NYU President John Sexton (left); Bill Clinton (right) at the NYU Abu Dhabi Commencement Ceremony on May 25, 2014.
New York University, which has been rocked by revelations of providing multi-million dollar residences, forgivable mortgages, and sweet-deal, in-house financing for luxurious vacation homes to an elite group of staff and faculty, is now linked to the Hillary and Bill Clinton cash-by-the-truckload scandal.
According to an analysis by the Washington Post, since leaving the White House in January 2001, Bill Clinton was paid $104.9 million for speaking fees through January 2013 when Hillary stepped down as Secretary of State. In addition, their nonprofit, the Clinton Foundation, has reported over $2 billion in donations from corporations and foreign governments around the world. In May, Hillary released a new financial disclosure form in conjunction with her candidacy for President. That form covered the period from January 2014 through May of this year, showing that the Clintons earned an additional $25 million for speeches.
On May 21 of this year, the Clinton Foundation revealed that there was an additional $26.4 million in speaking fees that had been paid to Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton that had not previously been broken out to the public because the fees had been donated to the Clinton Foundation. The payments came from universities, foreign sources, and corporations. The Foundation said the funds had previously been reported to the IRS as “revenue” rather than donations and that is why the donors’ names had not previously been reported.
Two speeches given by Bill Clinton at NYU Commencements are missing from both Hillary’s financial disclosures for herself and Bill, as well as missing from the Clinton Foundation’s disclosures. One of those speeches was highly controversial and not likely to be a missed reporting detail.
On May 19, 2014, the New York Times dropped a front-page bombshell on the already disgusted faculty at NYU which had given its President, John Sexton, a no-confidence vote at five of its schools in 2013. The Times reported that NYU’s campus in Abu Dhabi had been built on the backs of abused immigrant laborers. The Times reported that “men described having to work 11 or 12 hours a day, six or seven days a week,” had their passports taken, and some men “lived in squalor, 15 men to a room.” The workers also reported having to pay up to a year’s wages in recruitment fees to get their jobs and, despite NYU’s statement on labor standards, contractors had not reimbursed the fees. Striking workers had been beaten, jailed and deported.
Just six days after that article ran, Bill Clinton was standing in front of the first graduating class at NYU Abu Dhabi on Sunday, May 25, 2014, with dozens of stern-eyed Sheikhs clad in white robes staring him down from the front rows. Here’s what Clinton had to say about the labor abuses to the graduating class in his commencement address:
“The recent controversy in the American press over the question of whether the labor conditions and living conditions of people who worked to build this campus actually complied with the standards that NYU and its Abu Dhabi partners articulated. It’s dominated the coverage. I wish the coverage this week had been about you. About who you are, where you’re from, what you’ve done. This astonishing experiment.