Friday, April 30, 2010

Republicans Self-Destructing, Kluck-Klucking and We Like It

The Repugs are self-destructing.

Governor Charles Crist is running as an independent because his party has been taken over by nutjobs, ninnies and mockers -- deluded people like Sarah Palin -- lugubrious goobers who believe there were dinosaurs on Earth 6000 years ago. This is good news for Democrats.

Meanwhile, old has-beens like KAREN STERN and JAMES BRYANT are running for County Commission, presenting the strong chance we could elect a Democrat this year.

Over on MICHAEL GOLD's hate website, they're posting more incoherent, ungrammatical and obscene posts, as always obsessing on me and this blog.

One of GOLD's NICs is even questioning the fact that there were 40,000 cubic yards of solid waste dumped in our Old City Reservoir. Of course, the first figure (20,000) was from the City of St. Augustine. The second, accurate figure is also from the City of St. Augustine and confirmed by the State of Florida. The Old City Reservoir was used until circa 1998, when a new wellfield was drilled. Anyone who has ever visited the site can see the accoutrements left in place when the Old City Reservoir was vacated -- in the event of a problem with the new wellfield, the Old City Reservoir is a backup.

And over on MICHAEL GOLD's hate website, an oblivious RANDY BRUNSON is still posting illiteracy and vapidity (not even using a NIC or screename the way local public officials are known to do). Here's RANDY BRUNSON's latest hate website post today:

.............Great meeting this AM with the Historic Area Chamber at the Winery ......former Mayor Lynn (sic) Weeks discussed the St. Augustine downtown Parking issues and Joe Finnegan owner of St. Francis Inn led the discussion on the homeless problems.......well attended meeting..... including new (sic) appointed City Manger (sic) John Reagan.....excellent input with good suggestions

(end of latest illiterate RANDY BRUNSON post on hate website).

Of course, Len Weeks was Mayor (unless Lynn Weeks is a nickname).

Of course, it's John Regan, not John Reagan.

And, of course, John Regan is the new City Manager, not the new City Manger.

And, speaking of mangers, given the hubristic hostility of toward the homeless and poor people in general, if Jesus Christ were born in St. Augustine today, there wouldn't even be a manger for Jesus to be born in -- there are only twelve beds in St. Francis House for a county with a homeless population of 1200.

The hate website was begun on December 23, 2006 (the eve of Christmss Eve) for the express purpose of running the homeless out of town, kicked off with a hate column signed by MICHAEL GOLD f/k/a "MICHAEL TOBIN" in the St. Augustine WRecKord.

The hate website has since expanded its focus to destroying St. Augustine tourism and dividing our town, filling the Internet with obscene, indecent, racist, sexist, misogynist, homophobic meanness.

Speaking of Christmas Eve, it was at 10 PM on December 24, 2007 (Christmas Eve) that MICHAEL GOLD f/k/a "MICHAEL TOBIN" attacked a woman with cancer, by name, stating he hoped she would have a horrible, painful death.

Pity MICHAEL GOLD, who is so consumed with hate that he can't even type straight.

Forgive them, Lord.

First Coast News: St. Augustine City Attorney RONALD WAYNE BROWN Says Only Allowing Government Flags on Bridge of Lions May Be Unconstitutional

By Jessica Clark

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- In St. Augustine there are all kinds of flags flying. You'll see the U.S. flag, the Spanish flag, pirate flags.

But what about flags on the Bridge of Lions?

That's still up in the air.

"I think flying flags is fine. If you have something you want to show, you ought to show it," said Dave Miner, in St. Augustine visiting from Palatka.

In 2005, St. Augustine was sued over what kind of flags it allowed to fly from the Bridge of Lions. A judge eventually ordered the city must allow a rainbow flag on the bridge during a gay pride event.

"After the court order in 2005, the city commission passed a resolution -- which was untested -- saying that the city just wanted to fly American flags and government flags," said Ron Brown, St. Augustine city attorney.

But Brown said his latest research shows at least three court cases indicate a governing agency cannot pick and choose which flags are flown in a public forum, even when it comes to the American flag. The Bridge of Lions may be considered a public forum, he said.

The cases indicate that either all flags can be allowed to fly or none at all, he said.

"In Florida, there's at least one case which suggests... government flags and the American flag may not be content neutral and therefore it may be unconstitutional if we simply allow those flags and not other forms of expression on the bridge," said Brown.

On Tuesday, some said they'd want Old Glory to fly on the Bridge of Lions.

"This is so much history here. It seems a shame not to have flags to designate the history of this area," said Mary Beth McCaw, who was showing guests around St. Augustine.

"If you're in the U.S., you should respect the flag because it stands for our country."

Brown said the Bridge of Lions falls under the authority of the Florida Department of Transportation and that it would ultimately be up to the DOT to determine if flags can be flown on the bridge.

However, a DOT spokesman said the agency is working to collaborate with the city on a maintenance agreement to allow flags.

Brown said he has not seen any current agreement that references flags on the Bridge of Lions.

There are eyelets on the newly refurbished bridge's light posts. The bridge reopened earlier this year. The bridge project spokesperson said those eyelets were included in the restoration because they were on the Bridge of Lions' original posts in 1927. They held the trolley cables back then and could feasibly hold flags now.

For now, no decision has been made regarding flags on the Bridge of Lions.

©2010 First Coast News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten, or redistributed.

Wall Street Journal: FBI Investigating Possible Bribery of Federal Coal Mine Inspectors

FBI Conducting Criminal Probe of Mine Blast

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is conducting a criminal investigation into the April 5 explosion at a Massey Energy Co. mine that killed 29 miners in Montcoal, W.Va., according to a person familiar with the matter.

Massey said in a statement that it would cooperate with the FBI investigation. "We are aware that investigators are interviewing witnesses, but are not aware of the nature of their investigation," the company said. "We intend to cooperate in all phases of the accident investigation."

Massey said in a second statement Friday that it "has no knowledge of criminal wrongdoing." It also said, "It is not uncommon that an accident of the size and scope of UBB would lead to a comprehensive investigation by relevant law enforcement agencies."

Separately, an attorney representing family members of a miner killed in the explosion, the worst U.S. coal mining accident in 40 years, said he had been contacted Friday by the U.S. Attorney for Southern West Virginia. The attorney said he did not believe the call was related to an FBI investigation. He declined to say what information the U.S. Attorney's office was seeking.

Bill Carter, an FBI spokesman, declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney for Southern West Virginia referred a call to the Department of Justice. A spokeswoman for the Justice Department declined to confirm any investigation related to the April 5 accident.

Write to Kris Maher at and Siobhan Hughes at

Associated Press: Nearly Two Dozen Massey Employees Interviewed

FBI interviews nearly 2 dozen Massey employees

By PETE YOST (AP) – 1 hour ago

WASHINGTON — The FBI has interviewed nearly two dozen current and former employees of Massey Energy in a criminal probe of the West Virginia mine explosion that killed 29 men, a federal law enforcement official said Friday.

The official said that in the interviews over recent days the FBI has been looking for any evidence that the company engaged in criminal negligence. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the inquiry has not been made public.

The FBI declined to comment at its headquarters in Washington.

Massey spokesman Jeff Gillenwater said the company is aware that investigators are interviewing witnesses but is "not aware of the nature of their investigation. We intend to cooperate in all phases of the accident investigation."

The FBI probe follows strong statements two weeks ago in which President Barack Obama criticized the company.

On April 15, Obama asked the secretary of labor to work with the Justice Department "to ensure that every tool in the federal government is available in this investigation."

"Safety violators like Massey have still been able to find ways to put their bottom line before the safety of their workers — filing endless appeals instead of paying fines and fixing safety problems," Obama said at the time.

Massey Energy statement called the president's remarks "regrettable" and said that "unfortunately, some are rushing to judgment for political gain or to avoid blame."

AP Writer Sam Hananel contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


We need an anti-bribery campaign in St. Johns County and St. Augustine and the other government agencies here. The St. Augustine Record editorial (below) didn't quite call for that, as I have for months. Instead, it acts like bribery was a one-time event instead of commonplace.

How revealing -- the Record ignores the evidence of its own senses, refuses to print the news and praises GEORGE McCLURE (of all people), a seedy lobbyist for environmental devastators, who gets off on his representing speculators like ROBERT MICHAEL GRAUBARD.

Of course, people who are offered bribes should turn in the bribepayer.

Of course, people who are asked to give bribes should turn in the public official.

A culture of corruption can be changed one day at a time, just as courageous citizens have done in Sicily.

Stand up to bribepayers and bribetakers, who destroy our democracy.

Interesting that there's still never been one editorial in local newspapers against bribery and calling for an anti-bribery campaign, even though our former Republican County Commission Chair THOMAS MANUEL is pleading guilty tomorrow, after ndictment for bribery,for accepting $60,000.

