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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Fidgety: Francesco Portelos' Cult - I Got Out in Time

Re-post from FidgetyTeach today:

November 11, 2015

Francesco Portelos - Cultist Behavior?

I am officially requesting that Francesco Portelos cease and desist from contacting me further in any form or manner. 
This is my response to the unsolicited and harassing emails I have received after unsubscribing to emails in a several email groups led by Francesco Portelos, however they were all returned to me 'Undelivered'. 
I cannot support the Solidarity Caucus and as a result, Francesco Portelos will stop at nothing to harass me. Please remember that you have free will and am sending this out to protect the safety and well being of my family and friends.

For your concern....Solidarity has displayed many (not all- but you be the judge) of the characteristics that are present in a cultist environment...

  My question is , why I am i still receiving these emails even after I have not only unsubscribed(twice) from this group, but also requested that the cult leader Portelos remove me from his group? I consider this email to be a form of harassment and further steps have been taken.

Portelos dictates in great detail how members should think, act and feel...

I too was fooled, but luckily I got out in time. 

The Francesco Portelos Mob: Who Are They?

I am posting my opinion about the cult/gang known as Francesco Portelos and UFT Solidarity. He is evidently now investigating me, and I him.

I will publish the facts of this mob on this blog as part of the lawsuit which is about to be filed. The people in this mob/cult are willing to make up lies about you, harm your work, your relationship with your employer, and your family to retaliate against you if you tell them anything they dont like. They believe in back-stabbing. They do not belong in public education.

The people in his cult who you need to be careful of or stay away from are:

Francesco Portelos
Lydia Howrilka

Johnathan Hinesley

Lucio Celli
Victor Jordan
Danielle Kushner
Claudia Giordano Lasky

The very sad truth about the Francesco Portelos brand is that if you openly discard his group UFT Solidarity, or disagree with Francesco on going after and tainting the reputation of the Principal of your school, or a colleague, he will target you in the name of "UFT Solidarity" and charge you with crimes and false claims made up by him  to silence you. His list of "bad" Principals puts people in danger. An example: a UFT member I have been speaking with was told a few months ago by her principal, "I know it was you who put my name on the website, anonymously, but I am going to get you for doing that."

Nothing this teacher could say would change the Principal's mind.

A few weeks ago, she was charged with 3020-a and re-assigned.

Francesco's caucus UFT Solidarity and his mom are ready to harm you if you dare to interfere with their attacks on family and friends.

I hate to think what will happen now to educators who are not tenured. A principal can discontinue you for any and no reason. It is possible that the Francesco Portelos brand gives them leverage to accuse anyone of undermining the safety of a school. Many months ago Francesco started Edufoil where he makes money by filing Freedom of Information requests for people. I heard recently that a request for the ratings of principals for 2013-2014 was paid for, and denied, and the EdFOIL people (Francesco? who?) asked for money to appeal, although the ratings are not available through FOIL. A scam. Francesco was angry I called it that. I have written FOIL requests for a thousand years (I am that old) and have never charged a dime.

I also never charge for consultations.

More than a year ago a man attended one of my client's 3020-a hearings. His name was Victor Jordan, and he told me he heard about the hearing via some African-American network. I welcomed him. He told me that he had just graduated from Law School in Albany, and he planned to take the Bar Exam. I told him that maybe, after he became a practicing attorney, he and I could work together. He told me that would be a great idea. In February 2015 Victor passed the Bar Exam. He still could not practice Law. On his bio you can see that in 2014-2015 he was an Adjunct Professor of Law Law at Empire State College. Did his students know that he was not an Attorney? Did he tell them? I do not know.

What I do know is that he is not admitted to the bar yet, unless the Second Department has admitted him since I last checked.

Then in June, he wrote a very strange letter to Naeemah Lamont, the Director of the Teacher Performance Unit (TPU) which handles the incompetency panel for 3020-a in NYC:

June 16, 2015                                                 Victor Jordan
                                                                        965 East 31st Street
                                                                        Brooklyn, NY 11210
                                                                        (718) 679-1940                         

Naeemah Lamont
NYC Department of Education
52 Chambers Street,
New York, NY 10007

Dear Ms. Lamont:

            I passed the New York State Bar Examination in February of this year.  (Please see the attached).  However, before I can submit my application for Bar membership, I must submit with my application a declaration that I have completed 50 hours of pro bono legal services. (Please see the attached).  I would like to perform the 50 hours of pro bono legal services at the Department of Education (DOE) by serving as the advocate for a teacher who is unable to pay for these services.

            In terms of my background, (1) I am a former mathematics teacher with the DOE, with 14 years of service, (2) at my law school’s legal clinic I represented indigent plaintiffs at administrative tribunals, and in state and federal court, and, in addition, (3) I have observed four 3020-a proceedings at the DOE, two of these hearings in their entirety.

 Thank you for your time and thoughtful consideration in this matter, I look forward to speaking with you soon.

Yours truly,


A few days before Francesco's UFT Solidarity general meeting on September 20, 2015 in Queens, Francesco called me up and said, do you think I will win the UFT Presidency?

I was honest, and said "No". Then he went after me.

