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To Catch A Thief

A blast from EphBlog’s past:

We never got around to finalizing a graphic for the Catch Mr. Bernard Moore scandal. But Dick Swart ’56 kindly created this one. Like all of Dick’s work, it is excellent! But, after much debate, it seemed like the best theme catch phrase was “Catch Mr. Bernard Moore,” inspired by the Tom Hanks/Leonardo DiCaprio film “Catch Me If You Can.” And don’t forget Jeff Zeeman’s inspiring lyrics!

UPDATE: I think that Moore is now out of prison. The Record should seek him out for an interview.


Moore v. EphBlog Dismissed with Prejudice

The lawsuit filed against EphBlog and DK by former Professor Moore has been dismissed with prejudice. Copies of the most recent pleadings can be found here (EphBlog’s Memorandum in Support of its Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings), here (Moore’s Motion to Dismiss Without Prejudice), and here (EphBlog’s Opposition to Moore’s Motion to Dismiss Without Prejudice).

In essence, EphBlog moved to have the suit thrown out at an early stage. In response, Moore tried to have the case dismissed, but leaving him to refile the case at a later date. EphBlog opposed this, seeking to have the case ended forever. The judge ruled in EphBlog’s favor, and dismissed the case. Moore’s time for appeal has now expired, and so the case is over.

Special thanks to the lawyers (Emily Renshaw and Neil McGaraghan of Bingham McCutchen) who represented both EphBlog and DK for both their hard work and their good work (not always the same thing). Their strategy got rid of the case pretty quickly, for which everyone is grateful. Thanks also to DK for overseeing the process, and to Jeff for his early assistance.


Moore v. Ephblog – Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings

A Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings has been filed on behalf of EphBlog and David Kane ’88 in the Moore v. EphBlog lawsuit. Copies of the motion, the memorandum in support, and the supporting papers may be viewed by clicking on the attached links. Motion, Memorandum in Support (this is the most important document to read, if interested), Affidavit in Support of Motion, Exh. A, Exh. B, Exh. C, Exh. D, Exh. E, Exh. F, Exh. G Moore’s response is due by January 4, 2011.


Answer filed in Moore v. EphBlog

An Answer has been filed on behalf of EphBlog and David Kane ’88 in the Moore v. EphBlog lawsuit. A copy of the Answer may be viewed here: 2010.09.21 Answer


Moore Sentenced

Former Professor Bernard Moore was sentenced yesterday:

A 52-year-old assistant professor at Williams College and former aide to U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) was sentenced Thursday to 50 months in prison and ordered to pay $760,000 in restitution for a lifelong series of student loan, bank and Social Security frauds, U.S. Attorney for the District Ronald C. Machen, Jr. announced.

Read the full story for more details.


Moore v. EphBlog, et al.

I am posting this on behalf of the Board.

As some of our readers know, Bernard Moore has sued EphBlog (and David Kane ’88). Because the litigation is on-going, it would not be prudent at this time to discuss the case on EphBlog. However, for the convenience of our readers, we attach a copy of the complaint, and will endeavor to do the same with future substantive pleadings. In view of the on-going litigation, comments have been turned off for this post.

The complaint may be found here.


Moore loses case against Williams College

See here for the order regarding the Motion to Dismiss. The judge’s discussion makes for some excellent reading.

(Thanks to David Kane for the document.)


Moore Update

From EphBlog’s general counsel:

There was a motion session in the Federal District Court out in Springfield this a.m. The majority of Judge Posnor’s rulings on the various motions were unremarkable. Below are the highlights.

The most substantive motion that he decided, presumably from the bench, was that he denied Moore’s Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order — Moore was requesting an injunction to require Williams to continue providing COBRA benefits. Previously, I suggested that the ruling likely would hinge on the Judge’s determination of whether or not he was persuaded that Moore had established the requisite “likelihood of success on the merits” of the underlying claim for continuation of COBRA benefits. See below — apparently the Judge was not so persuaded.

Further, the clerk’s notes suggest that the Judge entertained the College’s Motion to Dismiss the entire matter. Since his ruling on the Motion to Dismiss is not noted on the docket sheet, it is safe to assume that he took the matter under advisement rather than ruling from the bench.

Also, the Judge granted Moore’s Motion to Seal certain exhibits which apparently include, inter alia, “Williams College student recommendations and evaluations.” Check out docket entry No. 27 to see a description of those documents that he successfully petitioned the Court to seal.
Finally, the Judge granted the College’s Motion to Stay Discovery pending a ruling on the College’s Motion to Dismiss.

Thanks for the update. If anyone really wants to see some of these documents, I will get them from PACER.


Moore’s Prior Conviction

We have not nailed down the details of former Professor Bernard Moore’s prior conviction. Here is an old court order.

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
Ernest Bernard MOORE, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 89-10222.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
Submitted May 15, 1989.
Decided July 3, 1989.

Ernest Bernard Moore, Pro. Per., Federal Correctional Institution, Terminal Island, Cal., for defendant-appellant.

Rudolfo Orjales, Asst. U.S. Atty., San Francisco, Cal., for plaintiff-appellee.

Before BROWNING, THOMPSON and LEAVY, Circuit Judges.


Ernest Moore appeals a district court order denying his motion to quash a writ of execution. We dismiss for lack of jurisdiction.

On January 23, 1987, Moore pleaded guilty to two counts of fraudulently using credit cards, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1029(a)(2). The district court sentenced Moore to eight years in custody and five years of probation. The court also ordered Moore to pay restitution in the amount of $62,864.82 as directed by the Probation Department. The final judgment was entered May 12, 1987.