In fact, when MANUEL pled guilty, the WRecKord omitted the fact that MANUEL was a REPUBLICAN. One-party rule wasn't even relevant to the two reporters who covered the MANUEL plea. (A chronology did say "GOP", but neither article said "REPUBLICAN.")

In fact, when former NYC Police Commissioner (and George W. Bush Homeland Security nominee) BERNARD KERIK was sentenced to four years in prison, the WrecKord omitted that fact too.

Oleaginous St. Augustine corporate lawyer GEORGE McCLURE, longtime developer lawyer who shows his open contempt for public particpation in government, was scheduled to be a witness against MANUEL. Did McCLURE get a deal from federal prosecutors? If not, why would be McCLURE testifying? Is this a sudden pang of conscience after inflicting so many ugly, tree-killing, wetland-destroying projects on our community?

What do you reckon?

Will St. Johns County and St. Augustine return to business as usual?

What's next?

Republican Former St. Johns County Commission Chairman THOMAS G. MANUEL Ordered to Federal Prison on May 12, 2010

United States District Court Judge Timothy J. Corrigan signed an order today requiring THOMAS G. MANUEL, former St. Johns County Commission Chairman who pled guilty to and was convicted of bribery, to report to prison on or before May 12, 2010.

MANUEL is assigned to the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Butner, N.C., in the Research Triangle Park (RTP) area.

Judge Corrigan has been assured that FCI Butner has all of the medication required to preserve the health of MANUEL, who is a heart transplant recipient.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Racist, Sexist Homophobes Unglued – Crude, Rude, Lewd Old White Dudes Howl and Bay At the Moon!

Controversial St. Johns County, Florida private investigator, bagman, no-bid uniform salesman, political hitman and dirty trickster MICHAEL GOLD f/k/a "MICHAEL TOBIN" with Sheriff DAVID SHOAR f/k/a "DAVID HOAR," who refuses to disavow GOLD's tactics publicly.


It’s another beautiful day in a beautiful place.
I feel sorry for John Regan. He’s a nice guy who told the St. Augustine Record that he was surprised that the City Commission hired him without a national search, or even posting the City Manager’s job.
I reckon that City Manager WILLIAM B. HARRISS wanted Regan to “owe him” for his hiring. Thattaway, he hoped that John Regan would never do anything to unravel HARRISS’ waste, fraud, abuse, misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance – matters that rightly belong before a Federal Grand Jury.
Regan told the Record he was expecting more “process.” So did the rest of us.
I also feel sorry for the locals who feared and didn’t want a national search, starting with the anonymous arachnids (the “Anonymice”) on the local hate websites (who also posted on the St. Augustine Record’s website).
None of the “Anonymice” spoke at City Commission Monday night. Not one (1) of the tedious local hate website posters bothered to show up at the St. Augustine City Commission meeting Monday night (4/26).
Big surprise.
Not one of the small group of willful men who like to dictate their dicta to the dictator (WILLIAM B. HARRISS) was seen or obscene or heard at the City Commission meeting.
Big surprise.
Not one of the “Anonymice” anonymous posters came to express their deeply-felt beliefs about the dangers of a national search for City Manager (they don’t need one because only they know what’s best, and they don’t want any federal laws to be obeyed here in what Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. rightly called the “most lawless” city in America).
It is often stated that “decisions are made by those who show up.”
In this case, the haughty, hostile, hateful (and anonymous) defenders of institutional racism in the City of St. Augustine didn’t have to show up.
They don’t have to grow up either – these immature, pouting bullies practice serial defamation lashon hora as they get their way from the $50 million/year, 350 full-time equivalent (FTE) City of St. Augustine City government. Their Frankenstein’s monster wastes our money, pollutes our rivers and polluted our Old City Reservoir with 40,000 cubic yards of solid waste.
No matter what these knuckle-dragging Neanderthals do, they think that they’re right and we’re wrong. They’re that deluded, these uninformed rich white guys. “L’etat, c’est moi” said French King Louis XIV. That’s the same message we get from the rich white guys who have gulled, cullied and diddled St. Augustine residents for decades, polluting our environment, violating civil rights, violating the First Amendment and using St. Augustine Ordinance 1-8 to criminalize ordinance violations (like painting on St. George Street) in violation of Florida’s Constitution.
Monday night, the Property Party -- uninformed rich white guys and their toadies -- got the votes of all five City Commissioners, who quoted the opinions of five former Mayors and Richard Pinto for the proposition that the City of St. Augustine doesn’t even need to advertise a City Manager job that pays some $140,000/year. Forget the equal employment laws – our City Commissioners think that they are above the law.
So why do the heathen rage? They didn’t think anyone would bother to point out that hiring without advertising runs afoul of equal employment laws (Civil Rights Act of 1964) – laws Congress passed only by breaking a filibuster by Southern segregationists (thanks to liberal Republican votes back when Republicans were allowed to be liberal). These laws were passed only because of the courage of St. Augustine activists, who endured oppression seen on national television, which helped give President Lyndon Johnson the votes to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The smart-alecky Property Party members thought they were cute when they wrote that the City Commission gave me a big “F--- You.” These amateur human beings are so mentally unbalanced they actually think that vote was about me. That vote was about whether the City of St. Augustine would comply with the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Again, the vote was 5-0 against.
Now the bulllies’ five City Commissioners have been reported to the United States Commission on Civil Rights for their discriminatory employment practices. Do the bullies seem unhappy? Wonder why? They’re losing their grip. They’re losing their grip on reality and they’re losing their grip on power.
Autocratic, dictatorial, other-directed City Manager WILIAM B. HARRISS retires in June.
So where were these Know Nothings on Monday night?
Relying upon their Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination?
Dancing and drinking in public with other known Republicans?
Who put the salsa in their shorts?
The shouters and name-callers read my column in Sunday’s St. Augustine Record (calling for a national search and a national park) and they attacked the idea of a national search. The shouters and name-callers ululated. They began posting anonymous drivel commencing at 7:14 AM on Sunday, April 25, trying to discourage civic participation by saying no one would listen, and making ad hominem attacks anonymously.
These are bullies and cowards, who now regularly accuse me of being a bully and a coward. Psychiatrists call this “projection.”
This led to our filing a complaint with the United States Commission on Civil Rights on Tuesday morning, requesting the Civil Rights Commissioners to investigate the City of St. Augustine, St. Johns County and other entities regarding institutional racism (particularly employment, environmental justice and voting rights).
Monday I invited our bigoted friends to “wear clothes,“ look into the camera and speak into the microphone, after filling out a card with their name and address.
Not one came to the City Commission meeting, filled out a card, and urged the Commissioners not to use a national search to pick a new City Manager.
Not one spoke, whether directly or through their lawyers.
Not one showed up, either with or without hoods and robes.
The “Anonymice” didn’t dare show their faces in public and identify with their right wing views.
They’d rather sit home and bay at the moon.
I feel sorry for the “Anonymice” -- deluded, crude, lewd, stewed, dudes with attitude have come unglued – they are angry that their latest civil rights violation has been exposed.
The “Anonymice” don’t dare use their real names, so they use fake names (NICs).
The “Anonymice” have no character, no honor and no personality.
The “Anonymice” are a hate group given significant encouragement, directly and indirectly, by St. Augustine and St. Johns County officials, including Sheriff DAVID SHOAR f/k/a “DAVID HOAR,” who refuses to disavow publicly the hate website of his campaign manager, MICHAEL GOLD f/k/a “MICHAEL TOBIN.”
The “Anonymice” – not unlike “Tea Party” teabaggers -- can only make up lies and cast aspersions (and asparagus) at people they’ve never met, based upon rumor, innuendo and false light invasion of privacy.
Recently, someone identifying himself as a health care provider possibly committed medical malpractice (and defamation) on the Record’s website, claiming to make a diagnosis of mental illness, retaliation of the sort that the former Soviet Union (and U.S. nuclear weapons plants) did all the time in dealing with dissenters.
So why do the “Anonymice” call me crazy?
Because I am not afraid of the Ku Klux Klan, or bad managers (even those who retaliated against whistleblowers at nuclear weapons plants and federal agencies?
Because I won Department of Labor Administrative Law Judges’ orders for punitive damages thrice (against TVA and EPA) for violating whistleblower rights?
Because I know how to expose and reform corrupt government officials? Because I worked tirelessly to stop the $1.8 million no-bid purchase of a luxury Textron Bell Jet Helicopter by the Anastasia Mosquito Control District of St. Johns County (whose then-lawyer, GEOFFREY DOBSON, claimed the purchase was “sole source”)? We got a refund on the helicopter. DOBSON is still fuming.
Because we forced the City of St. Augustine to remove 40,000 cubic yards of illegally dumped solid waste and put it in a Class I landfill (which the City refused to do)?
Because we researched the City’s GLBTQ history, helping win a federal court order that the City had to fly Rainbow flags on our Bridge of Lions in honor of Gay Pride?
Because they think I’m a pest?
You tell me?
One of the too-important-to-post-under-his-real names NICs on the St. Augustine Record website and the local hate websites actually called me a “coward” and a “bully” (apparently for picking on large organizations like the Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, Tennessee Valley Authority and City of St. Augustine).
These guys are hysterical historical revisionist.
They think the Confederacy and segregation were good things.
By his crude reckoning, was David a bully for picking on Goliath?
Was George Washington a bully for picking on King George III? Was Lincoln was a bully for picking on the Confederacy?
Well, these Philistines would probably have supported Goliath, King George III and the Confederacy!
These same potty-mouthed, anonymous members of the “Anonymice” posting on the Record websites are also making demonstrably false statements about me, even falsely claiming I don’t post dissenting views on this blog. (I do, but I won’t post obscenities.)
Sitting in front of a computer all day the way MICHAEL GOLD f/k/a “MICHAEL TOBIN” does, railing against everything progressive, they’re afraid to meet and greet and speak with people who disagree with them. They’d rather bully people electronically, trying to instill fear with electrons (instead of the bricks and guns that were the preferred weapons of bigots in 1964).
One Record poster poignantly asked another Record poster why they didn’t speak to me about their views. The hate posters refused. They’re afraid of cognitive dissonance. They can’t handle the truth.
Unlike the real cowards and bullies on local KKK-style hate websites, I give my real name and do research before I write.
Obscenities, defamation and lashon hora are the primary means in which the ”Anonymice” (the stewed, crude, lewd dudes with attitude who have come unglued) express themselves.
These are not scholars.
These are not gentlemen.
These are back-stabbing cowards afraid to sign their hate posts on their hate sites.
The accrued efforts of MICHAEL GOLD f/k/a “MICHAEL TOBIN” & Co. in posting nasty, brutish and bullying comments on their KKK-style hate websites since December 2006 is nugatory. They have not helped to educate a single person. They have not saved a single life. THey have not helped to save a single tree. They have not helped to do anything uplifting for anyone.
These are narcissists, baying at the moon.
In the immortal words of Mr. T, “I pity the fools.”
Racism, sexism, misogyny and homophobia are forms of mental illness.
God forgive them for trying to discourage civic participation in Our Nation’s Oldest City.
God forgive them for yet another hiring of a City Manager without proper Sunshine notice and without complying with EEO laws.
God forgive them for their bigotry.

