Monday, November 28, 2011

Akin Gump: Harassment Complaint -- Contemporaneous Notes

The following document is five pages of handwritten notes that I prepared and placed on a table in my apartment at 3801 Connecticut Avenue on the morning of Friday October 25, 1991 under the influence of my paranoid belief that the apartment manager, Elaine Wranik, routinely entered my apartment and reported her findings back to my employer. It was the previous morning, Thursday October 24, 1991, that I met with two attorney managers at Akin Gump, Dennis M. Race and Malcolm Lassman, to offer a complaint of harassment (I have previously submitted two pages of the notes to the U.S. Social Security Administration in connection with my disability claim.)

If Akin Gump’s managers had been apprised by Elaine Wranik of the existence of the enclosed notes, might the notes not help explain the seeming sudden change in Dennis Race’s attitude toward me in the period immediately following my meeting with him and Malcolm Lassman on October 24, 1991.  I transmitted to my sister, Mrs. Estelle Jacobson, on September 26, 1992 a letter detailing the events at the time of my job termination. The letter to my sister discusses what appeared to be a sudden shift in Dennis Race’s attitude in the period after my meeting with him on October 24, 1991.

I forwarded a copy of the notes to the FBI under cover letter dated February 3, 1995.

Ms. Wranik--

There were a few things I couldn't tell Mr. Lassman and Mr. Race yesterday, Oct 24, because I would appear insane.  I see certain things--chalk it up to paranoia or reality testing.

--I believe that on October 2, [1991] Mr. Lassman had a particularly difficult telephone conversation with my sister, that my sister became hysterical, and that the incident that afternoon with one of the legal assistants was an attempt to enrage me in an effort to counteract my sister's behavior earlier in the day.  (Earlier that day a few people were saying, "She's crazy"--which I inferred to relate to my sister.

--The afternoon I was offered chocolate I believe there had been some communication with Jesse Raben either earlier that day or previous day.  It was that day that I had changed my computer password to "FAUSTLINE 4399"

-- I believe that on Wed July 3 1991 there was some communication with an outside party that reflected negatively on the masculinity of a male employee in litigation support.  There was an attempt that day to adduce evidence of my "gayness."  Hence, my appointment calendar entry re "Desire to play a small room, instead of the big theater."

--It was my perception that the harassment became excruciatingly intense in April 1990, beginning just a few days after the Anti-Defamation League would have received a letter I sent re: Anti-Semitic harassment.  I inferred that management must have alerted the Anti-Defamation League in advance, requesting that the organization inform the firm of any communications I might have with it.

--On the issue of my perceptiveness: It is my belief that Mr. J.D. Neary met with Dr. Palombo on Monday, April 16, 1990.

--The incident on the elevator with Mr. Eisenstat occurred shortly after I changed my computer password to "shanepisk."  I think he just thought I was a crackpot.  -- No harm, no foul, guy.

--Also--here are some impressions I had while meeting with Mr. Race & Mr. Lassman.  They are simply impressions, not firm conclusions.  Maybe a psychiatrist could determine just how paranoid these impressions are.

--Mr. Race's reference to the fact that Mr. Eisenstat is "intense" -- possible meaning -- reference to "in tents, intense, in tenths" -- reference to John Falk.  Attempt to arouse, or determine the existence of homosexual anxiety, which is material on the issue of the nature of my perceptions.

--Mr. Race's reference to fact that my office on 9th floor was across from recruiting. = possible attempt to gently remind me that he is chairman of the hiring committee to determine whether that arouses anxiety in me.

-- Mr. Race's reference to possibility that Mr. Eisenstat had some problem with his wife.  Attempt to determine existence of Oedipal anxiety.

--Both Mr. Lassman & Mr. Race seemed to get mildly excited when I mentioned Paul Wageman, as if they were keenly interested in what I had to say about him.

--Mr. Lassman seemed impressed with my analysis of "July."  I noted that the previous evening my sister's voice seemed to catch when she mentioned the word "summer."  (And I wondered why?)

-- Mr. Lassman seemed particularly interested to see whether my voice caught on any words.  He seemed to very mildly reflex when I used words with possible double meanings.  (I had noticed the same thing about Mr. Segal the previous afternoon.) (Mr. Segal seemed to note my use of word roof - just why, I don't know.)  Maybe because he's always thinking real estate!)  (Just between you and me, Ms. Wranik, I think Mr. Race is an OK guy--I realize it's a business decision).

"I just want to come in the office and work."

"I spoke with her for 15-20 minutes."

"It requires concentration."  (concentration camp?)

A Shengold Limerick

A mouse named Ulysses was housed in a cage

by the things he could see you could call him a sage

The scientists tested him

but he always bested them

He sized up their cues like a gauge.


Gary Freedman said...

36. On the afternoon of October 2, 1991 I met with legal assistant Katherine Harkness to review some work I had been doing under her direction, I was seated in front of her desk. Kathy was in back of her desk, but leaning over it, supporting her torso with her elbows. As she was reviewing the work she proceeded in a continuous motion to gyrate her hips and rub her pelvic region against the desk in a sexually suggestive manner while simultaneously expressing her work-related comments in the form of double entendres. This lasted for about two to four minutes.

[Harkness, several other legal assistants, and I were assigned to a special project for the client Hoechst-Celanese whose billing partner was David Callet. Callet had been a senior attorney on Eastern Airlines litigation. Callet, Earl L. Segal, and I were graduates of the Pennsylvania State University. I was assigned to Hoechst in about mid-August 1991.

Segal described the above-incident in a memo to his file as follows: "He first described to me an incident with a women (whose name I did not inquire, and who name he did not disclose), who was conferring with him over his work. He described to me that while he was sitting at his desk, for a period of approximately fifteen (15) minutes she was leaning over his desk while "gyrating her hips" against the edge of his desk, and that he believed that she may have been masturbating in front of him."

