Australian billionaire Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation has been at the center of an explosive scandal as it has been revealed that a few of his publications hacked into the personal data of policemen, politicians, murder victims, and others. News Corp's journalists may even have hacked into the phones of American victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Yet while these shocking allegations continue to come out, the state of New York is preparing to finalize a $27 million no-bid contract to Wireless Generation, an education firm specializing in testing that is owned by News Corp itself. As the acquisition was announced, Murdoch said he sees a "$500 billion sector in the US alone that is waiting desperately to be transformed by big breakthroughs."
The story of how News Corp landed the no-bid contract begins in November 2010. That month, Murdoch's mega-corporation purchased Wireless Generation, which is based in Brooklyn. That also conspicuously happened around the same time as New York City schools chief Joel Klein announced that he'd be leaving to join News Corporation.
Seven months passed, and it was announced that the state of New York would be granting a $27 million no-bid contract to Wireless Generation to "develop software to track student test scores, among other things." The man in charge of News Corp's education division at the time? None other than Joel Klein.
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Now, following revelations of News Corp hacking, Murdoch has tapped Klein "to 'provide important oversight and guidance' as his company 'fully cooperate[s] with the police in all investigations' into the phone hacking scandal." Which means that New York is readying to hand over tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer dollars to a corporation that may have hacked 9/11 victims and which is being defended in the scandal by a man who once was a high-ranking official in New York City government.
But according to Carl Korn, a spokesman for the New York State United Teachers, there is still a way to stop the deal. Korn told ThinkProgress the State Comptroller has yet to finalize the deal and approve the money for News Corp, and that the state can still end the dealing of the no-bid contract that the state education department awarded. With the eyes of the world on the disgraced News Corp, it is up to New York’s state government to decide if it wants to award millions of taxpayer dollars to a disgraced company.