Controversial St. Johns County, Florida private investigator, bagman, no-bid uniform salesman, political hitman and dirty trickster MICHAEL GOLD f/k/a "MICHAEL TOBIN" with Sheriff DAVID SHOAR f/k/a "DAVID HOAR," who refuses to disavow GOLD's tactics publicly.


FBI Press Relesae: The FBI vs. the Klan (Part 1)

Headline Archives

Part 1: Let the Investigations Begin

Early KKK rally in Florida. Photo courtesy of the National Archives.

Ninety-five years ago this month—in February 1915—the D.W. Griffith movie later titled The Birth of a Nation premiered in a Los Angeles theater. Though considered progressive in its technique and style, the film had a decidedly backwards plot that glorified a short-lived, post-Civil War white supremacist group called the Ku Klux Klan. The movie’s broad release in March provoked riots and even bloodshed nationwide.

It also revived interest in the KKK, leading to the birth of several new local groups that summer and fall. Many more followed, mostly in southern states at first. Some of these groups focused on supporting the U.S. effort in World War I, but most wallowed in a toxic mix of secrecy, racism, and violence.

As the Klan grew, it attracted the attention of the young Bureau. Created just a few years earlier—in July 1908—the Bureau of Investigation (as the organization was known then) had few federal laws to combat the KKK in these formative days. Cross burnings and lynchings, for example, were local issues. But under its general domestic security responsibilities, the Bureau was able to start gathering information and intelligence on the Klan and its activities. And wherever possible, we looked for federal violations and shared information with state and local law enforcement for its cases.

Our early files show that Bureau cases and intelligence efforts were already beginning to mount in the years before 1920. A few examples:

* In Birmingham, a middle-aged African-American—who fled north to avoid serving in the war—was arrested for draft dodging in May 1918 when he returned to persuade his white teenage girlfriend to marry him. A Bureau agent looking into the matter discovered that the local KKK had gotten wind of the interracial affair and was organizing to lynch the man. The agent came up with a novel solution to resolve the draft-dodging issue and to protect the man from harm: he escorted the evader to a military camp and ensured that he was quickly inducted.
* In June 1918, a Mobile agent named G.C. Outlaw learned that Ed Rhone—the leader of an African-American group called the Knights of Labor—was worried by the abduction of another labor leader by reputed Klansmen. “This uneasiness of the Knights of Labor,” our agent noted, “is the first direct result of the Ku Klux activities.” Agent Outlaw investigated and assured Rhone we would protect him from any possible harm.
At the request of a Bureau agent in Tampa, a representative of the American Protective League—a group of citizen volunteers who helped investigate domestic issues like draft evasion during World War I—convinced an area Klan group to disband in August 1918.

World War I effectively came to an end with the signing of a ceasefire in November 1918, but the KKK was just getting started. Pro-war oriented Klan groups either folded or began to coalesce around a focus on racial and religious prejudice. Teaming up with advertising executive Edward Young Clarke, the head of the Atlanta Klan—William Simmons—would oversee a rapid rise in KKK membership in the 1920s.

That’s another story, and one that we will tell as part of this new history series detailing the work of the FBI to protect the American people—especially minorities and other groups—from the evils of the modern-day Klan. Over the course of the year, we will track the major aspects of this fight, with new documents and pictures to help tell the tale. Stay tuned.

FBI Press Release: The FBI vs. the Klan (Part 2)

Part 2: Trouble in the 1920s

The KKK marching down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington in 1925.

The Roaring Twenties were a heady time, full of innovation and exploration—from the novelty of “talking pictures” to the utility of mass-produced Model Ts...from the distinct jazz sounds of Duke Ellington to the calculated social rebellion of the “flappers”...from the pioneering flights of Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart to the pioneering prose of F. Scott Fitzgerald and William Faulkner.

It was also a lawless decade—an age of highly violent and well-heeled gangsters and racketeers who fueled a growing underworld of crime and corruption. Al Capone and his archrival Bugs Moran had formed powerful, warring criminal enterprises that ruled the streets of Chicago, while the early Mafia was crystallizing in New York and other cities, running various gambling, bootlegging, and other illegal operations.

Contributing to criminal chaos of the 1920s was the sudden rise of the KKK. In the early 1920s, membership in the KKK quickly escalated to six figures under the leadership of “Colonel” William Simmons and advertising guru Edward Young Clarke. By the middle of the decade, the group boasted several million members. The crimes committed in the name of its bigoted beliefs were despicable—hangings, floggings, mutilations, tarring and featherings, kidnappings, brandings by acid, along with a new intimidation tactic, cross-burnings. The Klan had become a clear threat to public safety and order.

Matters were getting so out of hand in the state of Louisiana that Governor John M. Parker petitioned the federal government for help. In a memo dated September 25, 1922, J. Edgar Hoover—then assistant director of the Bureau—informed Director Burns that a reporter had brought a personal letter from Parker to the Department of Justice. “The Governor has been unable to use either the mails, telegraph, or telephone because of interference by the Klan … Conditions have been brought to a head at Mer Rouge, when two white men … were done away with mysteriously,” Hoover wrote. He also said that the governor was seeking assistance because “local authorities are absolutely inactive” and because he feared judges and prosecuting attorneys had been corrupted.

The Department responded, immediately sending four Bureau agents—A. E. Farland, J. D. Rooney, J. P. Huddleston, and W. M. Arkens—to work with the Louisiana attorney general to gather evidence of state and federal crimes. The agents soon found the bodies of the two men and pinpointed members of the vigilante mob that kidnapped and brutally murdered them. They also identified the mob’s leader—Dr. B.M. McKoin, the former mayor of Mer Rouge.

The agents' work put their own lives in danger. On November 13, 1922, an FBI Headquarters memo noted that “confirmation has just been received of the organized attempt of klansmen and their friends to arrest, kidnap, and do away with special agents of the Department who were in Mer Rouge.” To make matters worse, the plot was “stimulated by the United States Attorney at Shreveport,” reportedly an active KKK member. The U.S. attorney had already ordered the investigating agents, detailed from the Houston Division, to leave the area or be arrested because he thought they had no business investigating those matters. “Only their hurried exit saved them,” the memo said. Still, the agents continued their work.

In 1923, McKoin was arrested and charged with the murders of the two men. Despite National Guard security, witnesses were kidnapped by the Klan, and other attempts were made to sabotage the trial. The grand jury refused to return an indictment. Other KKK members, though, ended up paying fines or being sentenced to short jail terms for miscellaneous misdemeanors related to the murders.

