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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Attorney Michael Francis: Suborning Perjury at 3020-a

Do you believe that people never lie under oath?

Sadly, many people in the re-assignment centers or who have been charged and are done with their 3020-a hearing have heard about, or seen directly, the Department’s Attorney supporting lies at the hearing, either in forged documents or perjured testimony.

This last category is called suborning perjury.

Another serious problem with 3020-a is the lack of accountability, and the DOE attorneys know that they will not be held accountable for any of their actions. Knowing this, I created The E-Accountability Foundation (not connected in any way with this blog or any of my other blogs or website) to hold people accountable for their actions. Good people who selflessly help others get the A For Accountability Award (I own the trademark, so don't even think about copying, FP); those who harm others are exposed and written about. We also contact proper authorities.

I have decided it is time to hold the Attorneys and Arbitrators who work on 3020-a hearings in  NYC accountable for unjust and unethical decisions. Therefore, I have added a new Section to this blog and on my other social media outlets titled: The NYC 3020-a Arbitration Panel Attorneys.

Of course I cannot write about a 3020-a Arbitrator or DOE attorney while I am assisting in a case. But after a decision is made by the arbitrator, I can give my opinion about the allegations and the actions of anyone who lies, cheats or steals due process rights from a charged employee. The individual charged will not be named, because he/she is not important to make the point that anyone who allows or encourages perjury are unethical, violate their professional responsibility and must be fired.

I want to start with an Attorney who works at 100 Gold for the DOE on 3020-a cases, Michael Francis. I filed a FOIL request for his personnel file, and received them in 2013. He encourages his witnesses to lie. He submits documents in 3020-a which he has changed in order to fit his goal to terminate the Respondent. He should be disbarred.

My opinion is that he is the worst attorney working on 3020-a, and here is why:
In 2013 I was hired to work on a 3020-a with an Attorney named Victor Schurr, who I do not recommend anyone hire for any reason. Nonetheless, when I am asked to assist at a 3020-a a charged employee, I work 100% on their defense despite an awful attorney.

This particular case was about a much beloved Dean who was gay, but nevertheless he was accused of trying to have a relationship with a girl in one of his classes. This girl was roaming around the school, and when she showed up – which was not very often – in class,  she was with a bad crowd. She did not work, and was failing in most of her subjects. But she needed my client’s class to graduate. So, she made up that he put his arm around her and did certain other things which made her tell her father that this teacher was harassing her. The father filed a complaint with the principal, and boom! Before anyone could blink, the teacher was re-assigned to a rubber room in a building across the street from the school.

On the first day of hearing, before the first witness came in, Mr. Francis gave Victor and me a document which he said was the statement of the girl who my client had “abused” by putting his arm around her. He had crossed out the first and last name of the individual, which gave us no idea whatsoever who this person was. We objected. We at least wanted the initials. Michael Francis argued that we could not have any information because this would violate the student's privacy rights.

While Mr. Francis was trying to get this statement into evidence without any identifying information, I looked closely at some faint writing at the top of the page. I saw that the faint writing was a fax number, and the date was 2006. I pointed this out to Attorney Schurr, and told him to say something. He did. Attorney Francis flew into one of his many screaming fits, but in the end, the document was withdrawn. But Mr. Frances put on a frightening show.

The girl came in and performed just as the script required, getting teary at the awful acts of the Dean, and how she was afraid to go to class.

Then, I brought in 9 witnesses for the defense. One of the witnesses, a teacher still at the school, started testifying by saying,
"How come you are charging this wonderful person, who is gay, with trying to become friendly with a girl in his class? How outrageous is that?"

Arbitrator John Woods told him just to answer the questions.

At the end of his testimony, this witness again expressed his dismay over the torture of the Respondent, and walked out of the room. I saw Mr. Francis get up and also walk out of the room. I thought to myself, ugh - I don't like the way that looks. So I got up and walked behind Francis as he made his way to the elevator, where the witness was standing. Suddenly, Francis
started yelling at the top of his voice at the witness words to the effect of

Francis suddenly turned around and as he had not seen me standing behind him, almost threw me to the floor. He grunted in disgust and ran over to Victor, and told him to go into an empty room with him. A few seconds later you could hear, "KEEP THAT BITCH (I guess that was me) AWAY FROM ME!"

In my opinion, witnesses are very important to a 3020-a defense because if for some reason the arbitrator does not believe the testimony of the charged employee, then his or her information can be given little weight or ignored altogether when the arbitrator considers whether the employee is guilty of any of the allegations charged in the case. Other people who testify about what happened in the classroom or school can help stop the arbitrator from totally disregarding any testimony of the Respondent employee.

It is illegal for anyone who is working in litigation to retaliate against an individual who testifies at a public hearing. See here:

US Supreme Court Rules That Public Worker Testimony Is Protected From Retaliation

During his closing argument Mr. Francis made his point that the teacher was not gay at all, simply lying about this, and while making this argument he was extremely emotional, hitting the table in anger that this teacher would be such a creep. Very unprofessional.

So there you have it, why I believe Michael Francis is an unethical attorney who violates his professional responsibility as a member of the Bar.

He should be fired from the NYC Department of Education and the 3020-a panel.

If anyone reading this article has a case with him, please email me and I will call you to discuss. We all must expose wrong-doing by anyone who deliberately harms another person.

In NYC, lies by DOE witnesses under oath at a 3020-a are plentiful, encouraged by the DOE, and easily made without any accountability. The DOE must support their case no matter what it takes as it is their burden to prove the allegations.

