I’m just past the three-year mark from when my fight began. By “fight” I mean I raised real concerns about public education, the Department of Education came after my career, in an attempt to cover up their misconduct, and… I “fought” back. I must have hit some of these DOE employees back pretty hard, because they suddenly forgot everything!
Through my federal lawsuit I was able to depose, under oath, several DOE employees involved in lying to cover up their own malfeasance.
In my opinion, they were not great at explaining why certain things took place. Between my documents being flipped over in front of them, like the river card on a high stakes poker game, and Attorney Bryan Glass’ questioning, there was some sweating and uncomfortable tensions in the tiny room. This is very different from my own deposition that took over 8 hrs. No sweat for me as telling the truth is extremely easy.
Let’s take a look at the Sudden Amnesia Disorder stats:
I compiled all the thousands of deposition pages for the 6 members above. I entered a quick search for the phrase “I don’t remember.” That phrase was spoken a whopping 379 times.
I then remembered they also liked to use the “I don’t recall” phrase which is sometimes used when you know you remember something and don’t want to admit it.
Both of these phrases are very different from a simple “No.”
The same amnesia took place during the 21 days of my 3020-a termination hearing. There were over twenty witnesses called in. A search of those transcripts found:
“I don’t remember” being stated 204 times and “I don’t recall” 96 times.
Keep in mind I did not do searches for “I don’t know.” which also came up often.
Now if there was only a cure for this. Actually, what would be great and would save the taxpayers millions of dollars in frivolous cases was a penalty for perjury. There is none. DOE witnesses lied during my 3020-a, during investigations and allegations. Not one has been disciplined for it.
For example: I made a complaint to the DOE’s Office of Equal Opportunity on March 23, 2012 against IS 49 Assistant Principal Joanne Aguirre. I informed some staff members that were witnesses on April 5, 2012 that they might be questioned. One of the teachers ran up to the AP and informed her of our conversation in the Staff lounge. A day later, the AP filed a false police report against me. Two weeks later I was removed from school and spent over two years in the rubber room. Coincidence probably.
Here is what AP Joanne Aguirre stated under oath during the 3020-a hearing when my NYSUT attorney, Christopher Callagy, questioned her on when she found out about the allegation I made against her to OEO:
Someone is lying. Was it April 5th before I was exiled from school or was it May or June, after I was exiled?
Now I sent an email to the attorneys Joel Klein appointed years ago and Chancellor Fariña has decided to keep.
From: Francesco Portelos <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 8:35 PM
Subject: Lying during testimony at a 3020-a
To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Cc: Courtenaye Jackson-Chase <firstname.lastname@example.org>, JNathan@schools.nyc.gov
Can you (or anyone on this list) advise me as what recourse we have if we find that someone lied under oath during a 3020-a? Thank you.
Francesco A. Portelos
Now most of you know that OEO not only investigates discrimination and harassment cases, but also cases of retaliation for reporting allegations to their office.
So you would assume with these sworn testimonies, I could open up a retaliation case.
Well…not really. OEO is a DOE investigative office and their goal is to protect their own and not seek out the truth.
The retaliation was addressed during the investigation of your prior OEO complaint and has been discussed with you previously. Therefore, based on the prior discussions, investigation and the explanation you provided, in your February 27, 2014 complaint, you did not articulate an additional allegation of retaliation.
Feel free to contact me if you have any additional comments, questions or concerns.
Elsa Hampton, Esq.
The new Deputy Director of OEO is the investigator that was originally assigned to this case, Victoria Ajibade, Esq.
In summary, lies and amnesia are horrific disorders that affect the students’ learning environment, the school community, the teachers and of course the wallet of the taxpayer.
Wait? You want more? OK, one more…
If you read how I received my first unsatisfactory observation in March 2012, then you will know that I was out of school for a week for jury duty and minutes after walking in to my first period class, in came two clipboards behind me. They were carried by AP Joanne Aguirre and former Children’s First Network 211 coach Sharon Mahabir. They spent two full periods observing me teach 4 8th grade special education students.
When asked by my attorney, during my 3020-a hearing, “Who made the decision to visit Mr. Portelos’ room after his return from jury duty?”, they pulled one of these pointing at one another:
According to AP Aguirre, they just happened to visit my classroom because Sharon Mahabir was already going and AP Aguirre “tagged along”:
According to Sharon Mahabir, she went to visit my classroom that day because she was told to by Principal Hill and AP Aguirre: