PCMS_Philadelphia_Medicine_Spring2017 - 37

p h i l a m e d s o c  .o rg

FEATURE

FROM OUR READERS

The letter from Sidney Baumgarten, Esq., (directly below) was written in response to an article regarding the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) that appeared in the Winter
2016-17 edition of Philadelphia Medicine. The rebuttal from Westby G. Fisher, MD, who contributed to the original article, was written at the invitation of the editorial board.

I have been a friend and counsel to Ariel Ben Mannes, the
former chief of security at ABIM, for many years. I must say that
with over 50 years of law practice I have never before witnessed
such repeated attempts to malign a person based upon a blip in
his long and successful career. It is unconscionable for Dr. Wesley
Fisher to use such invective to shame the ABIM and, along the way,
destroy the career of a very honest and competent person.
Ben was a member of the Washington, DC Police Department
with a very fine record.
He had been under suspension, and was in the midst of a union
appeal, when he was working at a club at night. When he witnessed
an altercation there he was in possession of a legally licensed handgun
from Virginia, but not permitted then in the District of Columbia.
His arrest and conviction was solely for illegal possession of the
weapon - one felony, not two, as Dr. Fisher alleges.
Interestingly, Ben's appeal was won and he was ordered reinstated
to the DC Police Department. In our view he was a de jure police
officer at the time of the incident. Because Ben was a resident of
New York for many years, he was able to obtain a Certificate of
Relief from Disabilities issued by the state of New York several years

REBUTTAL

ago, which relieved him of any impediments to employment, etc.,
as a result of his plea and conviction.
Our laws here in New York, where Mannes' certificate was
issued, prohibit discrimination against a person who has one
criminal conviction. It is codified in our Human Rights Law and
our Correction Law. Both are designed to prevent the stigma of
one arrest from interfering with future employment.
Ben later served with distinction as a member of the Department
of Homeland Security. The one incident revealed nothing that
would even suggest any form of dishonesty or other reason for the
ABIM to reject his services.
Mr. Mannes is being unfairly pilloried to serve Dr. Fisher's
own differences with the ABIM. It is especially unseemly for the
member of a highly respected profession to undertake the willful
destruction of another human being for his own motives. Mr.
Mannes has worked extremely hard over the last 11 years to undo
the unfortunate incidents of one night, and surely does not deserve
to have his family, friends and colleagues read disparaging, inaccurate
things about him in the pages of your publication.
Sincerely,
Sidney Baumgarten, Esq., former deputy mayor of
New York City, brigadier general, NYG, Retired

Contrary to what Sidney Baumgarten claims, Ariel Benjamin
Mannes does not have a "fine record of service with the DC police
department." In 2003, Mannes admitted using his access as an
officer to obtain Washington reporter Jason Cherkis's personal
records and posting the information on a law enforcement website
advocating reprisals.1 The disciplinary board decided unanimously
to fire Mannes for conduct unbecoming, but took more than 55
days to notify him.2

suspended him. The Department moved again to fire him because
of his weapons charge.4

1 http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/arts/article/13032155/keeping-the-piece

5 "ABIM Warns About 'Phony' Boards." Amednews.com. Posted Dec 8, 2008. http://www.amednews.
com/2008/12/08/prra1208.htm Accessed 12 Feb 2017.

Mannes lost his appeal of his two convictions on 10/21/2008,
the same year he began working as Director of Test Security for
the ABIM.5

While at the ABIM, Mannes' declaration before a federal judge
was instrumental for the ABIM to obtain a temporary retraining
and seizure order in ABIM's investigation of the Arora Board Review
While on involuntary leave from DC Police pending investigation, (ABR) course on December 2, 2009.6 Mannes, ABIM lawyers, and
Mannes began working for the TSA Railroad Division and moon- U.S. Marshals seized materials from Dr. Arora's home days later.7
lighted as a bouncer at the "Diva nightclub." Mannes assaulted a Using emails from Arora's computers, ABIM retaliated against 139
Diva nightclub patron while carrying a loaded unregistered pistol physicians and sued others and then issued a press release June 9,
and claiming he was a police officer. Mannes was charged with 2010 before due process could occur.
aggravated assault, impersonating a police officer, and carrying an
In summary, Mannes was disciplined by the DC Police for
unregistered firearm.3
abusing his position of authority to access confidential information
Per DC Court records, Mannes pleaded guilty on December to retaliate against an innocent citizen. Such conduct was not
2005 to two charges from the nightclub incident: (a) impersonating acceptable to the DC Police, and yet it appears to be acceptable
a police officer and (b) carrying an unregistered firearm, and was to ABIM while it falsely accuses physicians of acting unethically.
sentenced to pay fines for each conviction and to probation. He ABIM's double standard should be exposed as long as it continues
lost his weapon and TSA employment because of this incident.4
to harm physicians.
Police Chief Cathy Lanier was forced to rehire Mannes in
Westby G. Fisher, MD
November 20083 due solely to the notification issue, but then
2 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/19/AR2008051902297_2.
html?sid=ST2008052302978
3 Klein, Allison "DC Trying to Again Fire 17 Rehired Police Officers." Washington Post 24 May 2008. http://
www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/23/AR2008052301479.html accessed 11 Feb 2017.
4 Klein, Allison. "17 Officers Fired for Misconduct Reinstated." Washington Post 20 May 2008. http://www.
washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/19/AR2008051902297.html Accessed 11 Feb 2017.

6 Pacer.gov. Document 4. Case 2:09-cv-05707-JCJ Filed 12/2/09. Available at http://www.medtees.com/blog/
ABIMTROwMannes_Redacted.pdf Accessed 11 Feb 2017.
7 Pacer.gov. Document 11. Case 2:09-cv-05707-JCJ Filed 1/7/2010. Available at http://www.medtees.com/blog/
ABIM-USMarshals-285_Redacted.pdf Accessed 11 Feb 2017.

Spring 2017 : Philadelphia Medicine 37


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