Wingspan Portfolio Advisors - A snapshot in Corporate Corruption, Abuse, and Racism



"They've taken off their robes, and now they sit in corner offices in business suits;
however they still think THE SAME"
*
"For they WILL be evil people. For plain human people, both power and money can corrupt. For corporate "people" with no innate sense of fairness and no instilled morality, the corruption is a certainty."






















Be careful about the employment you take. Especially in Texas. A state known for Oil, Cowboys, Start-ups and Crooks.

A bad employer can do more than hurt you emotionally, financially, or cripple any other career prospects. A truly bad employer can make you withdraw from the Job Market entirely. The experience one gains from working with a ruthless and cutthroat employer can leave one permanently scarred.

I speak from experience. More people should speak from experience. I had over several years of work experience when during a period of unemployment after a layoff, I heard about a small company in Carrollton, TX which was hiring for Bank of America as a third party vendor. That small company was Wingspan Portfolio Advisors, located at 4100 Midway, Suite 1110, Carrollton, TX 75007. After interviewing for a position with the company I was hired on the spot.

The first few weeks working at Wingspan felt ok. The work was not too difficult and the management told us constantly we could become permanent with hard work. So we worked hard. All of us. However, in a short time, I began to notice what I felt were very unethical business practices by the company. I was instructed to lie on more than one occasion when speaking to Bank of America customers regarding loan documents. Management was non supportive and were at times outright racist against the African American employees. I, along with others, started to notice many white employees being hired permanent whereas the black employees were not even though their work was of high quality. Management also became openly hostile to black employees as well.

I left the company feeling disillusioned with Corporate America.

The last few days I worked at the company and I saw the warped mentality and lack of ethics of managers who treated the blacks with such contempt and back-handedness; and it became so depressing I didn't know if I could ever work for another company again.

I had a realization that Corporate America is the white man's domain. It is his world. We only play in it. For the first time in my life I understand the importance of African Americans to become entrepreneurs in higher numbers than we are currently. We will never be treated as complete equals working for white people in traditional corporate America. No matter our work ethics, values, education or experience we will always be pushed to second tier. I became resentful of corporate America and to this day liken Corporate America to crooks and crony capitalism.

It took months of health issues from the stress from the job, dealing with the racist comments such as when one of the managers referred to the black employees as "roaches" openly and to one male employee in particular as "nigger". When you experience that you will never get over it. It will mold your perception of white people, especially Southern Rednecks in positions of power, forever.

That is why I wrote this blog. Don't let white people no-matter what titles "THEY" give "THEMSELVES" take your dignity. Stand up for your dignity. At the end of the day they may take your job, but don't let them take your dignity.

Disclaimer: As we live in a litigious society where Freedom of speech is often threatened and the wronged are "intimidated" into silence, let me add that the views contained within this article and Blog (all posts) are based on the  experiences and observations of the writer and others who have chosen to come forward to let their voices be heard. All comments, descriptions, headings referencing the personal character of Blog subjects and any other subjects on this blog, are based on the personal opinions, experiences and observations of the Blog Writer and other Third Parties who contributed. You are not expected to accept my word as "Hard Fact", but to read and make up your OWN MIND. In the Words of Fox News "I Report and You Decide".

This blog is a personal, informal blog where I converse in a casual conversational tone with you, the reader, as I would a friend being informed of my experiences. Again, all statements are based on my "personal Experiences", and please be reminded that as they are personal experiences, they are factual to me, but you, the reader, are meant to be informed of my experiences and left to decide on your own accord.  

Thank you for reading. 

If You Want Career Advancement, Don't Work For Wingspan Portfolio Advisors

Unless you're not a minority.

Only a favored few can advance at Wingspan Portfolio Advisors. I witnessed this when I would see people, overwhelmingly whites, with no education or experience, advance quickly ahead of minorities who had both the education and mortgage experience. No one really would say anything out of fear of losing their jobs. Justin Belter and Melanie Pellegrino had all power in determining who would move ahead to that next promotion.

I can remember applying with many of my highly qualified minority coworkers for position openings that would become available. One day after clearly being very impressed with my qualifications, the HR Director at the time (Wingspan has gone through several) went specifically to Mr. Belter's office to get his "permission" to promote me. I had never seen anything like that. Isn't HR suppose to make those decisions going off of qualifications? Why didn't the HR Director at Wingspan Portfolio Advisors see something wrong in white males, who consistently had far less qualifications than black employees for the positions they were being awarded, say something? Because he would have been terminated. Good Ol'boys are called Good Ol'boys because they are expected to go along with the program. They benefit as well as everyone in their clique. At the end of the day the HR director of a small, micromanaged company like Wingspan, where the managers are 99% white males, southern born and bred, wanted to keep his job as well. So he simply "followed orders" and overlooked the qualifications of so many hardworking minority candidates who he knew never had even the remotest chance of moving up at Wingspan Portfolio Advisors.

33 year old "Senior VP" Justin Belter
at Wingspan Portfolio Advisors


 I also can't understand why anyone would send the intimate pictures of himself with his spouse smoking "guda" and drinking and getting SLOBBERED back to their boss, the EVP Jason Dickard? I have never seen anyone so close to their boss where they would post this kind of a picture to be seen not just by the EVP Jason Dickard but by ALL STAFF..

Photo Removed as my dignity will not allow me to show the poor woman in such a drunken state.

I SIMPLY CANNOT POST THE PICTURE OF JUSTIN BELTER'S WIFE GETTING HAMMERED HOLDING A $4.00 BOTTLE OF CHEAP WINE IN SOME SLEAZY GETUP DOWN IN MEXICO WITH HER LEGS GAPED WIDE OPEN LIKE SHE'S EITHER WAITING ON "HER JOHN" OR "A PAP SMEAR" THAT MR. BELTER HIMSELF POSTED ONLINE. 

I HAVE MORE SYMPATHY FOR THE WOMAN THAN EVEN HE DOES.. AND THAT SAYS A LOT AS "HE" MARRIED HER.

