Former schools Chancellor Richard Carranza improperly took his wife on a Department of Education outing to see the hit show “Hamilton” — and the abuse of power got him slapped with a $1,100 fine, it was revealed Thursday.
The departed administrator, who landed a private-sector job with a California education tech firm that does business with the DOE, brought his spouse to a special production for employees in April 2019.
In a statement, the New York Conflicts of Interest Board said Carranza should not have purchased a special $10 discounted ticket for his spouse since she was not a DOE employee.
“The Chancellor used a ticket for his wife that typically would have been distributed to DOE employees,” the agency said in a release. “He paid $10 for the ticket, which was the price listed on the tickets for DOE students and chaperones.”
The former city schools boss told the board it was an honest mistake.
In his case disposition, Carranza claimed his chief of staff erroneously told him at the time that he could take his wife as long as he paid for his ticket.
“I attempted in good faith to comply with the applicable rules,” he said.
The board ruled the purchase constituted a “misuse of city position” and demanded that Carranza cough up a fine.
“In using the ticket for his wife, the Chancellor used his City position to benefit his wife, a person with whom he is ‘associated,’” the agency said. “The now-former Chancellor paid a $1,100 fine to the board.”
The Richard Rodgers Theatre event was emceed by a cast member and included student performances, a question-and-answer portion with “Hamilton” performers, and a matinee performance.
“We hold all of our City employees to the highest possible ethical standard,” said DOE spokesperson Danielle Filson. “The former Chancellor has acknowledged his mistake and the Board determined the penalty.”
After three rocky years at the helm, Carranza left the DOE in February. He cited the loss of friends and family to COVID-19 as a contributing factor and said he needed to heal emotionally.
He soon landed a gig with IXL Learning, a firm that has long done millions of dollars in business with the DOE.
City Councilman Robert Holden on Thursday escalated his push to probe Carranza’s private sector move.
Holden called for a federal investigation in a letter to acting Eastern District US Attorney Mark Lesko.
“Considering the short timeframe in which Chancellor Carranza was hired, please investigate whether negotiations between then-Chancellor Carranza and IXL took place while New York City still employed the Chancellor,” he wrote.
The DOE has said that Carranza’s transition was above board.
“Former Chancellor Carranza has pledged to follow all conflicts rules and will not engage with DOE or NYCDOE school officials on behalf of IXL for one year,” a DOE spokesperson said of Holden’s concerns.