Despite the Bureau’s work, the power of the KKK in certain places was too strong to crack. But as revelations of leadership scandals spread and figures like Edward Young Clarke went to jail, the Klan’s membership dropped off precipitously. By the end of the decade, thanks in part to the Bureau, the KKK had faded into the background—at least for a time

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Understanding Barney Fife --- St. Augustine is a Fiefdom (or Fifedom) in Which Our Government Shows Contempt for the Law

Last night, Bridge of Lions activist Teresa Segal and I were the only citizens who dared speak out about the need for a national search and openness in selecting a new City Manager, addressing City Commissioners.
We were both met with close-minded and closed-faced Commissioners, whose minds were already made up.
“Nip it in the bud.” Last night, discussing cannon-firing at a local tourist attraction, Commissioner DONALD CRICHLOW quoted the Don Knotts comedic law enforcement character “Barney Fife” from the Andy Griffith Show.
“Nip it in the bud.” That’s what five City Commissioners did on the question of inviting applications for the position of City Manager.
“Nip it in the bud.” That’s what five City Commissioners did on the question of complying with EEO laws.
“Nip it in the bud.” That’s what five City Commissioners did on the question of inviting women and minorities to apply for the position of City Manager.
“Nip it in the bud.” That’s what five City Commissioners did on the question of inviting experienced applicants, including people with experience in non-profit organizations and Corporate America to apply for the position of City Manager.
It was a crass and vulgar display of hopelessly provincial small-town politicians ignoring their duties to comply with federal laws against employment discrimination.
Consider what Commissioners said last night.
Mayor JOSEPH L BOLES, JR., who practices Elder Law, cited telephone calls from Richard Pinto (Chamber of Commerce type who hated the artists and entertainers and musicians on St. George Street, and used City resources to oppress them. BOLES also listed five former Mayors who lobbied him. BOLES said he did not want to teach an outsider about St. Augustine. BOLES said he would “like to do it tonight.”
Commissioner LEEANA FREEMAN, who practices Family Law, said it was “not a tough decision.”
Commissioner NANCY SIKES-KLINE read a typed, prepared statement about hiring “our neighbor.”
Commissioner DONALD CRICHLOW read a handwritten, prepared statement, calling John Regan the “City Manager’s frontman.”
Vice Mayor ERROL JONES stated he would have liked to have allowed at least other City employees to be considered, but he supported Regan, too.
Not one of the Commissioners addressed policy considerations.
Not one of the Commissioners addressed civil rights considerations.
Not one of the Commissioners addressed public relations considerations.
Not one of the Commissioners addressed ethics considerations.
Not one of the Commissioners addressed morale considerations.
Not one of the Commissioners addressed the potential consequences of hiring another white man for a top job without posting or advertising the job.
What they said amounted to, “we like John Regan.”
That’s an ad hominem argument in reverse.
I like John Regan. Most people like John Regan. That’s not the point.
The point is, people in St. Augustine risked their lives to protest Jim Crow segregation. They won. Congress adopted the 1964 Civil Rights Act because of what happened here. And our City Commissioners still have a Jim Crow mentality (despite their speechifying). They still don’t understand that, in Thomas Jefferson’s words, “a public office is a public trust.” They think it is a franchise for them to hire and give business to their friends.
In fact, over on the KKK-style hate websites (Historic City News and they were having a field day, with typical obscenity, indecency mockery of me for wanting a national search, saying that the City Commissioners had given me a big “F--- you” to me.
As Bill Clinton said in his Second Inaugural Address, “Nothing great was ever accomplished by being small.”
It’s not about personalities, it’s about policy. It’s about the City that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called “the most lawless” City in America. See our complaint to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (below).
The Commissioners and their enablers on the KKK-style hate webites still think of St. Augustine as being a fiefdom – or in tribute to Commissioner Crichlow’s quip about Barney Fife, it is a “FIFEdom.”
Last night, they voted yet another no-bid contract, this time for $160,000 to replace a chiller at City Hall. The new chiller is considered “green,” in that it will reduce energy bills by $20,000 per year. That’s a good thing. But no-bid contracts are immoral, illegal and contrary to public policy.
They also discussed the future position of “Chief Green Officer” for the City of St. Augustine. That’s a good thing too – but don’t be hiring your cronies without posting and advertising jobs any longer.
City Manager WILLLIAM B. HARRISS – who has disdained anything “Green” as “controversial,” actually used two words we didn’t know were in his vocabulary – “carbon footprint” – and he spoke of the need to reduce the “carbon footprint” of our Nation’s Oldest City. That’s a good thing too.
Hearing CRICHLOW talk about “Barney Fife” and “nipping it in the bud,” I appreciated where our City Commissioners are coming from.
These are narcissists who want to hire their friends, give business to their friends, give government favors to their friends, and take their cues from their friends.
They don’t have a political philosophy.
Under HARRISS, the City of St. Augustine was run more like a kleptocracy than a democracy. Rich white guys got whatever they wanted. Others were disrespected. What can you say bout a City that put 40,000 cubic yards of solid waste in our Old City Reservoir and 611,294 gallons of raw sewage in our San Sebastian River? Does being the City of St. Augustine mean never having to say you're sorry?
Under John Regan, will the City be run more like a democracy and less like a dictatorship of lugubrious goobers, who know not that they know not that they know not?
When Gorbachev came to power, he wrote a book called Perestroika. My father gave it to me for Christmas. As a skeptical graduate of Georgetown’s conservative School of Foreign Service, I thought that Gorbachev would probably be more of the same – just another Communist totalitarian, like those before him. My dad thought that Gorbachev was the real deal. I reckon history proved my dad right.
Having been WILLIAM B. HARRISS’ hey-boy for some twelve (12) years, John Regan must now prove himself. Is he another Gorbachev? Will he reform City Hall?
What do you reckon?

Local Residents Request Investigation of Racism in Employment, Environmental and Voting Rights Practices in City of St. Augustine and St. Johns County

April 27, 2010

Hon. Gerald E. Reynolds, Chair,
Hon. Abigail Thornstrom, Vice Chair
Hon. Peter Kirsanow, Commissioner
Hon. Ashley Taylor, Jr., Commissioner
Hon. Gail Heriot, Commissioner
Hon. Todd Gaziano, Commissioner
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
Washington, D.C.


Dear Chairman Reynolds and Commissioners:

We are writing to request that you investigate the City of St. Augustine, Florida; St. Johns County, Florida; and other large organizations in Our Nation’s Oldest City, which Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called the “most lawless” city in America.
Last night, St. Augustine City Commissioners unanimously refused to post and advertise the job of City Manager, voting to negotiate a contract with the Chief Operations Manager. No other City resident or employee – and no woman, no African-American, no Asian, and no Hispanic – was even considered for the job. See enclosed April 25, 2010 column and April 27 article from the St. Augustine Record and the enclosed April 27 City newsletter. (Exhibits A,B&C).
This is not the first time that the City of St. Augustine has hired a City Manager (or other top-level employee) without posting and advertising. With your help and intervention, we hope that it will be the last time. We just read your eloquent April 20, 2010 letter to the City of Youngstown, Ohio about its employment practices. Thank you for your work!
St. Augustine residents helped make history here in 1963-64 when they protested Jim Crow segregation. St. Augustine was the last place where Dr. King was arrested before the 1964 Civil Rights Act was enacted. The Senate filibuster was successfully broken because of what happened here, including KKK violence and local police complicity, the beating of Rev. Andrew Young, the arrest of the mother of Massachusetts’ Governor, and the pouring of acid in a motel swimming pool to chase out African-Americans who were invited by a hotel guest during anti-discrimination protests.
The 50th anniversary in 2013-2014 provides an opportunity for CRC to view what progress has been made and what progress remains to be made. In 1964, there were some 41 African-American businesses in St. Augustine. None survive. There are no African-American department heads in the City of St. Augustine and only one in St. Johns County. A long history of nepotism and hiring political cronies may have rendered equal employment opportunity a joke here.
We request hearings be held in St. Augustine on institutional racism, to include employment practices by all large government and private sector employers, environmental racism by both governments, and voting rights issues.
Environmental racism is a subject that EPA has lollygagged at investigating since our January 19, 2009 complaint. Our City of St. Augustine dumped 40,000 cubic yards of solid waste in a low-income and minority neighborhood, depositing it in West Augustine in our Old City Reservoir (a coquina pit lake that is an open sore to the aquifer and the groundwater).
Our City was fined but continues with environmental racism, rendering the Lincolnville neighborhood a “Pollution Peninsula” with 611,294 gallons of raw sewage emitted into our San Sebastian Reservoir after the City refused to investigate our complaints of visible raw sewage in the river (and after the City was subject to a consent Order involving semi-treated sewage going into our saltwater marsh).
The City of St. Augustine refused to apply for federal grants for water and sewer for West Augustine, a low-income and minority neighborhood. Our City refuses to annex unincorporated areas of West Augustine into St. Augustine in possible violation of the Fifteenth Amendment, while charging those non-city residents an extra 25% for their water.
St. Johns County government (the Road and Bridge Department) refuses to remove obstructions in ditches and canals that are breeding grounds for mosquitoes, resulting in a threat to public health in low-income and minority communities that local governments have historically disdained. The County Commission Chairman once claimed that “environmental laws” somehow required that miles of ditches be left obstructed, with stagnant water – no legal citations have been supplied and we reckon his claim is “inoperative” (as Nixon’s press secretary, Ronald Zeigler, would put it).
Both St. Augustine and St. Johns County may be violating voting rights. On one Election Day, the County was resurfacing the parking lot of the African-American precinct of Lincolnville, interfering with voting. Annexations by the City of St. Augustine and the Town of Hastings may be violating the 15th Amendment.
Dr. King knew that the 400th anniversary celebration of St. Augustine (in 1965) provided leverage for change – please investigate St. Augustine and St. Johns County governments (among other large organizations), knowing that they want federal funds and should not have them if they don’t end discrimination.