I will leave it to our Eph lawyers to interpret, but I believe that this was a largely frivolous appeal of Moore’s conviction. It was denied. I have to figure out how many years he actually served of this sentence, when he was released and so on. I have heard (imagined?) the vaguest of rumors concerning his escape and/or pardon. Surely, we can establish the facts . . .

In the meantime, while I was at Williams writing my senior thesis 20+ years ago, Moore was at the Federal Correctional Institution at Terminal Island, California working on his appeals.


Faculty Felons?

Are there felons on the Williams faculty? Former professor Bernard Moore claims (pdf) that there are.


1) !?!?!?!?!?!?!!?

2) The only felon (?) that I can think of is Professor John Eusden (now emeritus) who was involved and, I think, arrested (and charged? and convicted?) during his participation with in civil rights protest marches with Martin Luther King, Jr. Doubt that this is what Moore has in mind . . .

3) Which faculty members does Moore have in mind? I have no idea. Since he was only at Williams for 14 months, it is unlikely that Moore had meaningful conversations with more than a handful (20?) of other faculty members, almost all of whom would have been in political science. Do faculty members brag about their rap sheets in such a context, demonstrating their street cred to the new hire? Is Moore just making stuff up?

4) How would EphBlog investigate this claim? We have a list of faculty members, but I have no idea how to use “public records” to search for someone’s prior felony convictions. Suggestions?

5) If the College has knowingly hired (and continues to employ!) felons, then Moore might have a point . . .

6) If you are a Record reporter working on this story, EphBlog is spelled E-P-H . . .


Fraud 101

Commentary on Catch Mr. Bernard Moore.

Fraud 101: Apprenticeship in Bank Fraud and Social Security Fraud
Bernard Moore, formerly Visiting Professor, Williams College

This course is being offered once, and once only by special arrangement with Prof. Bernard Moore. It introduces basic fraud concepts, and a thorough understanding of Black’s Law to ensure that apprentice as well as experienced fraudsters properly engage in fraudulent activities. Lab exercises include best practices in Identity Theft and practical Money Laundering techniques. A unique aspect of this course is the opportunity to be an apprentice fraudster studying at the feet of self-confessed fraudster, Prof. Bernard Moore.

This is my painfully bad attempt at satire, of course. Bad humor aside, Prof. Bernard Moore is no mythical figure. And his purported activities are not apocryphal either.

My daughter, a senior in high school, is currently applying to college, and Williams College, in Williamstown, MA is on her list. As we researched the college (and hyperventilated over costs), I came across this article in the Williams Record, and nearly fell off my chair (I actually did. Seriously. And not from the cost of attending college.)

The esteemed Prof. Bernard Moore seems like quite con-man!



Williams Motion To Dismiss

Williams files a Motion to Dismiss against former Professor Bernard Moore: 23-1, 23-2, 23-3, 23-4, 23-5, 23-6 and 23-7. EphBlog’s lawyer source writes:

The College’s Motion to Dismiss. . . . FYI, the Federal MTD standard is low, which is why most MTDs are denied or, at a minimum, the plaintiff is granted leave to amend the complaint. Moore need only allege plausible facts to support his claims. At the MTD stage, the court accepts all pled facts as true. So long as they could support the elements of his claims, the MTD will be denied. Essentially, all the Court asks at this point is: “Has Moore pled plausible facts to support the causes of action?” The likely merit of those COAs is not entertained at this stage. Wikipedia “ashcroft v. iqbal” if you’re interested in the MTD standard.

Any comments from other lawyers? Highlights:

The plaintiff Bernard Moore soon will begin serving a lengthy prison sentence as a result of his admitted criminal activity. For almost twenty-five years, Moore has pursued an unlawful scheme of fraud and deceit through which he amassed more than $700,000 in ill-gotten funds from the federal government and numerous private parties through student loan fraud, credit card fraud, and social security benefits fraud.

Not as punchy an opening as the last filing, but not bad.

In Count III, Moore claims that the College violated Massachusetts G.L. c. 186, § 14 when it evicted him from College housing upon his termination. That count fails to state a claim because Moore was not a “tenant” of the College but merely was a “licensee;” the College provided Moore with access to College housing only as a condition of his employment, and therefore his eligibility to occupy that housing terminated at the same time as his employment.

Interesting. Can our Massachusetts attorney’s explain how the College avoids treating the folks who live in its buildings as tenants?

On November 12, the College’s Interim President, William Wagner, sent Moore a letter stating that the College had adequate cause to terminate Moore’s employment in light of his guilty plea and his failure to inform the College of that plea, among other factors. Id. at p. 4. The College offered Moore an opportunity to provide any reason, if he had one, why he should not be terminated for cause, but Moore did not offer any; instead, he responded to President Wagner with a letter that did not refute or otherwise address in any way the grounds for termination. Id. at p. 5. Accordingly, the College terminated Moore’s employment effective as of November 16.

Given that Moore is heading off to federal prison, I am not sure how much any of this matters. But it sure seems like Moore might have a point. The College has an extensive and detailed procedure for firing people in the middle of their contracts. Why didn’t Williams follow the Faculty Handbook? I suspect that Moore believes that he did offer a reason, that his letter did “address” the issue.

Lesson for current faculty (besides the obvious of “Don’t steal!”): If Williams wants you gone badly enough, it will fire you first and worry about the “protections” provided in the Faculty Handbook second.

