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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Weiner Leaves The Race For Mayor - 2009

Congressman Anthony Weiner officially drops out of race for mayor - 2009 (how about a repeat?)


Rep. Anthony Weiner told supporters he is dropping his mayoral campaign and plans to make a formal announcement Wednesday morning.

Weiner plans to announce his decision in front of his childhood home in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

In an op-ed published in Wednesday's New York Times, Weiner said he could not compete against Mayor Bloomberg's millions while staying focused on issues.

"I've taken stock of my life, my work in Washington and decided that now is not the right time to run," Weiner wrote. "I believe I have a contribution to make in Congress fighting for New Yorkers. (I'd also like to build a family.)"


His decision follows the Queens Democratic organization's refusal to back him at its meeting Tuesday, sources said.

The county party voted unanimously to back city Controller William Thompson for mayor - as the other four county Democratic organizations have done.

Weiner (D-Brooklyn/Queens) said in March he was suspending his campaign to focus on his work in Washington and would make a final decision by the end of this month.

He told allies and advisers over the weekend he would make up his mind within days, even as he was marching in Memorial Day parades.


"I have nothing to say," Weiner told the Daily News at his Forest Hills home last night. "I have nothing to say to you guys."

One source said the head of the Queens Democrats, Rep. Joe Crowley, "had a heart-to-heart" with Weiner on Monday and said he could be mayor someday - but not this year.

Sen. Chuck Schumer refused last night to comment about his protégé's decision.

"You have to talk to Anthony," he said.


Thompson has picked up endorsements and support in the past two months, making it easier to gather the 7,500 signatures needed to get on the ballot.

"He knew that we had deadlines," said one Queens Democrat. "County needs to coordinate the citywide with the countywide with the local petitions. He was very understanding."

The political newspaper City Hall reported on its Web site Tuesday that Weiner had finally decided to pull the plug, with a formal announcement planned for Wednesday morning.

Weiner's campaign would not confirm or deny the report and d"Anthony has said he is making up his mind. The campaign will announce a decision when Anthony is ready to," said campaign spokeswoman Marie Ternes.


The Queens party also backed Queens Councilmen John Liu for controller and Eric Gioia for public advocate.

Bloomberg's campaign team has been gearing up for a fight against Weiner, drawing up plans to bury him in negative ads while unflattering stories about the congressman appeared in New York newspapers.

A primary battle between Weiner and Thompson could have left the winner bruised and battered, while also forcing them to spend money on beating each other instead of the mayor.

Weiner addressed that possibility in his op-ed column.


"Running in the primary against [Thompson] in September would only drain the ability of the winner to compete in the general election."

He also offered some praise for Bloomberg.

"The mayor has tried to be innovative in some areas, and he has avoided the divisive racial politics that can cripple our city. So I will continue to work with Mayor Bloomberg whenever I can, and disagree forcefully when I believe his policies leave the middle class and working class behind."

The Thompson and Bloomberg campaigns would not comment on Weiner's decision.

Read more:

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Wayne Barrett on Bill Thompson's Skeletons in the Closet and Other Not-Answered Questions

I'm not voting for Bill Thompson.  

Wayne Barrett, formerly a public favorite at Village Voice magazine, has it right. You may want to know why Thompson's Campaign Worker Hank Sheinkopf took the 5th Amendment on the stand at the court hearing on the Racino Scandal. I certainly do.

