Thursday, January 29, 2009

By late July I hardly spoke with Darth and my dislike for him and his practices
had grown to a hate. I was still having trouble with Jeff and Buzz in the lab and
just as he had done with Ravi and John, he ignored the problem. In addition, now
Darth was taking actions aimed at thwarting my every move in the laboratory.

“Rapid Set” was now at least equal to “Fast Set” in performance, yet Gamma was
having little success in the field. I surveyed the sales results and came to the conclusion that there was no well defined plan of attack to introduce the product into the market place. I drew up a memo outlining the problem and proposed a strategy for careful control and planning of all future “Rapid Set” tests. The memo went to Al Jordan, Vice President of Sales, Jay Wells, Carl Host and
Darth Korey. I received no verbal response from any of the recipients. Several
days later, I walked into the laboratory and there was a five gallon pail of “Rapic
Set” sitting on the lab bench.

“What this?” I asked Jeff

“Oh Darth is sending that to Caterpillar foundry for a test run.”

“Who is running the test and when is it going to be?” I asked.

Bill responded. “He's just sending it down there for them to test when they get
the chance. There's nothing definite.”

I was angry. Two days after I outlined a plan for conducting successful “Rapic
Set” tests, Darth was flaunting his disregard in my face. It seemed like a deliberate act to irritate me. In addition, I never was able to find out if the trial run had been carried out or what results were obtained. I never was able ascertain if the test run had been conducted and the results of such a test were deliberately withheld from me.

A second “Rapic Set” test was carried out a couple of weeks later without my
knowledge. I was sitting home one evening when I got a call from Jay Wells.
He said he was in Louisiana running a “Rapid Set” test that day and the results had
been terrible. I had not even been informed of the test and when I inquired about it, I found the test had been run under the worst possible conditions. I told Jay that the test shouldn't have been run and that under the conditions he used, it was bound to fail. I asked why he hadn't discussed the trial with me first. But all Jay kept saying was, “What am I going to tell them tomorrow? What am I going to say about why it didn't work?”

Suddenly the failure had become my problem. I gave him a few suggestions and
then hung up. I went to the family room and two scotches to try to calm down.
Jay had reported that he had run the trial unprepared, and now he was calling me
for an explanation for his poor results. My strategy to have successful “Rapid Set”
test trials had been designed to avoid exactly that situation.

In the confusion of everyday events, a very dramatic, yet almost unnoticeable
change had taken place in John Mason's behavior. John was now very quiet, reserved
and barely visible. When he was present, he no longer was the loud-mouth author-
itarian, but rather he was taciturn. His relationship with me became very distant and there were stretches of time when I barely saw him. Quietly and slowly, John had vanished as my antagonist and Buzz had grown to replace him. The dramatic
change in John's behavior baffled me and gave more credence to my belief that his
initial absurdly aggressive behavior had been planned and orchestrated.

In early August, Darth came in my office , sat down and started a dialog.

“Russ, I was planning to make some changes next January, but I decided to
move them up and make them now. I think it's time you get some stripes. Your
going to become the Technical Director. There will be some other changes too,
but they don't effect you. The changes will be made at the end of the month”. Darth continued on but I really didn't pay any attention.

After he left my office, I sat there debating what to do. If I accepted the “promotion" and the title, I would be lending credence to their story that they had treated me well and given me all that they had promised while at the same time if I rejected the promotion, they would have more reason to jump all over me and create more guilt and negative feelings. In fact, this was a classic "no-win" situation.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Film/Screen Play writer wanted.

The big event at Gamma Supplies in July was “Fish Day” which was a trip to a fish hatchery just north of Chicago. The invited people fished for a short time, drank and then had a picnic. It was a big outing for the Gamma Supplies Chicago area people because it gave the workers located at the plant a chance to meet and talk with the sales people from different areas. The people from the Chicago plant were invited by invitation only and I, of course, as head of the laboratory expected to be invited. A week before the event I still had not received an invitation, so I mentioned that fact to Jay. Jay acted surprised and said he was sure I was suppose to go and that he would talk to Darth about it. By now, I was tired of the useless confrontations with Darth and felt if Jay talked to him, it might be best. I also approached Carl about going to the “Fish Day”, but he said it was for only for salesman. Since Jay never did get back to me, I was effectively excluded from a company event. Ralph Sampson, Jay Wells and the rest of my management group attended.

Since I had resigned myself to the fact that I would be leaving Gamma Supplies, I had drawn up some plans and a timetable for a sequence of events. On thing I planned was to make some improvements to the house to increase its resales value. One project was to build an elevated deck off the family room which could be accessed through sliding glass doors.

To build the deck I needed some three foot lengths of galvanized steel pipe
which cost about $50.00 at a hardware store. I planned to do the work on th following Saturday. On the proceeding Wednesday, I went to the Gamma Supplies plant
workshop and found the tubing I needed. I then went to Bill James, the plant
manager and told him what I needed and asked if I could have the scrap pipe in the
workshop and if he could have it cut in three foot lengths. He said the pipe was
scrap and he saw no problem getting it cut into three foot lengths. I emphasized that
I needed the pipe by Friday and thanked him for his help. On Thursday I checked
with the man in the workshop and he confirmed that Bill had talked to him and he
would have the three foot lengths ready Friday. I caught Bill in the hall the next day and again emphasized that I needed the pipe before the weekend. He assured me
that there was no problem. Friday afternoon I went to the workshop and found no
one around. The pipe I wanted was lying on the ground uncut where it had been. A
cursory look around the shop revealed no suitable pipe cutting equipment that I
could use. Since I couldn't find Bill, I left work without the pipe.

