Pat Santeramo out of jail, questions remain

Published On: Jul 16 2012 02:27:33 PM EDT
Updated On: Jul 16 2012 02:35:08 PM EDT

It took two days for Pat Santeramo to prove his bail money wasn't stolen from the Broward Teacher's Union.

I've been writing about Pat Santeramo for a long time, so when he walked out of the Broward County Jail on Friday, there were plenty of questions.

As you can see in the video above, the criminally charged former Broward Teachers Union president didn't answer any of them. That's not surprising, according to BTU board members who served with him. Board Member Leslie Janin-Starr, who was one of the union officials who sparked the investigation, said that if there was one word to sum up Santeramo -- charged with stealing about $300,000 in teachers' money -- as president of the union, it's "arrogant." 

Board Member Hal Krantz agreed. They questioned Santeramo about the union payments he authorized to Marstan Construction. They asked why he hadn't put out bids for the work. Janin-Starr said he would dodge the questions or just bull ahead, at times giving lip service to their concerns, but ultimately getting the money out the door.

Unfortunately I've seen this happen not only in unions but at every level of government. I've heard city commissioners questions payments at one meeting and forget all about them at the next as taxpayers' money is wasted like water from a broken spicket. It happened in fact after Santeramo left and the new leadership, under John Tarka, authorized a $175,000 payout to Santeramo while the criminal investigation was underway and nobody knew how much he misappropriated or stole. Post coming soon on that mess.

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