Betsy Combier

Bill Thompson


Strange Ties in Bill Thompson's Brooklyn Backyard

Thursday, July 25, 2013

In late June, Al Sharpton and four citywide candidates—Bill DeBlasio, John Liu, Scott Stringer and Letitia James—led a demonstration in Bill Thompson’s home territory, the Bed Stuy section of Brooklyn, where he lived all his life until 2004. They were protesting the mismanagement of Interfaith Medical Center, the last remaining hospital serving the neighborhood. Interfaith had filed for bankruptcy months earlier and was still run by managers from the company, Kurron Shares of America, that had led the death march.
Had Thompson come, he would have been protesting against his own one-time business associates.  In 2010 and 2011, as the hospital plunged toward bankruptcy, Thompson was serving as a paid member of the advisory board of a Kurron sister company, working intimately with the owner – a man named Corbett Price who’d been his friend since the 1990s and whose family, employees and firm have donated nearly $20,000 to Thompson campaigns, starting with his first race in 2001.
During that time, Kurron and Price have cut a trail of financial and medical mismanagement, run-ins with regulators and public controversies – not least repeated clashes with healthcare unions – up and down the Eastern Seaboard.
So Thompson’s paid ties to Kurron – during a period when he was planning a second run for the mayor’s office after his near-victory over Michael Bloomberg in 2009 – raise important questions about his attentiveness to detail, his judgment and his choice of associates.
Asked by WNYC on Thursday about his involvement with Price, Thompson said he had “nothing to do with Kurron, nothing to do with their business, nothing to do with their company, period.” He said that he served about six months on an advisory board for Price as he attempted to start up a private equity fund. As for the fate of Interfaith Medical Center, Thompson said he has been part of the fight to keep the hospital open. “I firmly believe that Interfaith needs to stay open, period,” he said. “It is important to that neighborhood.”
Corbett PricePrice, right, would not directly answer questions about his arrangement with Thompson, but his explanation paralleled Thompson’s. “His work for Kurron Capital was to guide us on shifting to become a private equity firm. He wasn’t involved in the operations of the company on health care, consulting or restructuring,” Price said.  A Kurron intimate explained that Price’s general counsel, Pam Bradshaw, worked directly with Thompson, who functioned “more as a consultant,” advising Kurron on the “pursuit of private equity opportunities.” All the Kurron companies had a single shareholder, Price, and shared an office on Third Avenue.
As comptroller, Thompson was Wall Street’s conduit to the city’s $130 billion in pension funds, which the comptroller serves as investment advisor, custodian and trustee.  And his principal employer after he left office has been a public finance firm, Siebert Brandford & Shank, which paid him $680,000 last year. But he joined Kurron when it was a sinking ship.
Just how much Thompson has been paid by Kurron isn’t clear. The disclosure form he filed with the state as chair of the Battery Park City Authority says he was a paid member of the advisory board of Kurron Shares, a sister company to Kurron Capital, Interfaith’s management company, in 2010 and 2011. The state form doesn’t list his earnings, stating only that Kurron was a source of income over $1,000. Another disclosure form, which mayoral candidates filed with the city last week, contained no reference to Kurron, indicating Thompson’s advisory service ended in 2011.                                                                       
The extent of the relationship would be more apparent if Thompson joined his fellow Democratic candidates for mayor by fulfilling a pledge to make public his tax returns. Early this year, he released his 2012 tax returns, but he has refused to release his 2010 and 2011 filings, which would list his Kurron earnings. He is the only Democratic candidate for mayor who’s only released a single year’s return, even while Scott Stringer is making repeated demands that fellow comptroller candidate Eliot Spitzer make five years’ returns public.
In 2012, Thompson appeared on NY1 and host Errol Louis, pointing out that all his opponents had already released their returns for years, asked why he was the only one who hadn’t. A smiling Thompson replied that he would “probably release all four years of them next year, in a campaign year,” rather than “deal with things one at a time.” Over a week of daily calls to Thompson's headquarters, press officer John Collins repeatedly promised them, at one point even describing how they could be viewed at the campaign office. In the end, the campaign never supplied them.
Ties to Kurron are hardly something the average office-seeker would brag about.
WNYC asked an intern new to New York to do a Google search of Kurron to see how quickly she hit negatives. It took a minute. In three minutes, she read an abstract that “criticized Kurron for reducing medical care” at Interfaith and “later earning a surplus of $8.6 million.”
Within 12 minutes, she reached the first Google result about Price’s anti-labor record – a story that led to a deluge going back to 1985, when he started in the healthcare management business with the Hospital Corporation of America, a national fixture in the field. His layoffs in Maryland of 650 workers at the Prince George’s Hospital Center, the county hospital, sparked the union animosity that rails him to this day. In 1989, he left HCA and won a personal contract to run the huge, publicly-owned and privately-managed Maryland facility, but was fired within months, collecting three years of full CEO pay. That’s when he created Kurron, incorporating it in Maryland in 1990.
He tried twice to return to Prince George’s—seeking to buy it in 2003 , and failing that seeking a big consulting contract then and again in 2007 and igniting controversy each time. When county officials withheld millions in subsidies in 2003 that were due the hospital unless they hired Price, the hospital management went to the state attorney general, who conducted a six-month probe of the politicians’ demands before concluding there was no crime. In 2007, when county officials repeated the same public demand for a Price contract in exchange for releasing committed millions of county aid, The Washington Post wondered why Price met such vocal opposition and answered its own question: “Why? Because he has several decades of history tangling with the hospital workers.” A top Maryland union leader, Quincey Gamble, branded him a “slash and burn” villain; the county executive said to favor Price is now in jail, convicted on unrelated corruption charges.
Price’s company and his son donated $9,900 to Thompson’s mayoral campaign in 2007, at the same moment that the Washington-Baltimore press corps covering his Prince George’s County machinations was reporting that Price had “left 1,200 pink slips in his wake,” “enraged union members,” and “hurt” patient care.
Interfaith Medical CenterThe union hostility continues to this day. Just a few months ago, New York’s hospital workers union, Local 1199, joined the New York State Nursing Association in briefs filed in the Interfaith bankruptcy case objecting to Kurron’s latest contract there and charging that Price was a shadow manager consuming grand fees without even visiting hospitals where he was listed as CEO. At the time, Thompson was aggressively seeking 1199’s mayoral endorsement, which he ultimately did not get. But he has received the backing of many city unions, including the United Federation of Teachers.
But the shadow over Kurron hardly ends there. The New York State Department of Health cancelled Kurron’s contract with Interfaith, pictured left, in April, after sending four blistering letters to the company, including charges that bonuses paid to Kurron executives were “contrary to law” and contending that “the reasonableness” of Kurron’s overall fees could not be determined. At the time of Interfaith’s bankruptcy filing, its liabilities exceeded its assets by $200 million after nearly 20 years of Kurron management. The demise wasn’t just financial; a court-appointed patient care ombudsman found the hospital’s emergency department “more chaotic and disorganized” than others he’d observed, noting that “there did not appear to be a coherent process of triage and patient management.” 
This week, the health department rejected a reorganization plan proposed by Interfaith’s current managers – a team of former Kurron executives stripped first of Price and then of a long-time Kurron executive, Luis Hernandez, who quit the day of the June protest, a departure that one protest organizer, Robert Cornegy, credited to “pressure from the community.” The state now has asked Interfaith to submit a plan for its closure – part of a dramatic consolidation of healthcare services in Brooklyn that has nearby Long Island Community Hospital almost emptied.
While the collapse of Interfaith culminated after Thompson left Kurron’s advisory board, but the road to bankruptcy – marked by gaping operational deficits – was being paved through his tenure. Also on his watch, in November 2010, Episcopal Health Services terminated the company’s two-decade-old contact to manage St. John’s Hospital in Far Rockaway, disturbed by Price’s efforts to close the obstetrics unit in a low-income neighborhood in a cost-cutting maneuver and also supported by state officials. Soon after, in February 2011, Kurron’s biggest contracts – $14.6 million in politically-wired deals in tiny Bermuda – were abruptly terminated by the government 18 months before they expired amid a flurry of public condemnations.
Price’s champion there, Premier Ewart Brown, awash in corruption allegations, had just stepped down, and the new leader of Brown’s PLP party decided to kill one of the most expansive deals arranged by her own party, an extraordinary event in Bermuda’s hyper-partisan politics.
Of course, none of this was Thompson’s business at Kurron. But the problems made his experience particularly relevant to Price, who explained that he was “shifting direction” to private equity because his other businesses were drying up. Kurron’s battles over Interfaith peaked as Thompson apparently was exiting the firm. 
Indeed, the medical center’s  bankruptcy papers read like an expose of Price and Kurron, as well as an autopsy of a gutted hospital. IMC filed on December 2, 2012 – three days after awarding a new $3.25 million contract to Kurron, some $250,000 of which was paid the day before the contract was signed. The contract, which had to be approved by the bankruptcy judge, called for Kurron to continue managing the hospital and become its “restructuring adviser” during the bankruptcy process, with Price as Chief Restructuring Officer and CEO. The rationale was that Kurron knew interfaith so well it was the only consultant that could salvage it, and the judge eventually approved the deal.
The U.S. Trustee that oversees bankruptcies, - joining 1199, the nurses union and the hospital’s creditors – filed objections to the Kurron deal.  The independent trustee found that Kurron “could be an impediment to reorganization,” questioning its ability “to fulfill its fiduciary duty.” Price’s 35-years in the health care business, featuring restructuring experience, was one of the reasons Kurron won the court battle. He promised the judge in court and in writing that he would be a 40-hour-a-week CEO and restructuring chief.
But the briefs from the unions told another tale. The hospital workers union accused Price of a “shockingly cavalier attitude,” arguing that he had not been “present physically” though the first months of the bankruptcy period.  The nurses cited the observations of their own members, who said Price hadn’t been there “a single day” and had no office or secretary at Interfaith, refusing to respond to requests for even a conversation. The hospital’s patient ombudsman said Price wouldn’t meet with him, and only talked to him once for five minutes.
Price responded in court to these allegations by listing a handful of phone inquiries he made about Interfaith, mostly to bankruptcy lawyers and consultants. Kurron also accused the objecting creditors of “prioritizing union interest.” In March, the judge singled out Price personally and dropped him from the contract, approving a new restructuring chief with no ties to Kurron to guide the bankruptcy.