David Suker

A third problem with the current 3020-a process in New York City is the permanent panel.

The UFT and the Department of Education created the permanent panel under Mayor Bloomberg in order to first, speed up the process of charging and finishing cases, and second, to maintain control over the process to make sure there were as few surprises as possible when a decision in a case is made by an Arbitrator.

The NYC arbitrators are chosen by NYSUT and the ATU/TPU, and my source says that deals are made by each side. Some arbitrators have a leaning toward supporting the UFT and Unions in general, and others are pro-Department. These pre-existing biases are clear to anyone who is in the room during a hearing, and can be used for an appeal. See the case of Peter Principe, for example. I attended Peter's hearing, and the first day I could see that Arbitrator Stuart E. Bauchner did not like Peter, after hearing that he used to work on Wall Street. Bauchner terminated Peter but the decision was overturned in the Supreme Court, the First Department, and the Court of Appeals. Bauchner is no longer on the 3020-a panel in NYC.

Very often, NYSUT attorneys convince the charged member to settle his/her case by resigning, because then there is no record of any hearing or decision and no appeal. The charges are permanently on the record of the charged employee, and no one can hold the attorney accountable.

The media has often exposed the lies of the Department employees and we at ADVOCATZ have helped terminated employees get their jobs back by pointing out lies at 30020-a, as you can see below from a few of the many cases put into newspapers and won in the Supreme Court:

Principal faked classroom observations at HS: staffers

Charlette Pope, the principal of Banana Kelly High School in the South Bronx.

The principal of Banana Kelly HS in the South Bronx has faked classroom observations of her faculty, staffers charge.
“She’s destroyed the integrity of the whole evaluation system,” an insider told The Post of Charlette Pope.
The accusations come as Mayor de Blasio this month named Banana Kelly one of 94 low-performing “Renewal Schools” to share $150 million for extra classroom time, after-school and summer programs, and teacher training.
In one case, Pope allegedly fabricated a formal observation of a teacher who had called in sick on the deadline to file the reviews.
“The observation never happened. It’s unethical,” the teacher said. When she refused to sign the dummied-up papers, Pope retaliated by rescinding a summer-school job, she said.
After repeatedly demanding to see her personnel file, the teacher was shocked to find a second fake observation, she said.
In another case, Pope submitted nearly identical observations of two teachers — both for the same eighth period last Oct. 23, records show. She rated both teachers “effective” or “developing” in the same categories.
One of the two teachers said Pope never came to her classroom to formally observe her all school year.
“Charlette Pope had a history of being openly aggressive with teachers,” the staffer said. “I feared that by confronting her, I would not be rated fairly.”
In addition, Pope’s observations lift boilerplate language from DOE grading guidelines without citing specifics about the teachers’ lessons. She also failed to conduct teacher conferences required before and after observations, staffers said.
Staffers reported the alleged misconduct to special schools investigator Richard Condon, who launched a probe last week.
On Friday, after investigators spoke with Pope and collected records, she took steps to fire one of the whistleblowers, an untenured teacher.
Reached by phone Friday, Pope said, “I’m not allowed to speak to the press,” and hung up.
Pope, 40, became principal of Banana Kelly in December 2012, making $137,190.
While the school lacks laptops, paper and other supplies, staffers said, Pope handed out iPads — in custom cases engraved with a Maya Angelou quote — to 43 June graduates, at an estimated cost of $17,000.
Previously, she raffled off mini-iPads, an Xbox and Beats headphones to students who attended a Regents prep session. The DOE forbids schools to give “incentive” prizes costing more than $25 each.

Ron Smolkin

May 12, 2013 | 4:00am
A Manhattan principal tried to get rid of one of his teachers by concocting — and misspelling — a letter from a “conserned” parent accusing the educator of pedophilia, according to a lawsuit.
The May 2012 missive, allegedly received by the principal and placed in teacher Jennifer Levy’s personnel file, charged her with “improper flirtations with students,” making inappropriate remarks on her Facebook page, and “act[ing] sexy in front of her class.”
But the letter actually was penned by Independence HS Principal Ron Smolkin, Levy claims in a $2 million Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit filed last week.
It’s the second time Smolkin, 48, has been accused of writing a fake letter to sandbag a teacher.
Michael McPherrin, who retired from the school last year, claims the principal targeted him after McPherrin, a teachers-union rep, tried to suggest improvements at the school.
Smolkin allegedly sent an anonymous, handwritten letter to McPherrin’s co-op board, accusing the teacher and his partner, Andre Lopes, of “lur[ing] young boys” to “infect them with AIDS,” according to the couple’s 2011 Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit. Handwriting analysis later confirmed Smolkin had written the letter, McPherrin charges.
“It’s shocking that this man has not been removed,” said McPherrin, who’s seeking $2 million.
A city Department of Education spokesman said Levy’s allegations are under investigation. The city says McPherrin’s complaint was “unsubstantiated.”
 The New Evaluation Process Fails UFT Members; The Case of Mike Mullen

The Farina-Mulgrew-de-Blasio Triumvirate Put Tenured Teachers Into Rubber Rooms On The Public Dime Without Accountability

Recently, ATR W.P. won his 3020-a case by our exposing Nimita Dwarka's lies and fraud. (By the way, Peter Maliarakis came in to testify after we subpoenaed him, although his Attorney Bryan glass told him not to testify to help us). There are more than 40 other cases where the lies of the DOE administrators have been exposed by ADVOCATZ. It's hard work, and not all Arbitrators see our point, but the Courts do!

Betsy Combier
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter

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