Arthur J. Bloberger, the former editor of the Las Vegas Jewish Reporter, emails me:
I just wanted to give you an update on what’s been happening lately twixt the Jewish Federation of Las Vegas and myself, it’s former gentile Jewish Reporter editor. I know you have a lot of followers paying attention to this story online, including most of the federation staff themselves – a few of which I am still in contact with. One thing I know for sure – they’re almost all miserable and afraid under CEO Elliot Karp’s maniacal thumb and would love to see him go. I feel sorry for all of them.
However, I must say I’ve heard nothing but great things about recently hired federation Chief Development Officer Lanny Levine. Unlike Karp, everyone there respects him, and they say he’s a really nice guy. He is just what the federation needed to help restore decency to its day to day operations. I hope to meet Levine one day soon. I heard he called Karp “a bastard.” Oops! I accidentally let that slip.
I recently got my appeal determination from the State of Nevada DETR stating that I am considered ineligible for unemployment benefits. Basically, the referee decided that I had not followed the JFLV employee manual to the letter of the law. Although we never really thought we had more than a 50-50 chance, I’m disappointed that DETR is more interested in finding reasons NOT to give out benefits than finding reasons why they are deserved. I have been paying into the system for decades, and now that I finally need it, they want keep it from me on a technicality. Needless to say, we are appealing this decision and will take it to the Board of Review. My attorney, Philip Trenchak, said he was, “really surprised by the decision.”
You see, nothing in the decision rebuked or even disagreed with any of our charges of religious discrimination or bullying, but rather the referee felt I had not exhausted reasonable recourse within the fed itself. But we disagree. After incoming Chairman Leonard Stone told a roomful of abused staff members that he was not interested in complaints about CEO Elliot Karp unless it involved “white powder and razor blades on his desk,” I felt there was nowhere else to go. A chairman is a chairman is a chairman – who cares if it wasn’t Danny Greenspun? He was on the way out and Stone on the way in, besides the fact that Stone’s board area of expertise at the time was Federation staff; he came around to all of us telling us that his “door was always open.” If nothing else, he should have at least addressed the staff’s problems. Instead he slammed the door shut.
As far as my EEOC complaint goes, I’ve filled out all the preliminary forms and my attorney is going over them now. When they are officially filed, I will send out a press release to you and the media, far and wide.
You see, unlike DETR, the EEOC will not care about the technicalities of the employee handbook, but rather the religious and racial discrimination issues and occurrences. Unlike the faux “investigation” that Federation attorney Kimberly A. Wanker pretended to do, the EEOC will do an honest and thorough investigation, actually talking to and interviewing all the parties involved and backgrounds and relevant issues. The EEOC is actually interested in the truth, not protecting anybody. They will shake out all the rafters.
We shall most likely wait until the EEOC has done its job before filing our own lawsuit. But at this point, I am not backing out or down no matter how long or how difficult it gets. This is a case of right and wrong, good and bad, and I will not let injustice prevail. This is bigger than just myself, and I pledge to be strong and fight the good fight, for myself and on behalf of all those who have been abused by Karp – past, present and future.
It wasn’t that long ago that Wanker offered me $5,000 to shut up and sign away my right to sue, but there was no way I was going to do that. From the beginning, it was always about removing an ogre of a CEO and returning me to fair employment – and it still is. If it takes a long time, if I am damaged financially (and I have been and continue to be), then it’ll all just be part of the suit when it is filed.
I guess it’s moot to say again that none of this ever had to happen. If only the JFLV Board gave a damn about who’s ruining the federation’s reputation, but they clearly do not – for one reason or another.
I got the promo material in the mail for the federation’s Super Sunday fundraiser (I was a donor after all) which takes place this Sunday. I wish them the best of luck – truly I do. But I have to wonder if they will do very well given the unpopularity of Karp and the huge salary they are paying him, all of this adverse publicity, money going to legal expenses, and the still-tough economy. I remember Karp was extremely disappointed with the last Super Sunday, and I can’t see how this one is gonna be any better, although CFO Marjorie Griebel is really good at fooling with the figures. Still, the only one getting rich right now is Wanker.
I’ll let you know when the EEOC Complaint is fully filed, Luke. There’s a grassroots movement out here in Las Vegas that wants Karp out (including some heads and very influential members of some of Las Vegas’ other Jewish organizations – and even the realm of politics) and really appreciates the focus you have given this gripping struggle.
Until then, for better or worse, the federation has the exact leadership its board wants it to have.
Arthur J. Bloberger