Price’s remote management had been an issue for decades – at least since 1999, when Newsday reported that his claim he “spent very little time away from Interfaith” was “flatly contradicted by multiple sources.” Anthony Kovner, an NYU heath care professor, told Newsday then he’d never heard of a hospital story “stranger than this” – a hospital run by a missing person. Another key objection to Price was that he sat on the Interfaith board that awarded and administered Kurron’s contract for 10 years. The Newsday story was prompted by Price’s war with Interfaith workers; in it, Brian Lane, an 1199 leader, called Price “a hatchet man.”
Lane said: “That’s the style of Corbett Price. Everywhere he goes, he cuts to the bone.”
Polished, bejeweled and engaging, Price - a registered Republican who serves as a trustee of his alma mater, Ohio State University –  works mostly out a Harlem townhouse on West 148th Street he’s owned for years. He bought a $4.9 million condo in 2008 at 15 Central Park West, where Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, Denzel Washington and Sting also had apartments and chauffeurs have a waiting room. Kurron sometimes used it for business purposes, but Price sold it in 2011, around the same time that Kurron closed its headquarters office at 885 Third Avenue, where Thompson and Price usually met at awkward two-member “board meetings.” The 800 number on Kurron’s neglected website is dead.
Perhaps Price’s most ambitious undertaking – and most ignominious fall during Thompson’s formal association with Kurron – was his detour to Bermuda.
Price won two of the small country’s biggest consulting contracts in 2007, shortly before “a friend” of his, as the island’s Royal Gazette newspaper described the new premier Ewart Brown, took office in 2006. Charges of cronyism had risen when Kurron beat out the much larger and more prestigious Johns Hopkins University for a plum assignment at the center of the nation’s healthcare system.     
Officials in Bermuda attributed Price’s bonanza to the premier’s ex-New Yorker wife, Wanda Henton-Brown, a onetime New York investment banker whom Price had known for years; in the ’90s, they summered in nearby houses on Martha’s Vineyard. That’s also when Price steered a huge bond offering from Interfaith to the fledgling investment firm Henton-Brown had just founded herself. More recently, Price has given to Henton-Brown’s Bermuda foundation. Messages left for Henton-Brown in Bermuda were not returned.
Price was supposed to do three things in Bermuda: develop a national health plan, come up with a conceptual/financial model for a new hospital and propose a new insurance program for seniors called Futurecare. His health plan was never adopted, Futurecare has been turned upside down since he left and is running a $13 million annual deficit, and the new and financially troubled King Edward VII Memorial Hospital just shut down its continuing care unit for seniors this month as “not fit.”
An opposition party leader, Louise Jackson, called Price’s fees “absolutely obscene” on the floor of Parliament. Price’s 34-year old son Devin, a kick-boxing promoter, oversaw the Bermuda work for Kurron, sometimes conducting meetings about it at 15 Central Park West. Once Brown resigned in 2011, awash in scandal, his successor, though she was also a leader of Brown’s PLP party, cancelled Kurron’s contract – 18 months before it expired.   
The worst of Kurron’s problems – in Bermuda, and at Interfaith and St. John’s – came home to roost during Thompson’s association with Kurron and Price.  The issue for Thompson is not whether he aided or advised Price on labor relations, Bermuda or the management of the Brooklyn hospitals. The question is why he identified himself with a company with so much baggage.
Someone looking for patterns would point to past blots on Thompson’s record. Before he became comptroller, he worked in a small underwriting firm selling municipal bonds without the required license for years, and broke half a dozen securities rules. His firm signed him up for a six-hour licensing exam six times, forfeiting a $200 fee when he failed to show up each time. Finally passing the test in December 1995, he failed to meet continuing education requirements, forcing securities authorities to list him as “deficient and inactive” and temporarily suspend his license for two more years. Yet his 2001 campaign for comptroller emphasized his private sector expertise including the claim he’d sold billions in bonds, without mentioning he did it illegally. It was also revealed in that campaign that he’d filed his taxes late four of five years and had to repay by installment.
In 2008, while serving as comptroller, Thompson got a highly favorable mortgage and credit line from the union-owned Amalgamated Bank, which did billions of dollars of business with his office – an episode highlighted in commercials run by Mayor Bloomberg’s 2009 reelection campaign, in which he edged out Thompson.  The $1.4 million loan to acquire Thompson’s Harlem home was artificially split in half by the bank to avoid federal ceilings and secure a lower interest rate. Amalgamated’s management of city retirement funds administered by Thompson’s office grew from $174 million when became comptroller to $3.6 billion, taking its greatest leap at the same time Thompson got the favorable mortgage and earning the bank $51 million in fees.
Thompson and state officials also deposited $50 million in city cash in Amalgamated, making it the biggest recipient of a special public deposit program; the number two bank in that program, North Fork, also gave Thompson a personal line of credit and loans.  He also used the comptroller’s office to push high state and city officials to fund his wife-to-be’s new African-American art museum on Fifth Avenue,  which was slated to open in 2009 but remains uncompleted.
All this is history. The substantive issue, in the midst of a tight mayoral primary, is why Thompson decided to enter and maintain a compensated business relationship with a man with Price’s history.  Besides repeating over and over yesterday that he had “nothing to do with Kurron,” that’s not a question Thompson has answered.
Ben Shanahan and Tamara Smillie, a research assistant at the Nation Institute, contributed reporting. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The "OMG This is Unconscionable Award" Goes To 3020-a Arbitrator Lisa Brogan For Firing Rigal Baptiste