In Akin Gump's Response to Interrogatories filed with the Department of Human Rights on May 22, 1992, Dennis Race described the incident as follows: "a female co-worker stood by him swinging her hips so as to provoke him." (Akin Gump did not produce any contemporaneous documentation of my harassment complaint that I lodged with Race and Lassman on the morning of October 24, 1991).

In November 1991 I described the above incident to an EEOC investigator Franklin C. Jones who said it was his opinion that the above incident was prima facie evidence of sexual harassment.

The Department of Human Rights in its Initial Determination (June 30, 1993) adopted my version of the incident verbatim, but categorized the incident as an "idea of reference" per the employer's Response.]

[Bob Strauss withdrew from the partnership in late August 1991 to assume his position as U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union. It was my subjective inference that firm personnel (particularly the supervisory staff) believed that I was somehow being "protected" by Bob Strauss.

The image of Jews as being protected by powerful figures is a notable feature of anti-Semitism. The theme recurs in the relations between the United States and the State of Israel, where the U.S. is seen as the sine qua non of Israel's existence ("Without the United States, Israel wouldn't last a minute!"). Ironically (or uncannily), Bob Strauss served as Special U.S. Ambassador to the Middle-East Peace negotiations during the Carter Administration.

While I worked at the law firm of Hogan & Hartson (1985-1988), when the department supervisor Sheryl Ferguson announced she was leaving the firm (on February 12, 1987), one employee said to me about another employee (Matthew Allender) who was seen as being "protected" by Ferguson: "Once she's gone (i.e., Ferguson) he (i.e., Allender) won't last a minute; we'll see to that."]

Gary Freedman said...

I continue to believe that some time in 1990, while I was riding alone in an elevator with a firm partner (David Eisenstadt), the attorney began to pace back and forth and whistle while glancing at me in an intentionally hostile and intimidating manner. See Brief of Appellee District of Columbia at 11. The partner was married to the firm's attorney recruitment administrator, Nina Eisenstein, who worked for hiring partner, Dennis Race, the individual who terminated my employment.

Gary Freedman said...

--While walking down a hallway in the firm’s offices, in May 1988, one of the firm’s associates who was walking toward Freedman began to hold a pencil next to his genital area and move it up and down. R. 328, 338.

[This is not a description of an idea of reference, but rather a description of a lewd gesture. The Department of Human Rights found that Dennis Race on October 24, 1991 asked me if the associate (Paul Wageman) maintained eye contact while making the gesture. The Department of Human Rights found that I affirmed to Race that the associate maintained eye contact. Record at 13.]

Gary Freedman said...

-- In early August 1991, while eavesdropping on a coworker in an adjacent cubicle, Freedman noted that the coworker was talking about her July telephone bill, emphasizing the word "July." Two days later "[t]his seemingly meaningless incident assumed some small measure of significance" when he overheard this same employee, who was seated at her desk, state in a "markedly audible tone of voice" the children's rhyme, "liar, liar, pants on fire." On another occasion a brief time later, Freedman heard the same employee utter the Yiddish phrase, "Oy veh." R. 348. Freedman interprets the word "July" as a homophone for the phrase "Jew Lie," and believes that these anecdotes suggest that some his his coworkers "may have had an anti-semitic animus." R. 256.

[The coworker in question was Lutheria Harrison who is referenced in the incident above that occurred in March 1991.

The Corporation Counsel admits ("his coworkers 'may have had an anti-semitic animus'") that my beliefs were speculative and not fixed as is typical in persons with severe mental illness.

In fact, the anti-Semitic use of the word July as a homophone for the phrase Jew lie is fairly common. One would think that a state human rights agency would have been aware of that.

Gary Freedman said...

One morning during the summer of 1991 employees made repeated referenced that seemed to relate to legal assistant Jesse Raben, with whom I had been somewhat friendly, and who had left the firm in the spring of 1990 to attend law school. I inferred that perhaps Jesse had had some communication with a firm employee and had referred to me in the communication. Upon my return to the office from lunch that afternoon, Chris Roberson offered me a piece of chocolate, with the peculiar statement, “Here you look like you need some chocolate.” The statement could perhaps be interpreted as a reference to anal intercourse. Ms. Robertson’s statement was strangely reminiscent of my written message to J.D. Neary in early August 1989 (“I could use all the coordinating I can get.”) and J.D.’s written response dated August 7, 1989, “If you ever need any ‘coordinating’ don’t hesitate to call me” (see paragraph 25).

Faust Line 4399 refers to the word "Rabenstein." I knew that off the top of my head and changed my password to FAUSTLINE4399 -- an act of showing off that might have enraged supervisory staff. Jesse Raben's family name had originally been "Rabenstein."

Line 4399, gallows-mound: In German Rabenstein, literally 'raven's rock'. When criminals were hanged or broken on the wheel, the rough stone-built mound on which (for better public viewing) they were executed was generally outside any town, because their bodies would be left there unburied and would attract ravens and crows. Such places were of course uncanny. Faust and Mephistopheles ride past one on their way to the town in which Gretchen is awaiting her relatively merciful execution by beheading in the market-square (4588-94), after which she evidently expects to be buried (4521-6). The witches at the gallows-mound are reminiscent of thise in Macbeth; the scene is also thought to have beeninfluenced by Gottfried August Burger's famous Storm and Stress ballad Lenore (1774),in which a lover returning from a grave to fetch his mistress carries her off through the night, and on their way they ride past a place of excecution with spirits hovering round it.

Gary Freedman said...


Yiddish word for "mouth", as in an animal's mouth or maw; "trap".

Famakht dayn pisk! Schvayg! (Translation: Shut your trap! Be quiet!)