The people buying Newark for Jeffries


Charles Ledley as a young man working for the Clintons
Charles Ledley as a young man working for the Clintons

Want to know who is buying Newark for Shavar Jeffries?  These are the people who run Education Reform Now, the organization that gave Newark First nearly a million dollars that, in turn, Newark First used to buy attack ads against Ras Baraka in a last-ditch effort to steal the election from the front-runner.  And to steal Newark from its residents.

They are all rich, hedge-fund managers who have absolutely nothing in common with the people of Newark–but they are providing the money to buy themselves a mayor and to ensure Cami Anderson imposes her plan to destroy neighborhood public schools. Also, keep in mind this is a charitable organization–it solicits tax-exempt donations and is not supposed to engage in electoral politics. Finally, it doesn’t have to list its donors so we really don’t know exactly who is pulling Jeffries’s strings.

The following is copied directly from the website of Education Reform Now. I have supplied the emphases and the annotations:

Charles H. Ledley, Board Chair of Education Reform Now, is an Analyst at Highfields Capital Management. He joined Highfields in May 2010 and serves as a generalist focused on special situations. Prior to joining Highfields, Mr. Ledley was a partner at Cornwall Capital, a private investment firm focusing on special situations across a wide array of asset classes. Prior to joining Cornwall, Mr. Ledley was a consultant at Bain & Company. Previously, he worked for Golub Associates; at the time, a private equity firm specializing in leveraged buyouts and growth capital investments. Mr. Ledley received an MBA from Harvard Business School and a bachelor of arts cum laude from Amherst College.

(Notes: Ledley is featured in Michael Lewis’s  best-selling book, The Big Short, because he was a small hedge-fund investor who made a fortune on the collapse of Wall Street’s venture into collateralized securities—you know, the housing crisis.  You may remember Bain and Company as the Mitt Romney company that ruined entire cities—and, when President Obama criticized the company’s heartlessness, Cory Booker said he was nauseated by the remarks.)

 John Petry is the founder and managing principal at Sessa Capital.  Previously he was a partner at Gotham Capital and Gotham Asset Management. John has been active in a variety of education reform causes.  He was a co-founder of Democrats for Education Reform, served as a past Chairman of Education Reform Now, and currently serves as a co-chair at the Success Academies network of charter schools.

(Note: Success Academies are  charters run by Eva Moskowitz, the queen of charter schools in New York City who humiliated NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio by bringing thousands of charter school children to Albany to lobby against the mayor’s plan to charge rent to charters using public school facilities. Supporters of these schools call them a “completely disruptive business model.” Petry is a co-founder of Democrats for Education Reform).

 Sidney Hawkins Gargiulo is a Partner at Covey Capital. Covey Capital is an investment partnership that manages capital for individual and institutional investors. Sidney  has over a decade of investment management experience investing in a wide range of industries including technology, business services, retail  & consumer companies, among others. Prior to Covey, she worked for Ziff Brothers Investments and Hawkshaw Capital Management in New York. Sidney graduated magna cum laude from Wake Forest University, and received an MBA from Columbia Business School, where she was a teaching assistant for Professor Bruce Greenwald in the Value Investing Program. She has been actively involved in education reform for many years, having served on the boards of Education Reform Now, NewSchools Venture Fund Leadership Council, New Leaders for New Schools Advisory Board, and Bronx Success Academy II, part of the Success Academy Charter School Network. She and her husband John live in Palo Alto, CA.

(Note: Cami Anderson is involved with the same organizations—NewSchools Venture Fund, New Leaders for New Schools. Gargiulo helped pay for ads attacking the Chicago Teachers Union, a union that tried to stop a school closing plan very much like Cami Anderson’s).


Brian Zied is the Founder of Charter Bridge Capital. Prior to this, he was a Principal and Head of Consumer and Retail Stock Investments at Maverick Capital Ltd. Mr. Zied joined the firm in 1998. He covered the consumer sector at Omega Advisors for three years. From 1991 to 1995, Mr. Zied was employed in the Corporate Finance Department at Bear, Stearns & Co. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania in the Management & Technology dual degree program, receiving a B.S. from the Wharton School of Business and a B.A.S. from the Moore School of Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania.

(A hedge fund manager who contributed money to lobbying efforts against caps on the growth of charter schools in New York City. )


John Sabat works at Cubist Systematic Strategies. Mr. Sabat is a founding board member of Harlem Success Academy 4, a high performing charter school within the Success Academy network. He holds a Master of Science in Statistics degree from New York University’s Stern School of Business where he graduated summa cum laude. He earned his B.B.A. in Finance from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business where he graduated summa cum laude.

(Cubist Systematic Strategies is a company affiliated with Steven Cohen whose hedge fund has been the target of federal insider trading prosecutions in New York. See

Michael Sabat (John’s brother) is currently Vice President of Equity Derivative Sales and Trading at Sanford C. Bernstein. Prior to Sanford C. Bernstein, he was an Equity Options Trader at Capstone Holdings, LLC in New York as well as Fixed Income/Equity Option Trader in London. Michael currently serves on the Education Reform Now (ERN) board and is event chair of the annual Take ‘Em to School Charity Poker Tournament, a major annual fundraiser. He received his BBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business in 2003. Michael is an avid golfer and lives in Manhattan.

(His poker games require a $1,000 buy-in).



  1. This is totally outrageous – hedge fund vulture capitalists buying Newark.

    This is the flip side of the Detroit capitalist cannibalism.

  2. Bob,

    Terrible…..just terrible.

    Let’s all work hard to get Ras Baraka elected….

  3. Hi Bob,
    The dollar amounts are staggering…

    $2.1M from Education Reform Now

    $3.1M from hedge funders and ed reforms in total.

  4. […] other states with her reformy plague, wealthy proponents of education reform continue to pump inordinate amounts of cash into Shavar Jeffries’ campaign–undoubtedly to do everything they can to keep […]

  5. Bob Braun is so invaluable! WNYC just did a “puff” piece on the Newark election – focusing on “which candidate is more authentically Newark”.
    Not a word – not one single word – on the real issues of public education and buying an election.
    oh, they need to read Bob Braun…

  6. What a shock, the Star-Ledger editorial board just came out for Jeffries. It claimed that Ras Baraka was for the “status quo.” What a bunch of hooey. I can’t believe they used that tired, stale and overused status quo bumper sticker remark. It’s getting old and it is pure propaganda and a pure reformista talking point.

  7. […] Bob Braun reports that Education Reform Now, which donated heavily to the Jeffries campaign, is not required to list its specific donations, because it is supposedly a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.  Here, according to Braun, however, from its website is the list of board members of Education Reform Now: Charles H. Ledley, Board chair and an analyst at Highfields Capital Management; John Petrey founder and managing principal at Sessa Capital, formerly at Gotham Capital and Gotham Asset Management and co-founder of Democrats for Education Reform and chair of Success Academy Charter Schools in NYC; Sidney Hawkins Gargiulo, a partner at Covey Capital and big supporter of NewSchools Venture Fund, and Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academies in NYC; Brien Ziet of Charter Bridge Capital; John Sabat of Cubist Systematic Strategies; and Michael Sabat of Sanford C. Bernstein.  Braun adds that Education Reform Now, “is a charitable organization—it solicits tax-exempt donations and is not supposed to engage in electoral politics.” […]

  8. […] a last-minute push, wealthy advocates of education reform–who arguably have no interest regarding what goes on in Newark other than whether or not […]

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