Moore also alleges that before he was terminated he alerted the College of his intent to “exhaust his administrative remedies” concerning his termination and requested copies of the College’s faculty and personnel policies. Complaint at p. 5. To the extent this allegation can be construed to assert a claim that he was denied some purported contractual right to “process” under the College’s Faculty Handbook, his argument fails to state a claim in any event. Even assuming, solely for the purposes of this motion, that the Faculty Handbook somehow constitutes a contract between Moore and the College, the Handbook provides only that the College should provide “due notice” prior to a termination for “adequate cause.”2

That’s right. Don’t assume anything about the Faculty Handbook. Relying on it would be like relying on the information in an EphBlog post!

More later. What other highlights do people see?


Williams Replies to Moore Complaint Motion

Williams has responded (pdf) to former Professor Bernard Moore’s complaint Motion for Temporary Restraining Order. Comments:

1) EphBlog’s legal eagle writes:

The College basically is asserting that Moore has failed to satisfy his burden for obtaining preliminary injunctive relief (TRO) against the College with respect to his COBRA claim. The Opposition lays out the factors that the court will consider. Likely the most important factor that the court will consider is whether Moore has a “substantial likelihood of success” on the COBRA claim. Interesting to note that the College responds to this factor by asserting that Moore’s admitted crimes constituted “gross misconduct” which, as a matter of law, justified the discontinuance of his coverage under the College’s plan. Also note Footnote 1 — the College will be moving to dismiss for 1) failure to state a claim, and 2) improper service.

Thanks for the update. Any comments from our lawyer Ephs? The filing included copies of two other documents (here and here) that we have seen already, I think.

2) See here for some discussion about the College’s attorneys: Daryl Lapp and Robert Young of Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge. So far, I like their style! Best bit was claiming that Moore’s lack of health care would soon be remedied by his incarceration in federal prison. No need for COBRA there!

3) Love the opening sentence: “The plaintiff Bernard Moore, by his own admission, is a con artist and a thief.” Telling truth to power!

4) Most important tidbit:

This is the first official confirmation we have had that Moore’s second appointment was for three years. And that is the scandal! The College knew, or should have known, by that point that Moore was a shoddy scholar and horrible teacher. It is one thing to take a one-year flier on some visitor because you think he has important Washington connection. It is another thing altogether to offer someone with zero scholarly credentials/ability and a demonstrated record of sub-standard teaching a three year position.

Recall Lawrence Levien’s ’68 demand for an independent investigation.

The trustees need to conduct a thorough investigation. The faculty and administration failed here – they should not be asked to investigate themselves. The trustees should hire skilled, independent legal counsel to lead the effort. The ultimate report, with as few redactions as possible, should be made public, embarrassing as it may be. The goal should not be to blame but to identify what systemic failures led to the outcome and what reforms should be instituted in response.

I think that honest and diligent Williams officials like Assistant Dean John Gerry could conduct an acceptable and transparent investigation. No need to wrack up more legal bills! But there is no good excuse for the College’s current policy of stonewalling.

5) Still unknown is the precise date when the college offered Moore the three year position. (I assume that it was well before July 1, 2009.) Does anyone have further information on that? The time line, as best I understand it, was that Moore first applied for a tenure track position, in the fall of 2008, and was turned down. Kudos to the Political Science Department. After that, he applied for (or was offered?) the visiting position. But we don’t, yet, know when that offer was made or who made it. Any ideas?

6) Liked this:

I like to think of faculty members as serving as role models to Williams students. Would all current faculty members agree? The notion of a “role model” is not, uh, very post-modern.

Going forward, the central policy question for Williams is: What should the standards/procedures be for visiting appointments? The system clearly failed in Moore’s case. Is anything being done to fix it?

UPDATE: Our legal eagle clarifies one point:

One minor, technical correction to your post — this filing is an Opposition to (and exclusively responsive to) Moore’s Motion for Temporary Restraining Order, not his Complaint. The only response to the Complaint would be an Answer or, as the College has suggested in footnote 1, a Motion to Dismiss the Complaint. If the Motion to Dismiss is denied, the College’s Answer to the Complaint will follow. In the Answer, the College must admit or deny every allegation in the Complaint, and raise any affirmative defenses, counterclaims, etc.

Thanks. Correction made.

UPDATE II: Slight edit made to remove a tone deaf phrase. Thanks to a long-time reader for the suggestion.


Lawyer Up

Based on the latest PACER filings, EphBlog’s (anonymous) legal counsel reports:

Williams lawyers up — Daryl Lapp and Robert Young of Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge. They have used EAPD at least once in the past — Beebe v. Williams College (wrongful termination).

Anyone know why Williams uses EAPD? What do our legal readers think this exercise will end up costing Williams?

Background on the Beebe case: pdf.

Plaintiff was employed by Defendant for nearly fifteen years before being fired on August 4, 2003. She had worked as a snack bar attendant and, later, as a custodian in the building and grounds department. (Complaint ¶¶ 6-7.) In the course of her employment, Plaintiff received a copy of Defendant’s employee handbook which contained a copy of its family and medical leave policies. (Id. ¶ 38.)

On occasion between January of 2002 and July of 2003, Plaintiff took paid and unpaid leaves to care for her minor children’s medical needs. (Id. ¶¶ 8-11.) Whenever Plaintiff had to miss work to provide such care, she gave notice as required by Defendant’s policies. (Id. ¶ 12.) On July 1, 2003, however, Plaintiff received a written warning for excessive use of unscheduled time-off, although the warning acknowledged that many of her absences were related to the care of her children. (Id. ¶ 15.)

