The Miami Herald reports that a failing right-wing snake-oil peddler -- a guy who emerged in the early nineties and told us he was smarter than us stupid liberals -- is cashing in on his failure:
Edison Schools, a company created to run public schools like private businesses, accepted a $182 million buyout from Florida's pension fund Wednesday in a deal that follows years of losses but promises millions of dollars for the CEO.
The deal, engineered by Edison founder Chris Whittle and a few politically connected firms, will allow the New York-based entrepreneur to earn up to $28.6 million over five years in share options and pay. In that time, he'll be paid a maximum $600,000 yearly salary plus a 275 percent bonus if the company does well.
Stockholders, however, will receive $1.76 per share for a company that traded for as much as $36 in early 2001 and as little as 14 cents in late 2002....
The deal took place in Florida, where Jeb Bush is governor:
The major players in the Edison deal all have strong GOP ties.
On Oct. 29, Edison sponsored a school-choice banquet where Bush received an award.
To find a buyer, Edison hired the investment firm of Bear Stearns & Co., which is headed by James E. Cayne, who has raised more than $137,000 for President Bush's reelection campaign.
Florida's investment firm, Liberty Partners, was represented in the deal by the law firm of Blank Rome, led by David Girard-diCarlo, who raised more than $100,000 for the president in 2000 and plans to double that for next year's campaign. He also sat on the gubernatorial transition team of former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge.
Ridge had planned to turn over most of the Philadelphia school system to Edison in 2001. But the deal fell through, sending Edison's stock prices tumbling.
When Edison Schools came into being, it wasn't just a startup business. It had a higher calling: It was intended to humiliate liberals, Democrats, and anyone who believed that government should provide social services. It set out to prove that a for-profit company could educate children better than public schools, and for less money. The company was founded in 1992; by now, public, not-for-profit schools were supposed to seem as passe as the horse and buggy.
Things didn't quite work out that way. Pedagogical results have been mixed. Financial results have been dreadful. Gee, do you think that means it really does cost money -- perhaps more than we'd like to spend -- to educate kids?
(Thanks to Eric Alterman for the link.)