Victor Jordan attended the September 20th meeting and he evidently told everyone (3 people called me to tell me) that he was an Attorney and he specialized in 3020-a. He is not allowed to say he is an attorney, because while he passed the bar in February 2015, he has not passed the Character and Fitness Committee. I called him, and asked him whether or not he mentioned anything to anyone about 3020-a or being an attorney. He yelled at me "NO" "I did NOT!!" and he demanded to know the name of the 3 people who had told me that he had spoken about these matters. I said that I never reveal names, and he hung up. A day later I received the following letter in the mail as well as in email:

I emailed Victor that his letter was not appropriate. He said he "had no choice" I told him "yes you did". Then I emailed him that he was not welcome at any 3020-a hearing that I worked on as the advocate/paralegal.

I called Johnathan Hinesley to see if he knew about Jim's speech and Francesco's video. He said my name was never mentioned . He  then told me that he was going to attend all my hearings, because he was going to law school and wanted to learn about how to do these hearings. I told Johnathan that I do not allow mobbing of my client, and he would not be welcome. He started yelling that he was going to attend, and there was nothing I could do. There is. My clients do not want a mob watching, and my clients come first.

The most egregious acts of the terror mob came next. 

Lucio Celli lied about several people, including me, to one of the Attorneys I work with. Lucio then called me a LIAR and could see why people HATE me, and "they" were gathering evidence to file against me with the DA.

LL, who started the ATR Support Group, expressed concern about a teacher at a school after Francesco Portelos sent a letter asking the principal why there was so much harassment. I supported LL's concern, saying that people will be targeted because of Francesco's mobbing the schools. Francesco then released private and confidential information he had about LL, telling her and everyone else on the facebook page:

"I'm sorry that our free advocacy work has hindered your money making advocacy work, but don't spread lies....I think you are afraid you will get less work and thus you are sabotaging us."

Francesco then imbedded a comment to South Bronx blogger with a form to fill out that he can get me put into prison for telling people I am an Attorney. This is, in my opinion, wire fraud.

I'm not. Never told anyone that, and I do not give legal advice.

Editorial by Betsy Combier on The Francesco Portelos Brand: Bullying, Slander and Libel

Victor Jordan, Lydia Howrilka, Lucio Celli, Francesco Portelos
Johnathan Hinesley, Al Leon, unknown person
Francesco Portelos is a person who thinks he gets ahead by threatening people. He bullies his way into your face if you try to get him to admit a mistake, or you dont buy his demand to drink the kool-aid and abide by his rules and his way, on HIS highway. No other roads are of any value.

It seems to me that there is no level of revenge that Francesco will not go to in order to hurt you, damage your career, and hurt your family and your well-being. If you oppose this king of bullying, as you will see below, you are threatened and harassed yourself, until you agree. If you do not submit to his abuse and harassment (he was fined $10,000 by Arbitrator Felice Busto for bullying and not admitting to his wrong-doing at IS 49) he will go after you, as he is doing to me.

 In the video edited by Francesco and assisted by Lydia Howrilka (whose reasons for defaming me are unknown at this time), at approximately 31.09 I am described as a "homophobe" by Jim Callaghan. Francesco sent this video to a group of people after the 9/20/15 meeting where 50 people heard it first hand, without the editing. One UFT Solidarity member who was not there (I was not there either, and could not defend myself), Lucio Celli,  sent it to me because he was my friend, and as a gay person he knew that I most certainly am not a homophobe, and he wanted to protect me from the slander. He was very upset. He was attacked by Francesco for doing that, he told me.

Another example is the following posts on an ATR Support page started by the Editor of Fidgety. Fidgety asked Francesco if he had received a teacher's approval before he sent a letter to the principal telling the principal to stop the harassment of this teacher. Francesco would not answer, so I posted my concern about this.

Use my story as your guide.
I have written at length about my background, am not an attorney and do not represent anyone nor do I give "legal" advice. But I do, and can, give you my opinion. Victims of the legal process seek me out because I have experience and have done the research on 3020-a for 12 years and this, with my 3 years in researching the rubber rooms, surpasses any other person's information about how to win UFT members their cases. I always work with Attorneys, except in 3020-a cases here a teacher wants to be pro se, and wants my assistance. Then, I am an advocate. In New York State you do not have to be an attorney to assist a teacher at 3020-a. Over the past four years a growing number of people have asked me to give them my opinion, so I started my company ADVOCATZ, and now work as a paralegal with seven attorneys from five different law firms. I do not practice law, and do not give legal advice.

As many of the readers of this blog know, I blew the whistle on a couple of principals as PTA President and member of the Executive Board, respectively (Larry Lynch, Principal of MS 54Carmen Farina, Principal of PS 6Stanley Teitel, Principal of Stuyvesant). I was investigating and getting the facts on these three, and others, way before the Francesco Portelos brand of terrorism was born. I refuse to terrorize anyone and I refuse to be terrorized.

When I started going into the teacher reassignment room ("rubber room") at 25 Chapel Street around 2003 in order to write a book about these warehouses, I often heard that I was the only one who listened to the stories, discussed the schools and principals, and even made a visit. 
My birthday card comes from 25 Chapel Street.

