for exposure.
(During Kelly's Horace Mann tenure, the school got artificial turf for its athletic field, which is not located on top of a cancerous dump.)