Tag Archive: St. John’s University

Apr 17 2013

Hey Press, Leave Mapes Alone

Queens Politics

Would any of this even matter if there weren’t a case against Councilman Halloran?

I met her in grad school when she was the leader of a Republican Renaissance.

They are calling it a sex scandal but it’s really not. In the bizarre circumstances surrounding Councilman Dan Halloran’s charges, there is a tremendous amount of collateral damage being done to a young aspiring law student.

Mapes was always interested in politics. I had first heard of her while I was in grad school at St. John’s studying – you guessed it – government and politics. But first a little background. During my undergrad years at St. John’s University, I spent my time building up the Government and Politics Society as an advocacy organization with a watchdog function to oversee the organization in charge of all student clubs, known as SGI (student government incorporated). I advocated for increased transparency in budgetary procedure and an audit of what I believed to be the misappropriation of University allocated funding.

To make a long story short, there was a clear disparity in funding for certain organizations and I felt it needed to be addressed, if not corrected. I sought resolution with the powers that be, but after being stonewalled by the Treasurer of the Executive Board, (he claimed the funding formula was part of an age old process which he couldn’t reveal, but basically meant it was above all forms of scrutiny or improvement) I had enough, so I began a grassroots movement to organize students at first by seeking out the leaders of student run clubs and then by taking to the airwaves.

Soon, the Government and Politics Society began to push forward progressive ideals all over campus, but first and foremost, it’s primary focus was to open up the books of SGI. As the Government and Politics Society’s most outspoken President, I stated my case to student congress time after time after time, but even after my objections were heard, they fell on deaf ears with enough lip service to make you sick. It wasn’t long before we began to circulate flyers all around campus that questions were finally being raised such as, who is this young man that dares to speak up? Maybe he has a valid point? Sadly, by the time the movement had gained enough traction my time as an undergrad was up, but my work was far from finished (even though by the end of my senior year, all student club leaders were being encouraged to attend the budget procedure – a small victory). After being accepted into grad school, I came on board to aid the Government and Politics Society, as well as many other student-run clubs as an informal advisor to keep the momentum going. It was around that time when I began to witness freshmen students take up a leadership role in university politics. Meaghan Mapes was one of them, in fact she was the only one. Her work with the College Republicans was different from that of her predecessors. Mapes was an activist and she quickly figured out basic organizational psychology. She worked tirelessly to rebuild the organization and to bridge the growing disconnect between university politics and the local political scene. She put a new face on an old idea and helped cut the red tape that harmed student organizations. Soon every student became conscious (or at least semi-conscious) of the Mapes-led republican movement at SJU.

Even though I leaned Democrat, her work was notable across the aisle because it engaged students in an otherwise apathetic campus.

It’s not surprising that she had become the Deputy Chief of Staff to one of New York City’s most prolific Council members. She’s smart, articulate and driven – something the Republican Party really needs. But I think we tend to overlook how often love happens in the workplace. Senator Chuck Schumer would know; he’s been playing matchmaker with former staffers and colleagues for over a decade (some have even resulted in marriage). While some media outlets are calling it a sex scandal, I think we need to reevaluate this claim because it is absolutely sexist to assume she was promoted from campaign volunteer to Deputy Chief of Staff just because she is a young single female or just because a jealous former staffer said so, anonymously mind you. I believe we need to leave this young aspiring law student to her own destiny, which doesn’t seem to include Councilman Halloran or any wrongdoing on her part for that matter.


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/04/hey-press-leave-meaghan-mapes-alone/

Nov 07 2012

Donald Manes mentioned in story of disgraced St. John’s Dean’s suicide

From the NY DAILY NEWS….The News reported exclusively on Monday that Chang was the prime suspect in the 1990 homicide of her first husband, Ruey Fung Tsai. Tsai scrawled a deathbed note to detectives claiming she was behind the hit job, and suggested she had been in a relationship with Donald Manes, the corrupt Queens borough president who killed himself in 1986.

Manes lived just three blocks away from Chang.

Neighbors say she lived at her Jamaica Estates home for more than 30 years and kept to herself. But they noticed her extravagant lifestyle, which included three Mercedes and pricey clothes.

One neighbor, who attended St. John’s and declined to give her name, said she stopped donating to the school because of the scandal, even though her two sons are also alumni.

“We haven’t given them anything since this started. We are furious,” said the neighbor. “We see how extravagantly she’s been living. She was getting the money from somewhere.”

The tragic turn of events came a day after a belligerent and disheveled-looking Chang took the stand and insisted St. John’s owed her what she took.

Chang, 59, claimed the money she was accused of stealing was owed to her for the hundreds of thousands she spent from her own pocket on fund-raising.

“I laid out so much money over the years,” Chang testified. “I raised $20 million for St. John’s.”

Chang, who was fired in 2010, admitted fibbing to the feds about her overseas bank accounts, but insisted she was drunk at the time.

The doomed dean, however, said she was stone-cold sober when she submitted bogus business expense reports to St. John’s to cover personal expenses like purchases at Victoria’s Secret, gambling services and memberships to online dating services.

Asked to explain why, Chang said it was payback for the money she laid out over the years for business-related gifts she had paid for out of her own pocket.

Chang’s family had helped fund the Sun Yat Sen Hall on campus and she became a globe-trotting ambassador and master fund-raiser for the school.

Dominic Scianna, St. John’s associate vice president for external relations, urged “the entire St. John’s University community to pray for her and her family” upon learning of her death.

Hoping to save her own hide, Chang threw her superiors under the bus during her Monday tirade on the stand. She claimed she bankrolled the Atlantic City gambling jaunts of the late school president, the Rev. Joseph Cahill. And she claimed she passed $400,000 in cash to the current president, the Rev. Donald Harrington, “to help the poor.” Chang said she decked him out with 40 to 50 custom-made suits from the famed “Sam the Tailor” in Hong Kong.

Chang was repeatedly admonished by Johnson for arguing with both the prosecutor and her own lawyer.\

Testimony about students doing her laundry was exaggerated, she said.

“Very rare that much clothes to wash,” she said.

Chang, who was from Taiwan, also admitted ordering a student to burn documents and having them perform her housekeeping duties for free. She maintained explained there wasn’t anything improper about putting the students to work in her home because it was like a “home base” for school duties, and there wasn’t enough work in the Asian studies department for 19 students.

Asked Tuesday if they were concerned for Chang’s safety after her bizarre testimony a day earlier, two of her attorneys declined to comment.

Instead they released a statement: “Cecilia Chang dedicated 30 years of her life to St. John’s University. She was a prolific fund-raiser and tireless advocate for her beloved Asian Studies program at the university. Her death today is a sad ending to a complex human drama.”

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/disgraced-st-john-dean-found-dead-apparent-suicide-source-article-1.1197233#ixzz2BZiCqnqR


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/11/donald-manes-mentioned-in-story-of-disgraced-st-johns-deans-suicide/

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