We look forward to your holding hearings in St. Augustine, Florida.
Thank you.

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Letter to Youngstown, Ohio on Discriminatory Hiring Practices


April 20, 2010

Mayor Jay Williams
First Floor, City Hall
26 South Phelps Street
Youngstown, OH 44503
City Council Members
6th Floor, City Hall
26 South Phelps Street
Youngstown, OH 44503

Re: Racially Bifurcated Test Results in the Police and Fire Departments
Dear Mayor Williams and City Council Members:

The undersigned commissioners of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights are
writing to express our concern regarding recent news that the Youngstown City Council
has voted to continue using racially discriminatory methods in the hiring of police
officers and firefighters.1
Specifically, we are writing about Youngstown’s policy of separating white male
applicants into one rank-ordered list based on their civil service exam scores, and
minorities and women into another rank-ordered list based on their scores. Using vague
“diversity criteria,” Youngstown officials then select a number of white males from
among the highest scorers on the first list, and a number of minorities and women from
the highest scorers on the second list. This has resulted in hiring minorities and women
with lower test scores than white males.
Ohio Revised Code (R.C.) 124.26 and 124.27 require that a “rule of ten” is to be
followed in hiring and promoting from civil service test results. That is, Ohio
municipalities are required to make civil service appointments from among the top ten
scoring candidates on the applicable exam.
However, prior to administering the exams, the Youngstown council enacted an
emergency ordinance which authorized the council to waive the rule of ten and instead
select candidates from the minority list who did not score in the top ten. The council cites
R.C. 124.90 as its authority to waive the rule of ten—or any other part of chapter 124—by a two-thirds vote if the waiver is deemed necessary in order to “comply with any
At a public meeting of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on April 16, 2010 the Commission voted 6-2
to send this letter.

federal law or any rules adopted pursuant to federal law concerning discrimination in
employment.” The complete text of R.C. 124.90 is as follows:
Waiver of federal law concerning discrimination in employment.
(A) Any municipal corporation may, by a two-thirds vote of its legislative
authority, waive, suspend, or alter any of the provisions of this chapter as
they apply to that municipal corporation if such waiver, suspension, or
alteration is necessary for the municipal corporation to comply with any
federal law or any rules adopted pursuant to federal law concerning
discrimination in employment.
(B) Any municipal corporation that has adopted the provisions of this
chapter as part of its charter may, by a two-thirds vote of its legislative
authority, waive, suspend, or alter any of the provisions of this chapter so
adopted if such waiver, suspension, or alteration is necessary for the
municipal corporation to comply with any federal law or any rules adopted
pursuant to federal law concerning discrimination in employment.
(C) A municipal corporation may not under this section make any waiver,
suspension, or alteration of provisions of this chapter that relate to matters
of promotions within the municipal civil service.
There is no federal law pertaining to employment discrimination that would
require the Youngstown council to waive the rule of ten in favor of a racially bifurcated,
dual list hiring scheme. As far as we have been able to ascertain, the only possible “law”
that might have required such compliance was a 1986 consent decree which expired four
years later.
Since 2005, Youngstown has been involved in expensive and protracted litigation
concerning the city’s past use of its racially bifurcated, dual list system. A pending case
was filed in the Court of Common Pleas in 2005. The plaintiff, a white male, sued for
discrimination because minority and female candidates with lower scores were hired
while he was not.
In that lawsuit, the Court of Common Pleas refused to grant former Mayor
McKelvey immunity in the event the City is found guilty of discrimination. When the
City appealed the decision, the Court of Appeals for the Seventh District upheld that
portion of the lower court’s ruling.2 It is therefore likely that Youngstown officials who
continue to use the dual list system will be held personally liable in the event of future
discrimination lawsuits.
According to press accounts, Youngstown’s legal staff has recognized that recent
court decisions do not support racially bifurcated scoring and ranking systems. Yet the
2 State ex rel. Conroy v. Williams, 923 N.E.2d 191, 200, ¶ 47 (Ohio Ct. App. 2009) (“In summary, the
judgment of the trial court is affirmed with respect to McKelvey, because, in the event that Appellee can
prove that McKelvey committed race and sex discrimination, he may not avail himself of sovereign
immunity pursuant to R.C. 2744.03(A)(6)(c).”).
Youngstown Council has chosen to ignore the advice of its own legal staff on this
As a further example, in 2006 the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth
Circuit ruled that Shreveport, Louisiana’s use of a dual list system very similar to
Youngstown’s had resulted in illegal discrimination against white males.4
While Ohio does not fall within the jurisdiction of the Fifth Circuit, that decision
reflects the current interpretation of discrimination law by a number of district and
federal courts as well as by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Philadelphia, for example, has for many years used a controversial, racially
bifurcated, dual list system for its firefighters which is similar to Youngstown’s. This has
led to a great deal of disharmony within the Philadelphia fire department, suspicion
among firefighters regarding the qualifications of their colleagues and, inevitably,
Last year the City of Philadelphia paid out $275,000 in a settlement with five
white firefighters who had sued the city for discrimination in 2007.5 In addition to paying
the settlement funds to the aggrieved firefighters, as well as its own legal costs,
Philadelphia also agreed at that time to address the many issues raised in the suit.
It was predictable that Philadelphia would face more lawsuits before the dual list
system could be replaced with a more legally defensible and less divisive system. One of
the original plaintiffs in the 2009 settlement filed a new lawsuit in January 2010 alleging
that fire department officials retaliated against him for participating in the original
discrimination lawsuit.6 This means more litigation, more legal expenses, lower morale
for Philadelphia’s firefighters—and it raises the possibility of putting public safety at
Youngstown’s own legal staff can, and probably already has, identified dozens of
additional, similar examples of expensive, time-consuming litigation against
municipalities for maintaining separate scoring or evaluation criteria for white male
employees on the one hand and minority and female employees on the other.
In July 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court in Ricci v. DeStefano7 struck down a
decision by New Haven, Connecticut, to disregard the results of its firefighter promotion
tests merely because the city felt that too few minorities would have been eligible for
3 Editorial, Council is ignoring the law and putting the city at risk, VINDY.COM, Feb. 5, 2010, available at
4 Dean v. City of Shreveport, 438 F.3d 448, 462-63 (5th Cir. 2006) (“Appellants claim that by separating
applicants’ Civil Service Exam Scores by race, the City in effect uses different cutoff scores on the basis of
race. We agree that the City’s hiring process violates the plain language of section 2000e-2(1) [of Title VII,
Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended].”).
5 Jeff Shields, Philadelphia Settled Firefighters’ Discrimination Suit, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, July 1,
2009, available at
6 Robert Moran, Philadelphia firefighter files 2d racial-bias suit, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, Jan. 13, 2010,
available at
7 129 S.Ct. 2658 (2009).
promotion and purportedly feared a disparate impact lawsuit. According to the Supreme
Court, unless there was strong evidence that the tests discriminated against minorities, a
city could not pass over non-minorities who scored high enough on the exam to be
entitled to promotion. The issue turns on whether the city has a strong basis in evidence
to believe minorities would win a disparate impact lawsuit.8 If not, the city will face
disparate treatment liability from white job candidates and will probably lose.
In writing for the majority in Ricci,9 Justice Kennedy cited the relevant section of
the Civil Rights Act of 1991 which expressly prohibits “selection or referral of applicants
or candidates for employment or promotion, to adjust the scores of, use different cutoff
scores for, or otherwise alter the results of, employment tests on the basis of race, color,
religion, sex, or national origin.”10 This prohibited practice is widely known as “race
norming” and it is precisely the practice in which Youngstown is engaged.
There are better ways than using racially bifurcated hiring lists that Youngstown
can use to expand the pool of qualified minority and female applicants which do not
invite legal challenge and which are far less divisive. Youngstown has, in fact, taken
some initiative in this very direction.
For example, we laud efforts made to increase the pool of applicants and test
takers through expanded recruitment and outreach, including special efforts to ensure that
minority applicants are not disadvantaged, whether that disadvantage resulted from
historical methods of recruitment or otherwise.11 It has been reported that the police
embarked on these initiatives because they recognized that: (1) Historically, a higher
proportion of police applicants and test takers have been white, which accounts, at least
in part, for the larger proportion of whites with high scores; and (2) Youngstown police
have acknowledged that in the past they have had trouble recruiting blacks because of
their perception of the police.12
Other options Youngstown could consider include offering scholarships and other
training opportunities on a race-neutral basis so that all applicants can better prepare for
the exam. Youngstown could help potential applicants of all racial and ethnic
backgrounds and both sexes win scholarships for criminal justice studies in college, and
the city could mentor promising students. All of these efforts would be legitimate means
of increasing the pool of qualified applicants.
8 Id. at 2676 (“If an employer cannot rescore a test based on the candidates' race, [42 U.S.C.] § 2000e-2(l),
then it follows a fortiori that it may not take the greater step of discarding the test altogether to achieve a
more desirable racial distribution of promotion-eligible candidates—absent a strong basis in evidence that
the test was deficient and that discarding the results is necessary to avoid violating the disparate-impact
provision.”) (citation omitted).
9 See 129 S.Ct. at 2676.
10 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(l).
11 See Patricia Meade, Youngstown Police Sergeant: Strengthen minority recruitment, VINDY.COM, Mar.
13, 2006, available at
12 We do not have sufficient information to pass on the validity of these reports, but we simply note that
such factors might well justify increased efforts to expand the pool and diversity of applicants that compete
for the positions at issue.
Youngstown’s dual list hiring policy is inherently discriminatory and cannot be
justified as necessary to conform with federal law. Indeed, it appears to violate federal
law, and it is unfair and divisive. As the Ohio courts have recently suggested, city
officials could be held personally liable if the city loses a discrimination case resulting
from the dual list hiring policy. As the U.S. Supreme Court and many lower courts have
ruled, it is not permissible to discriminate against one race in order to benefit another
race. Accordingly, we urge you to rescind your dual list policy and instead adopt raceneutral
means of ensuring a wide range of applicants who can compete on an equal
footing for hiring and promotion.
Gerald E. Reynolds
Abigail Thernstrom
Vice Chair
Peter Kirsanow
Ashley Taylor, Jr.
Gail Heriot
Todd Gaziano
Cc: State Attorney General

