Ex-NYC schools chief Carranza gave $10 ‘Hamilton’ ticket meant for DOE employees to his wife, says city ethics board

Former schools Chancellor Richard Carranza couldn’t just say no to a heavily discounted “Hamilton” ticket for his wife — and landed in hot water with a city ethics board.

Carranza violated city rules by scoring his wife a $10 ticket to the hit musical through a program meant exclusively for Education Department students and staff, the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board said Thursday.

In a settlement, Carranza copped to misusing his city position and agreed to pay a $1,100 fine — while claiming he wasn’t aware at the time that he was doing anything wrong.

The city school system struck a special deal with Hamilton’s producers in 2015 that allowed some students and staff to attend nearly free showings of the Tony-winning musical.

Carranza began inquiring almost immediately after taking the helm of the city school system in April 2018 whether he could bring his wife — who is not a DOE employee — to one of the special showings, according to a statement Carranza signed on March 18, three days after leaving his post atop the nation’s largest school system.

The Education Department’s General Counsel offered a definitive “no” to Carranza’s 2018 inquiry, but the schools boss says he never got the memo.

Evidently unable to throw away his shot to see the show, Carranza got tickets in April 2019 for himself and his wife at the $10 DOE rate. They used two tickets set aside for Department of Education employees who were not chaperoning students to the show, the settlement said.

Carranza and his wife sat in partially-obstructed balcony seats that would have sold for about $235 a pop at the time, the Conflicts of Interest Board said.

In statement to the board, Carranza appeared to blame his former chief of staff and long-time Education Department official Edie Sharp for failing to ward off the ethics flap — and said he didn’t know he was breaking the rules.

“My Chief of Staff advised me that I could bring my wife to the April 3 EduHam Event so long as I paid $10—the price listed on the EduHam Event tickets for students and chaperones…which I did,” Carranza said in the settlement.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, left, and Leslie Odom Jr. during a performance of "Hamilton."

“In doing so, I attempted in good faith to comply with the applicable rules,” he added.

He said Sharp later told him she hadn’t talked to a DOE lawyer or ethics expert before advising him and didn’t recall the 2018 directive from the General Counsel.

Sharp, who still works in the DOE but is currently out on maternity leave, was never interviewed for the conflicts board investigation, according to a source familiar with the probe.

DOE officials say Carranza underwent rigorous ethics training immediately after being appointed chancellor and was “solely responsible for his conduct.”

Carranza — who clashed with Mayor de Blasio over school integration policy and oversaw the shift to remote learning — left his post on March 15, citing the need to grieve family and friends who died from COVID-19.

His marriage also broke up during the stressful pandemic months, according to a New York Magazine article.

He took a job with the education technology company IXL Learning on April 1.

Education Department spokeswoman Danielle Filson said, “We hold all of our City employees to the highest possible ethical standard. The former Chancellor has acknowledged his mistake and the Board determined the penalty.”

Source (Ny Daily news)

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