NOTE: While every effort has been made to be as accurate as possible, the following article is not a news report but an opinion piece.
The fallout from the arrest of Steven B. Feldman, who officials allege represented he had legitimate doctoral degrees which in fact came from Hamilton University, a defunct diploma mill, is likely to be greater than initially thought.
From the many emails I have received, it appears that Feldman testified in courts in other counties besides Saratoga, including Washington/Warren, Schenectady, Montgomery and possibly Fulton.
Since Feldman has testified in five counties and has worked under contract for Saratoga County since 2006, it appears also that his actions may have affected hundreds of cases. According to my sources, Feldman has testified more than once in Supreme Court as well as Family Court.
Well I realize that public defenders have a tough job and have to work on a limited budget, the Public Defenders’ Office in Saratoga County has little excuse for not vetting Feldman’s credentials ahead of time. It is clear from the minutes of a number of meetings of the Saratoga County Public Safety Committee and Saratoga County Board of Supervisors that Public Defender, John Ciulla, believed that Steven Feldman was a psychologist. He continually refers to him as Dr. or doctor. Feldman is also listed in the minutes with doctorate degrees after his name, specifically PsyD and PhD.
If Ciulla thought Feldman was a legitimate psychologist, then clearly Feldman’s educational background was never examined. The fact that Ciulla thought Feldman was a doctor, however, also appears to support Feldman’s guilt. Why would Ciulla refer to Feldman as Dr. if Feldman hadn’t led him to believe he had legitimate doctoral degrees?
But Ciulla is not the only person in Saratoga County to blame for this fiasco. My sources tell me that it has been well known for some time among elected officials, non-elected officials and officers of the court, including some members of the judiciary, that Feldman had questionable doctoral degrees, but that nothing was done about it.
If it can be shown that members of the judiciary knew about Feldman and did nothing about it, it could have a negative impact on the Republican Party in Saratoga County and the primary and general elections this Fall, particularly the Family Court election.
The cases Feldman testified in often involved parental custody and visitation rights. Judges made decisions at least in part on testimony that he gave. In some instances, parents lost custody of their children or had custody and visitation altered because of Feldman’s testimony. If Feldman has been representing himself as having doctoral degrees as the police allege when he doesn’t, it calls into question his veracity and calls into question all of his testimony.
Should Feldman be found guilty, and I don’t see how he can’t be, many of these people will have legitimate grounds for appealing their cases as well as possibly suing the county.
Anyone who believes that Feldman represented himself to them as a psychologist or as somone with a PsyD or PhD degree can file a complaint with their district attorney (see phone numbers below).
It’s unfortunate that while the print media has covered this story, the television stations have ignored it, including CBS 6 Albany which bills itself as “Asking Tough Questions, Holding Officials Accountable.” Unfortunately, the custody and visitation rights of hundreds of parents and children in five counties is not as important as reporting about 30 pound cats, flaming car wrecks and warmed over Steven Raucci.
It is my opinion that this story will only get bigger over the next few weeks, and that people in Saratoga County are already busy wiping fingerprints off of the smoking gun.
For more info:
Phone numbers in order to file complaints with your district attorney.
Hon. Louise K. Sira
Fulton County District Attorney
County Office Building
Johnstown, NY 12095
Hon. James E. Conboy
Montgomery County District Attorney
P.O. Box 1500
58 Broadway Court Street
Fonda, NY 12068
Hon. James A. Murphy III
Saratoga County District Attorney
25 West High Street
Ballston Spa, NY 12020
Hon. Robert M. Carney
Schenectady County District Attorney
612 State Street
Schenectady, NY 12305
Hon. Kathleen B. Hogan
Warren County District Attorney
Warren County Municipal Center
1340 State Route 9
Lake George, NY 12845
Hon. Kevin Kortright
Washington County District Attorney
County Courthouse Building
383 Upper Broadway
Fort Edward, NY 12828