EEOC Press Release: EEOC Sues International Corporate Law Firm (Kelley, Drye & Warren) for Age Discrimination, Retaliation


EEOC Sues Law Firm Kelley Drye & Warren for Age Discrimination and Retaliation
New York-Based Firm Significantly Underpaid Attorneys After They Turned 70
Solely Based on Age, Federal Agency Charged

NEW YORK -- Kelley Drye & Warren, an international law firm with its primary office in New York City, violated federal age discrimination law through its compensation system, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.

According to the EEOC’s suit, in Kelley Drye’s system, attorneys who practiced law after turning 70 years of age received dramatically reduced compensation compared to similarly productive younger attorneys solely because of their age. The EEOC further charged that Kelley Drye unlawfully retaliated against Eugene T. D'Ablemont, an attorney who has practiced law at the firm for over 40 years, by further reducing his compensation after he complained about this discriminatory policy and filed a charge with the EEOC.

“Law firms that single out older attorneys for adverse treatment simply because of their age run great risk of violating the federal prohibition on age discrimination,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “This lawsuit should serve as a wake-up call for law firms to examine their own practices to ensure they comport with federal law.”

The EEOC’s lawsuit, Civil Action No. 10- CV-0655, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, said that Kelley Drye requires all partners to give up their ownership interest in the firm at the age of 70. If an attorney continues to work, his or her compensation consists of an annual "bonus" payment in an amount totally within the discretion of the firm's executive committee. Since D'Ablemont turned 70 in 2001, even though he routinely has obtained over $1 million in fees annually from his clients, his compensation has been substantially less than younger lawyers at the firm with similar productivity. Moreover, in 2008 and 2009, after D'Ablemont had complained internally about Kelley Drye's age-based compensation system, ultimately resulting in his filing of an age discrimination charge with the EEOC, the firm reduced his bonus payment by two-thirds even though his productivity remained the same.

This alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which prohibits age-based employment discrimination against those aged 40 and older, and which also bars employers from retaliating against those who complain about such unlawful practices. The EEOC filed suit only after attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement.

“A law firm's compensation for its attorneys should be based on ability and productivity, not on age-based stereotypes about declining effectiveness,” said Elizabeth Grossman, regional attorney in the EEOC's New York office.

Spencer H. Lewis, Jr., director of the EEOC New York District Office, added, “More and more attorneys are effectively practicing law into their 70s and beyond. This is also seen by the fact that most current Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court are over 70 years old.”

In FY 2009, the EEOC received 22,778 age discrimination charge filings, the second highest level ever, accounting for 24% of its private sector caseload. EEOC’s age discrimination charge data are available on its web site at

The EEOC is the government agency responsible for enforcing federal anti-discrimination laws in the workplace. Further information about EEOC is available at

New York Times: Judge Cites Discrimination in N.Y. Fire Dept.

January 14, 2010
Judge Cites Discrimination in N.Y. Fire Dept.

A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that New York City intentionally discriminated against black applicants to the Fire Department by continuing to use an exam that it had been told put them at a disadvantage.

It was not a “one-time mistake or the product of benign neglect,” wrote the judge, Nicholas G. Garaufis of Federal District Court in Brooklyn. “It was a part of a pattern, practice and policy of intentional discrimination against black applicants that has deep historical antecedents and uniquely disabling effects.” A remedy will be decided on later.

In his decision, the judge highlighted how “black and other minority firefighters have been severely underrepresented,” characterizing that as a “persistent stain on the Fire Department’s record.”

City officials said that they intended to appeal the decision, but could not do so until the judge had determined what damages the city might face.

Legal experts, as well as lawyers for the plaintiffs and city officials, said the decision was the first in recent memory in which a court had found that the city had intentionally discriminated against a large group of people — racial minorities or women, for instance — in the workplace.

“I can’t recall there ever being a finding of intentional racial discrimination in a pattern-and-practice case against the city,” said Elise C. Boddie, a professor of constitutional law at New York Law School who formerly litigated employment discrimination cases. “I would say this is pretty big.”

In July, Judge Garaufis — acting on a claim being pushed by the United States Justice Department — ruled that the Fire Department used a test in 1999 and 2002 that had a discriminatory effect on black applicants.

In his ruling on Wednesday, the judge found that the city intentionally discriminated against blacks in using those tests and in ignoring calls over the years to change the testing procedure. The suit was brought by three people who took the test and by the Vulcan Society, a fraternal organization of black city firefighters.

At the heart of the case is the Fire Department’s persistent underrepresentation of minorities and the continued use, between 1999 and 2007, of the entrance exams. In 2007, there were 303 black firefighters, accounting for 3.4 percent of the department’s ranks; black residents make up 25.6 percent of the city’s population.

The judge noted that while the city’s other uniformed services “have made rapid progress integrating black members into their ranks, the Fire Department has stagnated and at times retrogressed.”

Judge Garaufis stopped short of finding that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the former fire commissioner, Nicholas Scoppetta, had also intentionally discriminated against black applicants. But the judge wrote that he found strong evidence to suggest that they were made aware numerous times that the Fire Department’s entrance exams were discriminatory, yet failed to take sufficient remedial action.

The mayor testified at a deposition in August that he did not recall receiving a report more than six years ago warning him about sharp differences in the pass rates between white and minority candidates for firefighter jobs, lawyers said.

The judge “let the mayor and the commissioner off the hook on the basis of a doctrine known as qualified immunity,” said Richard A. Levy, a lawyer for the plaintiffs. He said that doctrine exempts public officials from lawsuits that are based on their discretionary decisions.

The chief of the labor and employment law division of the city’s Law Department said in a written statement that she was “pleased” that the court dismissed claims against Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Scoppetta, but disagreed with the overall finding of intentional discrimination.

“It is the city’s view that there is simply no evidence that the city ever intended to discriminate against black applicants,” the lawyer, Georgia Pestana, said.

Anjana Samant, a lawyer for the Center for Constitutional Rights, which was part of the team that represented the plaintiffs, said that the class of people involved has been defined as those who were disqualified from becoming firefighters by virtue of the tests. The pool of potential claimants, she said, could reach the hundreds.

Ms. Samant said the remedies could include payment of lost salary for those denied jobs, as well as new city hiring policies.

Some city officials said they found the decision unexpected and deeply perplexing, in part because the judge ruled on plaintiffs’ motions for summary judgment and the city’s motion to dismiss the case without a trial.

Mr. Levy agreed it was unusual to get a ruling based solely on documentary evidence and depositions, but he said “the evidence of a decades-long pattern of discriminating against black and Latino firefighter applicants was overwhelming.”

Ms. Boddie, the New York Law School professor, said such rulings against government entities were rare around the nation, adding, “To the extent there is a finding of liability, it is usually on disparate-impact grounds, not based on racially discriminatory intent.”

