Best of 2011: Scandal

Manjunath+Pendakur.+Photo+courtesy+of+FAU+Media+Relations

Manjunath Pendakur. Photo courtesy of FAU Media Relations

Regina Kaza and Allison Nielsen

While there was more than one incident that shook people up this year, these guys sparked the most controversy in 2011.

Green Mann. Photo by Carolina Fernandez.

Most corrupt dancer

Green Mann

By Allison Nielsen

Green Mann’s hips couldn’t lie his way out of court when he got busted for interrupting classes with his provocative dance moves.

He became infamous for his dancing and was even used as a campaign tactic in the Student Government elections. Wherever he went, Green Mann definitely caused a scene.

Students could spot Green Mann running through the Breezeway and dancing around campus in his green full-body spandex suit from fall 2010 to spring 2011. He then took his moves to the classroom.

Videos of him barging into a music class and dancing showed up on Facebook. Professor Rebecca Lautar, who was teaching the class at the time of Green Mann’s grand entrance, reported Green Mann to the FAU police. Lautar told police that she felt threatened by Green Mann’s behavior.

Green Mann remained FAU’s masked mystery man until an incident with the FAU police revealed his real identity to be commuter student Michael Buoniato.

Buoniato later used his fame as Green Mann to promote and support Student Government president candidate Christopher Puchferran. Green Mann posted on Facebook that he would dance for a certain number of hours depending on the number of Puchferran’s votes.

Other running candidates, like current Student Government President Ayden Maher, were happy to see Buoniato removed from the Breezeway by FAU police. Maher claimed that using Green Mann gave an unfair advantage [to Puchferran]. “It is an unfair advantage and if that’s the case, that he’s banned, I think it makes it a more equal race for all the candidates involved.”

Buoniato was later found guilty of violating his probation after allegedly entering a building on-campus after the classroom incident. However, he was found innocent of another charge of “disruptive conduct,” that he said administration never gave him a reason for. During Green Mann’s hearing, Dean of Students Corey King told Buoniato to choose between being Green Mann or getting a college education.

Buoniato isn’t allowed to wear the Green Mann suit on campus for the rest of his time at FAU, and will be on probation until May 2012.

Green Mann’s Facebook is still active. Even though he’s not allowed at FAU, he makes appearances at parties and art shows in both Palm Beach and Broward counties.

Jimmy Ho. Photo courtesy of Boca Raton Police Department

Worst lover

Jimmy Ho

By Allison Nielsen

It all began in Jan. 2011 when FAU police officer Jimmy Ho responded to escort Sherri Carter’s online ad for a night of –– we’re not exactly sure –– but it didn’t end well. Jimmy Ho’s failed attempt at a night with Carter ended with her death at Delray Medical Center.

According to police reports, Ho had responded to Carter’s escort services ad on a website called backpage.com. Ho arranged to meet with Carter at her condo in Marina Village in Boynton Beach. Once there, Carter began texting her boyfriend, saying that she was with a client who was “weird and scary” and that she “had a total weirdo in [her] bathroom”, according to New Times Broward/Palm Beach. 

Then her replies stopped.

A few hours later, police showed up at Carter’s condo to find her covered in a pool of blood. According to their reports, Carter had been shot in the neck and abdomen.

“It was self-defense,” Ho told police when they came to his house. They later took him to the Boynton Beach Police Department for questioning. Ho told detectives that he was an FAU officer and that his life was ruined.

According to police reports, Ho believed Carter was going to rob him. He thought that she was reaching for a knife, so he pulled out his revolver. He then handcuffed Carter and took her from the kitchen to the bedroom. Ho told police that Carter struggled when he tried to remove her handcuffs, and he shot her in the abdomen. He later said he remembered a second shot, the one to Carter’s neck.

She was taken to Delray Medical Center and was originally paralyzed, but later died from her wounds.

Ho resigned from the FAU police department on Feb. 1, 2011, one day after the shooting allegedly took place. Ho cited “personal reasons” for his departure. He is currently awaiting trial for first-degree murder.

Manjunath Pendakur. Photo courtesy of FAU Media Relations

Most controversial resignation

Manjunath Pendakur

By Allison Nielsen

Former Dean of the College of Arts and Letters, Manjunath Pendakur, and his fellow faculty members in the Philosophy department had some tension before he resigned.

In his resignation letter, sent in March 2011, Pendakur told Provost Diane Alperin that he would be taking a “study leave” and would return in Jan. 2012 as a professor in the communications school.

What Pendakur failed to mention, were the several complaints he received from the Philosophy department before he left.

These complaints were evaluations that asked faculty members how they thought “the University would be best served,” and they had a variety of answers. Some said Dean Pendakur should either “resign,” “attend charm school,” “be fired” or simply “not be here.” Pendakur said that his resignation was not related to the faculty’s comments.

But these feelings weren’t unique to 2011. According to president of the faculty union at the time, James Tracy, 2011’s evaluations echoed 2010’s.

Diane Alperin felt, however, that the faculty’s comments had no influence on Pendakur’s resignation.

In 2010, Pendakur was sued by Philosophy professor, Carol Gould. Gould, who is Jewish, stated that Pendakur made anti-Semitic remarks during his two years as dean. She said that her salary of $73,000 compared with the college-wide $108,000 average, was because of her age and religion. One of the six charges against Pendakur said he would promote his friends to higher positions in the philosophy department. Clevis Headley became Chair of the Philosophy Department after Pendakur became dean.

Following these allegations of  Pendakur picking favorites, Headley stepped down.

Even though he resigned, Pendakur received his yearly salary of a whopping $207,050 during his “study leave” to hold him over financially. He didn’t give more details behind his need to “return to [his] scholarship once again and to the classroom,” and had not responded to the UP’s interview request as of press time.

Here’s to hoping Pendakur’s study leave has been less problematic than his term as Dean.

Left to right: Anthony Proios, Thomas Fenech, Jared Tuck

Worst drug deal

Fourth Avenue Shooting

By Regina Kaza

Chances are there were plenty of drug deals between students last year, but only one of them involved a guy shooting three people with an AK-47 after they gave him fake money.

The night before Halloween, Andrew Hernandez, Tyler Doyle and John Addison –– none of whom are FAU students –– allegedly tried to buy a quarter pound of pot with $1,200 of counterfeit money and almost got away with it.

FAU freshman Alexander Moreno told police he brokered the deal in PBSC student Thomas Fenech’s apartment in Boca Heights, a quarter-mile east of the Boca campus. Moreno got the money from the buyers and passed it on to FAU student Anthony Proios, who then gave it to Fenech.

All three of them realized the money was fake.

According to Moreno’s statement Fenech then ran out of his apartment on Fourth Ave. with Proios’s AK-47 and shot at Doyle’s car. Hernandez was shot in the face, Addison in the back. Doyle suffered a hand injury, but was not shot. Twenty-one bullets were found in all around the apartment, according to police reports.

But wait, it gets worse.

FAU student Jared Tuck said he was hanging out in Fenech’s apartment when he heard the shots. He later told police that after the shooting, he hid the AK-47 in Proios’s Honda and went back to his dorm room in Indian River Towers. Fenech and Proios came with him.

As if hiding the gun in a car and going back to campus wasn’t a bad enough idea, Tuck and Proios later told police they decided to dump the gun in the woods. Getting rid of the gun got them charged for tampering with evidence, along with being accessories in a crime.

Fenech was charged with shooting into an occupied vehicle and three counts of attempted second-degree murder with a firearm. He and Proios have court dates on Jan. 12 and Tuck’s trial is set for March 26.

People who knew the boys personally never thought something like this could happen to them. Fenech’s Seminole High School classmate, Alyssa Smith told the UP after the shooting, “I didn’t even put it together. I never even thought to put it together. I can’t picture Tommy pointing a gun at somebody. I just can’t see it.”

The Fourth avenue drug deal ended up going from bad to worse, with three people arrested and two rushed to Delray Medical Center’s Intensive Care Unit. On a list of worst college drug deals of all time, this would definitely make the top.