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Update re: Moore, from Wagner

To the Williams Community,

I am following up on my earlier message to you regarding Visiting Assistant Professor Bernard Moore to report that his employment at Williams is ended as of today.

His Winter Study course may proceed under the instruction of the adjuncts who were planning to teach it with him. We will inform the students enrolled in that course of its status as soon as possible. The course that he was to teach this spring has been canceled. As previously announced, arrangements have been made to complete the course that he was teaching this semester.

We have found no evidence of serious misuse on his part of College resources.

I would add that this recent turn of events has been particularly hard, quite understandably, on those students who had worked most closely with Professor Moore, and I hope that you will join me in extending them our support.

With regards,

Bill Wagner
Interim President

More information regarding Moore will be in this week’s Record. I will link to the article and add any additional thoughts of my own come Wednesday, but this news is mostly played out.

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#1 Comment By David On November 16, 2009 @ 9:17 pm

We have found no evidence of serious misuse on his part of College resources.

And just how hard did they look?

The College certainly hopes that Moore did not steal money from Williams. But, since Moore had stolen from a score of other institutions, my working assumption would be that he would have stolen from Williams had he been able. After all, he owed hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Assume you are Moore and you wanted to steal. How would you do it? You just can’t write a check to yourself and take money from the petty cash draw in Hopkins. You need a scam.

Easiest would be to arrange some events and have outsiders bill the college for $50,000. Then have those oustiders give you $10,000 as a kick-back.

Just how hard has the College looked to examine this possibility. For starters, they ought to tell us how much was spent on Moore’s events and who the money went to.

UPDATE: And notice the weasel word “serious.” Did Moore misuse College resources in a less-than-serious fashion?

#2 Comment By wslack On November 16, 2009 @ 9:20 pm

Yes, Dave, because you are in a great position to make insinuations that specific people took additional money then got kick-backs.

The college should not tell you anything about the money spent on Moore’s events, given what you’ve written in the past.

#3 Comment By David On November 16, 2009 @ 9:31 pm

Does the College want alumni to think it is handling the matter competently or not? This is not about me. I am just one alum. This is about how an organization deals with failure.

One possibility is circle the wagons. Tell no one anything. Don’t look hard for other problems. Pay off Moore so that he goes away. (Do you think they paid him his salary for the rest of the semester? The rest of the year?)

The better possibility is transparency. Provide a full accounting of everything that this felon did while he was employed by Williams. If there is nothing sleazy, then there is nothing to worry about.

Are you really so naive that you don’t think that Bernard Moore at least considered stealing money from Williams?

#4 Comment By rory On November 16, 2009 @ 9:46 pm

david, are you concerned that Moore might have trolled some money out of williams?

#5 Comment By wslack On November 16, 2009 @ 9:53 pm

What? Why would Williams pay him off?

He probably considered it, I suppose…. I see no way for you to check on if he did without compromising private records that SHOULD BE PRIVATE, at least in this case.

#6 Comment By Ronit On November 16, 2009 @ 10:01 pm

Predictions:

1. The college administration and faculty will quickly push this under the rug, and do no serious examination of Moore’s hiring, or his time and activities at Williams. There will be no change whatsoever to Williams’ hiring or vetting procedures.

2. The Record will decide that there was no negligence or incompetence whatsoever, merely a damnable bit of bad luck in getting hoodwinked by a talented conman. They will swallow the administration’s bullshit unquestioningly.

3. David Kane will post more irrelevant, speculative, unfounded bullshit about Moore’s race, connections, kickbacks, etc. He will undoubtedly piss off our few remaining readers by writing the kind of thing that wouldn’t get published in a Murdoch paper. Most of it will not be backed up by any research or sources (though, I’ll grant, he might get lucky and stumble upon something true if he digs long enough).

4. The more optimistic students and alumni, and the trustees, will accept the college admin’s planned resolution, and not let this shake their faith in the goodness of all things Williams. The majority don’t/won’t care – for them, this news is in fact played out. The more cynical among us will be reinforced in our belief that the college is run far more poorly than it deserves to be. We will be told to get over it.

#7 Comment By Whitney Wilson ’90 On November 16, 2009 @ 10:53 pm

I would put money on Ronit being right in his predictions.

