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

UPDATE:  Wingspan CEO  Steve Horne has been OUSTED after the company failed to make even its FIRST payment on a reported $18.8 million dollar loan. Housing Wire also reports that Steve Horne attempted to regain control of the company and he failed at this measure too. Apparently investors grew nervous about the missed loan payment and other 'questionable' decisions Steven Horne made as Wingspan CEO, including devoting Wingspan's philanthropic resources to the singing career of a family member. It is stated Steve Horne mixed personal expenses with business expenses. 

One notable quote from the Housing Wire article announcing Steven Horne's ouster was this:

“It appears Wingspan does not care for their employees, families nor the community as they also did not inform Brevard County workforce of the layoffs,” one former Wingspan employee at the Melbourne location told HousingWire.

The former employee, who wished to remain anonymous, also told HousingWire that Wingspan created a hostile work environment in Melbourne, which caused clients to abandon the extension of their contracts, leading to the layoffs


Well, well.. It's not news to me that Wingspan took its way of doing business down to Florida and was rebuffed. From my experience, these guys have always done business in a nasty, ruthless manner. Look at the reviews many of their Florida employees have given them. They do business in a "Texas" Fashion which is no holds barred, fuck everyone, profit over people type of fashion and Florida simply wasn't having that shit. They started to lose contracts left and right.

Executives Justin Belter, Melanie Pellegrino, Jason Dickard, and several others (including Director Kevin Conn) all left right before Steven Horne was ousted. They all left around the same time. Suddenly. Out the Blue. Now that sounds like these guys were PUSHED OUT but who knows. That's a strange way to leave all of a sudden. Especially around the same time. From what I heard the bankers wanted entirely new leadership so they most likely were forced out.

Can Anyone say "POETIC JUSTICE" and Can I Get An "AMEN"!


Looks like Justin Belter, Jason Dickard and another Wingspan Executive named Cesar Hernandez have hurriedly started another company called Agility 360 in Carrollton, TX with a fancy website and they are putting out 'press releases' notifying the public they have hired 'each other'..lol.  The website is so new it hasn't even been rated by my security software. After reading all of the fancy wording about what this company does I pretty much gather it does a whole lot of nothing. 


According to the Agility 360 Website the company --> "resolves and prevents operational challenges for banks, lenders, insurers and investors resulting from economic fluctuations, regulatory demands, and industry re-positioning. Our unique engagement model increases operational adaptability while reducing financial, operational and compliance risk or exposure.


And again I don't know about you but that sounds like they are doing a whole lot of 'nothing'. Pretty much sitting pretty in jobs where they try to give 'advice' about something they know 'nothing about'. Maybe the flashy website and over the top language will work for them. The poor bastards just might make a good go of it. They are going after big banks after all, and white folks with money aren't known for being the smartest tools in the shed. Some are quite stupid in fact. Just look at how many have been fooled out of large sums of money by Nigerian hustlers. So the large corporations just may send a lot of business their way. They probably won't care that these so-called 'experts' started this company after damn near driving their last company into financial ruin. 


You can read more about Steve Horne's ouster here --> http://www.housingwire.com/articles/31581-sources-wingspan-ceo-and-founder-steve-horne-ousted


End of Update



"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 the 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/

4th of July Should Not Be Celebrated By Black People


It's not our Holiday. Never has been. 

The Flag stands for Oppression. I will never respect it. 

--------

What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days of the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is a constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy—a thin veil to cover up crimes that would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation of the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of these United States at this very hour.

At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour forth a stream, a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and the crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced. - Frederick Douglass’s famous 1852 Independence Day address in Rochester, New York

CROOKS! Sue-Happy Centerpoint Apartments Freezes Bank Account of Disabled Grandmother Who Never Lived There..

DAAAAAAMN.. And people are still renting from these Assholes? 

Talk about being low down dirty SCUM!

Most people give up and pay Centerpoint, but C.J. Duffey has been trying to fight them on appeal.
Now they've gone after his mother's bank account

We won't say the Centerpoint Apartments on Frankford Road is one of the sleaziest apartment complexes in Dallas, because last time we checked the business had filed at least 700 lawsuits against its former tenants. The 700 suits don't include regular evictions, but instead are for offenses such as excessive cleaning fees, "damage beyond normal wear and tear" and breaking leases early. (You might be dirtying the place up real bad, but Centerpoint still doesn't want you to leave, as hundreds of former tenants have learned).

So rather than say something like "These people sure sue a lot and are really good it," or "For God's sake don't live there," we will simply point out that the Centerpoint Apartment complex is owned by a family of debt collectors who, after suing tenants, then sue their banks in order to freeze their accounts and force them to pay up. As an example of how adept Centerpoint is at bank garnishment, we point to January 13, when Centerpoint successfully froze the bank account of a 72-year-old grandmother in Sulphur Springs who has never lived there.

