Wednesday, December 08, 2004

What's better than hiring a lawyer to teach ethics?

Answer: Hiring a disbarred lawyer to teach ethics.

It seems that City University's Hostos community college until recently employed one Bibiano Rosa, a disbarred lawyer, as a tenured teacher of business ethics. Then Mr. Rosa was convicted of stealing $78,000 from a Long Island church. As City U. has a policy of terminating convicted felons, it fired him. The rest is predictable...

Rosa, also a lawyer who was disbarred for other unethical behavior, including being accused of ripping off a Brooklyn church for $14,000, appealed his firing by CUNY. But an independent arbitrator upheld his dismissal last year. "The guy was teaching business ethics, give me a break" ... said one source.

In a lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court, the convicted church thief claims he's a victim because CUNY violated his civil rights to be able to work as a convicted felon.

"Defendants' actions have caused plaintiff serious emotional distress and upset, including sleeplessness, anxiety, humiliation and depression," Rosa claimed in court papers. Rosa also complained that he has suffered "severe economic loss" because of lost wages and benefits and said he was fired without a proper hearing.

"It appears that Hostos made a profound due-process error dismissing someone summarily," said Rosa's lawyer, Stephen Hans. Hans said the crime occurred "off campus" and therefore is "not within the parameters of the law" warranting termination.

The lawsuit requests ... punitive damages for "malicious and wanton conduct" ...

Rosa doesn't lack credentials. He earned an MBA from Harvard and a law degree from the University of Texas, where he edited the law review. But college officials say he's morally bankrupt and lacks common sense. [NY Post]

And speaking of common sense, if somebody had had the common sense not to hire disbarred lawyers to teach ethics then somebody wouldn't have this problem.