I believe that this statement:

We have found no evidence of serious misuse on his part of College resources.

has to mean that they have found some evidence of “non-serious” misuse of College resources. Otherwise, whoever wrote the statement would not have used the word “serious.” Does it mean that he made unauthorized photocopies? Or something else? I really think the College needs to identify whatever misuses they found, at least in general terms. While David’s speculation about possible kickbacks is – I assume – purely speculation, it certainly could be true.

I hope the administration is looking into all of this pretty carefully (even if it chooses not make the results of its investigation public) to see what may have been stolen or compromised, both to understand what happened and to put in appropriate safeguards to prevent it (whatever “it” may be) from happening again.

#8 Comment By Rich Kelly On November 17, 2009 @ 12:04 am

I think non-serious misuse might be taking 2 desserts in the faculty dining room.

#9 Comment By Aidan On November 17, 2009 @ 12:07 am

I still think the timing on this and the discovery of purloined socials is suspicious. I wonder if “Aidan,” a Williams ’04, will get to write the Third Chance Act…in 10-15 years.

#10 Comment By frank uible On November 17, 2009 @ 1:04 am

Based on public disclosures to date, this alumnus presumes that the College grossly mismanaged the Moore matter and patiently awaits a sufficient showing by the College that it did not.

#11 Comment By ce On November 17, 2009 @ 1:10 am

“Serious” is likely to protect the College from the unknown. It probably means that Williams doesn’t know whether or not there’s been non-serious misuse of Williams resource, but that Williams is reasonably certain there haven’t been any serious misuses. If Williams says there were NO misuses whatsoever and 50 stolen lunch trays show up in Moore’s office, Williams looks stupid.

#12 Comment By frank uible On November 17, 2009 @ 1:25 am

Correction: Williams continues to look stupid.

#13 Comment By David On November 17, 2009 @ 8:15 am

What? Why would Williams pay him off?

Isn’t this obvious? Director of Public Affairs Jim Kolesar’s #1 priority for the last week has been to get Moore off the payroll. Until that happened, the issue was still very much alive. Now that he is gone, Jim can answer every question with: “Mr. Moore is no longer employed by Williams. We have closed the door on this unfortunate event and are moving on.”

Until Moore has left, the questions would continue.

So, Williams wants Moore to leave. Moore, on the other hand, needs (desperately?) some money. And Moore has leverage! As we discussed before, there were a variety of ways that Moore could extend the process, by weeks and, possibly, months. So, he did not have to go right now unless the College made it worth his while.

You can be certain some sort of “settlement” — code word for “pay off” — was reached. Don’t believe me? Ask Jim Kolesar.

#14 Comment By kthomas On November 17, 2009 @ 8:25 am

D: There are potential critical difference between severance, settlement, and pay off. Though your point is taken.

If Mr. Moore was paid severance in lieu of a potentially long-term, messy, and legally expensive situation, —

#15 Comment By Vicarious’83 On November 17, 2009 @ 9:04 am

@David:
David,
I’m sketchy on the leverage that Moore had over the College, because I don’t see how Moore gets to keep more money by extending the process. Certainly there are holds against his bank accounts, and his wages would probably be garnished if he stayed on the payroll, so I don’t know how much of any future pay he would get to keep – what’s your estimate?

If the college fired him and he sued for wrongful termination, do you think he would win? Would the college’s legal expenses be more than what’s left on his contract? What’s your guess? I haven’t a clue.

Is there a way for the college to pay him off such that the payment isn’t subject to the restitution he owes? If not, then why would he care how he gets paid?

#16 Comment By JeffZ On November 17, 2009 @ 9:42 am

Right, Vicarious has a point. A mutual release of liability may have been in Moore’s interest here, without any payout whatsoever. I’d say the college had most of the leverage. In any event, David, weren’t ou the same guy screaming just last week to fire Moore “yesterday”? Now you are saying, in a bit of a reversal, that the college MUST have engaged in a shady pay-off to accomplish exactly that … huh? I really don’t see the point of the all the baseless speculation about anything and everything that can be linked to Moore’s presence and/or absence on campus. It really is Beck-ian (as someone else pointed out in a recent comment, I believe). “I’m not SAYING Moore is actually David Falk’s long lost brother and they came to Williams in a package deal … BUT WHY IS NO ONE ASKING THESE QUESTIONS????”

#17 Comment By JeffZ On November 17, 2009 @ 9:51 am

Oh and that “yesterday” shouldn’t have been in quotes, but that was your essential message.