"It just shocked me so bad," says Della Cleveland, the grandmother who discovered that the nearly $6,000 she had saved up has been frozen, and still is. "I do have money coming in there for my Social Security and retirement that I'm concerned about, whether they're going to get more."

How is this legal? Because Cleveland's son, who has also never lived at Centerpoint, once co-signed for his daughter, who did live there. When Centerpoint subsequently accused the daughter of damaging her unit excessively and causing other lease violations, it was her father who got a letter demanding $1,728.80. "The apartment requested that we have liability," C.J. Duffey, the father, told us a year and a half ago, when he first got surprised with the bill. "And I see now that's what they were going after, the people that were co-signing for her."

Everything about the bill seemed wrong to Duffey, so he decided to fight it in court. But little did he know that the then-justice of the peace in Denton County's Precinct 6 had never ruled against Centerpoint. Predictably, she sided against Duffey in his case, too. He decided to appeal.


That was in August 2013. Duffey has been trying to appeal Centerpoint's judgment against him ever since. And that's how his mother got into trouble a few weeks ago. As the appeal fees piled up, Cleveland signed a surety bond to help Duffey cover the court costs, unaware that doing so would put her on the hook for the future judgments should Centerpoint win its next court battle......


BY AMY SILVERSTEIN

Wingspan Portfolio Advisors Blogspot

Google Apologizes For Tagging Photos Of Black People As "Gorillas"

First it was Google apologizing for tagging the White House as the "Nigger House"...

Now Google is yet again apologizing for tagging photos of Black People as "Gorillas"..

This is starting to happen a little "Too Much" with Google.....


When Jacky Alciné checked his Google Photos app earlier this week, he noticed it labeled photos of himself and a friend, both black, as “gorillas.”

The Brooklyn programmer posted his screenshots to Twitter to call out the app’s faulty photo recognition software:

Black Photos on Google  Tagged With "Gorilla". Google Apologizes.

Yonatan Zunger, Google’s chief architect of social, responded on Twitter with a promise to fix the tag. The next day, USA Today reports, Google removed the "gorilla” tag completely.

"We're appalled and genuinely sorry that this happened," Google spokeswoman Katie Watson said in a statement to BBC. "We are taking immediate action to prevent this type of result from appearing. There is still clearly a lot of work to do with automatic image labeling, and we're looking at how we can prevent these types of mistakes from happening in the future."

This isn’t the first time this year Google has had to apologize for something offensive in their software . Google Maps made headlines when users discovered last month that entering a racial slur into the search field in some area yielded the address of the White House. The site quickly corrected the lapse.

Google’s diversity numbers have remained largely static over the years. About 70 percent employees are men. Sixty percent of the company’s employees are white and 31 percent are Asian. Combined, African Americans and Latinos make up only 5 percent of the work force.

As Alciné told The Huffington Post via Twitter direct message, “A diverse QA team could have caught this if they tested it on themselves, or a diverse focus group for testing."....

Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper, Mark Williams, Caught Buying Drugs While On The Job

A Tennessee Highway Patrol Officer has been arrested and charged him with Delivery Of A Schedule II Controlled Substance and Possession Of A Weapon During A Dangerous Felony. The officer, Trooper Mark Williams had been under investigation & was seen buying hydrocodone while on patrol duty Friday June 19th. TBI Officers also arrested Elliot goode, the dealer that sold Trooper Williams the drugs. 


The shocking thing here though is that he has not been fired.

 I'm not sure what the process is here, but when caught red-handed doing wrong, most people would be terminated on the spot. Trooper Williams however has been placed on "discretionary leave with pay!!!" 

Surely someone will realize how bad this looks soon & serve Officer Pill-Popper his Separation Notice.

 #TaxDollarsBeingPutToGreatUse 

Trooper Mark Williams has been with the THP since 2004, and had most recently been working The Lauderdale County/Memphis District.

#FTP

Tennessee Hwy Patrol Trooper Mark Williams
Caught Buying DRUGS while on the JOB.
And he has NOT BEEN FIRED at the time of this report.
Can anyone say WHITE PRIVILEGE?
Tennessee Hwy Patrol Trooper Mark Williams
Caught Buying DRUGS while on the JOB.
And he has NOT BEEN FIRED at the time of this report.
Can anyone say WHITE PRIVILEGE?


http://wanderingeyes.weebly.com/home/tennessee-highway-patrol-trooper-caught-buying-drugs-while-on-the-job

Wingspan Portfolio Advisors Blogspot

COONIN FOR THE CAMERA, The Best Brainwashed Slave Award Goes To 'Christon Scriven', Dylann Roof's Black Friend



Oh wow.. talk about "coonin" for the media. 

This black guy, Christon Scriven, Dylann Roof's  supposed "friend", says he still loves Dylann Roof who shot up a black church because blacks were "taking over the world" and who posted on his website that blacks were "lower than dogs". Yet this man says Dylann Roof was not racist.  And this stupid ass said "oh well, the people in the church weren't the target. It was the school. Dylann was going to shoot up the school". REALLY!?!? 