Paul Washington, 48, a firefighter in Brooklyn and a former Vulcan Society president, said that the ruling validated “what we’ve been saying for the longest time, and which I’ve been saying since 1999 — that the Fire Department discriminates, intentionally, and they just continue to do it.”

He said he believed that over the department’s 145-year history, there were probably “thousands of thousands of black men and women who should have had this job and didn’t get it.”

Toby Lyles and Michael S. Schmidt contributed reporting.

EEOC Compliance Manual re: Race Discrimination


Who ultimately receives employment opportunities is highly dependent on how and where the employer looks for candidates. Accordingly, Title VII forbids not only recruitment practices that purposefully discriminate on the basis of race but also practices that disproportionately limit employment opportunities based on race and are not related to job requirements or business needs.(80) For example, recruiting from racially segregated sources, such as certain neighborhoods, schools, religious institutions, and social networks, leads to hiring that simply replicates societal patterns of racial segregation.

1. Job Advertisements and Employment Agencies

Title VII specifically forbids job advertisements based on race, color, and other protected traits.(81) The statute also prohibits discrimination by employment agencies.(82) If an employer asks an employee-referral agency or search firm not to refer or search for candidates of a particular race, both the employer that made the request and the employment agency that honored it would be liable.(83)

2. Word-of-Mouth Referrals

While word-of-mouth recruiting in a racially diverse workforce can be an effective way to promote diversity, the same method of recruiting in a non-diverse workforce is a barrier to equal employment opportunity if it does not create applicant pools that reflect the diversity in the qualified labor market.(84) Similarly, unions that are not racially diverse should avoid relying solely on member referrals as the source of new members.(85)

3. Homogeneous Recruitment Sources

Title VII is violated by recruiting persons only from largely homogeneous sources if the recruitment practice has a racial purpose, or if it has a significant racial impact and cannot be justified as job related and consistent with business necessity. For example, Title VII might be violated if a municipal employer with an overwhelmingly White population and workforce abuts a major city with an overwhelmingly Black population, but the municipality only hires its own residents and refuses to advertise its jobs in newspapers that circulate in the abutting major city.(86) As another example, Title VII might be violated if a statistically significant racial disparity results from recruiting persons exclusively from predominantly White schools, or exclusively from predominantly Black schools, when it would be feasible to recruit qualified students from a range of sources. More investigation would be needed to determine whether a racial motivation exists, or whether the employer’s recruitment practices can be justified as job related and consistent with business necessity.
4. Discriminatory Screening of Recruits

The process of screening or culling recruits presents another opportunity for discrimination. Race obviously cannot be used as a screening criterion. Nor may employers use a screening criterion that has a significantly disparate racial impact unless it is proven to be job related and consistent with business necessity.


An executive in a large company asks a recruiter in the human resources department to find her a new secretary. The executive tells the recruiter that in addition to excellent secretarial skills, she wants only to interview candidates who will relate well with high level executives inside and outside the company. In response to this, the recruiter searches the company’s résumé database. The search produces 50 current résumés. In order to reduce this to a more manageable number, the recruiter refines the search to eliminate résumés from zip codes that are predominantly Black or Latino. This violates Title VII.

The law generally leaves it to the employer’s business judgment to determine who should be hired or promoted. Within that context, however, an applicant’s race should not affect his or her chances. This means that employers cannot treat persons of different races differently in the hiring or promotion process. Nor may employers use selection criteria that have a significant discriminatory effect without being able to prove that the criteria are job-related and consistent with business necessity. Thus, a sound way for employers both to achieve business goals and to comply with the law is to hire and promote based on job-related ability, as measured by uniform and consistently applied qualification/selection standards.
1. Uniform and Consistently Applied Standards

When making hiring and promotion decisions, employers must apply the same selection criteria to persons of different races, and apply them in the same way, giving the same weight to each criterion for each person. The reasons given for selection decisions should be credible and supported by the evidence. The following are examples.


Malcolm, an Asian American, applies for an executive position with the employer, a health maintenance organization. Malcolm is well qualified; he has a B.S. in biology from a large state university and an M.D. from a prestigious private university. Malcolm also has seven years’ experience practicing internal medicine and recently obtained an Executive M.B.A. from a well-respected business school. The employer interviewed Malcolm and eight other candidates. Malcolm was one of two finalists brought back for a final round of interviews. The employer’s selection committee ultimately chose Robert, a White finalist with slightly fewer qualifications but with experience in a similar job for a competitor. The employer tells EEOC that given Robert’s experience, it believed it would gain the most competitive benefit by hiring him. The EEOC investigator confirms Robert’s experience working for a competitor, and reads the minutes of the selection committee’s final meeting which reflect that this was the reason discussed at the meeting for choosing Robert over Malcolm. Here, the evidence supports the employer’s legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason.


Kai, a Native American, files a charge after he applied for a promotion, was interviewed, and was not selected. The investigation reveals that, based on objective qualifications, Kai was deemed one of the top candidates but the job ended up going to Ted, a similarly qualified White candidate from outside the company. The hiring manager tells the investigator that he thought that Kai was well qualified but he chose Ted because he “seemed to be a better fit; I’m comfortable with him and I can see him in my job one day.” When pressed to be more specific,(87) the manager says he liked the fact that Ted worked for a competitor. However, the investigation reveals that although Ted did work for another company in the industry, it was not really a competitor. Employee and management witnesses tell the investigator that Ted’s experience working for another company in the industry was no more valuable than Kai’s experience working for the company itself. The witnesses also tell the investigator that, until now, the company practice had been to prefer qualified internal candidates over similarly qualified external candidates. There is reasonable cause to believe that Kai was discriminated against based on his race or national origin.


Rita, an African American, has worked seven years as a Program Analyst for a federal agency. She consistently has received outstanding performance evaluations. Each of the last four years, Rita has applied for openings for jobs in her office in a higher grade. The agency has rejected Rita each time. After the fourth rejection, Rita initiated EEO counseling, and then a formal complaint, because she believed she had been repeatedly discriminated against. She stated that four White employees were promoted over her, each time for a different reason. The investigation reveals that the agency actually did apply the same promotion criteria during each selection. Importantly, however, witness interviews and documentary evidence (e.g., the employer’s interview notes) strongly suggest that the agency weighted the criteria differently each time so that Rita was the least qualified applicant. In other words, it appears that when a job-related qualification favored Rita it was deemed less important than when a qualification favored a White candidate. Moreover, statistics reveal that Whites are promoted more often than similarly qualified African Americans. There is reasonable cause to believe Rita was discriminated against based on her race.
2. Job-Related Standards, Consistent with Business Necessity

In an employer’s important effort to hire the best candidate, it might unintentionally engage in race discrimination by using selection standards that measure differences between racial groups that are not related to the job. Title VII provides that, if a selection standard is shown to have a significant impact based on race, the employer must demonstrate that the standard is job-related and consistent with business necessity. Thus, employers should be sure to “measure the person for the job and not the person in the abstract.”(88)
Education Requirements

Educational requirements obviously may be important for certain jobs. For example, graduation from medical school is required to practice medicine. However, employers often impose educational requirements out of their own sense of desirable qualifications. Such requirements may run afoul of Title VII if they have a disparate impact and exceed what is needed to perform the job. As the Supreme Court stated in one of its earliest interpretations of Title VII: “History is filled with examples of men and women who rendered highly effective performance without the conventional badges of accomplishment in terms of certificates, diplomas, or degrees. Diplomas and tests are useful servants, but Congress has mandated the commonsense proposition that they are not to become masters of reality.”(89)


Chloe, White, is the Head Secretary for a division of XYZ Corp. She took the job right after college and now is departing after three years to go to graduate school. The employer was thrilled with Chloe’s work, and when it gets notice that she is leaving, it sets out to find a replacement. Sylvia, an African American, applies for the job. Sylvia is a successful graduate of the local business institute, and has spent the last five years working as a secretary for a regional bank, rising a year ago to become the Executive Secretary in one of its major departments. The employer rejects Sylvia’s application because she is not a college graduate, which triggers a charge. Statistical evidence shows that in the local labor market African Americans and Hispanics in the pool of administrative and clerical workers are significantly less likely to have college degrees than Whites. The employer defends its education requirement by attributing Chloe’s success to the fact that she was college educated, noting that the Head Secretary position involves not only traditional secretarial work, but also more complex responsibilities such as preparing reports, and training and supervising other clerical staff. The investigation reveals, however, that none of the firm’s prior successful Head Secretaries had college degrees, and it is not the industry standard. Most importantly, the employer presents no evidence that a college degree is more predictive of, or correlated with, job performance than a degree from a business institute plus significant relevant experience (i.e., Sylvia’s qualifications), or other credentials and experiences that would render a person qualified for the job. The evidence establishes that the employer has violated Title VII because the college-degree requirement screens out African Americans and Hispanics to a significant degree but it has not been demonstrated to be job related and consistent with business necessity.
Employment Testing

