A New Jersey middle school teacher has been placed on paid administrative leave after a muckraking organization posted an undercover video online showing him bragging about having "blow."
The video was taken by an female undercover staffer for Project Veritas at the New Jersey Education Association convention in Atlantic City last November. It shows Howell health education teacher Rob Klein offering the woman "blow" -- the colloquial term for cocaine -- and alcohol in what Project Veritas admitted was an effort to hit on her.
Klein is now facing a criminal investigation by Howell police -- and so is the founder of the group that took the video. Howell Police Chief Andrew Kudrick said he's concerned about both the teacher and the sting.
When it comes to the teacher's admission to undercover Project Veritas staffers about having cocaine, "talking about it is not a criminal offense. Actually doing it, that in itself would be," Kudrick told NBC 4 New York, noting there is no evidence any drugs were ever brought into the school.
The video posted by Project Veritas was also edited, and the full context of the excerpts is not known. Project Veritas has a history of orchestrating controversial undercover video stings.
Kudrick is also investigating Project Veritas founder James O'Keefe, who on the video appeared to mock Klein and his school by presenting the teacher with a fake anti-drug award at a student assembly this past April. O'Keefe got into the school by pretending to be someone else.
"You tricked the students, disrupted their day, tricked the faculty," Ludrick said.
As a result, he said school security is also being reviewed.
Klein's attorney, James Uliano, said in a statement that his client will fully cooperate with the investigation and that Klein "is the unfortunate victim of a provocateur who uses heavily edited videos to distort the truth.
Uliano said Project Veritas has a history of outrageous conduct, adding "Mr. Klein will explore all legal options for the damage to his reputation."
The video is actually part of a long-running campaign by Project Veritas aimed at the New Jersey Education Association teachers union.
A union official was also caught on an undercover camera as part of the video, saying he would never turn a drug-using teacher into school officials.
NJEA spokesman Steve Baler called the report part of a Project Veritas "smear campaign."
Project Veritas founder O'Keefe, who pleaded guilty several years ago to a misdemeanor of entering a federal office building under false pretenses in order to record phone calls of a U.S. senator's staffers, then put out a second video saying "NJEA, you're on notice, we're coming after you."
He also responded to Kudrick by claiming his photographer had been detained by Howell police in April because he is black.
Kudrick said O'Keefe got it wrong and that it was Brick police who stopped the photographer because he was carrying a bag that looked like it might have a rifle.