He just shot 9 human beings and specifically said he targeted them because they were black. But this asshole says he doesn't feel any different about Dylann today than before he shot up the church! God help us.

Here is a portion of what Dylann Roof wrote on his website about blacks. This guy is suffering from a major case of Stockholm Syndrome. Dylann Roof not racist?!?!?!? NEGRO PLEASE.

I worked with many african americans like this guy at Wingspan Portfolio Advisors. Black people who have been indoctrinated into believing white supremacy is 'justified' and 'God's will'. Blacks who doted on whites, pursued white partners and spouses and who willingly gutted their own people to appease the white management. They would come to work and show pictures of their white girlfriends and boyfriends, bring their  racial half caste children up to the job to show them off. "look massa.. I's one of you now". Blacks filled with self hate and self pity. Lacking courage. Lacking a spine. Lacking any historical knowledge of self. African Americans who have been poisoned in this hostile racist system. Blacks who have been taught to 'stand for nothing'. Some of these guys weren't bad people. But their weakness and their ignorance repulsed me. It still does and I haven't worked for Wingspan Portfolio Advisors for years. I still remember how it was..



On the rationale for white power: "Say you were to witness a dog being beat by a man. You are almost surely going to feel very sorry for that dog. But then say you were to witness a dog biting a man. You will most likely not feel the same pity you felt for the dog for the man. Why? Because dogs are lower than men. This same analogy applies to black and White relations."

On segregation: "Segregation was not a bad thing. It was a defensive measure. Segregation did not exist to hold back negroes. It existed to protect us from them. And I mean that in multiple ways. Not only did it protect us from having to interact with them, and from being physically harmed by them, but it protected us from being brought down to their level. Integration has done nothing but bring Whites down to level of brute animals. The best example of this is obviously our school system."


On the biological basis of white supremacy: "Anyone who thinks that White and black people look as different as we do on the outside, but are somehow magically the same on the inside, is delusional. How could our faces, skin, hair, and body structure all be different, but our brains be exactly the same? This is the nonsense we are led to believe. Negroes have lower Iqs, lower impulse control, and higher testosterone levels in generals. These three things alone are a recipe for violent behavior."

On white culture: "Many White people feel as though they dont have a unique culture. The reason for this is that White culture is world culture. I dont mean that our culture is made up of other cultures, I mean that our culture has been adopted by everyone in the world. This makes us feel as though our culture isnt special or unique."

On why he chose Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church: "I have no choice. I am not in the position to, alone, go into the ghetto and fight. I chose Charleston because it is most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country. We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the internet. Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me."

To Visit the Website, Please Click HERE:


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Pope Francis Slams World's 'Great Powers' For Waiting So Long To Help Jews Taken To Auschwitz

Well the Pontiff is absolutely correct. The world's great powers have turned a blind eye to the genocidal  wars which have consumed Africa, killing off millions of blacks, as well. The 'World's Great Powers' are consumed with wealth, power and influence and nothing more.

Pope Francis Slams 'World's Great Powers' For not moving quick enough to  help Jews in Auschwitz.

FRANCES D'EMILIO, Associated Press

ROME (AP) — Pope Francis on Sunday denounced what he calls the "great powers" of the world for failing to act when there was intelligence indicating Jews, Christians, homosexuals and others were being transported to death camps in Europe during World War II.

He also decried the deaths of Christians in concentration camps in Russia under the Stalin dictatorship, which followed the war.

The pope's harsh assessments came in impromptu remarks during his visit to Turin, northern Italy, when he told young people he understands how they find it hard to trust the world.

"The great powers had photographs of the railway routes that the trains took to the concentration camps, like Auschwitz, to kill the Jews, and also the Christians, and also the Roma, also the homosexuals," Francis said, citing the death camp in Poland. "Tell me, why didn't they bomb" those railroad routes?

Referring to concentration camps that came "a little later" in Russia, Francis wondered aloud: "How many Christians suffered, were killed" there?

Lamenting the cynicism of world players in the 1930s and 1940s, Francis said: "the great powers divided up Europe like a cake."

He also cited what he called the "great tragedy of Armenia" in the last century. "So many died. I don't know the figure, more than a million, certainly. But where were the great powers then? They were looking the other way," the pope said....

To read more, click HERE

Wingspan Portfolio Advisors Blogspot

Judy Mozes, Wife Of Israeli Interior Minister Silvan Shalom, Posts Racist Obama Tweet

My 2 Cents

I'm' not surprised. There are many videos on Youtube of Israelis, in Israel, calling blacks niggers. African Migrants are being placed in Israeli Detention camps and one prominent Israeli politician referred to blacks as "Dirty" and said "Blacks smell bad". There have been numerous reports of Israeli doctors sterilizing the black immigrant women without their knowledge. Israelis are pretty racist. They don't have a problem with white people, even white supremacists who hate their asses, but they hate blacks. Seems like everyone hates blacks. The white man's racism has rubbed off on all others. 

