Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Me and Monica Lewinsky

So you all know the story by now. Yes, I was fired by Vernon Jordan's law partners back in late October 1991. I have never understood why the firm handled the termination the way it did. One telephone call, one five-minute telephone call from managing partner Larry Hoffman placed to the managing partner at any firm in the city and I could have been working the very next day. Yes, I could have had a full-time job at Hogan & Hartson, or Skadden Arps, or any of the numerous firms in the city. My employer, Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, could have saved itself so many future headaches if it had taken the initiative to make one 5-minute telephone call. One would think that the firm would have made the effort to find me another job -- not for me -- but to serve it's own interests. After all, idle hands are the Devil's tool. But then, maybe Vernon Jordan's law partners never heard that maxim. I suppose the firm would say, "we don't do that. We don't find alternative employment for employees we terminate. We're a law firm, not an employment agency." Ha! Now really.

Have you ever heard of someone named Monica Lewinsky? Let me refresh your recollection. Between November 1995 and March 1997, Monica Lewinsky had an intimate relationship with President Bill Clinton. She later testified that the relationship involved fellatio in the Oval Office and other sexual contact but that sexual intercourse did not occur.

During the Monica Lewinsky scandal it was revealed that President Clinton's personal secretary, Betty Currie, had asked Vernon Jordan to help Lewinsky find a job in New York, allegedly as part of an effort to keep her silent. Jordan telephoned Revlon chief Ron Perelman—Jordan was on the board of the beauty company at the time—and arranged a $40,000-a-year position for Lewinsky.

So apparently, if you blow the president, Vernon Jordan will help you find employment. But if you're a hard-working employee at Vernon Jordan's firm and you get terminated to bury an allegation against a court-adjudicated racist (Christine Robertson), Vernon Jordan's law partners will blow you off. But more. You will be certified insane and potentially violent.

Was I angry that the V.E. Jordan Employment Agency tried to find work for Monica Lewinsky; but not only did nothing to find employment for me but actually had me certified insane? Yes, I was angry -- but I have to admit I was entertained by the irony of the situation.

Here's a letter I wrote back in 1998 to the Revlon Consumer Products Corporation about employment with the company. Consider it the work of someone with a sense of irony. I've always wondered if Revlon saw the humor in the letter.

November 13, 1998
3801 Connecticut Avenue, NW #136
Washington, DC 20008-4530

Leona L. Barsky, Esq.
Senior Employment Counsel
Revlon Consumer Products Corporation
16th Floor
625 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10022

Dear Ms. Barsky:

I am an attorney licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and qualify for consideration for a position as an attorney in the office of general counsel of the Revlon Consumer Products Corporation. Preliminary to forwarding a copy of my resume to Revlon I believe I have a legal duty to advise the office of general counsel of the following facts regarding concerns about my potential for armed violence or homicide, intent to purchase firearms to commit a felony, and the illegal transport of a deadly weapon: concerns placed in controversy and affirmed, by the District of Columbia Office of Corporation Counsel, as relating to genuine fears about my criminal intent.

The Government of the District of Columbia has affirmed that my former employer, the Washington, DC office of the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld ("Akin Gump") (one of whose senior managers is Vernon E. Jordan, Jr., Esq.) terminated my employment in October 1991 on the basis of genuine concerns about my mental health and stability, including the potential for violence. The employer's termination decision was made following an ex parte consultation with a psychiatrist who did not examine me personally. Freedman v. D.C. Department of Human Rights, D.C. Superior Court no. MPA 95-14 (final order, June 10, 1996), affirmed by the D.C. Court of Appeals (Terry, Reid, and King, associate judges), No. 96-CV-961 (Memorandum Opinion and Judgment filed Sept. 1, 1998).