SHAME ON THE DOTING "HUSBAND" TO PUT HIS WIFE, IN SUCH A COMPROMISING SITUATION AS BEING DRUNK AND OUT OF SORTS, ON DISPLAY. THIS SHOWS HIS ARROGANCE. AND ALSO HIS STUNNING STUPIDITY.

WAY TO RESPECT YOUR TRASH JUSTIN BELTER. AND TO THINK THESE WERE THE PICTURES HE SENT WINGSPAN'S "TOP REDNECKS" TO GET AHEAD. SHAME. EVIDENTLY IT WORKED. AND TO THINK "THIS" WAS THE GUY WE HAD TO GO TO AND TRUST HIS "JUDGEMENT".. HA! NOW THAT'S LAUGHABLE. ABOUT AS LAUGHABLE AS MELANIE PELLEGRINO SNAGGING A VP SLOT WHEN SHE DOESN'T KNOW HER ASS FROM A DOOR KNOB.



Way To Keep "It Classy",  Mr. Senior VP..
Why Put Your Wife Out There Like That?

We Could Have Done Without Seeing Your "Gut" dude.. Geez.
Wingspan Sure has high standards in promotions.. 
Is There a Labor Shortage of VP's?



Now who all wants to bet that if a black employee, ANY BLACK EMPLOYEE, at Wingspan would have sent pics of himself and his wife getting wasted like this to our managers, the VP's, that we would have automatically been rewarded not just with one promotion, but two all the way up to a SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT. Damn Near Overnight.

And who all wants to bet that if a black male, had managed to knock up his wife their would have damn near been a public company broadcast to cheer the guy on? Nah.. It wouldn't have happened. While "WE" were busy trying to keep our damn jobs, the white males of Wingspan were living the LIFE. While "WE" were being threatened, harassed and Terminated over any minor issue, The white males were clearly not held to the same standards. There was a serious double standard. 


This is where white privilege comes into play. In Corporate America, white corporate leaders look at younger white male employees as "Sons". There is an race based "affinity" there and because of this they are quicker to excuse errors, character flaws and lapses in judgment and open doors of economic advancement that would not be opened to fellow black employees. Black employees are simply viewed as "employees". The procedural aspect as it pertains to write ups, terminations, evaluations, etc. are mostly for "black employees". The white boys get "babied". They get away with much more. Far more than black employees would ever hope to get away with simply because of their white skin. 98% of Corporate Leaders in this country are WHITE MALES. They simply want people who look them sitting beside them in positions of power at the decision table. For wrong or right, this puts white males at an automatic advantage in corporate America. The "Affinity Advantage". Where everyone in leadership looks mostly like them. And desires them to share their positions of power with.
 
There are numerous studies on the internet and off which reinforce what I am saying. The power structure in this country has always been exclusively white and male. This creates a tremendous advantage for those starting off who are white and male. They are quickly trusted to handle greater responsibility than those who classify as minorities. Simply because they "Resemble" the existing power structure. That's why you can have scenarios where black employees are told if they leave work without permission they will be terminated, whereas white employees can leave work without permission and not face termination. The rules apply to both. However, they are only enforced with black employees.
For all of the purported "racial progress" we have supposedly made in this country, all one has to do is take one look at the board rooms and corporate leadership across this nation and they will realize America still has a long way to go. These positions are still overwhelmingly filled with WHITE MALES. I'm tired of being offered lower pay and lesser responsibility because I am a black minority than white males with the same and often fewer qualifications than I. Like Malcolm X said they say "go to school and get a degree" and when you get the degree they say "you're over-qualified". And without the degree they say "you're under-qualified". It's like you're damned if you do and damned if you don't if you're not a white male. Justin Belter started off with no experience, had average work quality and in a few years time was made Senior VP. From the pictures posted you can see how he spent a lot of his time. This is WHITE PRIVILEGE. Edward Snowden, the NSA Leaker and high school dropout, who managed to score a job making $122,000 a year with only his GED has NOTHING on this man when it comes to WHITE PRIVILEGE.

During my employment at Wingspan, the white males would literally walk in off the street, get hired (sometimes without even valid ID's), hung over from the night before, bitch all day about how inept management was, leave without permission early which for blacks would be terminable offenses, and HR, Justin Belter, Melanie Pellegrino and Jason Dickard would consistently take these guys and try to groom them for management. These same guys who honestly could have cared less about the job. That was the mindset of Wingspan Portfolio Advisors.

I would observe my white male coworkers not only bitch and moan about management, but become openly hostile with management and they would be coddled. I would observe the quality of their work and see how many people would have to work to correct their work, and yet they kept their jobs and had promotions ready for them if they wanted them.

I would see white employees who had trouble doing the job go under training one, two, and up to three times until they would be transferred to an easier position or have a position created for them. These opportunities were never afforded equally to black employees.

The Human Resources clerk at the time was a black male and he had access to the pay scale of all employees. He stated he became so disgusted at the enormous pay disparity he resigned. He said he simply couldn't work at Wingspan Portfolio Advisors anymore making less than white guys who had less experience and who had just started to work there.This is what many employees did. They just quit. The few who dared to complain had their days numbered. They would quietly be dismissed.

There was not just a little double standard at Wingspan Portfolio Advisors. There was an enormous double standard at Wingspan Portfolio Advisors. This was whispered about in circles by the black employees. We could see what was happening. However, many of us simply wanted to keep our jobs and Wingspan was the type of company that if you complained of racism, they would find a way to terminate you. For any reason. Justin Belter did this to other employees. He watched one black female until she came to work late one minute and he walked over and terminated her employment. On the spot. She had been a good worker. But she had taken exception to the way Melanie Pellegrino had yelled at her and she was tired of the verbal abuse. This was all it took to remove her. This showed the rest of us that we were not expected to have any dignity while working at Wingspan Portfolio Advisors.

These guys were extremely dirty. Very underhanded and cut throat and racist. They held racist biases against blacks, were uncomfortable working with blacks, and were suddenly, thanks to Wingspan Portfolio Advisors, in powerful positions where they managed black employees and where they could act out on their biases and prejudices and wield undue influence in the lives of their black employees. There was a LOT of verbal abuse. Racist jokes. With blacks being referred to once by Melanie Pellegrino as "roaches" and of course Justin Belter calling a black male coworker a "Nigger" forcing the guy to storm out the building.