ISRAELIS ARE 'VERY' RACIST TOWARDS BLACK PEOPLE. (See Below Video)



ISRAEL PRACTICING 'EUGENICS' ON ETHIOPIAN JEWISH WOMAN AGAINST THEIR WILL (See Below)

_______________________________________________________________________

Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes, an Israeli TV and radio personality and the wife of Interior Minister Silvan
Shalom, apologized on Sunday after tweeting, and then deleting, a joke about U.S. President Barack Obama.

Judy Mozes, Wife of Israeli Interior Minister, Posts Racist Obama Tweet


Shortly after tweeting the joke to her 74,000 followers, Mozes fired off three apology tweets in English, including one directed at Obama himself and one at her husband. She also apologized in Hebrew.


Wingspan Portfolio Advisors Blogspot

Kurtis Cook, Mabank Texas Firefighter, Fired After Praising Charleston AME Church Shooter Dylann Roof For Murdering Black Parishioners

Kurtis Cook, Mabank Texas Firefighter, Fired For Praising Charleston Mass Shooter Dylann Roof on Facebook

A firefighter lost his volunteer position at Mabank, Texas fire department for sympathizing with Dylann Roof, the alleged murder behind the Charleston massacre.

The racist comment seemingly written by Kurtis Cook this week said Roof “needs to be praised for the good deed he has done” in the killing of nine people Wednesday.

The 21-year-old is believed to have shot the victims to death at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston on Wednesday night.

He was busted 14 hours later on Thursday in Shelby, N.C. after a manhunt.

JUST AWFUL! Kurtis Cook, of Mabank Texas, praises the actions of Charleston
AME Church Shooter Dylann Roof saying Roof should be 'praised for his good deed'.
 
Cook’s statement posted Thursday as well sparked an internal investigation that eventually cost him his job a day later, fire officials announced.

“The Mabank Fire Department Command Staff has terminated Kurtis Cook as a volunteer Firefighter permanently and has trespassed him from all Mabank Fire Department property,” the department’s spokesperson wrote Friday afternoon. “The Mabank Fire Department does not condone nor promote these type of actions or thoughts. On behalf of all members, the Mabank Fire Department offers our deepest apologies to all that were offended by his actions and comments.”

It’s not clear where on Facebook Cook apparently wrote his insensitive opinion, but a screenshot obtained by KETK-TV shows that another Facebook user encouraged those that were offended to call Mabank and report the firefighter.

Dylann Roof, Charleston SC AME Church Shooter

Patricia Bailey from Charleston prays at the memorial site outside of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church where nine people were murdered in Charleston, South Carolina.
To Continue Reading, Please Click HERE


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Dylann Roof, White Supremacist, Brutally Guns Down Nine Black Parishioners At AME Church in Charleston South Carolina

Dylann Roof, a 21 year old white male, walked into the historic AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina and proceeded to sit with black church members as they were holding a Bible Study. After the Bible Study ended, roughly one hour later, he opened fire killing six women and three men. He told one woman he would 'let her live' so that she could tell 'what happened'. He then informed her that he had to kill the parishioners because 'blacks were taking over the world and raping their women'.

He has been apprehended. The families of the murdered have expressed forgiveness, even through their grief.

America still struggles with racism. It seems to be a wound which will not heal.

God Bless those who grieve and give them solace in their sorrow.


Centerpoint Apartments on Frankford Road in Dallas, Owned By a Family of Debt Collectors, Allegedly Sues Every Tenant On Move Out

Texas Justice of The Peace Courts Are So Damn Crooked.
They Have All Been Financed By The Apartment Lobbyists.


C.J. Duffey accuses Centerpoint of forging his signature.


The letter arrived in C.J. Duffey's mailbox late last year, and everything about it seemed wrong.

"Dear Charles Duffy," it began, misspelling his last name. "Following your default from apartment #1204, you have an outstanding balance of $1728.80."

The money was due immediately. "If the amount requested is not paid, your file may be turned over to our attorney for litigation."

It was signed by Kendra Heintzelman, property supervisor of Centerpoint Apartments, a sprawling complex on Frankford Road in North Dallas. A similar letter arrived in Duffey's ex-wife's mail around the same time.

Neither had ever lived at Centerpoint. But their daughter, Kenya Gilstrap, had. It wasn't especially nice, but it wasn't far from Buttons in Addison, where Gilstrap sometimes performed as a singer. It was cheap: $484 a month. And they let Gilstrap's parents co-sign the lease.

"The apartment requested that we have liability," Duffey recalls. "And I see now that's what they were going after, the people that were co-signing for her."

Duffey lives about 80 miles east, in Sulphur Springs. He is a minister at Color Blind Ministries, a church that prides itself on its diversity. He owns a hospice in town and has a boxing room at the local gym, decorated with pictures from his youth, when he competed as an amateur and pro. He also works as bail bondsman in Hopkins County.