Teaching "Living Environment" (or "Health" or "Reproduction") is a very dangerous assignment for a male teacher working in a NYC High School. At any moment, a student, male or female can report to the principal that a comment was made which made him/her "uncomfortable", and boom the "investigators" from OEO, OSI, or SCI are called in. In my opinion, the only work these "agents" do is to create a frame-up of the employee who is the current target of the administration.
The "investigation" always takes the following form: the investigator goes to the school after the principal calls in/emails in to intake an "incident". These "investigators" go to the principal's office, where they ask the principal, "what do you want us to prove". The principal tells them who is the target, and gives the previously prepared statements to the visitors, who take these and may or may not interview the kids who had something bad to say about the teacher/employee. No other students/faculty are interviewed. Then the investigators leave. They go back to the main office with their "notes", which are given to another person who writes the decision.

How fair is this?

Rigal Baptiste was put into this Catch-22 position, assigned to teach Living Environment at Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School in Brooklyn. He couldn't, wouldn't, didn't, see the danger he could be in, and loved his job. He was good at it, too, for 18 years (all "S" ratings).
But kids of all ages are given the power and authority, by the Department of Education, to lie about teachers and get them removed from their positions, for any and all reasons. This type of activity is called "mobbing" and it occurs in almost every case brought to 3020-a: some child/young adult may not like a teacher, goes with a close friend to the principal (who needs to remove the teacher with tenure and high salary), and says "blah blah blah....(the teacher hit me, touched me, made me uncomfortable, looked at me the wrong way, etc.). The principal runs to the computer, files a report with OSI, OEO or SCI, and the ball starts to fall.
Rigal was not fortunate at 3020-a to have a NYSUT attorney, and Lisa Brogan as his Arbitrator. NYSUT just does not defend their clients strongly enough, but I like Antonio Cavallero, the NYSUT attorney in this case, very much as a person. Rigal testified, as all people charged with 3020-a must, but did not bring in any witnesses to testify on his behalf. This was, in my opinion, a mistake, not as horrible as what Maria Elena Gonzalez Lichten did in the case of Eric Fuller, but still just as disastrous in terms of the result.

