Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Pakter Whacked Her

The David Pakter open 3020a hearings continues today and tomorrow and it's a show that is worth the price of admission. Open hearings are rare, so this may be a rare opportunity. It's all about giving out watches for achievement and buying plastic plants for the school. Serious matters that require 2 DOE (or more) lawyers. I'm sorry I can't make it tomorrow. And probably not Thursday either, but if someone does go send a report. I'm sure there will be other chances - right until the next century, most likely.

I wrote about a previous visit to Pakter hearing (David made them open to the public) at which the Principal of Fashion Industries HS, after telling just slightly distorted stories, suddenly realized upon cross examination that there was a transcript of a meeting with David and went rigid as she asked, "You mean he taped the meeting?" (June 3rd.) (Note to all teachers who have to meet with principals under weird conditions, get a flower with a mic. Check out these I Spy stores.)

I also commented here. And in more places on this blog.

I went back a few weeks later and heard the Assistant Principal testify about Pakter putting trees in front of the auditorium doors, thus blocking their access. He gave the impression they were giant redwoods. In fact, they were plastic plants David had carried over himself from Home Depot, a few blocks away. The plants kept shrinking as the AP testified. So did he.

I made a return visit July 23. I am sorry I missed the road trip the day before when the hearing officer Douglas Bantl -- a gentleman and nice guy who is being axed as a hearing officer after this case for being too fair -- and the lawyers all went up to Harlem to visit the rubber room.

You see, another serious charge is that Pakter refused to report to the RR because he said it was pointless to sit there and do nothing and the place was harmful to people's health. He didn't mind not getting paid and the DOE didn't mind not paying him. But they are still charging him with not reporting. I guess they really do want to pay people for doing nothing even if they don't want to be paid. But watch the NY Post scream about the awful waste and blame the UFT.

There was a new DOE lawyer who was barely familiar with the case. His name is Phil Oliveri. And there was another DOE lawyer named Wilson Sia with him. You see, it takes two lawyers to talk about watches and plastic plants.

I was only able to stay for the morning and there was one witness - a guidance counselor who testified he saw Pakter showing some watches to a student monitor in the main office while the counselor was heating up his lunch in the microwave.

He thought it odd but not enough to say anything to anyone, until a week later when at a guidance meeting chaired by AP Olivier Poor, who mentioned that some teacher had bought plants for the school. The GC spoke up asking if it was the same guy who was showing watches. Poor perked up and asked him about it.

Soon after Poor wrote an email to the principal Hilda Nieto that the GC has told her he saw Pakter selling watches to a school aide in the school store.

Poor poor. She made 3 errors of fact in one sentence. But the day before she testified that what she wrote was true. Unfortunately for her, when the GC was shown the email, he stuck by his original story that Pakter was just showing the watches to a student in the main office. "Did it seem he was trying to hide that he was doing it," asked NYSUT lawyer Chris Calergy? "No," said the GC.

Now we must remind you that one of the major charges against Pakter is that he was selling watches to the kids. Nada.

That these events took place in November 2006 and it's now -- hmmm, I think August 2009.

That all this time has passed is a sign of

a) dysfunction at the DOE

b)a willingness to spend whatever it takes and however how long to snuff Pakter, who is way past retirement and has ooodles of moolah with his watch company (skip the intro - if you dare) but is way too stubborn to give up.

I wish he'd show me some of them watches. But first I have to look for my high school report cards to prove I had a 90 average.

Damn, just checked and it came to 89.7 over my last 3 years at Thomas Jefferson HS in East NY Brooklyn from 1959-1962. Can I get marked on a curve like they seem to be doing today? Better yet, how about giving me some of that credit recovery stuff? I can fog a mirror with the best of them.

Related
South Bronx School had been tracking the Pakter case.

And NYC Rubber Room Reporter did a long piece back in December chronicling the case up to that point.

Out takes:
Follow up to this morning's post on my new suits.
I already got invited to a school but if they see another suit in any way related to the UFT they will get out the tar and feather. I guess its back to jeans. Anyone got a Bar Mitzvah to invite me to?

5 comments:

  1. Love the headline. The patent absurdity of this case really merits wider coverage.

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  2. Does it make a difference to request an open hearing as I will have a 3020a hearing sometimes next school year? It is pretty obvious that DoE prefers to have a closed one.

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  3. Open hearings allow the press in and others. So you can get someone to write about it. Just be careful who you ask to come - like not the NY Post. However once you open it, anyone can come but most likely won't.

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  4. Thanks Ed. Your site is the place I often check in and find interesting postings.

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  5. One clever reason for an open hearing is that you can invite your 'friends'. If one of your friends is experienced with 3020a's or just happens to be an attorney or has some other insight on the matter that 'friend' could make suggestions to you during breaks or before and after the hearing day. NYSUT does not allow official co-counsels but are certainly open to your suggestions about the case. And I would be judicious about sharing the identity of your 'friend' with your NYSUT counsel. And your 'friend' could be twittering or texting away during bathroom and lunch breaks to gather real-time information for you to use against DOE witnesses.
    DOE realizes they will be embarrassed at open hearings given the silliness of the charges, stunning perjury, and the expenses therein. And the laughter that may ensue from the peanut gallery whenever they are caught lying.
    NYSUT generally advises against open hearings. Sometimes this is to shield DOE embarrassment, sometimes given the seriousness of the charges (i.e. sexual misconduct), sometimes to ease the pressure on an arbitrator, and sometimes because it is just their habit to advise secrecy.
    If you have a frivolous or senseless case against you, my advice is to demand an open hearing. It might actually slow down the administrative and investigative lying that occurs with great regularity. Personally,
    I believe it sends a message to the arbitrator: You welcome publicity in this false case against you and want to clear your name from the stigmatizing effects of the damaging charges.

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