Fighting, in other words, is something he's accustomed to.

"I go to court on a weekly basis, so I know how to behave in court," he says.

He didn't pay the alleged balance. When he got a notice that Centerpoint had, in fact, sued him in Denton County Court, he filed an answer and got a court date. He expected a judge to throw the debt away after he got a chance to explain how it just came out of nowhere. "I thought that this was so cut and dried," he says.

But then he showed up in court and met his match — an apartment complex owned by a family of debt collectors and known for aggressively suing its tenants, in a courtroom whose judge has never ruled against them. He was about to learn the lesson other tenants have when they've moved out, and even before.

"We're kind of afraid to move," explains one Centerpoint resident, "because we heard rumors that when you move out, they fuck you."

Centerpoint is a bloated structure of white and gray brick, on a busy stretch of Frankford Road. It's surrounded by private parking lots that residents say double as a decent place to make a drug deal. It sits next to a commercial parking lot dotted with fast-food chains, a Metro PCS, a Kwick Stop and a pawn shop. The rent is cheap, which keeps the leasing office packed with prospective tenants, many of whom aren't keen on reading or honoring their leases too closely. The resulting lawsuits, which Centerpoint almost always wins, are expensive.

The complex is operated by the Zidell-Susman Co., a Dallas company run by Allan Zidell and Ari Susman. They don't appear to own a lot of other buildings in town, but Zidell does have his hands in another business: a debt collection agency called JSZ Financial, where he's a director. That company, which specializes in collecting property debts, is run by another Zidell, a man named Jeff, and shares an address with Zidell-Susman. (A JSZ secretary said that neither men would comment.)

At Centerpoint, the Zidell tradition appears to be taking tenants to court. The complex has filed more than 700 lawsuits against tenants since 1996, records show, far more than similarly sized buildings. That doesn't include simple eviction cases or the hundreds of times Centerpoint has asked a court to freeze the bank accounts of defendants it's successfully sued.

"I never lost a Centerpoint case," brags Jeffrey Sprigg, an attorney who represented Centerpoint for almost six years at the Suster Law Group, its law firm of choice. "And why is that? Because all of the claims we had were valid."

The courts tend to agree, leaving working-class tenants with bills in the thousands.

Like Duffey, Russell Scott Sawyer never lived at Centerpoint, but he and his ex-wife signed a lease there as a guarantor for their son Troy Durham, court records show. The lease would last from September 3, 2011, until March 31, 2012, and would automatically go month-to-month unless the Sawyers gave notice of their plans to break it 60 days in advance.

Sawyer faxed his 60-day notice to Heintzelman in January 2012, according to the "Notice to Vacate" form he submitted to the court. "Contract will be up 3/31/12 — tenant may choose to sign his own lease and stay in unit," he wrote.

But Heintzelman ignored his notice and continued to call him, Sawyer alleged in a letter to the court. And on March 28, two days before the lease ended, he emailed Centerpoint, stressing that he'd already submitted his notice: "Nothing has changed. We will not be responsible for the bill after March 31, 2012."

The phone calls continued, he told the court, and Durham remained in the apartment under the original lease co-signed by Sawyer. Sawyer filled out yet another "Notice to Vacate" on April 18, 2012 — about a month after the original lease was supposed to end, meaning that he now would be on the hook for the lease until the end of June. That is, if the vacate notice was acknowledged by Centerpoint. This one wasn't either. (Heintzelman claims that Sawyer changed his mind about his son moving out.)

"The phone calls continued from the manager and I was still being harassed by the complex. I asked the complex to quit contacting me but the phone calls continued," Sawyer told the court.

Centerpoint evicted Durham in June, despite his apparent plans to move out by the end of the month. Eight months later, in February of this year, Sawyer got a letter in the mail from Centerpoint's collections manager, Jennifer Reven: "Following your default and move out from the above apartment you have an outstanding balance of $3,341.25." In the letter, Reven warned that "if payment is not received immediately I will instruct our attorney to file a lawsuit against you for this amount."

In fact, Centerpoint had started filing suit months earlier, in November 2012. The bill was for "final utilities, unpaid rent and late fees, eviction court costs, damages beyond normal wear and tear, concession charge back, reletting fee, electric provider fee and writ of possession fee." A judge ruled for Centerpoint, and tacked on $1,050 in attorney's fees.

"I think Mr. Sawyer felt sorry for his kids and he paid the rent for them," Heintzelman said in an interview. "He probably didn't have the money to continue to pay for them because they didn't work."

At least Terra Shepard actually lived at Centerpoint, although not full-time. As a traveling roofer, she used to chase storms, looking for the next big insurance payout. Around 2006, she rented a Centerpoint apartment to have as a crash pad when she visited Texas.

"It was just one problem after another," Shepard says. "Every time I came back in town there was a note on my door saying that I owed them something. None of it ever made much sense to me so I just paid it."