For 7 years (2003-2010) I studied the rubber room process. I realized instantly that the "rubber room" is not a room, but a process, and the people going through it never paid me a cent. And I am not a wealthy person. (I have four daughters, so, I am blessed).  In 2007 Randi Weingarten asked me to work for the UFT as a Special Representative, so that she could understand the how, why, and when of the individual stories of UFT members who were reassigned. I agreed, because my goal was to go into all the 7 (then 8) rooms to advocate for the rights of the teachers. I do not work for the UFT now, because their lack of interest in defending members was not ok with me.

On September 20, 2015 at the fall UFT Solidarity meeting Francesco invited a former UFT reporter for the NY Teacher named Jim Callaghan,  to talk about the ugly side of UNITY and the UFT to 50 UFT Solidarity potential members.

Looks like we will be expecting about 50 ATRs at today's meeting. See you at noon.

Jim has despised me since I walked into the UFT as the Head of the SWAT team to help teachers in the rubber rooms. Jim was a very unpopular member of the SWAT team, which was created by Randi and was made up of Jim, me and Ron Isaacs. Neither man wanted to go to the reassignment centers. So, I went every day and sat with teachers trying to find a way to help them.

I had memorized the contract, knew all the arbitration decisions and cases from 3020-a, and that is why Randi Weingarten wanted me to work at the UFT, not because I filed a freedom of information request for Queens UFT Representative Rona Freiser's personnel file as Jim claims. At the time I was not even aware - nor did I care - that Rona was a lesbian when Norm Scott suggested I file a FOIL request to get Rona's file. For those who do not know me, I am deeply committed to human rights for everyone. Besides, I have Rona's file, and there is nothing there of any interest.

See what the rubber roomers thought about Jim:

Jim Callaghan - "Helping teachers or seeking revenge?"

Jim Callaghan
As reassigned teachers, we were the NYC DOE/UFT’s dirty little secret. In the press, we were characterized as those ‘bad’ teachers who sat and did nothing all day on the taxpayer’s dollar. The reality was that many of the teachers sent to the rubber rooms had no idea why they were suddenly not teaching and often waited months for formal charges that did not arrive for months or even years. The union’s lack of response to the press in our defense spoke volumes. Being ignored by our union was the ultimate betrayal. It seemed that they were more concerned about hiding the problem and keeping a low profile rather than supporting us or solving it.
In response to the growing number of reassigned teachers and the pressure to do ‘something’ in show of support, the UFT created a Rubber Room “SWAT” team, whose job it was to visit the Reassignment Centers and counsel the reassigned teachers.  The members of the SWAT team were hand selected by Unity leader, Randi Weingarten.  SWAT team members Jim Callaghan and Ron Isaac made random visits to our reassignment center, claiming to offer moral support, but from a reassigned teacher’s point of view, they were making a visit solely to provide a quick fix by Randi Weingarten in an effort to silence the reassigned members, make sure they did not get out of line, or speak ill of the union. (‘Damage Control’).  As long as the reassigned teachers did not make waves, contact the press or step out of line, it seemed that they, Jim and Ron, were doing a ‘great’ job.

For instance, one of the three reps that visited our Rubber room a handful of times in 2008 was Mr. Jim Callaghan. I bring up his name because much to my surprise, he recently began showing up on my FB newsfeed. During the time that he was part of the RR SWAT team, Mr. Callaghan was a writer for the NY Teacher publication.  It was evident from the first time Mr. Callaghan entered our Prospect Place RR with his nose turned up and ‘holier than thou attitude’ that he was not to be trusted. He was cocky, condescending, and seemed to have no interest in talking with or listening to any of the teacher’s troubles or concerns. When asked a question, he often responded with a loud, sarcastic or snide remark, often alluding to the fact that everyone in the room was most likely guilty. During further visits to the RR, Mr. Callaghan was aloof, unapproachable and barely spoke to or made eye contact with any of the teachers. In addition, he made no effort to hide the fact that he didn’t want to be there. To the reassigned teachers, Mr. Callaghan was a joke and we often placed bets on how long he would last before dismissing himself permanently to the restroom.  His visits lasted no longer than 15 minutes, during which time he never sat down, never removed his coat and was constantly checking his watch. On one occasion he even used the excuse that his parking meter was running out and that he had to leave early.

Reassignment Center @ Prospect Heights

Whatever Mr. Callaghan’s agenda was, it was certainly NOT to help the reassigned teachers.

Since the days of the RR, Mr. Callaghan was fired from the UFT for trying to unionize the writers.  Now, years later, Mr. Callaghan claims to be someone who wants to ‘help’ the newly formed “Solidarity Caucus” led by Francesco Portelos, expose the corruption of the long reigning UFT Unity Caucus. In my opinion, Mr. Callaghan is the last person I would call on as a poster child to promote and attract new members to a caucus that is in need of positive support. Even more surprising was his invitation to a Solidarity meeting where he was given an open forum to speak. Rather than attempt to empower the new members of Solidarity during his videotaped speech, the vain Mr. Callaghan used the forum to air his long suppressed anger against the union who fired him, and, rip apart several individuals (not present) that he has a personal dislike for.  