A lack of a good defense in front of Lisa Brogan may not have helped, because she was, again in my opinion, hired to fire. She had termination on her mind as the penalty the minute Rigal walked in the door. I have many decisions made by her, and one, in particular annoys me very much. She terminated a bilingual guidance counselor, J.R., for not submitting excellent lesson plans when he was asked to do so by the principal, who wanted him removed because he - the principal - felt that the guidance counselor would reveal that Federal Law was not being followed in the cases of kids in his school with IEPs. The principal, Bennett Lieberman, had a memo he had written published by the Daily News. Anyway, Brogan fired the Guidance Counselor for not writing lesson plans despite the fact that the GC testified he never wrote or learned how to write lesson plans, and these were not required in his work.

Brogan had some shocking comments in her decision to terminate Rigal, who had never been brought to 3020-a, and even if he had made some off-color comments, which he apologized for, and asked to be forgiven as there was no intent to harass or abuse any student, should have been given a small penalty as part of the mandate called "progressive discipline". Brogan wrote:
"Her classmate J.D. perceived her discomfort in S.M.'s body language as he observed it in response to Respondent's comments and actions" (p.21)

"He claims he was only asking her to return to her regular seat, but A.Z. credibly asserted that this was not the case, and if that were the case, then surely it would have been much simpler to assert that he wanted her in her usual seat, rather than fail to explain why he wanted her to move." (p. 26).

Brogan also made an outrageous claim after viewing a video of sexual harassment that "...the intent of the actor is not relevant, but rather, it is the impact on the offended person that determines whether certain conduct is sexual harassment, and it instructs that a reasonable person standard is considered in that regard." (decision, p. 46).

The Department, in order to win their case against Rigal, brought in only those students who would support the "sexual harassment" allegation. Brogan wrote in her decision:

"And all the accusing witnesses expressed their discomfort at the hearing, proving that the impact of Respondent's (Rigal's) actions was to cause offense." (p. 47)

That's a very bizarre way to find "proof" of intent, I think.

So, all students and employees who want to get rid of someone you dont like, sign up for those acting classes now, so that you can cry on cue when September rolls around.

Betsy Combier

Teacher's crude comments to students leave him jobless

Brooklyn teacher, Rigal Baptiste, canned from Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School after making crude sexual comments to two of his students.

Comments (22)

Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School in Brooklyn Let Baptiste go after making crude comments to two female students.

A Brooklyn teacher was canned for acting creepy and making crude jokes about pregnancy to girls in health class.

Rigal Baptiste, 46, of Queens, was fired from Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School in April after investigators found he sexually harassed two female students.

The girls told investigators that the tenured teacher sexually harassed them with raunchy remarks between October 2011 and June 2012.

One of the female students claimed Baptiste, who’s been teaching 18-years, quizzed her on reproduction in class - and when she didn’t have the answers, he said, “Don’t worry your husband will show you.”

Another girl told investigators that Baptiste discussed pregnancy with her during his lessons and said, “You’ll be screaming when the little guy comes out.”

Baptiste sued to get his $86,590 job back in May, citing his lengthy service. He claimed, in court papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, that he was targeted by an Education Department “Gotcha Squad.”

An advocate who spoke on Baptiste’s behalf told the News that she didn’t believe the veteran teacher harassed his students.

“It’s a set-up,” said Betsy Combier, a paralegal who runs the education blog NYC Rubber Room Reporter. “In the current environment, anyone can be convicted of anything.”

City lawyers have asked a judge to dismiss Baptiste’s suit.

“A neutral arbitrator weighed the evidence in this case and found that serious incidents of misconduct had occurred,” said Employment Law Division chief Eric Eichenholtz.