Shepard finally ended the lease in 2011. She says she didn't get a dime of her security deposit back. Then she got a letter in the mail, asking for around $1,200.

"When they sued me, which I thought was just hilarious, I just basically chose to ignore it," she says. Court records show that Centerpoint won a default judgment against Shepard of $931. Months later Centerpoint asked a court to freeze Shepard's bank accounts until she paid up, records show. The case was dismissed. Shepard says she filed for bankruptcy around the time of the lawsuit, preventing Centerpoint from collecting the debt.

Centerpoint's attorney, Israel Suster, says his client wouldn't want to go to court without a solid case. "It costs them time, money and expense," he says. But the residents almost always lose, and end up covering those legal expenses.

"I just paid them everything," says Riley Zollars. She lived at Centerpoint back in 2007, when she was staying in Dallas for an architecture internship. She didn't know she owed Centerpoint money until she left Texas. "When I talked to them on the phone, I don't know who I was talking to from Centerpoint, they were like pretty nasty, and they basically were just like, 'You have no rights, there's no way you're going to win this.' And I really didn't have the means to go to Texas and try to find a lawyer and all that stuff, so I just paid them."

The bill was $3,743.

Sarah Surratt co-signed for her granddaughter to live at Centerpoint around that same time. Then her granddaughter lost her job. They fell behind on rent and were evicted.

Surratt, 80, recalls getting a call from a woman from the complex who sounded mad. She wanted $5,000. "I kept insisting that I was not going to pay her that $5,000," Surratt says. She got off the phone and talked to an attorney, who helped settle the case — for $4,000.

A mother who co-signed for her son in 2007 got caught in Centerpoint's legal crosshairs when the complex evicted him, saying he was a "suspect in a drug investigation," documents show. When he returned to Centerpoint with his mother a final time to try negotiating the money he owed, the cops were there. They arrested him and he spent the night in jail — not for drugs, his mother says, but for traffic tickets he owed but never paid. He was convicted in Denton County of two traffic citations the year prior, but Texas records show no drug charges against him.

Centerpoint accused her son of not just breaching his lease by getting evicted but also for damaging the apartment. The judge sided with Centerpoint, awarding the apartment $2,491.52 — plus another $1,225 in legal fees.

For most property owners, lawsuits aren't a worthy investment, legal experts say; landlords usually just turn debts over to collection agencies. "Suing a tenant is not a very lucrative activity," says David Sadegh, president of the Tenants Council of Houston.

But for Centerpoint, litigation, or the threat of it, appears to be a key weapon in its arsenal. It starts with a letter, like the one Duffey received, threatening a lawsuit if he didn't pay up.

"I am not a certified collector," Heintzelman, the property manager, said in an interview.

"I cannot, say, threaten lawsuits or say some of the things that a licensed collector can. It's against the law. ... I'm limited in what I can ask for."

But in Duffey's' case, that's exactly what she did.

"That is the letter that is given to me to send out," she said. "I didn't write the demand letter, but I have to send it out."

When a lawsuit does get filed, much of a time there isn't even a trial. "We would settle I would say upwards of 30 percent [of cases] prior to going to court," says Sprigg, the former Centerpoint attorney. Other times people ignore the warning letters they get from Centerpoint. Then they get a court order, and they ignore that too. In those cases, Centerpoint wins an easy default judgment, usually at least $1,000 before attorney's fees.

"I think they're very aggressive in pursuing what they think are breaches," says Sharon Campbell, a Dallas-based attorney who has counter-sued Centerpoint on behalf of a client.

Sandy Rollins is the executive director of a nonprofit tenants rights group called the Texas Tenants Union. Whenever someone comes into her office to complain that they've been sued, she says they're usually getting sued by the "Zidell-Suster machine," she says.

The standard apartment lease used by the Texas Apartment Association, the industry's trade group, comes with a lot of fine print. But for most complexes it's not enough. They tack on even more, addendum by addendum. One of the most common is for something called a "rent concession," spun as special discount.

Typically, breaking a contract leaves you only on the hook for the actual damages caused by your change of heart. Contract law typically keeps you from getting charged an extra punitive fine just for breaking the deal.

With rent concessions, landlords have dug themselves a sizable loophole. It works like this: An apartment complex advertises an apartment at a specific price — say, $1,000. But when the tenant goes to sign on the dotted line, an addendum attached to the lease lists the apartment's "market rate" as something higher — say, $1,200.

It's designed to make the tenant think he's getting some sort of deal. But it's actually a way to keep tenants from breaking their leases, and to penalize them if they do. If a tenant beaks the lease early, the "discount" disappears retroactively. So a tenant who paid the advertised $1,000 rent for 11 months — but left a month before his one-year lease was up — would have to pay back the $200 discount for every month he lived there. That's $2,200.

