Thursday, June 16, 2011

Akin Gump: A Common M.O.?

I worked as a paralegal at the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld from 1988 to 1991.  In late October 1988 I formed a belief that Akin Gump had placed me under surveillance.  Specifically, I believed persons at Akin Gump spoke frequently and surreptitiously to my sister; arranged to have the manager of my apartment building routinely inspect my apartment and report her findings back to the firm; and solicited confidential mental health information from my treating mental health professionals.  I formed the belief that on about January 2, 1990, Akin Gump personnel gained access to my apartment and videotaped the apartment's contents.

It recently occurred to me that the firm's work for the major client Eastern Airlines might have some relationship to Akin Gump's possible surveillance of me.

Eastern Airlines, which was represented by Akin Gump, had major labor problems with its employee unions that represented Eastern's mechanics, flight attendants and pilots.

Akin Gump had undertaken to conduct surveillance of Eastern's pilots.  The Eastern Airlines Pilots Association posted informational tape-recorded telephone messages to pilots in Eastern's major hubs, such as Atlanta and Miami.  Akin Gump employed a team of paralegals to tape-record the messages (which were updated daily), transcribe them, and send the transcripts to Eastern management.  Eastern management wanted to keep tabs on what the Eastern's pilots union was telling its membership.  I recall the names of some of the Akin Gump paralegals who tape-recorded the so-called "Code-a-Phone" messages.  These individuals included F. Robert Wheeler, Kathy Reynolds and John Lotrario.

In March 1989 Eastern pilots went on strike.  Eastern pilots picketed every day at Washington National Airport.  I recall that Akin Gump sent two paralegals, Jesse Raben and Phil Feigen, to go to National Airport to video-tape the Eastern pilots' picket line.  I remember that on one occasion Akin Gump paralegal Stacey Schaar hauled a television up to our office; she had been assigned the task of reviewing the videotapes.  I specifically recall that on one occasion Stacey Schaar referred to Jesse Raben and Phil Feigen as "the two monkeys."

Did Akin Gump's surveillance of me and its surveillance of Eastern pilots reflect a common modus operandi?

1 comment:

Gary Freedman said...

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