Yet these guys were promoted. They were white males in Texas and of course they could do no wrong. No one can tell me that there is not a double standard in Texas. Blacks are at the bottom of the Totem Pole when it comes to Promotions, Hiring, Pay, etc. I know that there are good companies out there, however, I do strongly believe that what I experienced while working at Wingspan Portfolio Advisors is reflective of the work experience of many minorities, especially black minorities, who work in the state of Texas. I initially thought that Dallas would have been different. If this is as "good as it gets" in Texas, then I might as well get the hell out because I can't imagine being someplace where the racism is any worse.

I was wrong to believe that the lone one or two black faces in management, that you will find at any company in Texas or otherwise, meant that the company was inclusive of blacks. This is often not the case and these "lone rangers" who have been selected to grace the offices of management at these companies are usually just "Tokens". Tokens to be propped up before a court to show that the company can't possibly be racist. In Wingspan's case there was Kevin Conn. Yet Wingspan was very racist and unbelievably it was usually Kevin Conn they went to and ordered to perform very questionable terminations and other employment related matters when it came to the black employees. This earned Kevin Conn the reputation of a "Snake" in black circles.

I never did get comfortable working under Justin Belter, Melanie Pellegrino or Jason Dickard, because these guys would look at me and other black workers like a deer looks at Headlights. They were clearly uncomfortable working with black people. I now believe, looking back, that they had honestly never really been around blacks. They seemed very uncomfortable and would stand at a distance and stare at us.

I would often see Jason Dickard as well, walking the floor, with a scowl on his face, looking side to side, from black employee to black employee. This too made me very uncomfortable. But I labored on. The black employees of Wingspan Portfolio Advisors, I can honestly say, put forth five times the work as white employees, who were largely nonchalant and laid back. They would play. They would joke with each other. They would come to work out of dress code all the time. And we would later hear that they had been promoted. There would be no fan fare. Just whispers.

The racism at Wingspan Portfolio Advisors was "insidious". It was deeply rooted. Sometimes overt. Very subtle. The constant promotions of the lesser qualified white candidates would be whispered about. This was done on purpose. The company knew what it was doing. This hurt a lot of black employees deeply. Probably more deeply than the pay disparity which was also taking place at Wingspan Portfolio Advisors. I can honestly say that on this one, HR was complicit in the racism because every white employee that started at Wingspan Portfolio Advisors, many of them right out of college, working alongside black employees who also held college degrees and had years of mortgage experience as well, started off at a much higher pay rate than what we were earning.

These white employees were open about their salaries. They must have thought we all were making what they were. They were naive. Or maybe they weren't and they simply didn't care about the company being sued because of the pay disparity.

The problem with the HR Director going directly to Mr. Justin Belter, who was in his mid 20's at the time, far younger than many others he "managed" who also happened to have far more experience than he did in "everything" pretty much was that Mr. Belter was friends with several of the white males and he was uncomfortable with blacks. Justin Belter also had a reputation for being openly hostile to black employees, even referring to one black male as a "Nigger" forcing the guy to explode and quit on the spot. This resulted in many of the individuals getting promoted, as stated above, having less qualifications than blacks. Some of these people could barely speak a coherent sentence.

At Wingspan Portfolio Advisors my white coworkers were consistently moved ahead of me, and not just me, but many other minorities with relative ease. The position I had applied for with several other highly qualified black candidates went to a white G.E.D. recipient who had a criminal background, absolutely no mortgage experience and who "enunciated" like she was educated in the back of a Barn; and to boot she had an absolutely awful attitude. She was argumentative with everyone and nasty with everyone. Go Figure.. She won out for the promotion over several minority candidates who had more qualifications than her in every category one could imagine.

This is what we experienced working as black employees for Wingspan Portfolio Advisors. SHEER RACISM. 

I take it that very small, redneckish companies work far different than the much larger established ones where one's merit, experience and education holds more weight.

After Being Allowed to Play God with the Career Advancements of many of his higher (than himself) qualified minority subordinates, this guy jet sets off to a beach in Mexico.. When the vast majority of minorities working for Wingspan were without vacation time, sick time, health insurance and where we were constantly threatened if we missed "One Day" of work we would be terminated. Yet this guy starts with all the rest of us and because he is one of the "FEW" white guys working at Wingspan at the time, he is essentially quickly promoted to be an Overseer of all the rest of us who were even more highly qualified than he was..

YEAH..IF YOU ARE A MINORITY.. HERE'S YOUR WELCOME TO TEXAS.

If you are one of the JP Morgan Folks out of Florida, Welcome to the Texas Way of Doing Business.
Wingspan Portfolio Advisors is again, a "very" small company where the management team are all related and very insulated from policies, rules and procedures other team members down the chain have to follow.

For the HR director to essentially overlook my qualifications, so that my lesser (than myself) qualified manager could pick and choose which "favorites" would get promoted showed that you cannot expect fairness at this company.

No matter the lies they consistently give in those meetings they have every 15 minutes which are often about nothing, where they often repeat what they said in the meeting 15 minutes prior; don't believe a word of it. These guys can't be trusted to do what's right. It's just a bunch of classless rednecks parading around as cultured and educated individuals and this couldn't be farthest from the truth.

My Racist Company Fires Minorities. What Can I Do About It?



by CBSNews

Dear Evil HR Lady, I work for a small family business where HR functions are handled by accounting and the department manager. I manage a very small workforce that contributes a great deal to the bottom line. I have recently conducted interviews for a position that is soon to be available. The problem is that the best candidate is a minority, and the owners of the business are racist. They are not overtly racist, they just put the microscope on every minority I hire, especially minority women. My direct supervisor is not a member of the family, but everyone else above me is. I feel that I would not be helping this candidate to hire her since I can guarantee that I will be asked to terminate her before her probationary period ends for "unsatisfactory performance." If I do not hire because my higher ups are racist, then am I guilty of discrimination? I have decided to hire the most qualified person, who is a minority, but I can count the calender days until I am instructed to terminate. What do I do?

Well, this is a sticky situation, isn't it? If the economy were humming along at full speed, I'd tell you to forget about these losers you work for and find a new job. Employers who don't treat their employees fairly soon end up without any good employees, because the good ones leave. That will happen to these people eventually, but in a bad economy, it's easier to keep people who normally wouldn't put up with you. However, I would start looking for a new job anyway because this isn't a place you want to be associated with.

But for the here and now, you need to take control of the situation. Your department contributes to the bottom line. That means other people are dependent upon your work for their paychecks. That gives you some leverage. Let's use it.

First, you need to have clear, objective, quantitative measures for success. This is a critical point. It needs to be established, in writing, what is expected of the new hire. Personally, I'm a fan of SMART objectives. These are objectives that are:

S--Specific M--Measurable A--Achievable R--Relevant T--Time Frame

Once you've written these up, get them approved by your boss and (to be safe) your boss's boss, who is part of the racist family. You need to have their approvals in writing, so that when the time comes you can effectively defend your new hire. Be careful with the SMART objectives: Make sure they're what you want to live and die by, because you'll have to do just that.

With the SMART job objectives in hand, go ahead and make an offer to your best candidate. Go over the details with her and explain that in the past many people have been terminated during the probationary period. Explain that these objectives are new, that they are designed to make sure everyone is on the same page, but again, that other people have been terminated during the probationary period. (And not that you asked, but I really dislike probationary periods. Having a probationary period says, "There will become a time in which you are no longer an at-will employee," but we'll deal with that some time in the distant future.)

To be fair to the candidate, you need to let her know that there is a possibility she'll be terminated. This is especially important if she's leaving another job. Explain that this is not going to be an easy job and that the family sometimes has a hard time accepting outsiders.

Then bring the candidate on board and work with her to make sure she meets the SMART objectives. If the powers that be want to fire her, you'll have solid evidence in your little hand that she has met all of the objectives. When they say, "But it's the probationary period, we can fire anyone at any time," you can say, "Yes, that's true, but this function is critical for the bottom line of the company. If I terminate someone who is clearly meeting the objectives we all agreed on, it's going to look like racial or gender discrimination. If she sues, we'll most likely lose, because how would we defend ourselves? Terminating her would be a poor business move, since she is meeting all the objectives."

Using the "we" form instead of "you" will help soften the blow that you're telling these people they're racist idiots. In fact, they probably won't pick up on it. All you're saying is that it "looks" like discrimination. If they still insist that she be terminated, this is where you need to draw your line in the sand. You need to refuse to terminate the person.

If the family wants to terminate, fine. But, don't you dare be the one who delivers the news. Why? Because often a defense in discrimination lawsuits is that the company can't possibly be racist/sexist/ageist/whateverist because the same person who hired did the firing. The argument is that if there were a problem with illegal discrimination, the person never would have been hired in the first place. Don't give them the opportunity to hide behind you.

I realize that this opens you up for termination. This stinks. But remember, you're a strong contributor to the bottom line. Remind them of that. Stand firm. Don't give in to the temptation to do something wrong to preserve yourself. Sometimes, you've just got to do what's right.

http://m.cbsnews.com/fullstory.rbml?catid=44940168&feed_id=76&videofeed=43CBS News Link
Wingspan Portfolio Advisors Blogspot

Wingspan Portfolio Advisors Sued For Discrimination, Retaliation & Abuse of Its Black Employees


Denny et al v. Wingspan Portfolio Advisors, LLC


Plaintiffs:Roslyn Denny  and Bonita Winslow 
Defendant:Wingspan Portfolio Advisors, LLC
Case Number:3:2011cv01094
Filed:May 24, 2011
Court:Texas Northern District Court
Office:Dallas Office
County:Dallas
Presiding Judge:Sidney A Fitzwater
Nature of Suit:Labor - Other Labor Litigation
Cause:28:1332 Diversity-Employment Discrimination
Jurisdiction:Federal Question
Jury Demanded By:



Plaintiff



Access Link Below For More Information:
http://dockets.justia.com/docket/texas/txndce/3:2011cv01094/206264/

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigating CMU for discrimination claim

Journalism Department faculty members will have to go through sensitivity training in the fall after a faculty member filed a discrimination complaint against three other faculty members.

Sara Kubik, an assistant professor in the journalism department, filed the complaint with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Central Michigan University.

Kubik initially filed a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights and Institutional Equity at CMU in October 2013. Kubik said she experienced “gender-sex and pregnancy discrimination, familial discrimination and past and present harassment.”

In the original complaint, Kubik said three members of the department created a hostile work environment, including former Journalism Department Chair Maria Marron.

Kubik argued that her reappointment as a tenure-track faculty member and tenure clock extension were denied because of her pregnancy during the 2012-13 academic year. Allegations of harassment date back to spring 2013, according to an April 4 resolution from the Office of Civil Rights and Institutional Equity.

According to the resolution, Kubik’s request for the extension did not pass in May 2013. Her reappointment was also denied three times by the journalism personnel committee. After appealing twice, Kubik was informed in December 2013 she had been reappointed for the 2015-16 academic year.

The office concluded that “Marron’s actions do rise to a level of prohibited conduct with respect to Kubik’s pregnancy and (maternity) leave and return to work. While Marron denied harassing or discriminating against Kubik, the facts suggest otherwise. Marron did create an unwelcome and hostile environment within the Central Michigan University community.”

However, the office said Marron was right in her conduct considering Kubik’s tenure clock and reappointment.

“In particular, the language used by Marron in the personnel committee’s recommendation suggests that Kubik brought up the issue of her pregnancy to explain why her teaching and service were not up to par for the year,” the resolution reads. “The comments concerning Kubik’s reappointment related to service, research and teaching ability — not her pregnancy.”

Marron is no longer the department chair or with CMU. She accepted a job at the University of Nebraska-Lincolnas dean of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications in January.

Administrators at UNL told the Daily Nebraskan that they stand behind their decision to hire Marron despite the allegations against her.