One person whom he publicly attacked was a former Rubber Room SWAT Team member, the third member, Betsy Combier.  At the meeting, he maligns the name, work and character of Ms. Combier.
While I am no fan of Unity, it is obvious that Mr. Callaghan is a scorned man with a personal vendetta against those whom he feels wronged him. As someone who knew Betsy and the genuine nature of her work, I am naturally puzzled as to why the arrogant Mr. Callaghan would feel the need to launch a seemingly random attack on her. In contrast to the lack of support that Mr. Callaghan failed to provide to the reassigned teachers, Ms. Combier’s dedication to her job as a SWAT team member went way beyond the call of duty. While Mr. Callaghan made a mockery of the teachers, Ms. Combier was a source of comfort and ongoing support.  She listened to their stories and often wiped their tears, of which there were many.  Ms. Combier lent an ear to those who had no one to share their fears and concerns with. Most importantly, when she said she was going to do something, she did it. Whether it was making a follow up call, answering questions or researching information, Ms. Combier always came through. Long after Mr. Callaghan stopped showing up, Ms. Combier remains a pillar of strength for teachers like myself. Ms. Combier used her vast experience of observing 3020a hearings to help teachers who were desperately in need of advice. She was truly an excellent source of information as well as a comfort to us.
 Why would a group assemble to discuss winning an election and putting Unity out, then make such a mockery of a person who has continuously assisted educators and is not even running for office?  Is this the way to win votes? This makes no sense. 
The Betsy Combier that I knew from the Rubber Room, IS and ALWAYS has been a strong teacher advocate.  She is, undeniably, the real thing. Is Jim Callaghan so desperate  to build himself up that he must resort to tarnishing the reputation of others?
"When I once asked Mr. Callaghan why his articles in the NY Teacher never addressed the concerns and injustices of the Rubber Room, he got defensive and blamed the Union Leaders for tying his hands and not allowing those stories to appear in the paper. It always seemed that he had someone else to blame for not doing his job. He even daringly suggested that if I had something to say, that I create a blog of my own ;)
Here are some of the comments that were sent to the blog.
Blogger Jim Callaghan said...
Nice revisionist history written by Betsy who was hired by the UFT at the same time she was allegedly "investigating" Queens Rep Rona Freiser. She then signed a confidential agreement, which she has since denied but I have an email she sent to me admitting to it. 
I asked Betsy last week if she had switched sides (again) back to being on the UFT payroll and she refused to answer.
There are so many lies in this diatribe to even begin to answer.
But the easiest one is simple: I never once "drove" to the Brooklyn rubber room and never expensed my car ($22 per day plus tolls and parking ), and it made no sense to drive from Staten Island to Brooklyn in rush hour traffic. I took the subway.
The writer, like Betsy, is a liar and a Mulgrew shill.
October 14, 2015 at 7:30 PM
Blogger Jim Callaghan said...
Nice revisionist history Betsy.... are you still denying you signed a confidentiality agreement after Randi accused you of being homophobic in going after Rona Freiser? I have the letter you sent me admitting it. Why dont you post it? 
October 14, 2015 at 7:34 PM
Betsy Combier said...
I will have a very detailed report - my truth - to give about Jim Callaghan, on my blog NYC Rubber Room Reporter. At this moment let's just say that it is clear to me that the hatred and revenge that Jim felt when I was hired to work with the UFT members in the teacher re-assignment centers - or "rubber rooms" - is shockingly still brewing more than seven years after it started. To me, it's the same Jim who terrorized the UFT with his off-the-cuff remarks that made him a liability, the same person who made fun of me for going on a daily basis to each rubber room, and speaking to my "beloved" teachers ( his title). Jim despised going to speak to any member who was charged. He believed it was improper for him to be in a rubber room, and he pretended to go to a few places. In fact, he tried his best to stop me from visiting with the members isolated in the 8 locations because I was, in a sense, destroying his made up fantasy about how he was the only one who could write about or "help" the UFT members.
His comments are sad, indeed.
October 14, 2015 at 8:48 PM
 Lucio C said...
Betsy came to the rooms all the time. I owe my taping skills to her. Betsy is a great source of information. I owe her a lot and I believe the members that she helped as well
October 14, 2015 at 9:33 PM
Blogger Polo Colon said...
I completely concur and do validate all that fidgety has reported here. We are both in agreement and there are many others who bear witness to what I am about to add here to her expose of Callaghan's charlatanism. Jim Callaghan's slander and smearing of Betsy is nothing less than a viciously unwarranted, arbitrary and capricious attack on her, when quite the opposite is true. Betsy ought to be lauded and applauded for her selfless and great work on behalf of victimized teachers. 

When Callaghan came to the reassignment center at 25 Chapel Street in Brooklyn, not far from fidgety's site, everyone was sadly disappointed with Jim. He was aloof and seen as selfish and narcissistic as he constantly went to the mirror to comb his thinning hair. His perceived hirsute manipulation was no less reviled than his suspected manipulation of treachery on behalf of the Department of Education, as well as him potentially promoting the UFT's member relation's propaganda schemes. Poor Jim Callaghan! Rather than grooming his hair, he could probably benefit more from an inward check-up from the neck up.

