A special needs school in New York is being sued for running, what one former employee calls, a complete scam operation costing taxpayers millions. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio: A special needs school in New York is being sued for running what one former employee called a complete scam that caused taxpayers millions of dollars. Lay this story out. I, you and I may have similar angles on it. I, I want to take another track on it. Go ahead.

Farron Cousins: This, this is an absolute, just start to finish every part of this story is, is horrendous. You have this iBrain school in New York is what it’s called, iBrain. And what they are is it’s a special needs school. You know, give us your, your your, you know, mentally disabled individuals, you know, physically disabled. We’re gonna get them, we’re gonna give them an education. And finally, eventually, one of the workers there came out and, and has sued them because they said, among other things, and I’m gonna try to get the whole list, but there’s roaches and spiders everywhere. There was a dead rat carcass on the floor for days before anybody even bothered to move it. The smell is horrific. The black mold is dripping off of our ceilings. There are roaches in the children’s wheelchairs. Oh, and by the way, you’re, they’re performing illegal surgeries on these students with people that it turns out aren’t actually doctors. They lied about their credentials.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. So here, so, so, so what you have going here is you have the, there’s, there’s supposed to be oversight here, right?

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: There’s supposed to be regulatory oversight. This goes on, apparently for years. The, the whistleblower described it as the most, as a filthy environment. Then she points out that, that part of the lawsuit anyway, you know, it still hadn’t gone to court. But the lawsuit is that, the people running it were, the guy running it was a chiropractor. He wasn’t even a doctor. And the one person that he had working as a technician was an ex-felon that had been, you know, actually given this job, make sure everything runs right here, is acting as a doctor in, in many capacities.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. They, they gave him a fake name, you know, fake credentials. None of it was real. The guy had, you know, spent a lot of his time in prison. And so the parents who would go and, and get their children into this place assumed, okay, well we have doctor number one who owns it and runs it, who says he has perfected this unique treatment.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: Which turns out to not even really exist. And then they’ve got the other doctor, you know, the former inmate that, oh, okay, well this guy went to Harvard and he went to all these places. Nope. He went to prison. He didn’t ever go to medical school.

Mike Papantonio: No.

Farron Cousins: And, and then the, they’re getting $235,000 per student from the state each year, this school is. It is a, it’s a money making scam.

Mike Papantonio: Well, it is. But it, which leads you to the problem that is bigger for New York. It’s bigger for a lot of big cities right now. And that the regulate, regulators, forget it. There are no regulators. There’s nobody watching anything. And it goes to the idea of, of other things that are happening with the infrastructure in New York, the garbage collection that ties right into the story. What’s happening there? Our regulators aren’t regulating. Social services are not working. That’s why this happened. Subway services, I mean, you know, we can’t even get our subways working without crime problems, without delay problems, without breakdowns. You’ve got an epidemic of homelessness going on up there. When I looked at this story, and I, I talked, I, when I compared what is different about what’s going on in some of these bigger cities, this is it. This story to me is the metaphor for the entire infrastructure. When you have this going on for apparently years, you have it going on for years.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. I mean.

Mike Papantonio: And, and, and there’s no regulator there. There’s no politician there. There’s nobody looking at what the hell’s going on. It kind of ties into the rest of the things that are going on in, in cities like LA or New York or Chicago. This, this is part of the problem right now.

Farron Cousins: Well, it really is because an organization like this with this many problems, this many fake credentials, phony surgery.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: And, and, and kids going to the hospital because the phony surgeries. This should have been shut down after about six months. But you’ve got a city that is so plagued with so very many problems and so few people to deal with them if they want to deal with them at all, that it, it’s almost, you know, sitting here thinking about it. Is that city too big now?

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: Do we need to break it into two cities to be able to function,

Mike Papantonio: That, that, you know, interesting thing. American, it was American Experience. It’s a PBS show. They analyzed it the same way you do. You probably haven’t seen that. But they came up with an analysis. Are cities reaching this point where this kind of thing’s gonna happen because there’s nobody watching? Like it’s a Mad Max movie taking place right there in the city. PBS, American Experience, it talks about New York City chaos and what’s happening there. Why does this kind of case arise? How could this go on where you got doctor, who’s not even a doctor, he’s a chiropractor.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: Experiment, doing experiments that aren’t even legitimate experiments with a friend who’s an ex-felon, living under an assumed name, who are taking care of kids as special needs children with mental disabilities. How does that happen for years? It happens because there’s a breakdown in the infrastructure and that, that I think goes to the heart of this case.

Farron Cousins: Maybe time to break ’em up.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.