The local dailies give us two distinct glimpses today into the wide world of influence-peddling.
Park seeking more public funds
The embattled Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy apparently hasn’t gotten the message that the nonprofit should be weaning itself off state funds — its leader has registered as a lobbyist to seek more taxpayer money.
Just months after state officials told the conservancy to come up with a plan get off public funding within five years, public records reveal Greenway Executive Director Nancy Brennan registered as a lobbyist this year. Brennan has been under fire since January when the Herald reported on the nonprofit’s six-figure salaries and bonuses, secretive practices and questionable expenses.
During the first six months of this year, records reveal, Brennan received $13,875 to lobby lawmakers. That sum was part of Brennan’s $185,000 annual salary package. The Greenway, which receives roughly half of its $4 million budget from the state to oversee the 15-acre park, racked up nearly $21,000 in lobbying expenses during that time, according to records.
That’s a lot of green, yeah?
To Gerald and Lily Chow, education consultant Mark Zimny must have seemed like the answer to many parents’ prayer: Please let my child get into Harvard University.
The Chows, who lived in Hong Kong, knew little about the US educational system, but they did know that they wanted an Ivy League education for their sons. And they had money to spend on consultants like Zimny, who, they believed, could help make the dream come true.
What transpired, however, turned out to be a cautionary tale for the thousands of parents who are fueling the growing global admissions-consulting industry.
Zimny, whom they met in 2007, had credentials. He had worked as a professor at Harvard. He ran an education consultancy, IvyAdmit. And he had a plan to help the Chows’ two sons, then 16 and 14.
First, Zimny’s company would provide tutoring and supervision while the boys attended American prep schools. Then, according to a complaint and other documents the Chows filed as part of a lawsuit in US District Court in Boston, Zimny said he would grease the admissions wheels, funneling donations to elite colleges while also investing on the Chows’ behalf.
Of course, it was the Chows who got not greased, but hosed.
Both stories are worth the read.