#18 Comment By David On November 17, 2009 @ 10:02 am

Jeff:

1) I was indeed the one recommending that the College fire Moore. And, indeed, they have! Score one for EphBlog!

I kid. The College would have gotten rid of Moore as quickly as possible regardless of my opinion. But I am glad to be on the same page as Jim Kolesar.

2) I am flexible on whether this is a firing, a resignation, a settlement, whatever. As long as Moore is no longer a Williams professor, I am happy.

3) If I were Bill Wagner, I would have (gladly!) paid some money to make Moore go away. My only complaint here is that I want some transparency from the College.

Vicarious ’83:

I’m sketchy on the leverage that Moore had over the College, because I don’t see how Moore gets to keep more money by extending the process.

He was, I bet, still being paid by the College. That weekly pay check becomes very important when you have no credit (and no savings?).

His “leverage” was his knowledge that the College wanted him gone now but would not (or could not) simply fire him.

I don’t have any good estimates for your questions.

Is there a way for the college to pay him off such that the payment isn’t subject to the restitution he owes? If not, then why would he care how he gets paid?

Restitution takes time. He (and his lawyer) want money now. They will be able to spend that money in the next few months, regardless of the efforts of the Feds and other creditors trying to get it back later.

#19 Comment By JG On November 17, 2009 @ 10:34 am

@David: Actually David it is entirely possible that the court could reach money he gets now. I don’t know if an order is in place but it is not uncommon to freeze assets and accounts on a going forward basis between plea and sentencing.

#20 Comment By David On November 17, 2009 @ 10:39 am

JG: Thanks. (And, as always, explanations from you and other subject matter experts are much appreciated.)

But, the court allows someone like Moore enough money to live on and pay his lawyer, right? My guess is that Moore had little if any savings. If so, then he would need cash now, cash that the court would allow him to spend.

If, on the other hand, more at extensive savings (hundreds of thousands of dollars?), then he would have little incentive to try and get a few extra tens of thousands out of Williams.

As always, what I want from the College is transparency. If, as part of the settlement, both sides agreed to not discuss details, then the College should just say that.

#21 Comment By Vicarious’83 On November 17, 2009 @ 10:57 am

David:

He was, I bet, still being paid by the College. That weekly pay check becomes very important when you have no credit (and no savings?).

Why would you assume he has “no credit and no savings?” He bought almost a million dollars of stuff with his phony credit cards and student loan disbursements. What do you think he bought – green bananas? What makes you think he didn’t buy stuff that can be turned into cash when he needs it?

This guy got thrown in jail – ESCAPED from jail, and bought a car on credit while on the lam. (Never thought I’d get to use that phrase in a real sentence!)

After he got out of jail the second time he went right out and got not one, but TWO new social security numbers and an official California Driver’s license, and went right back to “work” defrauding lenders. (I learned this from the link you provided in your “legal documents post.”) Why would you assume that upon leaving Williams he would be out of financial options? The guy has skills! He might be much better off cutting off court-based paper trails and moving on to the next plan.

If I were Bill Wagner, I would have (gladly!) paid some money to make Moore go away. My only complaint here is that I want some transparency from the College

I don’t think I agree with this. This guy has gotten over on five other schools in addition to Williams. I do not think it is at all fair to say that the Williams’ administrators were negligent or incompetent or “Bozos” not to have caught this particular white collar criminal. His public conviction was 20 years prior to his being hired by Williams, and under a different name and social. A “routine” criminal background check might have gone back around 7 or so years according to what I’ve been able to find on the internet. He had official documents that easily met the identification requirements of the I-9 Form that Williams was required to obtain. They weren’t forged – they were issued by the proper authorities, albeit fraudulently. The social was 13 or 14 years old in 2007. He also really was enrolled at Howard Univ. at the time Williams hired him. If admin had called Howard, it would have truthfully confirmed his enrollment. If we called Princeton to confirm one of our PhD’s credential, would we also insist on verifying her undergraduate degree, too?

Rather than just providing “transperancy” about how he was hired, I would prefer to see the college press further charges, if any of his actions against the college constitute additional crimes. It looks to me like if anythng would make it harder for him to do this again, it would be a bigger legal trail tagging along behind him.

#22 Comment By rory On November 17, 2009 @ 11:20 am

@Vicarious’83: this type of in-depth analysis and actual research before postulating on possible scandal HAS NO PLACE ON EPHBLOG! shame on you.