BETSY.COMBIER@GMAIL.COMLess than a minute ago
A man cannot teach any class in which words like "human body", "human reproduction" or the like has to 
be mentioned. Rigal did not deserve to be fired, and Arbitrator Lisa Brogan is anything but "neutral." Her 
comments in her decision were completely out of line, the testimony of the students were credible and Rigal 
was not, and the proceeding was a lawless biased mess. I hope the Judge sees through the pre-disposed bias 
of Brogan and makes a rational order to vacate her decision.

Betsy Combier
NYC Rubber Room Reporter

SMSNYC881 hour ago
Yes, unfortunately the Daily News has mislead this story quite a bit. As an FDR alumni back in 06, and 
a former student of his, I am actually quite surprised that it took this long for someone to speak out about 
his behavior. That's right folks, I said back in 2006, so Mr. Ben Chapman, this issue has gone on for quite a 
long time... Crude and sexual comments have no place in a learning environment, especially coming from 
a teacher. Students may think that he's joking, but that is in no way shape or form to communicate with a 
girl, or anyone for that matter. And if there are any parents who are reading this, I'd suggest you pay close 
attention, because I am quite sure that this sort of thing has been reported many times. The schools just let 
it go because it doesn't fulfill their needs.

THINK4YOURSELF11 hours ago
Yet there are literally RAPIST teachers still on the payroll, as they sit in the 'rubber rooms', gainfully 
employed by the DOE. I wonder why some rapist, predator and pervert teachers are kept, while this one
 fired for crude remarks...........

ARETHA11 hours ago
Bloomberg is paying these arbitrators off to make teachers look bad; he has the money
2 replies

HAIRY POTHEAD8 hours ago
Right, he has nothing better to do with his money.
1 reply

DBMERCAZ5 hours ago
I was thinking the same thing: why would this teacher be the victim of a set up?? 
Because he's overpaid? I'm sure there are overpaid teachers with way more salary on the 

GEELOPEZ29513 hours ago
i dont understad why these girls take everything so serious ! its not like the teacher actually touched them ! 
besides when it comes to guys really hitting them or trying to touch them they allow it to happen & dont 
report that to the police !
3 replies

THINK4YOURSELF11 hours ago
My aren't we a bitter dope. Common sense and decency dictate that a teacher would not even take 
the chance of such remarks being misinterpreted. Good riddance.
2 replies

GUNSHOTS32410 hours ago
again i myself was taught by this man he is a great teacher people like you are the ones 
that should be rid of this earth

GUNSHOTS32410 hours ago
on another note he was being paid 86,000 a year they don't just pay any teacher that 
salary so before you make quick judgement find out about the man first........ I personally 
would volunteer to be a character witness on his behalf

ACTUAL FACTS13 hours ago
Another misleading headline. Unfortunately, most people skim the headlines and think they know what's 
going on. I'm surprised that the DN actually printed this story. It shows that firing a tenured teacher is 
actually pretty easy, which goes against the narrative they've been penning all along: that child rapists keep 
their jobs due to union protections and tenure. It's sad that a teacher loses his job because he told a girl giving 
birth will hurt. Unreal.

So where's the raunchy, sexual harassment part? At most this is inappropriate, but not fireable.

GUNSHOTS32414 hours ago
This is complete BULL im sorry i had Mr. Baptiste several times in high school and i was a terrible kid, I 
used to pick on him and make fun of him in class and in turn all he did was laugh and joke back and believe 
it or not he reached me and actually got me to learn and study that was his way of reaching troubled kids. I do 
not believe for one second that he sexually harassed anyone he was probably joking around with students he 
jokes around with everyday and all of a sudden someone felt offended by it. Again he was a great teacher and 
if you'd see my school record for him to reach ME yeah it proves the man goes above and beyond to get through
 to these kids.

SSC15 hours ago
We read all the time about educators that do much worse but still don't get fired. There has to be more to 
this story that is not being reported, otherwise Mr. Baptiste was simply railroaded to meet some quota system

LADYMOM01116 hours ago
Why is a man teaching girls about these things? They should have a female teacher. But I don't think those 
are raunchy remarks exactly.
1 reply

GUNSHOTS32414 hours ago
sorry if ya want a female teaching females put ya daughters in an all girl school, schools are over 
crowded as it is

KITOBEAR17 hours ago
I guess I'm missing the sexual harassment part.
1 reply

HAIRY POTHEAD15 hours ago
You, me and everyone else who didn't charge him with it.