LOUISVILLE, Ky. – ‘Michael’ Feltz has been telling his 9/11 stories for years. A Kentucky firefighter, asked by Mayor Giuliani to come lend a hand in New York City, dedicating his time and efforts at Ground Zero for more than six months along fellow first responders in the twisted wreckage of the Twin Towers.
But it turns out it’s all a lie.
First responders in Kentucky – and now across the country – are outraged to find out that not only did Mitchell Feltz — a.k.a. Michael (we’ll get into that later), not respond in the days following the attacks on the World Trade Center, but it turns out he wasn’t ever a firefighter to begin with.
Feltz was exposed after Gladiator Sports Network in Louisville began working to recognize the supposed first responder. Once they discovered the truth, the piece never aired.
His story was simple, but heroic from first glance.
“During 9/11 we were coming back from Hawaii from a convention — a firefighters’ convention — a plane of us was — and the Mayor Giuliani, when our plane landed, came on it and asked for help,” Feltz said to GSN. “I worked up there every day for almost six-and-a-half months. Helped pull bodies and everything.”
Feltz said that he worked for Lexington and Georgetown fire departments at the time of the attacks and then later retired in 2012, WDRB reported.
Feltz told GSN a number intense and vivid stories from his supposed time spent in the aftermath of the attacks. He even claimed to be one of the three firefighters caught in the iconic photo where they raised the American flag above the wreckage.
But it’s been known for a long time that those three men are George Johnson, Dan McWilliams and Billy Eisengrein.
Another one of Feltz’s bold claims was that he was among the small group of first responders that helped carry FDNY Chaplain Mychal Judge from the twisted debris. Judge was considered to be Ground Zero Victim 0001.
Feltz’s story completely fell apart as he gained more notoriety for his supposed actions. Reports from WDRB say that a company associated with Ohio Valley Wrestling was setting up a ceremony to honor Feltz by an entertainment group named 4th Street Live! in Louisville.
As officials scrambled to try and verify his story by reaching out to Feltz’s old departments, they began realizing that the ‘firefighter’ might not be who he said he was.
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Feltz said that he used to work for Lexington Fire. But when Lexington Fire Department Battalion Chief Marc Bramlage was contacted, he had never even heard of Feltz.
“Not only was he not in the Lexington Fire Department system, he was nowhere in Fayette County, Lexington urban government system,” Bramlage said. “If we have someone going around not representing us in a good light, that does damage to the department and it also does damage to the profession in general.”
A deeper dive into Kentucky’s records showed that Feltz had never been involved with any part of the fire service, not even as a volunteer or an applicant.
“There’s no one with the name Feltz in our system at all,” Kentucky Fire Commission Division Director Bruce Roberts said. “It’s unbelievable, I just cannot imagine someone would come up with that kind of story.”
Roberts said that the Kentucky Fire Commission keeps records of every member of the service for the past 30 years. Feltz’s name does not appear in any of those records as a paid or volunteer member.
“It makes you more than angry,” he said. “It’s a shame someone would do something like that.”
Another hole in Feltz’s story is present from a simple court records search. On September 10, 2001, on the day Feltz was supposedly nearing the end of his trip to Hawaii, he pleaded guilty to a charge of writing bad checks in Kentucky.
“He wants a pat on the back for something he didn’t do, and he doesn’t deserve a pat on the back. He deserves a kick in the ass,” said Retired Jeffersontown Fire Captain Matthew Keith. “He doesn’t realize that these families are still suffering. Those folks that live there and work there are dying every day because of Sept. 11.”
343 firefighters lost their lives in the 2001 attacks, with about another 200 dying since then after being diagnosed with terminal illnesses related to the contaminated debris.
“I lost two friends on 9/11 that I knew personally: Michael Carlo and Tim Welty,” Keith explained. “I wear a bracelet that’s got Michael’s name and a FDNY firehouse. They never found him.”
The 18th anniversary of the attacks was on Wednesday.
“I cry,” Keith said. “It is still a raw emotion … I don’t think I’ll ever lose that.”
Keith said that Feltz is guilty of far more than fabricating a story.
“It’s stolen valor and I hope the prosecutor looks into it,” he said. “He’s a criminal. He’s a criminal as far as I’m concerned.”
Mitchell Feltz, a.k.a. Michael, says he worked for Lexington and Georgetown fire departments at the time of the terrorist attacks and retired in 2012.https://t.co/JXf7bXzvHp
— Chris Sutter (@chrissutter) September 11, 2019
Feltz reportedly also used to go to Mission BBQ quite a bit, often having the cost of his meals compensated by staff who recognized him. The barbecue joint is known for its commitment to veterans and first responders. One employee published a photo on Facebook of Feltz after he reportedly shared a number of stories.
“Yesterday my eyes were widened as I listened in awe to Sgt. Feltz,” the employee wrote. “He told me about his time at Ground Zero and the breathtaking sights he could describe as vivid memories.”
Mitchell Feltz is also apparently untruthful about his name as well. Marriage records show that while his real name is Mitchell, he tells people his name is Michael.
After all of the facts started coming out and Feltz’s story was exposed, WDRB went to Feltz and gave him the opportunity to explain or clarify his story.
“I don’t want to,” Feltz said, closing the door.
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