Friday, November 23, 2007

Columbia University's "Dinkinsgate Scandal" Connection--Part 3

After New York City voters decided in the 1993 mayoralty election that David Dinkins did not deserve a second term as New York City’s mayor, the Columbia University administration hired the local Democratic Party politician to be a professor “in the practice of public affairs” at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. And during the last few years Columbia University Professor Dinkins ( ) has apparently attempted to use his remaining special political influence in New York City politics to help his private employer undemocratically implement its land-grabbing campus expansion plan north of West 125th Street in West Harlem, despite the objections of local community tenant activists. Not surprisingly, when Columbia University Professor Dinkins tried to sell Columbia University’s expansion plan to the 700 community residents who attended the local community board’s hearings in August 2007, the former New York City mayor was booed, hissed and shouted down by West Harlem residents and their Columbia and Barnard student supporters.

Following, is another section of an article on “The Dinkinsgate Scandal” which first appeared in the August/September 1991 issue of the Lower East Side newspaper, Shadow:

Former Inner City Broadcasting Corporation Director David Dinkins was born in Trenton, New Jersey in 1927 and is the son of a prosperous Trenton realtor named William Dinkins. While living in a predominantly African-American middle-class neighborhood in Trenton in the early 1940s, Dinkins attended the predominantly white Trenton high school—which refused to allow its African-American students to use the Trenton High School swimming pool.

Because Dinkins didn’t graduate from Trenton High School until June 1945, he didn’t see too much World War II combat action. But after being drafted into the U.S. Army and then being transferred to the U.S. Marine Corps, Dinkins spent much of his July 1945 to August 1946 military service at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where he worked much of the time as the Colonel’s chauffeur.

After leaving the Marines in August 1946, Dinkins enrolled at Howard University in Washington, D.C., received his degree in mathematics in 1950 and was awarded a Rutgers University mathematics fellowship. Yet, despite being a college math mayor, Dinkins has sometimes blamed his accountants whenever mistakes are discovered on income tax or financial disclosure forms which he has filed or failed to file during his years in public life.

After dropping out of Rutgers in the early 1950s, Dinkins sold insurance for a Red Bank, New Jersey firm for a while before coming to New York City to live at the age of 26 and enrolling in Brooklyn Law School in 1953.

On August 30, 1953, Dinkins married the daughter of Harlem State Assemblyman Daniel Burrows, Joyce Burrows (who held a state government patronage post in New York between 1978 and 1989). Assemblyman Burrows introduced his son-in-law to Harlem clubhouse politics and gave him a job in the Burrows family liquor store while Dinkins studied law at Brooklyn Law School. After marrying into the Burrows political family, Dinkins also “ran errands for local politicians,” according to the 1990 Current Biography Yearbook.

According to Who’s Who In America, Who’s Who In Black America, the 1990 Current Biography Yearbook and the Martindale-Hubble Directory of Lawyers, Dinkins received his law degree from Brooklyn Law School in 1956, at the age of 29. Reached by telephone, a Brooklyn Law School alumni office spokesperson also stated in 1991 that Dinkins received his law degree from the school in 1956.

Yet, in the book The Harlem Fox: J. Raymond Jones and Tammany, 1920-1970, J. Raymond Jones noted that “Dinkins, a 1950 graduate of Howard University, obtained his law degree from Brooklyn Law School in 1965, some fifteen years after graduating from college,” at the age of 38.

Asked to comment on the discrepancy between the claimed 1956 law school graduation date and the passage in the J. Raymond Jones biography that “Dinkins…obtained his law degree from Brooklyn Law School in 1965,” a spokesperson in then-Mayor Dinkins’ press office replied, in a 1991 phone interview, that “The Mayor’s biography gives the 1956 date as his graduation date.”

Next: Columbia University’s “Dinkinsgate Scandal” Connection—Part 4