Oct. 13, 2007 — Government House confirmed late Friday a mass emailing that was said to have fraudulently used the name of Acting Education Commissioner Lynn Spampinato has been referred to the U.S. Attorneys Office for investigation.
The attorney general had a conversation with the governor this afternoon, after he had been briefed on this bogus email account, explained Jean Greaux, director of communications for Gov. John deJongh Jr. "The attorney general is now in touch with the U.S. attorney to see if any violations have taken place through the apparently fraudulent use of the Internet.
In addition, Greaux said Government House has launched an internal investigation to try to determine who sent the email, although he wouldnt speculate on whether the source was someone who works in the Education Department, even though it went to an untold number of departmental employees.
News of the email scandal was made public Friday morning at the American Federation of Teachers Mini-QuEST Conference at Marriotts Frenchmans Reef and Morning Star Beach Resort. Spampinato told the crowd she just learned of the email problem and jokingly warned teachers, when youre done at the end of the day and you have an email from Lynn Spampinato at gmail that says you have a $20,000 raise and can take next week off — enjoy.
In fact, the email blast did not suggest anything about salaries or holidays, but was, according to Greaux, urging recipients to lobby against the appointment of Spampinato as Education Commissioner.
Theres an attachment in it that urges parents and teachers to contact senators and contact Government House and voice their discontent with Lynn Spampinato as education commissioner, said Greaux. What raises questions about this being criminal, he explained, was the misappropriation of Spampinatos name in the email account. The account from which the email was sent was email@example.com.
Spampinato faced 11 hours of grilling by the Senate Rules and Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, which voted 6-to-1 against recommending her appointment to the full Senate.
That vote didn't sit well with some onlookers.
They spent hours and hours, and never asked her what are her plans for our system, said Carol Callwood, an English teacher at Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School, who had watched the confirmation hearings. Ive had an opportunity to speak with her and her vision is good. And what I learned is, if you ask her a question, shes going to tell you an answer. But they didnt ask once."
Senators primary focus during their questioning was on Spampinatos employment history and raised few questions about her vision for the territorys education system, according to spectators. Senators wanted to know why she had had short tenures at various school systems. In many instances, she explained, she was hired as a reform agent, tasked with achieving a short-term turnaround within many troubled school districts.
Greaux said the governor continues to stand by the acting education commissioner, who told the AFT meeting on Friday, The nation is watching us, in reference to supportive calls she said she has received from all over the country.
And you have my commitment when I am appointed commissioner of education for the United States Virgin Islands, you have my commitment, that as this nation watches, we will lead. We will lead for the children of the Virgin Islands.
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