I am reprinting this article from Diane Ravitch’s blog in its entirety.
Rhee To Face Federal Lawsuit Over Wrongful Termination
This just in:
Federal Judge Orders Michelle Rhee Suit to Go Forward, will Broaden to Concealment and Fraud Claims
A US federal judge has denied a Motion to Dismiss by former DC Public School Chancellor Michelle Rhee in a wrongful termination lawsuit over the mass firings of DC Public School teachers back in 2009. Case to be amended to add concealment and fraud claims against Rhee and her CFO Noah Wepman.
Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) April 01, 2013
For nearly three years, efforts by hundreds of DC Public School teachers who were victims of the much publicized mass firings by former Chancellor Michelle Rhee- herself hailed as a reformer and darling of major media- have failed to gain any traction in the courts.
However, in what may be a turning of that tide, US District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras has denied Rhee’s motion to dismiss claims by a music teacher that his firing was concocted by using a misapplied or non-existent job title to enable his poor evaluation and subsequent firing.
The suit involves Willie J. Brewer Jr., a 53-year-old teacher who worked for DCPS for 28 years before being terminated in October of 2009 due to “budgetary constraints” under a RIF (Reduction in Force). Under this circumstance, the pecking order of teachers to be terminated as determined by Rhee, were first those with poor performance evaluations. However, Brewer claims he was an instrumental music teacher and that his RIF competitive standing was erroneously governed by the standards for a vocal music teacher, a position that required a skill set different from his own. As a result, Brewer claims he scored a poor evaluation and was terminated.
Brewer has set out to prove that his circumstance was not the result of mere error but an illegal systematic effort by Rhee to replace teachers en masse- perhaps supported by Rhee’s own public statements regarding her ideology to aggressively fire, en masse, teachers she deems as failing.
(Read Judge Contreras’ Memorandum and Order for US District Court for the District of Columbia Civil Action No. 11-1206
Along that line, it has been learned that Brewer will now amend his original complaint to broaden the scope of Rhee’s alleged actions into possible civil fraud and concealment claims. This has developed as a result of videotaped testimony by the former DCPS CFO Noah Wepman before the DC City Council on November 30, 2009. In that testimony, Wepman appears to admit that he willfully concealed, with the knowledge of Rhee, the true accounting figures which indicated that the DCPS had no budgetary shortfall at all- the pretext for the RIF to be instituted and the mass firings to take place.
The alleged scheme indicates that after the mass firings occurred, Rhee and Wepman then reported the true accounting figures and the money re-appeared in the DCPS budget enabling them to hire an entire flock of new teachers.
If Brewer prevails, with the case now in its discovery phase, Rhee’s- and now presumably Wepman’s- ideological experiment, which has been widely heralded by an entire nation, may quickly unravel.