After all these years, why is this dirty faced mudslinger now resorting to this bluster and bloviating against Betsy? Why do those who mobbishly gang up on Betsy so conveniently ignore that the DOE and some at the UFT hate Betsy so much? The Administrative Trials Unit at 49 Chambers Street and the New York City Law Department at 100 Church Street both hate and fear Betsy Combier. Why? Because they actually fear her efficaciousness, following her many victories and competent advocacy for victimized teachers! On many occasions, they have resorted to screaming at Betsy in public to try to discredit and intimidate her!

So shame upon those who energize people like Jim Callaghan to encourage them to demonize Betsy. Callaghan and his ilk spew their blithering blather while knowingly doing the bidding of teacher-in-trouble's greatest nemesis, the incompetent NYC Department of Education!

Jim Callaghan, what a sorry individual you must be to have to go back in time to rehash an old scumbaggy worn out lie of a story in order to lift your sorry ass up. Your punishment is that both you and those who back you must look at themselves in the ego mirror that you cannot escape when running from it.

When this appeared on the wonderful blog FidgetyTeach, Francesco reacted. He asked the author of FidgetyTeach why she would write what she wrote, and when he was asked why he wanted to attack me, Francesco said, because Betsy used to work for the UFT!!! (So did Jim).

Then, a few days after the September 20 2015 meeting when the video was created and edited by Francesco, friendships and alliances fell apart between me and my friends and Francesco and people who follow him. Francesco manipulated parts of Jim Callaghan's speech in which it appeared that Randi Weingarten had called me a homophobe, to make it appear that Jim called me a homophobe instead. Randi and I spoke about this, and she assured me she never called me a homophobe, ever.

Here is the email I received from Jim about this:

"There wasn't the slightest hint in my speech that I considered you a homophobe.
I didn't think that before you were hired, when I worked with you or now."

Francesco wanted me slandered in front of his group, however, so he edited the video to make Jim look like he, Jim had said it. And when I asked Francesco to admit his error publicly, he told me absolutely not. Francesco vowed never to fix this, he said to me that I misconstrued what the meeting was about, and it wasnt about me. It was obvious to me that Francesco's motive was to  slander me and destroy my character and reputation. All because I will not follow his rule to bully/slander and libel the "bad guys" ('proven' by him, of course)

Throughout his campaign, Francesco has shown a desire to destroy rather than build a coalition that would help anyone. The edited video proves that.

From UFT Solidarity To Principals: "We Are Going To Get You"

Francesco Portelos
The threats from Francesco Portelos and his group have had an effect, but I doubt it is the effect that Francesco and his cult followers are expecting. Administrators will, I believe, if Francesco were to win a seat on the UFT Executive Board, use his threats to target any teacher they think contacted him or that they dont like for any reason. He is putting all UFT members in danger of being charged or discontinued, I think.

Why do I think this? First, because I know his charges when he was brought to 3020-a. Second, anyone can read the degrading stuff posted in A.N.O.I. Thirdly, in my opinion, Francesco and his gang - Johnathan Hinesley, Lydia Howrilka, Lucio Celli, Victor Jordan, Claudia Giordano Lasky and Danielle Kushner, have put UFT and CSA members in danger by putting libelous statements on the website and the Administrators in Need of Improvement (A.N.O.I.) . This is shocking to me. As you can see in Francesco's edited version of the video of the speech given by Jim Callaghan on September 20, 2015 to about 50 teachers (at 31.09), Jim is calling me a "homophobe." Jim did not call me a homophobe, Francesco did.

In Francesco's world, it seems to me, which came out during his teacher trial (I was there several days), a chapter leader must never work with a Principal, but must be combative, bullying, and full of threats. The next thing that happens will be, I believe, that either the position of chapter leader will be eliminated, or the person(s) making the chapter leader suffer for working with the principal will be charged with something. One of the reasons Francesco was not terminated, wrote Arbitrator Busto in her decision after the 3020-a, was that he was never rude to the principal like "J.J." was, as 'proven' by the decision of the Arbitrator in J.J.'s 3020-a Opinion and Award.

"J.J." was my client, I worked on his legal team with an attorney at his 3020-a. J.J. was a chapter leader to spoke up about how his Principal removed the entire staff from access to data on any student. He was not rude, he was factual. The principal charged him with every sort of charge she could think of, and J.J. hired us to defend these charges. We got the principal to be removed from the school by Superintendent Gayle Reeves and given a job at Tweed during the 3020-a. And, we got all of the misconduct/corporal punishment bogus charges removed. But the Arbitrator found J.J. guilty of speaking to the principal about what the principal was doing wrong and in order to get around J.J.'s First Amendment rights as a chapter leader, made J.J. look like a combative, rude, obnoxious person, the exact opposite of who he is. The Arbitrator never mentioned J.J.'s First Amendment rights or free speech rights, even though we handed in a brief arguing this point. J.J. was given a fine and sent back to work as an ATR. He sued.

The ugly fact is, government/public employees do not have free speech rights. See the case Garcetti v Ceballos, the current law of the USA on public employee whistleblowing.

Everyone knows that the ways a senior teacher can move from a school is by being charged with something, resigning, retiring, or a sabbatical. Senior transfers are no longer allowed. So in order to get a teacher out of a school that may be harassing someone is for an administrator to file charges against that person.