On July 23, 2003, Plaintiff herself became ill and, but for one day, thereafter remained out of work until August 4, 2003. (See id. ¶¶ 16-25.) When Plaintiff returned to work, her supervisor informed her that she had been fired, handed her a final paycheck and gave her a letter indicating that her termination was the result of missing six days of work during the month of July. (Id. ¶¶ 26-28.)

Anyone know the backstory on this case? Beebe is a name with a long connection to Williams. Although Williams used (still uses?) EAPD in that case, the attorneys were different: Patricia M. Higgins and Judith A. Malone.


New Moore Documents

Looking for some early Christmas presents? Me too! How about three of the latest filings in the Bernard Moore civil suit against Williams? See here, here and here. Much of this is material that we have already seen. Sad to read about Moore’s medical troubles. Can other readers highlight the interesting parts? I won’t have easy computer access for the next two weeks.


Moore’s Dissertation Unavailable

Recall our discussion of former professor Bernard Moore’s dissertation. I requested it via interlibrary loan last month. Here is the message I got back.

Dear David Kane,

A request you have placed:

Title: America’s race to incarcerate: Locking up communities of color
Author: Moore, Bernard

has been cancelled by the Interlibrary Loan/Scan & Deliver staff for the following reason:
Unable to Borrow Dissertation.

As you may be able to see on proquest, the author has requested that this item not be purchasable nor lent out. Additionally, the only library owning it will not circulate.

The are justifiable reasons for restricting the distribution of a dissertation, at least for a few years. I doubt that those ever applied in Moore’s case. Do you think Moore’s work contains any fraud or plagiarism? I bet that it does. On whether or not such a restriction is unusual:

We’ve confirmed the reason for Howard University’s cancellation of this request. They seem to have a general policy against making their dissertations available as they are housed in Archival Special Collections and no additional copies are made for circulation purposes. It’s not an unusual policy, as certain but not all Harvard units have a similar one. I’ve also confirmed that the dissertation is not available in any format from Proquest at the request of the author.

It seems direct access on site at Howard’s Library Archives is the only way of viewing this item.

Anyone want to take a look? Moore’s dissertation is probably as incoherent and ungrammatical as his abstract and court filings.


Restoring Our Academic Integrity

From hwc:

Interesting letter to the editor in today’s Record from Lawrence Levien ’68, former vice-chair of the Alumni Fund, on the “Bernard Moore” fraud:

Restoring Our Academic Integrity

He outlines the harm to the College:

What is not speculation, however, is that harm, maybe even great harm, has been perpetrated upon the College. Our fundamental premise as an academic institution has been mocked, successfully and for over a year, by an impostor seeking only financial gain. We must make every effort to preclude a repeat. As a Williams grad, an involved alum and former Alumni Fund Vice Chair and a practicing lawyer, I suggest the following:

Calls for an independent investigation saying that the faculty and administration failed and should not investigate themselves:

The trustees need to conduct a thorough investigation. The faculty and administration failed here – they should not be asked to investigate themselves. The trustees should hire skilled, independent legal counsel to lead the effort. The ultimate report, with as few redactions as possible, should be made public, embarrassing as it may be. The goal should not be to blame but to identify what systemic failures led to the outcome and what reforms should be instituted in response. Such an investigation will be expensive, particularly so if a top tier, experienced lawyer is retained, since administration, faculty, students and others all would be interviewed and, if he agreed, Professor Moore as well. But recession or not, budget cuts or not, our integrity as a top tier academic institution allows for no less.

Calls for more transparency:

The College should be more upfront about the scam. The Web site says not a word. There is no press release about Professor Moore’s dismissal. One round of e-mails announcing a dismissal is simply not enough transparency in a fraud of this magnitude and significance. Bad news, especially titillating to those not involved, doesn’t vanish just because one ignores it. We appear to be hiding something by remaining silent. Ask Tiger Woods.

And suggests that the College owes compensation to the students cheated by “Professor Moore”:

Finally, the students enrolled in Moore’s classes need recompense. They were cheated out of the single most important facet of their Williams experience: a dedicated teacher from whom they could not only learn the substantive material, but also the process of learning itself. How to do so is also for the Trustees to decide.

Hmmmm. I guess EphBlog doesn’t have the market cornered on old alums demanding high standards, after all. I’m guessing that Mr. Levien’s public letter may send a few shivers through Hopkins and the Board. I guess the ball is in Greg Avis’ court, now.


Amended Complaint from Moore

This Amended Complaint was filed on December 2. It adds a third cause of action for damages stemming from locking him out of his faculty apartment. A couple of quick thoughts on the complaint, without the benefit of having done any legal research on his claims:

1. He is claiming $300,000 in damages stemming from his termination. Even assuming he could prove that the dismissal breached his employment contract (and I would like to think that would be difficult/impossible), he should only be able to get damages for the last few weeks of the semester. He is going to jail in February, and therefore will be unable to fulfill his obligations under the contract beginning with next semester (I am assuming the contract requires him to teach). So most of this $300,000 claim should be gotten rid of fairly easily.

2. I don’t know anything about the COBRA law he is citing, but hopefully the College had its lawyers give some thought and research before they denied him COBRA access. As far as damages from this claim, I believe that once he is incarcerated, he gets health care through the prison system, so that might limit some of those damages, if he is entitled to anything.