Many of the lawsuits filed by Centerpoint include demands for "concession chargebacks": In Duffey's case, the charges included a $93 concession fee for the last month his daughter lived there. Often it's much more: Nathan Roberts says he wanted to renew but missed his 60-day deadline. Centerpoint kicked him out, he says, and then sued him for $569 in unpaid rent and $780 in repaid discounts. Another tenant, Jim Rhodes, owed $882.

It's a practice tenant-rights advocates say shouldn't stand up in court.

"Rent concession agreements are tricky lawyer tricks," says Robert Doggett, an attorney at the nonprofit Rio Grande Legal Aide. "It's just a total sham where they invent something to try to get around Texas law."

In 2009, Texas state Representative Eddie Rodriguez introduced a bill to ban rent concessions. It failed, which Rodriguez blames on the powerful Texas Apartment Association, which pours hundreds of thousands of dollars into Texas campaign coffers every election cycle. "I think the TAA lobbied really, really hard and talked to enough members to defeat it essentially," Rodriguez says. "Tenants' rights in Texas are not many."

One thing lawmakers did pass that session was a bill preventing co-signers from being held liable for renewal lease agreements they didn't sign. During the debate of the bill on the House floor, a woman named Felicitas Cadena was called as a witness. She told a story about co-signing for a baby sitter in 2005. The apartment complex: Centerpoint.

Cadena thought it was a one-time deal, until Centerpoint filed a lawsuit against her in 2007. It turned out her signature had automatically rolled over to the renewal leases. And the baby sitter was accused of damaging the apartment. "The judge did not question anything, because I had signed this form," Cadenas says, holding an old lease. Cadena owed Centerpoint $3,489 in damages, an additional $3,850 in attorney's fees and an 18 percent post-judgment interest rate, totaling $7,356.

"I will forever remember all my crying on my way home, a feeling of hopelessness," Cadenas said in her testimony.

Concessions aren't the only addendum Centerpoint tenants sign. There's a slew of them: One says the company is not responsible for giving tenants any "written or verbal reminder" about their 60-day notice, even though Suster, the Centerpoint attorney, says 60-day-notice reminders are an industry standard. And if the tenant refuses to sign off on an addendum, he's still on the hook, because another addendum declares that "resident agrees to all addendums and policies provided by Centerpoint whether signed or not."

Should they run afoul of all these agreements, yet another addendum sets the tenants' legal course. "All parties, landlord and resident, agree to mutually waive all rights to a jury trial if litigation is filed." That means almost every Centerpoint case that ends up in court winds up in the hands of the same jurist: Denton County Justice of Peace Patty Larson.

"I think that's a terrible addendum," says Rodriguez, the state rep. "To remove a jury in that situation, what you're really doing is you're removing the peers, you don't want any peers there to hear that case."

Terrible for the tenant, maybe. But for Centerpoint, it always seems to work out.

C.J. Duffey's trial date was a stifling day in late August, at Larson's small courthouse in Carrollton. The Suster Law Group attorney on the case was Kelly Hankey, who waited outside the courtroom with Kendra Heintzelman, the Centerpoint property supervisor. Bonnie Henley, Duffey's ex-wife, paced the lobby. Her daughter, Gilstrap, arrived in a pink dress with bleached blonde streaks in her hair. They didn't bring an attorney. That would be Duffey's job. He ran in wearing a buttoned shirt, a few minutes late.

Larson, who's 65 with closely cropped white hair, seemed helpful at first. "A lot of special rules apply to a justice court case, I want to make sure you understand," she told Duffey.

Speaking slowly, she instructed him on how to conduct a cross-examination of Heintzelman: Ask questions that she can answer, stick to what's in the contract, don't let feelings get involved. "I know that there is a lot of frustration," she assured him. "What we're here for is specific about a contract."

His voice was level as he argued with Heintzelman about whether she called him ahead of time to warn of the charges he supposedly owed: She said she called, Duffey said she didn't. Duffey asked the judge if there was a way to subpoena phone records. (No, Larson said.)

Duffey hesitated between questions, appearing as if he was trying to concentrate on what he should ask next. But he looked, and sounded, calm, even if Larson indicated otherwise. "You're doing very well, stay calm," she said. "You're also a very well-controlled man, and I know you're frustrated but I know you will do this well."

"I knew then I was in a game," Duffey said after the trial. The judge, he felt, "was trying to make herself look justified by saying I was erratic. But I never got, my tone of voice really never changed."

In an interview later, Larson insists she treats each case equally, but records show that while her predecessors at least occasionally found cause to rule against Centerpoint, in 55 trials Larson has yet to side with a tenant.

"I'm not ruling in favor of them, I'm taking the facts and giving them judgment that they have proved up by law," she says. "Whether I like the law or not, I took an oath of office to follow it, and I'm going to follow it as carefully as I possibly can, that's who I am."

Asked to name a trial where Centerpoint accused anyone damaging an apartment and didn't get a judgment, she tells a story about a case in which Centerpoint won but decided to give the money back. "It was legal and everything was legal but the man didn't feel it was right."