In my opinion, Francesco and his gang - Johnathan Hinesley, Lydia Howrilka, Lucio Celli, Victor Jordan, Claudia Giordano Lasky and Danielle Kushner, have put UFT and CSA members in danger. The libelous statements made on the website and the Administrators in Need of Improvement (A.N.O.I.) are shocking to me. As you can see in Francesco's edited version of the video of the speech given by Jim Callaghan on September 20, 2015 to about 50 teachers (at 31.09), Jim is calling me a "homophobe."

Look at the page on Pauline Shakespeare:
"Her egotistical ways are personified by the larger than life portrait of, none other than, herself that greets you as you enter her office; which belongs on a bottle of syrup rather than in an academic setting....I would suggest you put her head on the bottle of arsenic instead. You can put the number for poison control on the bottle, I knew after 30 seconds working at ps34q for her she is toxic!
I know you are reading this you piece of garbage Pauline, and yes we have heard through you cronies you are not happy we are writing about you. If anyone ever reads up on you they will know don’t come to 34. It’s career suicide!
Pauline enjoy Halloween, you can go out today and no-one will notice how ugly your really are, both inside and out!.
You the most unprofessional piece of garbage on the planet. Eventually diabetes or heart disease will catch up with you and you will get exactly what you deserve! I wish you nothing but long term pain and suffering!"
"Let’s be adults here. If you worked there, you know that Pauline Shakespeare is a sadistic sociopath who enjoys torturing her staff. She is the bully in the playground and the disturbed child burning ants with a magnifying glass. One-day karma will knock on her door and I am sure there is a warm place in hell with her name waiting for her."
"that human being is Hitler! As I said before there is a warm place in hell waiting for this sick sociopath!
If you are a new teacher to the DOE or on the open market BE WARNED! If you ever hear the name Pauline Shakespeare P.S. 34Q John Harvard —run like the devil is after you, because that is exactly who Pauline Shakespeare is."

I’m thinking we get a leaflet together and hand out during parent teacher conferences. Email us at to contribute."
"Reckoning day is coming!
The chancellor is coming and this time unlike last year we are going to be heard.
AP Vera Tomaselli you are too smart to lie for Shakespeare. Pauline you better watch every word that comes out of here mouth. She is not going to risk her career over you.
There is no loyalty amongst theves How does it feel to be alone Pauline?"
Listen everyone. We, UFT Solidarity, created this forum to illicit conversation and improve working conditions and learning conditions at schools. As you can see, there are many administrators listed
Last night Jill Guttman’s husband and I went to speak to the chancellor about the situations at play here and many other schools.
We are not waiting for the DOE to do the right thing. We are not waiting for the Queens UFT office to do the right thing. I personally don’t trust Rona Freiser. Read how she throws UFT members under the bus. She needs to go too.
We are UFT Solidarity, we are running against Mulgrew and friends this April and we have your back! We will be outside your school next week handing out flyers to staff and parents.
Email us at to add material to the flyer.
This has to stop as the staff and students are suffering.
Principal Shakespeare and admins, back off with your attacks and support the staff.
In Solidarity,
Francesco Portelos
UFT Presidential Candidate

in response to Francesco Portelos:

PRINCIPAL PAULINE SHAKESPEARE PS 34Q In the news Here is a transcript of Principal Pauline Shakespeare committing perjury stating she never made a comment about the fact that the ” UFT can’t protect bad teachers.” Followed by the audio of her actually saying it to a teacher she targeted and discontinued after the teacher requested […]

Disbelief or should say Gwendolyn Brown-Waker, you are not fooling anyone. I don’t give a damn who you claim to be or not to be. You gave yourself away a few times and you are busted. Deny it if you want, I am not fooled. You really need a life, hobby, man or woman to occupy your time. Aren’t you tired of living in Pauline’s butt? YUK!!! To think that you are actually a Pastor makes my stomach turn. Why don’t you go spend your time preaching the Lord’s word or joining a gym or something, rather than doing what you do best which is being in everyone else’s business. Perhaps you can even go wig shopping. I’m sure that’s better than being all the way up Pauline’s butt.
I do not know this person, but to read that her face should be placed onto a bottle with a poison control number is abhorrent to me. Also, what Ms. Shakespeare may do now is that she must discontinue untenured employees and charge those tenured employees whom she believes made these comments. Thus these type of anonymous statements puts everyone in danger.

What Francesco and his gang do when they hear something they do not like is, attack. When Francesco Portelos edited Jim's speech so that Jim said I was a homophobe, editing out the part about how supposedly Randi said that I was a homophobe (Randi contacted me and told me that she never said that, and I believe her, because I would not have accepted the job offer if that had been the truth), and then Lucio Celli sent me the video, Francesco attacked him for sending me a copy (Lucio told me).

In July, Lucio sent me, Francesco, Jim Callaghan, and several others this facebook post:
Lucio Celli1:03pm Jul 19
To Jim an Betsey,

I would like to invite the both of you to speak to our Solidarity committee on corruption.

We already met with Sir Harvey and he's the best.