Employment testing is another practice to which the disparate impact principle frequently is applied. Title VII provides that it is not an unlawful employment practice for an employer to give and to act upon the results of any professionally developed ability test “provided that such test, its administration or action upon the results is not designed, intended or used to discriminate on the basis of race” or other protected bases.(90) Under this provision, employment tests that have a disparate impact based on race or another protected trait must be validated pursuant to the government’s Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures.(91) For example, if an employer decides to use a personality test to determine which employees are “management material,” and the test has a significant disparate impact based on race or another protected trait, the employer first must have the test professionally validated to ensure that the test is predictive of, or significantly correlates with, important elements of a manager’s job performance.(92) Even if the employer meets that standard, the test still may violate Title VII if there is another, less discriminatory alternative to the test that serves the employer’s needs and the employer fails to use this alternative.(93)

Title VII also explicitly prohibits employers from race-norming employment tests, i.e, adjusting scores, using different cutoff scores, or otherwise altering the results of employment tests on the basis of race or other Title VII-protected bases.(94) For example, it is illegal to use different “passing” scores for different racial groups or to alter scores on employment tests in order to make the mean score the same for each race. This does not mean an employer cannot change the way it grades employment tests. For example, an employer may go from a straight ranking system to a grade banding system (i.e., a system that groups similar grades together) if done for nondiscriminatory purposes.(95)
Conviction and Arrest Records

Of course, it is unlawful to disqualify a person of one race for having a conviction or arrest record while not disqualifying a person of another race with a similar record. For example, an employer cannot reject Black applicants who have conviction records when it does not reject similarly situated White applicants.(96)

In addition to avoiding disparate treatment in rejecting persons based on conviction or arrest records, upon a showing of disparate impact, employers also must be able to justify such criteria as job related and consistent with business necessity.(97) This means that, with respect to conviction records, the employer must show that it considered the following three factors: (1) the nature and gravity of the offense(s); (2) the time that has passed since the conviction and/or completion of the sentence; and (3) the nature of the job held or sought.(98) A blanket exclusion of persons convicted of any crime thus would not be job-related and consistent with business necessity.(99) Instead, the above factors must be applied to each circumstance. Generally, employers will be able to justify their decision when the conduct that was the basis of the conviction is related to the position, or if the conduct was particularly egregious.

Arrest records are treated slightly differently. While a conviction record constitutes reliable evidence that a person engaged in the conduct alleged (i.e., convictions require proof “beyond a reasonable doubt”), an arrest without a conviction does not establish that a person actually engaged in misconduct.(100) Thus, when a policy or practice of rejecting applicants based on arrest records has a disparate impact on a protected class, the arrest records must not only be related to the job at issue, but the employer must also evaluate whether the applicant or employee actually engaged in the misconduct. It can do this by giving the person the opportunity to explain and by making follow-up inquiries necessary to evaluate his/her credibility.(101)

Other employment policies that relate to off-the-job employee conduct also are subject to challenge under the disparate impact approach, such as policies related to employees’ credit history. People of color have also challenged, under the disparate impact theory, employer policies of discharging persons whose wages have been garnished to satisfy creditors’ judgments.(102)

In order to open the American workplace to historically excluded groups, some employers use diversity and affirmative action programs. Diversity and affirmative action are related concepts, but the terms have different origins and legal connotations. Workforce diversity is a business management concept under which employers voluntarily promote an inclusive workplace. Employers that value diversity create a culture of respect for individual differences in order to “draw talent and ideas from all segments of the population” and thereby potentially gain a “competitive advantage in the increasingly global economy.”(103) Many employers have concluded that a diverse workforce makes a company stronger, more profitable, and a better place to work,(104) and they implement diversity initiatives for competitive reasons rather than in response to discrimination, although such initiatives may also help to avoid discrimination.

Title VII permits diversity efforts designed to open up opportunities to everyone. For example, if an employer notices that African Americans are not applying for jobs in the numbers that would be expected given their availability in the labor force, the employer could adopt strategies to expand the applicant pool of qualified African Americans such as recruiting at schools with high African American enrollment.(105) Similarly, an employer that is changing its hiring practices can take steps to ensure that the practice it selects minimizes the disparate impact on any racial group.(106) For example, an employer that previously required new hires to have a college degree could change this requirement to allow applicants to have a college degree or two years of relevant experience in the field. A need for diversity efforts may be prompted by a change in the population’s racial demographics, which could reveal an underrepresentation of certain racial groups in the work force in comparison to the current labor pool.

Affirmative action, in contrast, “means those actions appropriate to overcome the effects of past or present practices, policies, or other barriers to equal employment opportunity.”(107) Affirmative action under Title VII may be (1) court-ordered after a finding of discrimination,(108) (2) negotiated as a remedy in consent decrees and settlement agreements, or (3) conducted pursuant to government regulation.(109) Also, employers may implement voluntary affirmative action plans in appropriate circumstances, such as to eliminate a manifest imbalance in a traditionally segregated job category.(110) In examining whether such a voluntary affirmative action plan is legal under Title VII, courts consider whether the affirmative action plan involves a quota or inflexible goal, whether the plan is flexible enough so that each candidate competes against all other qualified candidates, whether the plan unnecessarily trammels the interests of third parties, and whether the action is temporary, e.g., not designed to continue after the plan’s goal has been met.(111)

An affirmative action plan implemented by a public sector employer is subject to both Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution.(112) Some federal courts have held that public law enforcement agencies may satisfy the Equal Protection Clause if an “operational need” justifies the employer’s voluntary affirmative action efforts.(113) In the higher education context, the Supreme Court decided in Grutter v. Bollinger that attaining a diverse student body can justify considering race as a factor in specific admissions decisions at colleges and universities without violating the Equal Protection Clause or Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Supreme Court has not yet ruled on whether an “operational need” or diversity rationale could justify voluntary affirmative action efforts under Title VII, but a number of legal scholars and practitioners have debated the issue.(114)

The Commission encourages voluntary affirmative action and diversity efforts to improve opportunities for racial minorities in order to carry out the Congressional intent embodied in Title VII.(115) Further, the Commission believes that “persons subject to Title VII must be allowed flexibility in modifying employment systems and practices to comport with the purposes” of the statute.(116) However, employers are cautioned that very careful implementation of affirmative action and diversity programs is recommended to avoid the potential for running afoul of the law.(117) EEOC investigators should consult with attorneys from their legal unit on charges of discrimination involving affirmative action and diversity plans. EEOC Casting a Bigger Net to Catch Systemic Discrimination

EEOC Casting a Bigger Net to Catch Systemic Discrimination
Commissioner Stuart Ishimaru of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a stern warning to American businesses when he spoke at the Employment Practices and Fiduciary Liability Symposium sponsored by the Professional Liability Underwriting Society. He cautioned that the EEOC is shifting its focus
from small individual cases to larger systemic issues, even some that will cut across entire industries. He added that the change in emphasis was the result of limited resources that were stretched too thin to fight all potential employment discrimination cases.
Commissioner Ishimaru also noted that the agency needed to choose its targets more carefully, especially in litigation. In order for the EEOC to change attitudes and deter bad behavior in employment practices, targets
must be bigger than they've been in the past. To that end, the agency has adopted recommendations from an internal task force report that focuses on strengthening its nationwide approach to investigating and litigating systemic cases.
The task force was established in 2005 to examine the EEOC's systemic program and recommend new strategies for handling this type of employment discrimination. The task force worked for nearly a year, conducting interviews, holding focus groups, and polling EEOC staff. One of the outcomes of their work was a specific definition of systemic cases as a "pattern or practice, policy and/or class cases where the alleged discrimination has a broad impact on an industry, profession, company, or geographic location."
Another outcome was a plan to revitalize the agency's systemic program by having district offices analyze data to spot problems within their regions' industries.Most employers are required to file an EEO-1 report that breaks
down race, gender and ethnic composition of employees. These EEO-1 statistics will be used to uncover problem employers and industries. In addition, members of the EEOC Commission and employees involved in outreach will be encouraged to educate employers and other members of the public about systemic discrimination, including trends and issues the agency has identified and cases the agency has handled.
Commissioner Ishimaru also hinted at the possibility of the EEOC using testers either directly or indirectly in enforcement. Testers are job applicants with similar resumes but different races or ethnic backgrounds that apply for the same jobs.
In addition to those changes described above, the Commission also approved some other significant operational changes:
· Systemic investigations and litigation will be conducted in the field, and the systemic investigation and
litigation units in headquarters will no longer exist.
· Each district in the field must develop a plan that will ensure the Commission is identifying and investigating
systemic discrimination in a coordinated and effective manner throughout the agency.
· The Office of General Counsel should staff systemic cases using a national law firm model, meaning that
cases will be staffed with employees who have the expertise suited to each particular case.
The most significant change in this overall shift in focus is the decentralization of the agency. Field offices are expected to handle all systemic investigations and litigation. They will be partnering to share expertise, in order to maximize resources. Headquarters will now assume a secondary role as a provider of assistance and support for the field offices' systemic program.