It's for the children or something.
As nearly 5,000 city teachers face the ax, their union shells out millions of dollars on feasting, boozing and partying, the Daily News has learned.A cup of coffee, a bottle of water, a lavish $1.4 million bash. Hey, they work hard for 200 days a year. Let's cut them some slack.
Free-spending United Federation of Teachers brass last year spent nearly $1.4 million for the UFT's 50th anniversary gala at the Hilton - complete with a movie, a book and a paperweight.
Records show they:
* Ponied up $514,000 to 16 separate caterers.
* Dropped $278,417 on the annual Teachers Union Day ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria.
* Bought $6,100 in gift baskets from a lower East Side candy store - and plowed $179,000 into training retreats at a Connecticut resort boasting golf, scuba diving and aqua aerobics.
In one amazing feat of spending, they shelled out $114,870 for annual "coffee supplies" at their five offices across the city - paying the Coffee Distributing Corp. on Long Island $324,000 over three years, records show.
And while most New Yorkers spend hours trying to find a parking space, the UFT rents 25 slots in Brooklyn's Renaissance Plaza Garage for members at an average annual cost of $75,000 over three years.
"I'm not going to apologize for spending money to service our members," said UFT President Michael Mulgrew.
"These people are heroes dedicated to making a difference in the lives of our children. They never get the respect they deserve. A cup of coffee, a bottle of water and a few parking spots is the least we can do for them."
The spending orgy comes to light a week after after The News disclosed that cops bounced 24 rowdy UFT reps from an Albany eatery after they caused a ruckus over an $1,800 tab - and the modest size of a $40 gourmet quail.No wonder they're so terrified that the public has caught on to their scam. When the free parties stop it's time to mobilize and demand even more from the taxpayers.
Turns out over-the-top spending and a party-hearty culture is a union trademark.