Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Inventive professor hired actors to appear as witnesses in misconduct hearing

A reader tipped IPBiz to this incredible, hard to believe story wherein a professor hired actors to appear as witnesses in a misconduct hearing against the professor. The professor prevailed in the misconduct hearing, but one wonders how the university was unable to distinguish actors from real witnesses.

Gene Warner wrote in the Buffalo News:

The testimony from the bogus witnesses enabled William Fals-Stewart, 48, of Eden, to be exonerated, Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo has said. The researcher later attempted to sue the state for $4 million, claiming he had been wrongly forced out of his job.

The culprit, Fals-Stewart, was charged on Tuesday, February 16, 2010 relating to the fake witness business: first-degree attempted grand larceny, three counts of first-degree perjury, three counts of first-degree identity theft, two counts of first-degree offering a false instrument and three counts of first-degree falsifying business records, and was found dead on Tuesday, February 23, 2010.

Unbelievably, that's only PART of the story.

An AP story, dated February 18, 2010, begins:

A former State University of New York at Buffalo researcher arrested Tuesday on charges related to falsifying data had until late last year been a professor at the University of Rochester’s School of Nursing.

Here's the rub as to Fals-Stewart's job at the SECOND school (University of Rochester, UR):

UR officials say they did not know about the state investigation that led to the charges until his arrest on Tuesday.

Fals-Stewart had been hired by UR at an annual salary of $137,000 in January 2007 and resigned from UR on Nov. 30. On Jan. 26, he filed a lawsuit against UR in state Supreme Court, claiming that he should have been granted tenure here.

The folks at UR were not bothered by the previous events at Buffalo wherein the panel was investigating suspicions raised in 2004 that Fals-Stewart inflated the number of research recruits in reports to the National Institutes of Health.

**As to how Fals-Stewart conned the witnesses, AP noted:

According to the felony complaint, Fals-Stewart told the actors they were being hired for a mock trial training exercise when they were really providing sworn testimony before a school inquiry panel, prosecutors said (...) The actors, using scripts written by Fals-Stewart, testified as three people who had worked on his projects at the university’s Research Institute on Addictions or who had access to records, prosecutors said in court documents. One of them told investigators he had been paid $200 for his testimony.

**Of another university that did not perform due diligence, recall the Poehlman saga, as detailed in

Univ. Montreal discusses Poehlman issue

and recall Donald Trump and the Ridings matter:

Resume of Trump's E.J. Ridings questioned


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