3. I suspect that Massachusetts is a fairly tenant friendly state (though I have not first hand knowledge on this), so its possible that the new third count could have some merit. I know that here in DC – which is incredibly pro-tenant – colleges and universities have additional rights to self-help (e.g. changing the locks) in the dorm context not available to normal landlords. Hopefully Mass has similar protections for Williams which would be applicable to the faculty housing Moore was living in.

4. Its not clear what his basis for punitive damages is, but that is the bulk of his monetary claim, so if this can be eliminated, that would get rid most of the damages.

5. Does anyone know if he can get attorneys fees if he is proceeding pro se?

Link to Amended Complaint


Moore Complaint

Here (cover pages, main part) is former professor Bernard Moore’s complaint against Williams. (For those of you following along with PACER, the case number is 3:09-cv-30208-MAP Moore v. Williams College.) See Meghan Foley’s article for highlights. My favorite parts:


1) Moore was fired on November 12, just one day after I called for Williams to fire him. And people say that the Williams Administration does not listen to me!

2) After his initial year as a visiting lecturer, Moore was appointed as an Assistant Professor with a three year contract. Is that true? As best I can tell, this is the first that anyone has mentioned three years. My (incorrect?) understanding had been that Moore’s position as W. Ford Schumann Visiting Assistant Professor was a one year deal. (Recall this Record article: “eventually appointed as the W. Ford Schumann ’50 Professor in Democratic Studies for the following year”.) If the College really gave him a three year contract, even after it knew that his teaching was suspect and his research non-existent, then we really need to get to the bottom of who made that horrible decision and why they made it. We don’t need to punish those people, but we do need to hold them to account.

3) The document is riddled with grammatical errors. Did Moore prepare it himself? If so, I look forward to reading his dissertation. I do not trust Moore to tell the truth in this document.

4) I doubt this is true:


The College may have only asked Moore for his graduate transcripts but it also asked him where he got his BA. The Registrar did not just invent (pdf) his (claimed) BA from UCLA as listed in the course catalog. Moore must have given Williams that information. Time to check those e-mail archives . . .

More excerpts and questions below:
Read more


Moore sues Williams

Fired prof sues Williams – By Meghan Foley, Berkshire Eagle
WILLIAMSTOWN — A former Williams College visiting professor who pleaded guilty to charges of fraud in federal court last month has filed a $1.3 million lawsuit against the college.

Ernest B. Moore, who taught under the name of Bernard Moore, filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Springfield on Nov. 27 stating Williams College breached his contract and violated the Comprehensive Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) by refusing to continue his health benefits as required by the law.

Continue to full article

From Will Slack:

In the interest of driving readership to the Berkshire Eagle, I won’t quote anymore – but additional details include items on misuse of a college credit card, some fantastic lack of grammar, and even more unbelievable reasoning, including that Moore isn’t responsible for Williams not checking his undergrad transcript. Ephblog can also report that Moore is actively seeking character references from students.

Opinion: Anyone with knowledge of college policy or process should be careful commenting, so as not to say somthing that Moore can quote out-of-context for his benefit.

(hat tip to Brandi Brown ’07)


Chasing Mr. Bernard Moore

The Orwellian removal of all vestiges of former Professor Bernard Moore’s time at Williams continues. Consider some current pages and their Google caches:

1) New faculty 2009–2010: now and cached.

2) Political Science: now and cached.

3) Faculty Notes: now. The cache is gone.

4) No one has removed Moore’s page at Africana Studies. Calling Jim Kolesar! (Permanent copy here.)

Copies of some of this text is below the break. Future historians will thank me.

Read more


Moore/Record Round Up: Part 2

moore1Let’s continue our discussion of the Record‘s (excellent) coverage of former Professor Bernard Moore. (Part 1 here.)

From College dismisses visiting professor mid-semester by Lina Khan:

Hiring visitors

Since news of Moore’s financial fraud first emerged, details about his false credentials and numerous fictitious identities have raised questions as to how the College found itself among the list of institutions he deceived.

Indeed! And EphBlog has provided a wealth of information on that topic (here, here, here and here), with more to come. The Record should be praised for finding out more/other details, but they ought to use our information as well, perhaps after confirming it with the quoted individuals.

Moore joined the faculty in September 2008 as a visiting lecturer in political science and taught five courses over that academic year, specializing in areas of constitutional law, race in politics and the judicial system. Moore applied for a tenure-track position in the department a few months after he began teaching but was rejected and instead eventually appointed as the W. Ford Schumann ’50 Professor in Democratic Studies for the following year, another visiting role.

We need more details! What committee initially hired Moore and when did they do it? Who brought Moore and Williams together? (My guess is that Bill Spriggs ’77 met Moore, was impressed and passed his name on to Morty, who then alerted the Political Science Department. But I have zero real evidence for this. And that is why I want the Record to figure out the history.)

1) The key person to interview is not James Mahon, chair of the political science department now, but Cathy Johnson, chair of the political science department in 2007–2008. She would know all the details of how Moore came to Williams. The Record ought to ask her. If she refuses to discuss the details . . .

2) Was there a position open to which Moore applied or was a position created especially for him? Again, there is no plausible reason for the College not to reveal this background, other than abject embarrassment and a desire to sweep everything under the rug move forward. I have been unable to use my Google-fu to compile a listing of Williams job openings in political science that were advertised in 2007–2008. Can anyone?

3) One clue to the hiring history in political science is that Paul McDonald was hired in 2008, after competing against Boaz Atzili, Michelle Murray and, perhaps, Joshua Rovner. This was probably the one job search that was authorized in political science that year. So, where did the money/position for hiring Moore come from? Thin air?

4) More clues can be found by looking at the history of visiting lecturers (what Moore was, as a non-Ph.D. in 2008-2009) and visiting assistant professors (what Moore was this year) in political science. Consider:

2007–2008: Visiting Assistant Professor: DOLGERT
2006–2007: Visiting Assistant Professors: BONG, A. SWAMY, R. SKINNER.
2005–2006: Visiting Assistant Professors: BONG, C. COOK, GROFF, A. SWAMY.
2004–2005: Visiting Assistant Professors: GROFF, A. HIRSCH, J. LEE, T. LEHMANN.

Notice any patterns? That’s right. No visiting lecturers. How did the Political Science Department magically have the money for a visiting lecturer for 2008–2009? (By the way, Moore is listed as a visiting assistant professor is his first year, but I am pretty sure that this is a mistake.)

5) The other clue that Moore’s hire was “special” lies in the courses he taught and in the professors who were not on leave in 2008–2009. The typical reason for hiring a visiting assistant professor is that you need either a) someone to help out with the intro courses because too many permanent faculty are on leave or b) someone to teach specific upper level courses because of leaves taken by specific senior faculty. But the only political science professors on-leave in 2008–2009 were: MCALLISTER, SHANKS and MELLOW, none of whom teach the sort of upper level courses that Moore would teach. Only Shanks was on-leave for the whole year.

If anything, 2008-2009 was a period of less than normal leave activity in the political science department. Assuming that this was known in the spring of 2008 (as it almost certainly would have been), the department would have had a great deal of trouble convincing the Dean of the Faculty that it needed money for a visiting lecturer in 2008–2009.

Consider the classes Moore taught:

PSCI 201(F,S) Power, Politics, and Democracy in America
PSCI 304(F) Race and the Criminal Justice System
PSCI 217(S) Constitutional Law II: Rights
PSCI 307(S) Black Politics
PSCI 320(S) Judicial Politics

In other words, of the five courses Moore taught, three were, for all practical purposes, brought to Williams by him. They were not courses that the department would have expected to have someone teach. The other two (201 and 217) were classes that are taught each year. (Ask Alan Hirsch why he wasn’t teaching PSCI 217 that spring.)

To be fair, Moore’s hiring might be connected to the departure of assistant professor of political science George Thomas. He seemed to only be at Williams for two years, before leaving for Claremont Mckenna. Still, I don’t see a connection, other than Moore teaching PSCI 217, a class that Thomas had taught before.

Summary: I bet (75% chance) that Williams was not hiring a visiting lecturer and/or assistant professor in the spring of 2008 in Moore’s subfields. Not enough faculty were on leave and those that were taught other subjects. Instead, Williams found out about Moore somehow, decided that he was a catch, and created a position for him.

6) Besides wondering how Moore came to Williams, we need to determine how he was reappointed. Who was on the committee that selected him as W. Ford Schumann ’50 Professor in Democratic Studies? When did they make that decision? (Sounds like it would have been well into the spring of 2009.) Were they concerned about Moore’s “horrific” teaching? If not, why not?

7) I bet that the folks in the department who fought against Moore being appointed to a tenure track position are feeling fairly proud of themselves! Would be fun to have a transcript of that meeting!

8) The Record needs to do a better job of describing its sources. How does it know that Moore applied for a tenure track job and was rejected? It just can’t assert something like that with zero evidence. It needs to cite someone with specific knowledge, either named or anonymous.

9) Recall what the Record reported in the fall of 2007:

While the student body becomes more diverse with each year, increasing faculty diversity remains a priority and a challenge for the College as it struggles to find and attract eligible candidates.

“This is an issue of little supply and huge demand,” said Mike Reed, vice president for strategic planning and institutional diversity. “Even though I want to increase in a certain area, you’re limited by where you have opportunities. Not only are there not that many PhDs, we probably would not accept half of them because of the degree-granting institution.”

Reed’s office targets five academic departments in particular for recruitment: English, political science, psychology, biology and athletics. Chosen based on size and the opportunities available, these departments will be the special focus of faculty diversity in next two to three years as greater networks are formed in these areas.

Six months later, Moore was offered a position at Williams by the Political Science department.

Still think that Moore’s race isn’t going to enter the picture at some point? Don’t say I didn’t warn you . . .


A Year Ago Today

Who was the first person to be suspicious of former Professor Bernard Moore and his magical mystery money tour? Me.

from David Kane
date Thu, Nov 20, 2008 at 1:42 PM
subject question on CBC event


I am an alum who writes about Williams at Kudos to you for arranging the recent CBC event. I was talking with a Williams official who provided two estimates that I wanted to cross-check with you.

Cost: $50,000 — that was a guess on his part and seemed high to me. He thought that I underestimated travel expenses. Student attendance: 400 to 500 (with many more turned away once Chapin and Brooks Rogers were filled). — he got that by figuring that around half the capacity (900-1000) was taken up by students.

Do those estimates seem reasonable to you?


Dave Kane ’88

Moore never responded. And, alas, I never followed up. I should have been more suspicious. Lesson learned.

How much did Williams spend on last year’s Congressional Black Caucus event? Are you confident that none of it ended up in Moore’s pocket? Why? Anyone who was clever enough to steal more than $800,000 from a dozen sophisticated financial institutions would be smart enough to figure out a way around the Williams accounting system . . .


Credit Check

From Vicarious ’83:

Readers will recall David’s post of 11/6/09 about the recent theft of a laptop computer containing social security numbers.

From David’s post on 11/11/09 we have the actual public document that describe how Moore stole the identity, and obtained the official college transcripts of someone referred to as “KM.” “KM” was “a former associate” of Moore’s. This was a real person, who graduated from the Univ. of Puget Sound with a BS in mathematics. Using KM’s name and social, Moore got an $8,000 student loan in the mid 1980s. That loan still has not been paid back.

In the Plea Agreement, to which David also provided the link, we see that on 9/30/09, Moore agreed to:

. . . truthfully and accurately complete any paperwork necessary to correct the credit history of Kamau Mposi, an individual whose identity he appropriated for the purpose of applying for and receiving federal student aid [and to] provide any documentation to the relevant credit and reporting agencies that he was in fact the individual who incurred the obilgations that he obtained under Mr. Mposi’s name.

We now know, thanks to David, that there was an individual on campus at the time of the laptop theft who was skilled in the art of identiy theft, and that this person had just agreed to do whatever is asked of him to help restore a previous victim’s credit rating.

If the KM of the Statement of Fact, is in fact Kamau Mposi, then this guy has spent the last 20+ years of his life with a very messed up credit report.

To those of you who have received notice that yours was among the stolen social security numbers, I would, as someone who has worked a number of years in the business of consumer credit, urge you to take the letter excerpted in David’s post very seriously, and consider taking real steps to safeguard your identity and credit rating.

To the college administration, I urge you to put significant energy and resources to a thorough investigation of the theft of this laptop and any other possible breaches of security that may have occurred now that it is known that a person with the skills to use this information was on campus occupying a position of significant trust. I would also urge you to vigorously pursue filling and prosecuting any criminal charges tht might pertain to Mr. Moore’s specific dealings with Williams College.

Lastly, I urge the editorial staff at The Record to put links to these two public documents in its reports – also a suggestion that David Kane has already made to you directly.

Indeed. At the very least, the Administration could provide more details on the theft so that we might all better judge whether or not Moore had anything to do with it. (For example, if the theft occurred in some other city — perhaps as a college employee was attending a conference — then there would be less to worry about.)


Moore: A parent’s aftershock …

I received this from ‘invisible mom’. Her concern is, first and foremost, for the effect on the students involved. Along the way, she raises some points of interest for process.

I post this concerned letter and her search for answers on her behalf.

From invisible mom

Though this Moore situation can be seen as an aberration, a comic event, or a disgrace, an issue remaining is where in the Williams Schumann visiting professor selection committee’s process did it fail students and parents?

Where in the process were standards for: an academic scholar, a recognized expert in Political Science, and an individual with teaching experience put on the back burner, and why?

Did the desire to bring politicians to campus override Williams concern for student and parent expectations?

Williams parents and students expect a very high quality education from the college. Students and families make enormous financial sacrifices and students invest their time in these courses. Yet, for those students who were in Moore’s class and got much less than they bargained for, what is the impact on their time and their family’s money?

Does a frustrating class taught by someone with questionable credentials still count for the credits? Does the grade earned, count or mean anything? If it is not counted, is it fair? If Moore truly gave everyone A’s, is it fair?

If seniors have taken a course or two from him, will they need to take an overload second semester of senior year (while juggling, thesis, activities, sports, applying for jobs/grad/law school) in order to make up for courses taught by this unqualified person?

Will juniors be in summer school? Do current students with Moore’s course/name on their own transcripts have any hesitation about applying for internships, jobs, and/or graduate/law school in Washington DC?

Understandably there are times when a well-known public figure or expert in a field may come and fill a visiting position, and not have a long list of scholarly publications. This is fine. But regardless of Moore’s connections, it is clear he did not have the academic reputation, stature, or teaching experience to have been hired by Williams. His background as a felon, and lasts week’s plea only emphasize how the entire situation was avoidable.He should not have been hired in the first place.

If organizing events to attract well-known speakers to campus was the goal of the Schumann position, that’s great, but such a person should not have been pawned off on students under the auspices of teaching Political Science at Williams College.

Through all of this, I’m hopeful adjustments will be made in the hiring process of future Schumann visiting professors.

At this point, we cannot get back students’ time. We await the word on whether the students’ courses/credits really do count, and we contemplate the Parents’ Fund letter.


Moore/Record Round Up: Part 1

moore1For those interested in former professor Bernard Moore, consider this collection, already highlighted by Will, of articles from the Record: College professor pleads guilty to fraud in federal court, College dismisses visiting professor mid-semester, Students reexamine Moore’s term as College professor

Highly recommended! These articles are stunningly good: well-written and thoroughly researched. If there is a national competition for college newspapers, the Record ought to submit these stories.

But you don’t read my EphBlog posts for effusive praise of undergraduate prose. You read me for a) the juiciest highlights and b) wild-eyed rants constructive media criticism on how the Record might do better. There is so much interesting material here that I will need to space these posts out over the next several days. Contain your excitement!

From College dismisses visiting professor mid-semester by Lina Khan:

Bernard Moore, former visiting assistant professor of political science, was dismissed from the College on Monday after pleading guilty in federal court in the District of Columbia early last week to fraud in excess of $820,000.

How does the Khan know that Moore was “dismissed” rather than that he resigned? This is a critical difference and it would be nice to know for sure.

The statement of facts that Moore agreed to as part of his plea offered a detailed account of his extensive history of fraud schemes, which began in 1985 and, according to online court records, included a credit card fraud conviction in 1987, for which he went to prison.

How did the Kahn get these “online court records?” Needless to say, I was hoping that the Record would get them from EphBlog and credit us. But I am certainly ready to believe that they got them from elsewhere. But, where exactly? Does the College provide PACER access?

Also, can we get more details on just when Moore was in prison, where he was incarcerated, and how he escaped?!?

Read more


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.


Get a Grip

Comment by Professor Peter Just:

I think it might be useful to review the actual facts surrounding this whole business, at least as far as we know them right now.

1. The College hired Mr. Moore in a visiting capacity; he later pled guilty to a serious white-collar crime. Apparently someone forgot to run him through the Acme Cryptofelon Detector we keep in the basement of Hopkins Hall.

2. There is anecdotal evidence Mr. Moore was a poor classroom teacher.

3. Mr. Moore seems to have good contacts in Washington, evidenced in particular by his role in organizing a visit of the Black Congressional Caucus just after the election and a similar event that had to be cancelled on account of 1).

Taken all together, this strikes me as unfortunate, but hardly the Worst Thing that has happened to the College since the Defection of 1821. Perhaps Mr. Moore’s contributions to the College were more substantial outside the classroom than in it, but this isn’t the first time a visiting instructor hasn’t panned out, nor will it be the last.

Could we all take a deep breath and get a grip?

The Defection of 1821 was led by a “Mr. Moore” as well.

I do not know if Professor Bernard Moore and President Zephaniah Swift Moore are related.


Teach You So Much

I have removed this post at 8:30 PST. Sunday, 15 November.

I have acted on my own and without approval of the board. I take full responsibility for my actions. Too much is too much!

Dick Swart

I suggest EphBloggers read this article by Nicholas Kristof

Below is the immediate relevent correspondance:

Subject: Teach so much post …
Date: November 15, 2009 8:12:52 AM PST
To: derek, ronit, loweeel, esmith
Cc: kthomas
Subject: Please remove the teach post …

If Dave hasn’t taken this post down by 8:30 PST, I am going to.

This is too much and absolutely wrong.

Please know that as president I am taking this action without board approval and will so state in whatever I write.

I take full responsibility for this action.

Dick Swart

Date: November 15, 2009 7:39:25 AM PST
Subject: Teach you so much …

you can claim coercion, the EphBlog president’s ignorance and lack of understanding of the situation, the pc sensibilities of the lily-livered participants in EphBlog to be able to deal with reality, or any other thoughts that might occur to you. Rant at me!

This post is wrong and not in the spirit of the note I sent previously to get you off of race-baiting and on to the issues of vetting by the college.


Date: November 15, 2009 7:02:48 AM PST

I implore you to take this down.


Subject: Fwd: Moorish Invasion
Date: November 12, 2009 3:12:01 PM PST


The attachment below is what I hope we may avoid!

I don’t think you wanted to play the race card to the exclusion of all other circumstances. But I am afraid it might have been read that way.

In setting up the one-stop-shop for your every racial need, please be careful it doesn’t take on a life of its’ own to the exclusion of all the other Bozo circumstances.

I know that the race card will come up at some point in this discussion, but it would be better to have it in the environment of the vetting/mission/funding questions.
And aimed at the larger more college-related issues and needs of balance, rather than Mr Moore in particular.

Mr Moore is a pathetic little man who deserves to spend a long time in an orange jumpsuit for defrauding $800,000 from well-meaning souls. The color of his particular skin is not the issue with his crime or his intentions. He is a felon and a bad guy regardless of race,religion, or place of national origin. He is no more a hero for his second chance program than Roman Polanski is for Rosemary’s Baby.

There is something to be corrected within the system in this instance. Go find it!



Ethics Questions

Three links of interest:

1) The scandal spreads?

The guilty plea this week by an aide to Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) – an aide who doesn’t appear in official records at times that he was working for Davis – may raise questions for the lawmaker since ethics rules prohibit maintaining slush funds and hiring unpaid staff except under strict circumstances.

Staffer Ernest B. Moore confessed to fraud charges for using multiple aliases to run up hundreds of thousands of dollars in credit card bills and student loans. On Capitol Hill, he went by the aliases Bernard Glenn-Moore and Bernard Moore. Moore came to the Hill in 2004, when he had a one-year senior policy fellowship with Davis’s office through the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (such official fellowships are permitted under ethics rules). In 2006, he transfered to Davis’s office as a legislative assistant and earned a salary for a few more months. After that, no official record ties him to Davis’s office, despite public evidence that Davis knew he was claiming to represent Davis as an aide.

The newspaper did not mention, however, that House ethics rules prohibit the use of “unofficial accounts”, or unofficial employees, to supplement the official office budgets. Exceptions are applied for interns and official fellows programs, which does not appear to apply to Moore after 2006.

Hmmm. I suspect that this is not enough to get Davis in trouble, but I would not expect to see him visiting Williams in the near future. Too bad! He seems like the very model of a modern, major Congressman.

2) A blast from the past.

Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, who underwent throat surgery late last year after being diagnosed with thyroid cancer, has not returned to the bench since the court reconvened this month.

Others support Rehnquist and, despite his conservative views on affirmative action, say he should remain on the bench. “I don’t say that he’s too ill,” said Bernard Glenn Moore, a Ph.D. candidate. “He is conservative but he has managed the court in a very positive manner.”

Moore was a Rehnquist fan?! Who knew? I am going to have to take back all my bad blogging . . .

3) University Diaries comments:

A stunning situation at Williams College…

… is being very well-blogged by EphBlog, a site maintained by current and former students at Williams College.

On their political science faculty for some time has been a massive fraudster about to go to prison for a few years.

Thanks! I last linked to University Diaries three years ago.


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