Friday, September 13, 2013

Portelos Hearing: NY Post Reporter Reuven Fenton Commits Journalistic Malpractice

Yes, Reuven, the staff of IS 49 was so intimidated, threatened, manipulated, demoralized, and polarized that they elected Portelos chapter leader. Twice. While he was in the rubber room.

NY Post hack reporter Reuven Frank, right, with NY Post Photog
I know some people are anxious to find out about Day 1 of the Portelos 3020 hearing yesterday.

But you won't find anything accurate in Reuven Fenton's laugh out loud hack job in today's NY Post.

When I arrived at the hearing around 10:45 I noticed a photographer, whose name I didn't get, lurking outside the building and heard the security guards talking about him. I knew immediately from his demeanor he was connected to the NY Post. I got the pic above during the lunch hour. Do you know why the Post is going broke? They send a photog to spend hours outside a hearing waiting to get a picture that would make their victim look menacing. (I bet a smiling Portelos would never appear in The Post.)

If you want to see the real Portelos, watch this video I shot of him speaking to and charming a packed room of a 100 people at a MORE event last February (his segment starts at 21:35 but you would do well to watch Harris Lirtzman's opening segment too).

Exactly what hearing did Reuven Fenton attend? It wasn't the same one I and at least 2 other MOREista retirees attended. (I will get statements from them for our future reporting which will expose Fenton for his biased "reporting".) There also was a reporter for the morning session from I think Gotham who has not reported yet. (I also had to leave after the morning session but David Dobosz came back to cover the afternoon session.)

I want to point out that all parties had agreed not to publish any of the details of the hearing and we are going to adhere to that agreement so as not to throw any monkey wrenches into the work of Chris Callagy, Portelos' NYSUT appointed lawyer, who I've seen in action in the David Pakter and the Pat Dawson cases. There is no one I have more confidence in as a lawyer, so despite the vendetta against Portelos he has a puncher's chance with Chris Callagy in his corner.

The hearing officer will be the key of course. She seemed very pleasant - on the surface - but that makes no difference. I am convinced that no matter what the evidence presented on both sides, hearing officers often base their judgement on the believability and likeability of the accused.

Let me get to the crux of Reuven Fenton's journalistic malpractice (and I would warn any teachers out there who he seeks info from to boycott him).

I know reporters don't write headlines so let's put the blame on Post editorial for this one: More mischief from ‘rubber room’ teacher.

I actually did not hear one word of "mischief" and neither did my MORE colleagues. But we'll expose this in the future.

Someone tell me this is journalism where I highlighted hackisms in pink:
A Staten Island teacher who taunted the Department of Education by live-streaming video of his time in a “rubber room” continued to hog the spotlight at his termination hearing Thursday by inviting the media to watch. Francesco Portelos, accused of rampant insubordination at IS 49, opened the normally closed disciplinary procedure in hopes of extending his 15 minutes of fame. But the move blew up in his face, when he was not allowed to speak because it was the department’s turn to present its case.
I loved this line:
Unlike a normal trial, Portelos’ side will make its case at a later hearing.
What Fenton, (did he graduate from the 5-week training course offered by Reporters for America?)  doesn't  get it that in normal trials and in 3020 hearings, the prosecution goes first and cross-examination follows. And then the defenses presents. And this case is 3 days of hearings, which Fenton doesn't seem to realize. DOUBLE DUHHHH!.  Fenton won't be assigned soon to cover the courts.

Yesterday was about the presentation of the DOE chief witness, the principal of the school. She testified in the morning session for about an hour and a half and about 2 hours in the afternoons session.

So what exactly blew up in his face? And as for the "rampant insubordination" I had to hold myself back from laughing out loud at what was presented as "rampant insubordination."

As for "hogging the spotlight" Portelos sat quietly next to his attorney for the entire hearing.

There's even more hilarity in Fenton's report:
“[Portelos] used intimidation, threats, manipulation and false allegations to scare people into getting his way,” DOE attorney Jordana Schenkman said. Portelos, 34, allegedly made life hell for colleagues at the Staten Island middle school by slapping papers out of people’s hands, mass-e-mailing complaints and making false theft claims. “I was watching my staff become demoralized, polarized, intimidated,” Principal Linda Hill testified at the hearing.
Yes, Reuven, the staff of IS 49 was so intimidated, threatened, manipulated, demoralized, and polarized that they elected Portelos chapter leader.


Elected while in the rubber room (the first time in history) -- meaning he was not allowed into the school  to campaign.

When principal Linda Hill tried to strong arm people into recalling and running against Portlelos this past spring she failed in her attempt miserably. No one ran against Portelos. I've been around schools for 45 years and know full well that even semi-competent principals can get someone to run for chapter leader -- her failure to do so is indicative of .... well, you'll hear all about it after the hearings conclude.

You see Reuven, this is what is known as REAL REPORTING. I hope they give you an extra week of training in the future --- at your next job.


  1. Principle Hill is correct in her statement that the staff at I.S 49 is intimidated, threatened, manipulated, demoralized, and polarized. But what she for got to include that it isn't because of Mr. Portelos that we are this way.It's because of her

  2. Today there magically appeared petitions to recall me again for the third time. There in all the mailboxes


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