I know Betsey and there aren't words to describe how great she is as a reporter! We need to meet with her.

I saw Jim's comment in Fran's post and now is the time to meet with him!

Please provide us with dates that you could meet with our committee.
Lucio Celli
Lucio Celli1:06pm Jul 19
 you know I love you and think the world of you.

 Principals have not had unfettered power to destroy careers, they have tried to have this power but have failed, many times, thwarted by excellent detective work, good defense, and people who believe in negotiation, and mediation. I was in Egypt when the Camp David Accords took war off the table and peace became a possibility between Egypt, and Israel. How did it happen? People meeting and talking, not shooting barbs of harm and asking questions later.

Betsy Combier, Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
President, ADVOCATZ

I’m running for President of the United Federation of Teachers. It’s the largest union local in the United States, has 200,000 members and a war chest of over $170 million dollars. We have a great and growing team that is working on running and supporting members with me. See our candidates and platform
Our grassroots support is ever growing. We are in schools in every district, from early childhood to high school and gaining more and more retiree supporters daily. Please excuse my language, but our sources are telling us our “campaign is scaring the sh*t out of people.” As it should be. We are looking to take over a very rich political machine and use it for good. We did not expect them to roll out the red carpet, but tonight they overplayed their hand. We’ll get to that in a moment.
To make matters worse, UFT leadership’s own Unity caucus members are joining our group UFT Solidarity. Others are silent supporters who want to keep their job’s at the UFT central and district offices. Unity members do not have to leave Unity to support Solidarity. We will not be cleaning house of the many good reps that are out there. Democracy is scary to those who adamantly oppose it. When people are scared they will react and go into survival mode.
Tonight was the UFT Executive Board meeting. It takes place two Mondays a month, is comprised of about 100 members and has a lavish buffet that sets the UFT back about $12,000 a meeting. UFT Solidarity members and I have been going since September. In fact, we have been going to many events around the city. Remember we are trying to take over the union. I missed a few meetings for familial reasons, but I am glad I did not miss tonight’s meeting. Although I don’t think the speeches against me would have been made had I not been there. We are dealing with wannabe bullies here.
Every Executive Board meeting is open to all members, even though you will never find it publicized on the UFT’s calendar ( The first ten minutes of every meeting is allocated to member open mic. Something I do not see being used enough, or at all. Free food and open mic to speak your mind?? No wonder they do not openly publicize it. We do though here:
During open mic UFT President Mulgrew is never, NEVER, present. He always coincidentally walks in to give his report only after members speak. Once I spoke and Exec Board member Jonathan Halabi informed me after that he found Mulgrew standing alone in the next room where the buffet was listening during my speech.
Tonight, after I finished off some fillet of fish, chicken Marsala, mashed potatoes, and other good stuff (leave me alone….I was hungry!), I decided to get up and get some more from the other room. Upon my return VP of Non-DOE members Anne Goldman was on the mic.  She is also the wife of former UFT Manhattan Representative Jerry Goldman and mother of UFT political guru Jason Goldman (next to Paul Egan of course).
VP for Non-DOE Members
Click to share

