BUFFALO, NY - Buffalo School Board Member Chris Jacobs says he was contacted by the FBI regarding the millions of dollars spent on cosmetic surgery by members of the Buffalo Teachers Federation.
Jacobs told 2 On Your Side he met with two inspectors of the FBI'S Healthcare Fraud Task Force last week at their downtown Buffalo office building.
"They said they had been looking at this prior to when the news hit on it. The concern, in terms of a few select doctors who were making significant dollars and the dramatic amount of dollars they're making off this rider," said Jacobs.
The president of the Buffalo Teachers Union, Phil Rumore, tells Channel 2 that he has not heard of a single teacher that has been contacted by the FBI. He also says he has not been contacted by the FBI either. Rumore tells Channel 2 he thinks Jacobs tipped off the FBI about the increase of cosmetic procedures among teachers, as a political move.
So far, the FBI has not commented on this case.
The Buffalo School district self-insures for the cosmetic surgery rider. Jacobs says in 2004, cosmetic surgery procedures for Buffalo school employees and their dependents cost taxpayers almost $1 million. Last year, the benefit cost the district nearly $9 million.
The Buffalo Public Schools has not negotiated a new contract with the teachers since 1999. The most recent contract expired in 2004, so the terms of that agreement are still in effect -- including the cosmetic surgery rider.