Last week’s column reported three Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) personnel who have emerged as heroes in exposing serious ongoing ethical and illegal MDCR breaches. This week, a fourth: Ronald G. Brandon, former chief supervisor of the MDCR Investigative Unit.
His ouster from the department and City of Minneapolis came after his expressions of serious concern to superiors of the tampering with cases under investigation within the department. Some feel it was the case of Glenda Telford and her two children that may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Evidence shows that during the week of February 5, 2010, a very peculiar assignment was given to MDCR investigators: Supervise temporary employees in the destruction by shredding of hundreds of MCDR civil rights complaint cases filed by citizens.
It is clear that most of these cases were not investigated despite their receiving letters claiming investigation. All but one received an MDCR letter denying their claims on the grounds of no probable cause.
Peculiar to the retaliation against Mr. Brandon was the sequence of, first, his promotion to assistant director by the new director, Velma Korbel, only to be then demoted in less than two months. Rumor has it that he thought the new incoming director wanted to do the right thing.
To his surprise and demise, he found himself forced out of employment by the City of Minneapolis and replaced by the man who had been the chief investigator under Korbel in the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, an individual who had previously been acting director of the MDCR prior to the arrival of Michael Jordan, Ms. Korbel’s predecessor.
Mr. Brandon was assigned to Regulatory Services. Within weeks he was told the position had been eliminated. He became one more City employee joining the ranks of the unemployed, betrayed for doing his job.
Here are a few of the names from a list I have received of citizens who had filed civil rights complaints against major institutions and businesses in Minneapolis, including the police department, only to have their cases denied and purged by shredding, many done during the week of February 5, 2010:
Alemu Abebe, Case File #A6149-PA-5
Kebede Belay, Case File #A6518-EM-1A-RP
James Davis, Case File #A6450-EM-1A
Tonya Glover, Case File #A6635-EM-1A-RP
Bernard Harris, Case File #10-092589-PS-1A-7-RP
Juvenile, Case File #09-14391-PS-1A
Juvenile, Case File #09-14-406-PS-1A
Carol Kelley, Case File #09-23928-EM-10-11
Linda Reynolds, Case File #A6444-RE-1A
Glenda Telford, File #09-07461 (no case file number)
Cordell Watkins, Case File #A6636-EM-1A-RP
Mamie Young, Case File #A6375-EM-1A-5
These cases’ files were not only shredded, but never investigated, which Ronald G. Brandon could not and would not tolerate. It cost him his job and his career.
In my column of last week, I reported how a former contract compliance investigator and attorney, Loren Marker, confronted the Minneapolis City Council in their session of March 2, 2011, with evidence and allegations of criminal and civil malfeasance during the time that she was employed as a contract compliance specialist. That should have been a red flag to the city council, but for whatever reason, it was not.
I also reported that Mr. Calderone submitted written documentation that he had been ordered to provide unverifiable diversity numbers in both hiring and contracts on the $200 million U of M Children’s Hospital project. It is rumored that Ron Brandon did as Eddy Calderone did: He alerted his supervisors of questionable patterns and practices within the MDCR regarding both compliance in diversity hiring and contract practices and in reporting false diversity compliance numbers after the fact.
At the time of Mr. Calderon’s declaration to Michael J. Rumppe of the Human Resources Department, others also became aware, such as Mr. James Patterson, who was also forced out of the department, and Marvin “Corky” Taylor, then deputy director of the MDCR, who was soon demoted and is now on track to be terminated from his position as a contract compliance specialist.
This disturbing pattern shakes to the foundation any level of confidence or trust in the City of Minneapolis and its Civil Rights Department: filed complaints not investigated; filed complaints shredded; filed complaints, with one exception, responded to with letters denying claims on the grounds of no probable cause. These letters were posted within a period of March-April and early May 2010, corresponding to the events and assignments of the week of February 5, 2010.
At least seven specialists were brought in during that week. Under temporary contracts and supervised by permanent investigators in the MDCR, they purged citizen complaints, preparing to make the mayor look good on his announcement four months before that the Civil Rights Department no longer had a case backlog.
We’ll have more over the next five weeks. Stay tuned.
Ron hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm and co-hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “ON POINT!” Saturdays at 5 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his solution papers and “web log” at www.TheMinneap olisStory.com.