Anne Goldman
I wasn’t really listening to what she was saying, as I was trying to catch up on some messages that popped up on my phone, but could hear that she was getting louder and angrier. [PAUSE–>REWIND TO LAST WEEK]
I was driving home from school one day and stopped at a red light. My phone always sits on my dashboard, within arms reach, and I often use voice activation to call or text. A message reminder I had set popped up stating “Call Nurses.” Before the light changed I had quickly navigated to the UFT Nurses Chapter page. No, not school nurses. The UFT actually represents about 3,000 private hospital nurses.
The nurses page had links to every private hospital that employees UFT nurses. Each of those pages had the names and phone numbers of the representatives and what times they were available to be reached. By the next red light I started calling and quickly found out that the information was outdated both in phone numbers and in times of availability. “Nancy Barth-Miller? No she works during the morning.” “Anthony? Oh you mean Tony? He’s not here now.” “____? She retired.” That was mostly the conversations I had. What I wound up finding out through speaking to members who know nurses is:
§  nurses are not happy with the UFT representation,
§  they don’t know what the $100/month in dues is going to
§  do not feel represented “unless you know someone”
§  cronyism is involved
§  benefits are not great
§  staff to patient ratios are high
§  and much more
Education based UFT members, does that sound familiar? Not represented and high staff to student ration -er I mean staff to patient.
[FAST FORWARD TO EXECUTIVE BOARD TONIGHT] Back to my new friend Anne Goldman and her speech.
Apparently, as we expected, Anne Goldman found out about our calls, and maybe even some flyers others put up at the hospitals and online.
Now I truly believe most people in that room had no idea what she was talking about. I did though and I began to smirk as she glanced over at me and says “…AND I AM TALKING ABOUT MR. PORTELOS …AND I ASK THAT IS LEADERSHIP ORDER A CEASE AND DESIST, INVESTIGATE AND REPRIMAND THIS MEMBER.
As most in the room all turned to look at me, I kept my cool and was so, so glad I did not eat the BBQ ribs available. They would certainly have been all over my face.
I raise my hand to speak and respond, but UFT Secretary Emil Pietromonaco nodded no. Then another gentleman from the Executive Board, representing the nurses, gets on another microphone and adds something about “…the phone calls to the nurses are monitored and recorded. They violated our contract and could now face disciplinary charges. A cease and desist should be ordered and a full investigation by the board!
At this point I get up and go to a microphone after I saw Emil point to it giving the OK. Before I could speak, UFT President Michael Mulgrew gets up and starts to speak at a different microphone at the front dais. As he stood twenty feet away his face seemed red to me. You could cut the tension in the room with a knife.  He went on to say that we do not condone this type of behavior and that I will be investigated. I was not given an opportunity to respond.
“Could I just have a minute?”
“Ten seconds to respond?”
The meeting ended. Anne Goldman left before I could approach her.
UFT General Counsel Adam Ross approached me and asked what would be the best way to get in contact with me. I jokingly asked “Why? Am I really under investigation? For calling UFT members?”
His response seemed to indicate I really was.
You might be asking “What is the point?
Well, it may have been to scare UFT Solidarity into stopping their successful outreach. It didn’t work. However, the UFT already took down the links to the hospitals on their site
This is what it really comes down to…what their fear and desperation is leading them to do. 
According to the UFT Constitution (
Article 3 Section 6: The Executive Board by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of its members present shall have the power to expel, or to suspend for a term not exceeding one year, any member of this organization, provided that such member shall have received reasonable opportunity to present a defense at a meeting of the Executive Board. Such member shall have the right to counsel. Action of the Executive Board relating to suspension or expulsion shall be reviewed, on petition, by a special review board created in accordance with the by-laws of this organization
Also, and this is where the election comes in:
Article 4 Section 5. No member shall be eligible to hold office who has not been a member in good standing for at least two (2) years immediately preceding the final date for nomination.
Desperate move, but it appears that a rigged panel will set up a rigged special review board to expel me and make me ineligible to run.
I wear that threat like a badge of honor. BRING IT! I have been under37 investigations before and I am still standing. Seems like we will have the DOL and NLRB involved as well as the Bar Association for any unethical legal counsel.
To any hospital that disciplines our members for picking up a phone, do some good reading about what we do, because you do not want the headache and exposure we bring.
To the nurses, please read, distribute and comment at We are ready to give all 3,000 of you better support than you are currently getting.

“Issues at Your School” – An email no 

NYC principal wants to receive

Turning the tables. That’s what progressive caucus UFT Solidarity began to do when members contact us that they are under warrantless attack. For almost a decade NYC DOE administrators had unfettered power to destroy careers. Problem with a teacher who grieves contractual violations or want to get rid of a pesky chapter leader? No problem. All a principal had to do was start building a paper trail of trumped up charges and fraudulent observations. Sometimes a simple phone call to the DOE’s Office of Special Investigation (OSI) would do the trick. The teacher would be removed for months or years without knowing why they were removed. That’s if they were tenured. If not, the would be discontinued and out in a few days. The union? The UFT has been absent in thwarting attacks against members and sometimes is actually involved in helping the members get railroaded See [UPDATED] Bizarre Behavior Coming from Queens UFT Office.
So what is a member under attack to do? Well, luckily we live in the age of technology and have come up with some tools to fight back. This is how it works, and it does work. (Not all the time but it’s getting better.)
At UFT Solidarity, we have collaborated on an email we send to administrators who are bullying and harassing our members. The email is written in a way where we let the administrator know that the members in their school and not sitting ducks and will have support. We let the administrator know that we are educating their staff on how to fight back and encourage them to support and not continue their attacks. What we hope, or assume, happens is that that the administrator sends it to their superintendent and DOE lawyers. In turn we hope that the superintendent and lawyers respond to the administrator with something like this:
“Oh no. We have seen these before and it can get ugly. Expect there to be Freedom of Information Law requests on your records such as time cards, financial records and emails. They even obtain video surveillance footage. Your staff is probably already secretly recording you. Expect stories of you to be added to social media with comments being added by staff, students and parents. You will be added to their Administrator’s in Need of Improvement (ANOI) list online if you have not been Expect them to launch investigations on anything you have done that violates a chancellor’s regulation, policy or law. Investigators will be coming. Finally, expect a group of their members and your staff and students, albeit small, to be outside your school with flyers and signs. If you have not bought a Costco size bottle of Tylenol, then we suggest you do that.”
At least that is what we hope the lawyers tell the administrator and they second guess their future actions.
The Email:
Principal X,
Unfortunately your school has come to the attention of our teacher advocacy group. Apparently there are allegations of harassment and unwarranted attacks on educators at your school. As you could imagine, an atmosphere of workplace bullying and harassment is not conducive to a nurturing learning environment for our students.
Just as a courtesy, we are letting you know that we are educating your staff members with information on how to defend their careers so they may continue to instruct and nurture students to their fullest potential. Those tools can be in the form of legally audio recording, using the Freedom of Information Law to obtain information necessary to prove their allegations against you, organizing rallies and creating various social media articles.
Perhaps your best recourse would be to speak with the superintendent, your senior field counsel and Borough Support Center representative, to figure out ways to support educators rather than treading on their careers.
Thank you.
UFT Solidarity
“Building a stronger union.”