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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

How Far Will One Company Go to Avoid Hiring Blacks?

Campus Crest Communities

A North Carolina company, currently a darling among Wall Street investors, goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid hiring blacks, according to a federal lawsuit filed by one current and two former employees.

Charlotte-based Campus Crest Communities, which develops student housing near college campuses, recently issued a $380-million IPO. But according to the lawsuit, the company takes specific steps to avoid hiring blacks for certain positions and fosters a racially hostile environment for the blacks who do work there.

Plaintiff Nicole McAuliffe says in the complaint that Campus Crest McAuliffe practiced blatant discrimination against people of color. She and other staff members were directed to hire predominantly young, white women to available positions at the company's various residential rental properties. She was directed to provide her superiors with photographs taken from the FaceBook or MySpace pages of all applicants she recommended to ensure they were not African American.

One supervisor told McAuliffe, “We have Southern investors; they do not like for us to hire blacks.” Another supervisor stated, "Once you hire an African American, you never can get rid of them because they think they are so entitled.” Several black administrative staff worked in a certain section of the corporate office, and that became known among higher-ups as the "hood."

Qualified blacks--as well as qualified applicants over the age of 40--routinely were excluded from employment opportunities at Campus Crest's residential properties around the country, McAuliffe says.

Plaintiff Heather McCormack states in the complaint that one investor referred to blacks as "Indians." This investor said in a board of directors' meeting that occupancy levels had been reduced because too many "Indians" had been hired.

Ted Rollins, CEO of Campus Crest, helped create the racially hostile environment, McCormack says. Rollins said one black property manager had caused a section of his apartment complex to fall into disrepair because he had been "throwing out his chicken grease at night."

McCormack faced questions when she hired a black female as one of her direct reports at the Charlotte office. "Who hired the black girl with the red hair?" said one of McCormack's superiors. McCormack says she was under constant pressure to terminate the new employee for false reasons.

Plaintiff Tammy Hughes-Brown says in the complaint that Rollins made it a practice to mimic the voice of a black male in her presence, insisting that he sounded just like Bernie Mac, the late African-American comedian.

For the company's 2009 annual meeting, Rollins and Chief Investment Officer Mike Hartnett presented a DVD that featured the two of them wearing large, 1960s-style "Afros." During a portion of the DVD, Hartnett mimics the voice of a black male, and both executives engage in sexually and racially charged remarks.

The Campus Crest story has strong connections to Alabama. Ted Rollins is a central figure in an Alabama divorce case that appears to involve rampant irregularities. Sherry Carroll Rollins had sued Ted Rollins for divorce in South Carolina, where the couple lived at the time. But contrary to black-letter law, he managed to sue her in Alabama, where she and the couple's two daughters had moved after being forced from their home in Greenville.

As we've reported here at Legal Schnauzer, Ted Rollins appears to have benefited from his connections to Bradley Arant Boult and Cummings, one of Alabama's largest and most conservative law firms. Lawyers from the firm's Charlotte office are defending Campus Crest Communities in the discrimination case.

The tawdry Campus Crest tale even has a roundabout tie to the Obama administration. Not long after the lawsuit was filed, a Birmingham-based Bradley Arant lawyer named Abdul Kallon initiated an investigation. Kallon's role in the case ended when he was nominated by President Obama to fill a federal judgeship in the Northern District of Alabama.

Kallon was born in Sierra Leone, and you might think that he would be sensitive to victims of racism. In fact, you would think he would be sensitive, in general, to regular folks who have been victimized by the powerful.

But at Bradley Arant, it appears that Kallon's job was to protect corporate interests, to work against the victims of discrimination. Did Kallon, now a federal judge who was appointed by a Democrat, make a serious effort to get at the root of what appear to be rampant problems at Campus Crest? Or did he simply try to find a way to cover them up?

Perhaps the answer to that question will become known as the North Carolina case moves forward in the litigation process. For now, we can ask these questions: By appointing someone from Bradley Arant, exactly what message has the Obama administration sent to progressives who supported them? And what kind of judge has Abdul Kallon turned out to be?

Here is Heather McCormack's complaint against Campus Crest. The three complaints are in the process of being consolidated into one federal claim:


Campus Crest McCormack

5 comments:

Robby Scott Hill said...