As of the filing of the complaint in the Superior Court proceedings, in October 1995, and at all times thereafter, it was unlawful under the laws of the District of Columbia for a psychiatrist to offer a professional psychiatric opinion about an individual without benefit of personal examination as is strongly recommended by the American Psychiatric Association's Principles of Medical Ethics. The D.C. Code in its latest revision makes it unlawful for a physician to "[fail] to conform to standards of acceptable conduct and prevailing practice within a health profession." See D.C. Code 2-3305.14(26). This provision was added to the District of Columbia Health Occupations Revision Act by D.C. Law 10-247, enacted on March 23, 1995. The Court of Appeals expressly found that the professional psychiatric opinion offered by the psychiatrist to the employer amounted to the diagnosis of a "disorder." See No. 96-CV-961 at 4.

The District of Columbia Superior Court as well as the Court of Appeals did not find that the action of my Akin Gump supervisor in stating to employees that she feared that I might have had plans to kill her, and the action of the supervisor in arranging to have her office secured against such a homicidal assault, see record on appeal at 41, was invidiously motivated. The supervisor (Robertson) is designated by the employer as one of the three decisionmakers who terminated my employment, see record on appeal at 167, which termination decision was based in part on the above-referenced psychiatric evidence that tended to show that I posed a risk of violence.

The District of Columbia Office of Corporation Counsel expressly affirmed to the D.C. Superior Court and to the Court of Appeals in pleadings filed in the above-referenced proceedings, relying on legally-irrelevant "after-acquired" evidence, see McKennon v. Nashville Banner Publishing Co., 115 S.Ct. 879, 885 (1995), that my coworkers had formed genuine fears (i.e., not motivated by discriminatory animus) that I might have been armed and dangerous and poised to carry out a homicidal assault on the firm's premises. See Brief of Appellee District of Columbia Department of Human Rights and Minority Business Development at 9, Freedman v. D.C. Department of Human Rights, D.C. Court of Appeals No. 96-CV-961 (citing record on appeal at 276). The District implicitly asserted that my coworkers' concerns about my potential for armed violence were relevant to the employer's decision to terminate my employment.

I stand by the "Statement of Gary Freedman to the Office of U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Regarding Intent to Commit Crime of Violence as Determined by the Law Firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld," ("Statement to the U.S. Attorney") dated April 24, 1995, and made under penalty of criminal sanctions (D.C. Code 22-2514).

I want to advise, however, that representations made by the District of Columbia Office of Corporation Counsel (M. Justin Draycott, Esq.) to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals at oral argument in December 1997 that I "admitted" in pleadings that I filed with the D.C. Department of Human Rights that my "coworkers" were genuinely "afraid" of me (specifically with regard to my potential for armed violence or homicide) conflict with the prior Statement to the U.S. Attorney, and that said conflict may give rise to the appearance that the exculpatory representations that I made in the Statement to the U.S. Attorney were unreliable, knowingly false, or perjured.

Additionally, the Court of Appeals has affirmed, see D.C. No. 96-CV-961 at 3 n. 1, that the Department of Human Rights had legally-valid concerns that a document I submitted to the agency may have been inauthentic (i.e., forged or fabricated), see record on appeal at 8; presumably, according to the agency, I submitted the possibly inauthentic document in order to deny forensic psychiatric evidence filed by Akin Gump with the agency: forensic psychiatric evidence relating to my mental health (specifically relating to the psychiatric symptom "ideas of reference") and stability (specifically relating to my potential for violence). But see Namerdy v. Generalcar, 217 A.2d 109, 111-112 (D.C. 1966) (circumstantial evidence, such as evidence that a letter is written on the author's letterhead, is sufficient for authentication).

Robert Chapman, Esq., Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, is familiar with this matter. The telephone number of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington is (202) 514-7566.

I am confident that defamatory statements about me that may raise substantial concerns about my mental stability and fitness to practice law, even acts of defamation committed by the law partners of a close friend of the President of the United States (Vernon E. Jordan, Jr., Esq.) and acts of defamation committed by the current chief White House counsel to President Clinton (Charles F.C. Ruff, Esq.), will in no way impair my chances for fair consideration for employment by the Revlon Consumer Products Corporation.


Gary Freedman

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