“(Marron is) an academic leader who treats others with respect and is unbiased and transparent with her colleagues,” Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Ellen Weissinger told the Daily Nebraskan in May. “It was clear that she was well regarded on campus and nationally as an academic and as a person. I have nothing in front of me to make me think otherwise.”

An investigation of the April 18 complaint is currently open. It is a dual investigation of CMU between the EEOC and the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.

Angelique Moreno, the EEOC investigator assigned to the complaint, told Central Michigan Life in an email, “I can not discuss any case with you, based on my legal obligations.” 

There is no set date for when the journalism department will go through sensitivity training.

http://www.cm-life.com/2014/07/24/equal-employment-opportunity-commission-investigating-cmu-for-discrimination-claim/
Wingspan Portfolio Advisors Blogspot

The 'Over-Policing' of America


I want the police to be better armed than the bad guys, but what exactly does that mean today? Apparently it means the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security equip even the tiniest rural police departments with massive military vehicles, body armor, and grenade launchers. The equipment is surplus from the long wars we fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

To a hammer, everything resembles a nail. Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams were once used only in emergencies such as riots or robberies where hostages were taken. But today there are more than 50,000 "no-knock raids" a year.

It's not because crime got worse. There is less crime today. Crime peaked around 1990 and is now at a 40-year low. But as politicians keep passing new criminal laws, police find new reasons to deploy their heavy equipment. The Washington Post's Radley Balko points out that they've used SWAT teams to raid such threatening haunts as truck stops with video poker machines, unlicensed barber shops, and a frat house where underage drinking was reported.

video

In New York City, these men in black raided standup comedian Joe Lipari's apartment. "I had bad customer service at the Apple Store," Lipari told me in an interview for my upcoming TV special Policing America. "So I bitched about it on Facebook. I thought I was funny. I quoted Fight Club," the 1999 movie about bored yuppies who attack parts of consumer culture they hate. 

"People (on Facebook) were immediately responding that it was obviously from Fight Club," says Lipari. "It was a good time, until 90 minutes later, a SWAT team knocked on my door. Everyone's got their guns drawn." 

It took only that long for authorities to deem Lipari a threat and authorize a raid by a dozen armed men. Yet, says Lipari, "if they took 90 seconds to Google me, they would have seen I'm teaching a yoga class in an hour, that I had a comedy show." 

Lipari has no police record. If he is a threat, so are you. 


SWAT raids are dangerous, and thingsoften go wrong. People may shoot at the police if they mistake the cops for ordinary criminals and pick up guns to defend their homes against invasion. Sometimes cops kill the frightened homeowner who raises a gun.

Because America has so many confusing laws, and also because cops sometimes make mistakes, it's harder to assume—as conservatives often do—that as long as you behave yourself, you have nothing to fear. The raids should also trouble libertarians who sometimes believe that government can mostly be trusted when it sticks to "legitimate" functions like running police, courts, and the military. 

Government always grows, and government is force. Force is always dangerous.

It's healthy for conservatives, libertarians, and liberals alike to worry about the militarization of police. Conservatives worry about a repeat of incidents like the raids on religious radicals at Ruby Ridge and Waco, Texas. Liberals condemn police brutality like the recent asphyxiation death of a suspect at the hands of police in New York. 

This is a rare issue where I agree with left-wing TV host Bill Maher. On his TV show last week, Maher ranted about no-knock raids "breaking up poker games, arresting low-level pot dealers." Maher's right to point out that most SWAT raids are now done to arrest nonviolent drug offenders. "It's a guy who sells weed," says Maher. "You don't need to shoot his dog and crash through his window." 

But they do.

If cops continue to take a warlike us-versus-them approach to policing the population, they just might bring the left and right together. Government is reckless, whether it is intruding into our lives with byzantine regulations that destroy a fledgling business or with a flash-bang grenade like the one that critically wounded a child in a recent SWAT raid in Janesville, Georgia. Regardless of our political leanings, we should be wary of big government in all its forms.


http://reason.com/archives/2014/07/23/over-policing-america?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular&utm_source=huffingtonpost.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=pubexchange_article
Wingspan Portfolio Advisors Blogspot

EEOC: AutoZone Fired Black Manager to Satisfy Hispanic Customer “Preference”, Termination Violated Title VII

It’s a Title VII violation to base employment decisions on the real or imagined preferences of your customers for employees of a particular race. But that’s what the EEOC is alleging that an AutoZone Store in Chicago has done.

In a lawsuit filed this week in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the agency says that the store’s managers decided in 2012 to limit or eliminate the number of non-Hispanics working there, on the belief that the store’s Hispanic customers would prefer to be served by Hispanic employees.

Ergo, in forcing a black manager to transfer out of the store and take an assignment at another store-and then firing him when he resisted– Autozone violated Title VII, the EEOC says.

“Fifty years after the adoption of the Civil Rights Act, a major employer transferring an employee simply because of his race and then firing him for not going along is unacceptable,” said John Hendrickson, the EEOC’s regional attorney in Chicago. “When the employer is a major national brand nd a leader in its industry, it’s even worse. Everyone must understand that supposed customer preference is no excuse for discrimination – it’s still illegal, and the EEOC will step in to challenge it.”

Learn more about the case here.


http://joelustig.wordpress.com/2014/07/23/eeoc-managers-firing-to-satisfy-hispanic-customer-preference-violated-title-vii/
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Study finds "startling" level of prejudice against African-Americans in Oak Park

The Oak Park Village Board discussed what to do about a recent study's finding that a "startling" level of housing discrimination exists in the village. (Wes Venteicher, Chicago Tribune / February 19, 2014)

A study found a "startling" level of prejudice against African-American and disabled renters in Oak Park, where village officials voted Tuesday to create a citizen commission to study how to address the problem.

Calling the study's findings "disturbing" and "galling," the Oak Park Village Board voted to create the commission instead of pursuing immediate disciplinary action.

The village hired HOPE Fair Housing Center to study discrimination in Oak Park housing in 2013. The organization conducted "paired testing" by sending African-American and white renters to eight local management companies to ask about rentals.

Despite the village's reputation as "one of the truly integrated communities in the Chicago Metro area," significant discrimination persists, the study states. Rental companies did not return calls to some African-Americans when they did return white testers' calls, and Black testers were discouraged from renting when Caucasians were encouraged, the report states.

Additionally, rental companies hung up on deaf testers and told them security deposit costs would be higher than testers who could hear, according to the report.

"Frankly, we're not pleased with the results," HOPE Fair Housing Center Executive Director Anne Houghtaling told the board. "They're not what we expected."

Some Caucasian prospective renters were shown apartments when Black prospective renters weren't, the study showed.

One tester, who asked about having an emotional support animal in an apartment, was met with the comment, "maybe you could put like a handicap sign on the front door or something," the study states.

Prospective tenants who were Black or had disabilities were presented as being slightly better qualified than their counterparts, according to the study. Still, African-Americans had more difficulty getting information about rent amounts, security deposits and other details, according to the study. Rental agents were more likely to tell white people about amenities such as quiet streets and coming improvements, while African-Americans often heard about the rigors of criminal and background checks, the report states.

Houghtaling told trustees they could pursue discipline against the companies, which could include naming the companies with the worst offenses and other actions. She recommended education, followed by another study. If companies are still out of compliance after a second study, enforcement actions should be taken, she said.

"I'm kind of inclined to … name (the rental companies') names," Trustee Peter Barber said. "Because I don't like this toleration, I don't like the long discussions, I like people to have to abide by the laws that we have."

Village Attorney Paul Stephanides said the human rights chapter of the village code provides ways to follow up when people report violations.

So far, in cases where the village has investigated fair-housing reports, investigators have found valid reasons for people not getting housing, Village Manager Cara Pavlicek said.

"Nobody's pleased with the results of this report," Trustee Robert Tucker said. "At a minimum, it shows that a real problem exists."

Tucker proposed creating a citizen committee to study the issue and recommend solutions, such as education and more enforcement. He noted a recent citizens' committee at Oak Park and River Forest High School District 200, created to study an unusually large fund balance at the district, had been effective. The board supported his proposal.


http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/oak-park-river-forest-forest-park/ct-fair-housing-oak-park-tl-0227-20140219,0,3471086.story
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Valerie Jarrett: After The Glass Ceiling, There's Also A 'Sticky Floor'

Valerie Jarrett joins Alyona to discuss the importance of raising the minimum wage for entry level jobs for women.

Twitter Admits It Hires Too Many White And Asian Men

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Twitter acknowledged Wednesday that it has been hiring too many white and Asian men to fill high-paying technology jobs, just like several other major companies in Silicon Valley.

The lack of diversity in Twitter's workforce of roughly 3,000 people was spelled out in data released by the San Francisco company behind the popular short messaging service.

The breakdown revealed that 70 percent of Twitter's worldwide workforce is composed of men. In the U.S., nearly 90 percent of Twitter's workers are either white or Asian. Racial data wasn't provided for the global workforce.

Things look even worse for computer programming positions and other technology jobs that tend to pay the highest salaries. Just 10 percent of those jobs are held by women worldwide. More than 90 percent of Twitter's technology jobs in the U.S. are being handled by whites and Asians.

Twitter's scarcity of women, black and Latino workers mirrors similar situations at Google Inc., Facebook Inc., Yahoo Inc. and LinkedIn Corp.

All of those companies have released their diversity data since late May in response to a campaign led by the civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow PUSH coalition.

Jackson has spent much of this year pressuring major Silicon Valley companies to diversify their workforces because the booming technology industry is expected to be a major source of employment for years to come. Many of those jobs pay high salaries and give out stock options that can become worth millions of dollars.

In a statement, Jackson lambasted Twitter's diversity numbers as "pathetic" but called the disclosure of the problem as a "step in the right direction."

Twitter Inc. vowed to change its ways.

"We are keenly aware that Twitter is part of an industry that is marked by dramatic imbalances in diversity," Janet Van Huysse, the company's vice president of diversity and inclusion, wrote in a blog post.

Like some other technology companies, Twitter is supporting programs that teach women how to program computers and introducing internal training programs aiming to eliminate biases.

Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook told reporters earlier this month that the iPhone and iPad maker plans to release its diversity data, too. He didn't say when that information will be released.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/23/twitter-diversity_n_5615134.html?utm_hp_ref=black-voices&ir=Black%20Voices
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City Clerk of Dearborn Heights resigns after allegations of discrimination




(WXYZ) - There are alarming allegations of voter discrimination taking place at City Hall in Dearborn Heights. 

The ADC, representing Arab Americans in civil rights matters, tells 7 Action News several voters were denied absentee ballots for the upcoming primary when they came out to the clerk's office.

The voters, both men and women, say they were basically given the runaround when they came in based on their background.

This allegedly happened over the past several weeks. The city clerk has since announced his resignation after the primary, but-- he says --it's not because of the allegations.

"I received hundreds of applications not filled out correctly and called the Secretary of State Office who told me to hold off and they would make a decision. I've taken my direction from their officer and what prompted my resignation is that the city is broke," said Dearborn Heights City Clerk Walt Prusiewicz.

http://www.wxyz.com/news/city-clerk-of-dearborn-heights-resigns-after-allegations-of-discrimination
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Luxury Apartment Building Will Have Separate Door For Poor Residents

BY BRYCE COVERT
A luxury condo building on New York City’s Upper West Side has gotten clearance from the city to have a separate entrance, or a “poor door,” for low-income tenants, according to the New York Post.

Extell, which is building the 33-story complex, will build a specific door for the 55 affordable housing units it’s including in order to be allowed to build a bigger building. The low-income units, which are available to people making 60 percent of median income or less, will also be in a segment that only contains affordable apartments and that faces the street while the luxury apartments will face the river.

In New York City, this arrangement is relatively common. Luxury builders get credits to use up more square footage than they normally could by promising to build affordable units as well. Those developers can then sell the credits to cover the costs of building the low-income housing. Because Extell considers the affordable segment to be legally separate from the rest of the building, it says it is required to have different entrances.

And besides being made to use a separate entrance, some low-income residents in luxury buildings are prohibited from using the amenities offered to the wealthy tenants, which in the case of this particular building include swimming pools and regulation-sized basketball courts. Several buildings in the city ban affordable housing or rent-regulated tenants from using perks like gyms, rooftops, and pools, and the practice is on the rise.

New York City lawmakers have taken notice of all of this, and two council members are working on legislation that would expand the city’s anti-discrimination protections to include rent-regulated tenants. A state assemblywoman has introduced legislation that would require buildings to let low-income renters use all the amenities.

These issues come at a time when the ability to afford rent is out of reach for more and more city residents. Median rent is nearly 40 percent of median income in New York City, much higher than what is considered affordable. And as in the rest of the country, rents are rising, with the median Manhattan apartment going for $3,247 a month, the second highest level in more than five years. At the same time, the panel that determines how much landlords can raise costs for rent-controlled tenants rejected a proposed freeze and approved a 1 percent uptick. Building more affordable units could help ease that squeeze for some families, but will come with some stigma if they’re kept separate from the better off.

And all of these challenges disproportionately impact people of color. While about 73 percent of people who rent at market rates in Manhattan and nearly 77 percent who own are white, just 47 percent of rent-regulated tenants are white. Rent-regulated tenants, perhaps unsurprisingly, also earn less, making $51,010 a year at the median compared to $103,680 for those renting at market rates. That means restrictions on entrances and amenities impact poor people of color the most.

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/07/21/3462120/new-york-city-poor-door/
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What’s So Christian About Discrimination, Gordon College?

Michael Alexander: "Does Gordon College's president actually believe that an open,
 honest, non-discriminatory process for hiring employees would injure the common
 good?" Pictured: Jenks Library, Gordon College.(ethomsen/Flickr)

President Obama is right to insist that federal monies should not support institutions that discriminate against whole segments of our citizenry. On Monday, he signed an executive order banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity by federal contractors. That order includes universities and colleges receiving federal monies.
The exemption request, in effect, seeks permission to continue discriminatory hiring practices on the basis of sexual orientation.

But D. Michael Lindsay, the president of Gordon College, a small Christian college located north of Boston, has sought a religious exemption from the executive order on the school’s behalf. In a letter dated July 1, 2014 and sent to the White House, Lindsay, along with 14 others, including the chief executive of Catholic Charities USA, the executive editor of Christianity Today and evangelical pastor Rick Warren, requested the exemption.

“Without a robust religious exemption…this expansion of hiring rights will come at an unreasonable cost to the common good, national unity and religious freedom,” the letter states.

The exemption request, in effect, seeks permission to continue discriminatory hiring practices on the basis of sexual orientation. The letter’s signatories believe that an extension of protection for one group would somehow harm faith communities, such as the academic one at Gordon College. It is worth noting that the school is the only higher education institution to sign the letter. Does Gordon College’s president actually believe that an open, honest, non-discriminatory process for hiring employees would injure the common good?

Days after the letter was sent, Lindsay defended his decision in an open letter posted to the college’s website. “Signing the letter was in keeping with our decades-old conviction that, as an explicitly Christian institution, Gordon should set the conduct expectations for members of our community.” What century is Gordon College operating in? 

I find this letter, as well as the stated rationale behind it, to be one more example of an alarming number of assaults on the freedoms that this country was built upon, assaults that seem to be coming at an increasingly rapid pace.

Last month, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of small, privately owned companies inBurwell v. Hobby Lobby. That ruling put the religious beliefs of the owners of closely held companies above the private contraceptive needs of its female employees by exempting such corporations from the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate. So much for the reproductive freedoms of our nation’s women.

This ruling came on the heels of another recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that negatively affects women’s access to their own reproductive healthcare. On June 26, the Supreme Court struck down a Massachusetts law that provided buffer zones to protect patients at women’s health clinics from aggressive anti-abortion activists.
There’s no mistaking the intent of Lindsay’s missive: On the Gordon College campus, homosexuals are not worthy of employment, let alone recognition.

The latest assault on our freedom — waged, ironically, in the name of freedom — by the president of Gordon College continues this worrying trend. There’s no mistaking the intent of Lindsay’s missive: On the Gordon College campus, homosexuals are not worthy of employment, let alone recognition.

Beyond the hurt this stance has caused Gordon’s students, faculty, staff and alumni, it is a slap in the face of every gay and lesbian person, particularly every gay and lesbian Christian. By joining this misguided campaign, Gordon College portrays members of the LGBT community as less human, as a group that does not belong in the embrace of God’s merciful arms. This antiquated and hateful notion strikes at the heart of our societal freedoms. It inflicts pain on those who have long struggled for acceptance, many of whom have lived in fear of retribution in their communities, at home, at school and at work, because of whom they love. 

When institutions such as the Supreme Court or Gordon College diminish the rights of women or homosexuals, they attack Americans’ collective humanity. As a nation, we should be long past these problems. Our country was settled, after all, by pilgrims seeking refuge from persecution in their home country. Many other countries see America as a model of inclusive society — witness the tens of thousands of desperate families gambling that sending their children, unaccompanied, to unknown fates in America is less risky than keeping them in their strife-riven Central American countries. As a people, we have come too far to take these steps backward.

Our institutions of higher education should embrace President Obama’s effort to expand and protect rights for the LGBT community by signing this executive order banning discriminatory hiring practices. It sends a message of inclusion, acceptance, tolerance and love of all people, no matter what their gender or sexual orientation. All of us, not least of all academic institutions charged with educating and enlightening future generations, should do the same.

http://cognoscenti.wbur.org/2014/07/24/obama-bans-lgbt-discrimination-michael-alexander
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18 Austin police officers file racial discrimination lawsuit against city after reassignments

A group of Austin police officers sued the city Wednesday, claiming the Police Department discriminated against them by forcing them out of the elite organized crime division.

In total, 18 officers filed suit against the city seeking monetary damages. They allege that age and race were involved in their transfers from the organized crime division. Their reassignments have negatively affected their promotional tracks, their lawyers said.

The American-Statesman reported in January that a reorganization of the organized crime division rankled the officers who were forced out. Officers in the unit investigate crimes such as drug trafficking and human trafficking.

All of the officers who filed suit are over the age of 40, and most are black or Hispanic. They were replaced by younger, white officers, the suit states. Their reassignments prompted legal complaints to the Texas Workforce Commission, a required precursor to any legal action, officials said.

“This wasn’t right, and we don’t see any benefit out of it,” one of their attorneys, Mark Crampton, said. “We don’t think the administration at Austin Police Department should treat any cops like this.”

A spokeswoman for the Police Department said the department has not yet seen the lawsuit, and that it would be inappropriate to respond to the allegations at this time.

Age discrimination is “endemic” within the police department, Crampton said. He and attorney Walter L. Taylor represented 29 Austin police officers in an age discrimination suit that won a $1.5 million judgment in 2011. An appeals court upheld that judgment in February, and the city is not pursuing any further appeals, Taylor said.

In July 2013, the officers involved in this most recent suit were given notices that they had 28 days to find other jobs within the police department. The new assignments were not demotions but included moving them from investigative positions to night patrol shifts, Crampton said.

The large-scale reassignment also suggested the officers may have done something wrong, Crampton said.

“For the most part, they are highly decorated officers with exemplary records,” he said

The Texas Workforce Commission dismissed the officers’ discrimination complaints on May 31 stating investigators found no grounds for discrimination. However, the dismissal stated its findings are not ironclad and noted that the ruling cleared the way for the officers to file suit.

http://www.statesman.com/news/news/18-police-officers-file-discrimination-suit-agains/ngmfg/
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NEWARK PUBLIC SCHOOLS FACE FEDERAL INVESTIGATION AMIDST CLAIMS OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION

The One Newark Plan, rolled out last year by Superintendent Cami Anderson which includes closing and converting some district schools to charter’s, has sparked numerous protests and now a federal investigation.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Civil Rights Division is now investigating claims that the plan disproportionately affects African-American students and families. The complaint, filed by the grass-roots parent organization PULSE, states that 86 percent of those affected by the changes are African-American while they make up only 51 percent of the entire district. Sharon Smith is Executive Director of pulse.

“This district has not allowed the parents to participate in a process that should have taken place in order to create the plan and so we say we can not stand by and allow the discriminatory plan to move forward. We believe all children should have the opportunity to receive an excellent education in their neighborhood public school.”

The district has yet to return a request for comment. The Department of Education says since the district receives federal funding the DOE understands complaints need to be investigated.

http://www.wbgo.org/newsarticle/newark-public-school-face-federal-investigation-amidst-claims-of-racial-discrimination
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EEOC Sues AutoZone for Racial Discrimination Against Blacks



"Fifty years after the adoption of the Civil Rights Act, a major employer transferring an employee simply because of his race and then firing him for not going along is unacceptable," said John Hendrickson, the EEOC's regional attorney in Chicago.
Chicago, IL - infoZine - Automotive parts retail chain AutoZone, Inc. violated federal law when it forced a black sales manager to transfer out of a store on the southwest side of Chicago because of his race and then fired him for resisting, the U.S. Equal Employment Oppor­tunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a suit filed today.

According to the EEOC's complaint, AutoZone managers decided in 2012 to eliminate or limit the number of non-Hispanic employees working at the store, located at Kedzie and West 49th Street. The EEOC's pre-suit administrative investigation, supervised by EEOC District Director John Rowe, revealed that the employer appeared to believe Hispanic customers of the store would prefer to be served by Hispanic employees. As a result, the black sales manager was allegedly told to report to another store on the far south side of Chicago. When he refused to do so, he was fired, the EEOC said. 

The EEOC brought the suit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits limiting, segregating, or classifying employees on the basis of race. It is also illegal for employers to base employment decisions on customers' discriminatory preferences - whether real or imagined. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The case, (EEOC v. AutoZone, Inc., Civil Action No. 14-cv-5579) was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, and was assigned to U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve. The government's litigation effort will be led by EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney Gregory Gochanour and Trial Attorney Justin Mulaire.

Memphis-based AutoZone is a Fortune 500 company and describes itself as the leading auto parts retailer in the United States. With reported annual sales of over $8 billion, it employs more than 65,000 people in 48 states.

http://www.infozine.com/news/stories/op/storiesView/sid/59459/
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Fannie Mae Firm Accused of Discriminatory Maintenance of Foreclosed Homes in Non-White Neighborhoods


Fannie Mae
A firm hired by Fannie Mae to maintain vacant, foreclosed properties in the Baltimore area systematically neglects homes in non-white neighborhoods, according to a discrimination complaint filed Tuesday with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In the complaint, the National Fair Housing Alliance and two partners allege that Florida-based Cyprexx Services LLC performed contractually-required upkeep, such as trash removal and mowing the lawn, "noticeably better" in majority-white neighborhoods than in African-American and Latino communities, a violation of the Fair Housing Act.

The problems, found during investigation of more than 170 properties in four cities including Baltimore, breed blight, push down neighborhood property values, and create other distress in those communities, according to the Washington-based housing advocacy group.


In Baltimore, the National Fair Housing Alliance looked at 26 homes, including six in neighborhoods where more than 50 percent of the population was white. They found at least three problems — such as broken windows, unsecured doors and invasive plants — in 75 percent of the homes in non-white neighborhoods. In white neighborhoods, just 17 percent of the properties had three or more problems.Cyprexx did not respond to a request for comment.

The other cities in the complaint were Orlando, Fla., Richmond, Va. and Kansas City in Kansas and Missouri.

The National Fair Housing Alliance and its partners have filed similar complaints against other Fannie Mae contractors, as well as banks such as Bank of America, Deutsche Bankand U.S. Bank. Wells Fargo agreed last year to pay more than $40 million to a settle a 2012 complaint brought by the group and its partners.


http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/real-estate/wonk/bs-bz-housing-complaint-20140722,0,964693.story
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