"In fact, lawyers have the most alcoholics of any profession. You may have hired a fantastic attorney who is swamped with work, or you may have hired an alcoholic lawyer who is too drunk to talk to you right now."

http://stubbornwriter.com/2010/02/19/16/12/25/law/legal-profession/why-your-lawyer-wont-take-or-return-your-phone-calls-top-10-reasons/168

Anonymous said...

Legal Schnauzer, I have been reading at your posting and the reason I keep coming back, is, you are very grounded in what I call real. Rachel Corrie's Dream calls what we need to know is REALLITY. I invite you go go and get on youtube, RACHEL CORRIE'S DREAM and spend some time in understanding the tap root of what you write about.

Progressive v. Conservative in America.

It is all due to the fact, that, we in the U.S. have a government which was a construct and the structure is multi-faceted, hydra-headed totalitarian digital debt slavery [in essence].

Schools, medicine, and all the systems, especially LAW.

The law is a very special construct and the Rule of Law was what supposedly we achieved, due to the "Revolution."

Manufacture of systems to stay in a fashion of intelligence, choosing progressing forward, as it were.

Due process, probable cause, the rule of law.

We in the courts during this time, may very well have kept that revolution which the "conservatives" want and that George W. Bush Jr. actually thought he was hired as the big gun to make happen, and globally it did. Here at home, the poisons in air, water, food, kept us off the streets with guns. Sometimes the consumer products do work for the whole of society, I guess.

George Soros is probably one of the biggest "progressives," and his Open Society is a global operation pushing progressive.

Sarah Palin's top AIDE has been on George's payroll of the Open Society for quite a long number of years.

Time to watch Rachel Corrie's Dream and understand the dance of progressive and conservative is music played for US by that governing body not exactly one iota interested in America other than confusing for years in a tug-o-war, this vs. that.

MONEY, of course in the US has been digital from IBM keystrokes for a long time. This system is coveted by Russia, China, et al. Would they love to own this dumb place where we do not know our money system and look see what it is, the rest of the world rejects computer keystroke digits for real land, too.

Began in the South, the division called progressive-conservative.

Time to reboot the communication stream.

Thanks, always great to follow a true journalist who understands how to write so the reader gets it clearly AND, such truly magnificent brilliant style.

H. L. Mencken, bows to your light within and words that shine the outer glow to know the truth sets us free.

Roberta Kelly
aka Biloxi

Anonymous said...

MONEY, of course in the US has been digital from IBM keystrokes for a long time. This system is coveted by Russia, China, et al. Would they love to own this dumb place where we do not know our money system and look see what it is, the rest of the world rejects computer keystroke digits for real land, too.

Began in the South, the division called progressive-conservative.

Time to reboot the communication stream.

Thanks, always great to follow a true journalist who understands how to write so the reader gets it clearly AND, such truly magnificent brilliant style.

H. L. Mencken, bows to your light within and words that shine the outer glow to know the truth sets us free.

Roberta Kelly
aka Biloxi

Anonymous said...

Manufacture of systems to stay in a fashion of intelligence, choosing progressing forward, as it were.

Due process, probable cause, the rule of law.

We in the courts during this time, may very well have kept that revolution which the "conservatives" want and that George W. Bush Jr. actually thought he was hired as the big gun to make happen, and globally it did. Here at home, the poisons in air, water, food, kept us off the streets with guns. Sometimes the consumer products do work for the whole of society, I guess.

George Soros is probably one of the biggest "progressives," and his Open Society is a global operation pushing progressive.

Sarah Palin's top AIDE has been on George's payroll of the Open Society for quite a long number of years.

Time to watch Rachel Corrie's Dream and understand the dance of progressive and conservative is music played for US by that governing body not exactly one iota interested in America other than confusing for years in a tug-o-war, this vs. that.

Suzan said...

Why I don't call myself a Democrat anymore. And will look at each candidate very carefully before giving them my vote.

S

But at Bradley Arant, it appears that Kallon's job was to protect corporate interests, to work against the victims of discrimination. Did Kallon, now a federal judge who was appointed by a Democrat, make a serious effort to get at the root of what appear to be rampant problems at Campus Crest? Or did he simply try to find a way to cover them up?

Perhaps the answer to that question will become known as the North Carolina case moves forward in the litigation process. For now, we can ask these questions: By appointing someone from Bradley Arant, exactly what message has the Obama administration sent to progressives who supported them? And what kind of judge has Abdul Kallon turned out to be?

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