Toxic and corrupt environment in civil rights department


Retaliation continues in the department I now call the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights Misconduct. Former employees of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department affirmed this in testifying to its “toxic” environment at the March 19 hearing on the reappointment of Velma Korbel to head the department. Among those testifying were Ms. Semone Desal and Ms. Kristin White.

Ms. White testified that when she reported to human resources of the environment of corruption and cronyism inside the department, she was fired the next day. It is telling that the council votes were split, 9-3, to reappoint.

Journalistic corruption accompanies city corruption. Although we have reported the misconduct of this department for a decade, Star Tribune rarely does so unless forced, as they are now by public testimony in a public hearing before Council. And although the paper’s March 19 blog reported on the retaliation firing of Kristin White, it left it out of its main articles of March 19 and 31, which had wider circulation, and left it out of its March 31 blog story as well.

Only the mayor’s office, the Council, and the Star Tribune know the answer to why this startling testimony is being suppressed.

Given the past bullying we have reported in the department, we are forced to wonder how much bullying was done to get new Council members to vote for the Korbel reappointment. Of the carry-over members, Cam Gordon, Green Party/Democrat, Second Ward, is less than fully truthful when he pretends to have no knowledge of the allegations made by Ms. White.

In order to help Council clean its bloody hands, documentation pertaining to Ms. Whites’ statements to Human Resources and their communiqué back to Velma Korbel, have been shredded (we have reported such shredding and vanishing files for a decade, so it is not new; just rarely reported in the Star Tribune). The city would have us believe that there will be some sort of outside consultant investigating allegations and making recommendations. We’re not convinced.

How can we trust this council and new mayor when Ms. White, a licensed attorney, acting under color of law, informs the Minneapolis City Council at a public hearing that criminal corruption, collusion, and conspiracy was being conducted in the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department, and they do nothing? What other acts in other departments are they not admitting?

To suggest council have the city attorney’s office investigate is like putting the fox in charge of the hen house. Given our latest report of shredding, last week, we doubt an investigation of White’s allegations will take place unless forced, whether in a lawsuit or Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation. Too many documents have been falsified, shredded or disappeared, and too much money has passed through too many hands to enable it to happen voluntarily.

Shame on Star Tribune for again withholding reporting of charges made against this department. March 19, 2014, will forever live in infamy as the death knell of any future trust of the department under Velma Korbel and this council, not to mention the weakening of the credibility among new council members of the new mayor and old council members.

It is further troubling that a sitting Hennepin County judge, despite Ms. White’s testimony, still chose to testify on behalf of the Korbel reappointment.

It is for these reasons that this should be turned over to the DOJ in Washington, D.C., as the city refuses to act against such corruption, circumvention, and betrayal of our city’s civil rights ordinance, a betrayal that is like shredding civil rights along with other evidence shredding and disappearing.

Stay tuned.


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