Larson's is an elected position, although it's not an especially competitive one. Campaign records show that she received only one donation during the most recent campaign cycle, in 2010 — a $1,000 check from the Apartment Association of Greater Dallas PAC. "We don't have a whole lot of faith of getting justice in the justice of the peace court," says Sandy Rollins, from the Texas Tenants Union.

That's not the case everywhere. The Zidells also own a pair of apartment complexes in Waco, called Saddle Brook and Saddle Brook West. Sung Jang and his wife, Sunmi, rented a Saddle Brook West unit in 2007, after he accepted a professor job at Baylor University. When they saw the unit for the first time, they noticed that the carpet was stained, according to testimonies the Jangs and their friends would later give in court.

A year later, the Jangs were ready to move out. They said that they asked the leasing office about doing a walk-through, but multiple times the staffers told them not to worry about it. Then, after moving out, the Jangs got a letter from Saddle Brook West: They owed $1,452.92. It turned out that the leasing office had found some damages to the apartment during the walk-through.

The Jangs headed to Justice court in Waco — and won. With Sprigg on the case at the time, Saddle Brook West appealed and got a jury trial, even though the Zidells require tenants to waive their rights to juries. But it didn't help: The Jangs won that too. Saddle Brook West appealed again, this time to the Waco 10th Court of Appeals, which also sided with the Jangs. And in August of this year, more than five years since the Jangs lived at Saddle Brook West, the apartment complex appealed the case to the Texas Supreme Court. The appeal is now pending.

Duffey did his best in court, carefully laying out his case for the judge. His daughter, Gilstrap, signed a six-month lease, she says, and turned in a 60-day move-out notice to the leasing office. Then she got a renewal notice in the mail. "I said I'm not doing a renewal, I already sent my 60-day," Gilstrap recalls.

But there was a problem: The woman she'd given the form didn't work in the office, and they had no record of her 60-day notice, she says. She tried talking to Heintzelman about the vanishing notice. "I told her my 60-day was lost. She raised her voice then — I had to back down because really, I couldn't win."

Gilstrap says she was told that if she didn't renew it would wreck her credit. She signed a new three-month lease. She says Heintzelman gave her a lease to take home, with Post-It notes directing her to sign some spots with her own initials and signatures and some parts to put her parents' signatures and initials. Gilstrap says she signed off for her parents, assuming it was fine. "I don't really know the ins and outs of renting, I wish I did," Gilstrap says. (Heintzelman denies saying anything about Gilstrap's credit: "That would never come out of my mouth.")

The second lease didn't actually end after three months, of course: It would continue on a month-to-month basis, indefinitely, until Gilstrap turned in her 60-day notice.

She stayed a few months past, finally moving out in November of 2012. Centerpoint, however, contended in court that she was actually evicted. Records show Centerpoint had begun to file an eviction against her but then failed to follow through with the case — it was dismissed for "want of prosecution," which typically happens when a person who files the suit doesn't show up to the trial.

"There was no payment made in November," Heintzelman said on the witness stand, explaining her basis for the supposed "eviction" against Gilstrap.

They charged her $473, the standard reletting fee for someone who breaks her lease. But there were other charges dropped in, too: $93 in concessions, $72 for unpaid utilities, $181 for eviction costs, $515 for unpaid rent, $170 in cleaning fees and $255 for damaging her carpet and her blinds. In court, Centerpoint provided grainy black and white photos of alleged damage, including the rusty inside of a toilet's water tank.

They also offered another piece of evidence — a concession addendum that was attached to the second lease signed by Gilstrap, the one she signed her parents' names to. The addendum included Duffey's actual signature, but at a diagonal angle right on top of his wife's signature. He says he doesn't write sideways. He claims it was copied, cut and pasted from somewhere else. "It's just pasted on there," he told the court. "I don't write across the page like that."

Larson stepped in then. "Mrs. Heintzelman has testified under oath," Larson told Duffey. "I have to find her a trustworthy source." The judge gave Duffey another warning not to accuse the Centerpoint property supervisor of forging his signature: "The only thing I am suggesting is do not question what she has testified to."

In the end, it was obvious Centerpoint wouldn't suffer its first loss under Larson. "I do not always like what I have to do," she said, "but I have to follow the rules." She awarded Centerpoint all the money it asked for — $2,400 after attorneys' fees. Centerpoint's attorney, Kelly Hankey, said she spent six hours preparing her client for trial and also wanted coverage for "travel time from my office in Plano, Texas." Her hourly rate is $175, she said.

Duffey was in an improbably good mood after the trial, and planned to press on, even if an appeal cost him more. "Those were not my signatures," he said. "And for them to still rule in the apartment's favor is so unjust, so that's a ring that has to be broken down."

http://www.dallasobserver.com/news/at-centerpoint-apartments-moving-out-often-means-a-trip-to-court-and-a-fat-bill-6430791