Archive for the ‘Whistleblowers’ Category

Service of Protecting a Whistleblower

Thursday, November 21st, 2019

I’ve written three previous posts about whistleblowers. The first, in October, 2010, was about a Minneapolis resident who gave up his job as a trader at a brokerage firm to become an FBI informant. His target was a suspicious Ponzi schemer. The second was about the Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQuery who was placed in protective custody and on administrative leave because of his role in the Jerry Sandusky child molestation case. In the third I covered the countless leakers in the early Trump administration. We learn the names of some and not of others.

The unnamed whistleblower at the center of the Ukraine telephone call/impeachment initiative is courageous as they all are. I also think that they are the rarest of birds and as such should be shielded from harm and at all costs left forever unidentified except to the appropriate authorities.

The USA TODAY editorial board wrote: “The fundamental promise of whistleblower protection is to create a safe space for a witness of wrongdoing to come forward and report it — and, for the sake of his or her professional reputation or even physical safety, to remain anonymous in doing so.

“Nothing chills truth-telling in the halls of power like the risk of retribution, and no risk is more harrowing than unmasking potentially impeachable offenses by a president.

“So it may come as little surprise that Donald Trump — with his legacy and potentially even his job hanging in the balance — would turn the promise of whistleblower protection on its head. He has launched a vitriolic campaign to publicly identify the person who exposed his problematic July 25 phone call with the president of Ukraine.”

In addition they wrote: “Making the whistleblower’s identity known would expose the person to the kind of character assassination from the extreme elements of the president’s supporters that other impeachment inquiry witnesses have endured.”

The word assassination is apt. One of the whistleblower’s lawyers said he feared the man or woman would be killed if identified.

Those who call for identifying this whistleblower say it’s important to know his/her motivation and political preference. Do you agree?

Have you ever worked for someone whose dicey business behavior should have been made known? Did you report him/her? Do most of us stay mum because we are taught from childhood not to be tattletales? Do you praise or condemn whistleblowers? Do you think that there should be exceptions to the rule that protects their identity and that some should be exposed?

Service of Leaks

Thursday, May 24th, 2018

The idea for this post came to me the day after the Meghan/Prince Harry wedding. I love seeing the fashions worn at high profile events and was looking for photos of the evening party that Prince Charles threw for 250 of the bride and groom’s nearest and dearest. Guess what? Not one photo had leaked. That’s how the couple wanted it.

Granted a party doesn’t have the gravitas of Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation yet they share being information airtight: There’s not been the tiniest drop of disclosure from Mueller’s team. I eventually read online about the festivities at Prince Charles’ party for his son and daughter-in-law, but saw no photos.

So what’s with the White House and current administration? Some leaks are deliberate, I’ve heard, and rumors have it that others even come from the top, based on a history of such behavior when DT was a citizen. The queasier kind of information that nobody would want outsiders to hear is blabbed by someone–even more than one person perhaps.

In addition to being a passport to a hasty firing if caught, I don’t get why someone so irritated that they are willing to spill the beans sticks around any organization. Pundits have conjectured that this is the only way to get the attention of the president. I hope that’s not true.

There’s a difference between a leaker and whistleblower, the latter being extraordinarily brave, willing to jeopardize a career to save others. If you so dislike where you work, and you agree that whistle blowing is instant career suicide, then get out, and keep quiet at least until you do.

Have you had to stop leakers in an organization? How is it done? Are leakers held in high regard or does the press that takes advantage of the juicy information consider them to be rats? Regarding the White House soggy with leaks, why add to and be part of the rapid deterioration of the decorum of a once venerable office and symbol?

Service of Friendship

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

We’ve written before about whistle blowers. In our society they are never rewarded.

The most recent example is the Penn State assistant football coach, Mike McQuery, who was placed in protective custody and on administrative leave last weekend because of his role in the Jerry Sandusky child molestation mess.

While thousands are angry at McQuery because his seemed to be the first pin in the nasty bubble that spilled filth over the school and their beloved coach Joe Paterno–his boss–some accuse him of not blowing his whistle loud enough. He didn’t follow up with the police after nothing happened once he reported a horrific assault on a 10 year old boy in the school’s showers. He said that he did and the police say he didn’t. Nor did he rush in to stop it–though again, he wrote a friend that he had.

No matter what he did or didn’t do, he was in trouble.

But the subject of this post is friendship. Paterno was known for running one of the most reputable teams in college football–the Penn State players actually go to class and are not given professional-level goodies like cars, cash and prostitutes.

Yet he protected Sandusky, his longtime associate and friend, by restricting his report to going to his superior and when nothing happened, he didn’t initiate or demand an investigation nor did he report the incident to the police.

I don’t know if Paterno had good intentions: To protect his friend and longtime associate. Or like the school’s president, did he have in mind the university’s image and/or jeopardizing the team’s income generating future? Or did he question the source of the allegation?

He did seem to do one thing: Forget the innocent victims.

How far would you go to protect a friend? Would you continue to consider a friend a person who allegedly assaulted little children? Would you tell them what you’d heard?

Service of Whistleblowers

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

In “Whistle. Then Worry and Wait.” Edward Wyatt wrote a thorough and engrossing feature in The New York Times‘ Sunday Business Section [October 10], about Arthur F. Schlobohm IV, known as Ty, a Minneapolis resident who gave up his job as a trader at a brokerage firm some 18 months ago to become an FBI informant.

The target was an overtly suspicious Ponzi schemer, fund manager Trever G. Cook. He had been twice suspended by the National Futures Association and fined $25,000 for giving false information to open a trading account. This information about him came up in Schlobohm’s Google Searches. You can read all the other clues that alerted Schlobohm to Cook’s bad intentions in the article. Most were hiding in plain site.

Schlobohm found one of the most difficult parts of his undercover job was watching so many of his neighbors being taken in–and to the cleaners by–Cook until the Feds felt they had enough against him to put him behind bars. By the time this happened, almost $160 million had gone up in smoke leaving financially devastated people with little if any hope of seeing a cent of their investment.

Whistleblowers are extremely brave and essential to stop and eliminate corrupt businesses and business people. Risks and stress are tremendous and rewards few, although Wyatt noted that this summer, The Dodd-Frank act became law to strengthen whistleblower protections.

Trouble is, instead of being celebrated, some never again work in their specialties because nobody will hire them. And imagine what Schlobohn’s neighbors who got burned by Cook think even though they must have been told that he couldn’t warn them and desperately wanted to. It’s ironic that to bring an evil creep to justice you can’t alert the innocent targets.

At the time Wyatt wrote the article, it wasn’t clear whether Schlobohn, who as a teen ran tickets on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, would win an award from the IRS. [He’s ineligible for benefits from the Dodd-Frank act.] But Schlobohn told Wyatt that he’d probably help fraud victims with it and, “If I were to receive some reward, I think that would be great. But that’s not why I did it.”

I wonder if Scholobohn will get back his or any job as a trader. What do you think of whistleblowers? Would you hire or be one? Do you think you’d get taken in by a Ponzi schemer?

Get This Blog Emailed to You:
Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz