Saturday, July 18, 2015

Slow Saturday Special: Armstronged by Boston College

"BC ordered to pay professor over retaliation" by Laura Krantz Globe Staff  July 18, 2015

Boston College unlawfully retaliated against a bipolar chemistry professor when they blocked his attempt to reintegrate into the university after a mental-health-related medical leave, according to the findings of a state agency.

The university has been ordered to pay the professor, William Armstrong, back wages and $125,000, as well as interest, because of harm inflicted, according to a decision issued this month by a hearing officer at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. Boston College has appealed.

The decision also reveals that Armstrong himself retaliated against a professor in the department, including writing an attack e-mail about his colleague under a fake name.

But the commission, which is charged with enforcing anti-discrimination laws, ruled that Boston College erred when it pledged to accept Armstrong back into the school following his medical leave but instead retaliated, going so far as to move his lab and office out of the chemistry building.

Armstrong alleged that members of the chemistry department refused to allow him to attend department meetings and events, took him off the department e-mail list and did not let him participate in decisions after he returned to campus from his 2002-2003 leave, during which he sought psychiatric treatment.

The hearing officer ruled that Boston College systematically isolated Armstrong from the chemistry department even after he successfully completed the conditions of his leave.

“The actions . . . were highly irregular, hostile and isolating,” the hearing officer, Betty E. Waxman, wrote in her 44-page decision, issued July 1.


The complaint includes portions of e-mails, including one from a chemistry professor, Amir Hoveyda, to the former provost, that said “there is no point in us talking unless you have one or the other of the following pieces of news for me and my department: 1. Armstrong is fired. 2. Armstrong is retiring. There is NO third option for me.”

The complaint shows that Armstrong used a fake name to e-mail a postdoctoral fellow who was considering an offer to work at BC. He told the man that Hoveyda was “ruthless, vicious, manipulative, intimidating, vindictive, deceptive, subversive, mean-spirited, insincere, two-faced, hot-headed, excessively self-promoting, predatory, an extreme aggressor, scientifically narrow-minded, derogatory, polarizing, intrusive, obnoxious, overbearing, over-controlling, power-hungry, resource-plundering, underhanded, dictatorial, vitriolic, conniving, profane, Machiavellian, and disruptive.”

Pretty good vocabulary. She should run for office.

He also allegedly kept a private log where he ranted about Hoveyda, calling himself a “self-appointed watchdog.”

Before he took his leave, Armstrong was unable to finish teaching two courses because of his illness. Students in the spring of 2002 complained about classes being cancelled, exams postponed, homework not reviewed and classes disorganized, the decision says, but as Armstrong tried to reintegrate, the chemistry department’s resistance increased, Waxman found....


Why all the Fustolo?

"In a first, Healey files criminal cyber-harassment charges" by Callum Borchers and Jack Newsham Globe Staff and Globe Correspondent  July 17, 2015

The online headlines were splashy, but none of them were true, according to the Massachusetts attorney general’s office. 

I'm glad I read print. 

But seriously, folks, I've done that with full tongue in cheek to prove points. 

In their first criminal cyber-harassment case, state prosecutors allege that the developer of a failed condominium project in Revere fabricated press releases and news articles designed to harm the reputation of a creditor to whom he owes more than $30 million.

Strange how it's okay when it's in the propaganda pre$$.

Steven C. Fustolo, 57, was arraigned Friday in Woburn District Court, accused of using fake names to publish online posts falsely claiming that Connecticut investment adviser John C. Howe and his company, the Patriot Group LLC, were in trouble with the Internal Revenue Service and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

And that will mean the end of anonymity, right?

“We will not tolerate people hiding behind their computer screens and committing criminal intimidation or harassment,” Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement.

What does that mean?

Nearly a decade ago, Fustolo planned a luxurious, 242-unit condo project on Revere Beach called the Ocean Club. He secured presale deposits on roughly 100 units, including a $3.25 million penthouse.

The Patriot Group was among his lenders, according to court documents in the criminal case, backing him with $12.7 million in 2007.

Fustolo defaulted on the loan a year later, as support for such ambitious development efforts dried up amid a national financial crisis. Including interest, his debt now exceeds $30 million, the attorney general’s office said.

Fustolo’s next court date is a pretrial hearing on Sept. 11....

An inauspicious omen.


How long until we are all strong-armed by the state?

Of course, my propaganda pre$$ is full of anonymous sources. I'm not complaining, but many do.