That weekend I purchased the necessary pipe cut in three foot lengths and laid the
foundation for the deck. As usual at Gamma Supplies, I had been promised something and nothing had been delivered.

The following Monday, Bill popped his head in my office bright and early and
said, “Hey, your lengths of pipe are in the shop all cut. Do you still want them?”

As I sat there I couldn't help thinking he knew I no longer needed the pipe.
Politely I said “sure”. I took the pipe for use as fencing, but I couldn't help but feel the delay in getting the cut pipe had been deliberate.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Coincidences, Coincidences, Coincidences

Two other coincidental incidents happened that June which were equally perplexing. Thefirst involved my old friend in sales, Paul Johnson. As the humid weather of summer beset upon the mid-west, problems involving “Rapid Set” were arising. Darth arranged for me to go with Paul and a local salesman to visit some foundries in Iowa and observe the problem first hand. I knew what the problem was and knew how to solve it, but I also knew the solution would potentially cause more conflict with other Better Supplies' patents. I also believed Darth knew what was wrong, but I had to go through the discovery process myself and come up with the solution. That way I couldn't say that Darth told me the answer and what to do.

The trip to the Iowa foundries was pretty routine. The problem was self-evident and I assured Paul and the local salesman that I knew how to correct the situation. That evening in Iowa, we were having a couple of drinks when I mentioned to Paul that I had seen one of Allis Chamler's people who had been at Paul's Christmas dinner at a Waylon Jennings concert in Chicago the previous week. Paul was surprised that I had recognized the man, but acknowledged that the particular person did like country music. At the time I couldn't understand why Paul was so surprised that I had recognized and remembered the man and the situation where I had met him. What I didn't realize is that all the stress I had been deliberately subjected to since I had been at Gamma Supplies was in part to reduce and wipe out memory. This would become more evident as time went on.

The next day I returned to Gamma Supplies and told Darth what had to be done to solve the “Rapid Set” problem and that it might cause more conflict with the Better Supplies' patents. Darth quickly rationalized the patent conflict away and said to make the necessary changes. I made sure Darth knew of the potential conflict and that he approved of the changes. He seemed totally unconcerned about the potential conflict.

That afternoon Ralph Sampson came into my office and told me that he, Joah Rilley, the company comptroller, and Dave Lipton were going over the Full Sails for drinks to celebrate Dave's's Birthday. He thought I might want to join them. I thought it was strange to invite me to join them since I had not been to the Full Sails with Gamma Supplies people for several months, but I said I would be glad to join them. I went in and found Josh Rilley there by himself. I joined him for a drink and as soon as I sat down at the bar, Waylon Jennings' song “Good Hearted Woman” came on over the stereo system that had been on. All the time I had been in the Full Sails, I had never heard a Waylon Jennings song and I couldn't even remember ever hearing a country and western song playing. Now the day after I mentioned Waylon Jennings to Paul, Waylon music is played the minute I walk in the door. The thing seemed orchestrated, but it seemed so absurd and there was no reason I could see for orchestrating such a bizarre coincidence. I finished my drink, talked awhile with Josh and then left. Ralph Sampson and Dave Lipton never did show up.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Cover Up - Use Terrorism

The management meeting started with Darth passing out a short IQ/creativity test
which can be found in most brain puzzle books. The test was a series of mathematic
operations in which the conventional meaning of mathematic signs had been changed. For example, the instructions may state that the + sign means to multiply instead of adding thenumbers. Thus, in a series of math operations you have to remember what the new mean-ing for each sign is. Since I had seen the test before and knew what it was, I deliberately plodded through it and made sure I was the last of the group to complete it. As long as everyone was playing for a dummy, I thought it was best to live up to the image. After the test, we went on to cover the assigned topic.

A discussion of trust in management arose and I related a story of how I had worked for a person for 2 years without missing a day of work. Then one day I became ill and forgot to call in to tell the office I would not be coming in that day. I was home sleeping in the bedroom when the phone in the kitchen rang. I managed to get out of bed and make it to where the phone was located just in time to have the person calling hang up on me. It turned out it had been my boss calling me and I related how it really bothered me that my boss didn't trust me and had to call, wake me up, get me out of bed and then hang up on me. I said it was really an annoying experience.

The next day at work, I was working in the laboratory and my phone rang in my office. I made a mad dash to my phone, picked it up and heard a dial tone. The party had hung up!, It could have been a coincidence except that this was to become a routine the rest of my stay at Delta Oil. Usually, the calls would come at times when I was far removed from my office. I just accepted the calls as part of the planned harassment to drive me out of the company. It didn't even occur to me at the time that all other managers had their calls answered by the company switchboard operator when they were not in their office. What I did not understand was why “they” waited until I had mentioned it before that form of harassment began. Everyone knows that hanging up the phone on someone is highly irritating. I couldn't understand why that form of irritation was done to coincide with any
comments I made at the management meeting. I never consider the possibility that someone wanted to make me look paranoid or even worse, to make me paranoid.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Nazi Terrorism Begins in Earnest

One interesting item did get disseminated during that day. During the discussion of sales, Darth presented a chart of industry wide sales of the different foundry binder systems. One did not need to be a genius to see that the new Better Supplies “Fast Set” which was the object of the lawsuit, and the sister system “Ice Box” were rapidly replacing the older systems. If one extended those trends, in less than five years Better Supplies would totally dominate the foundry binder business at the expense of Gamma Supplies and several large chemical companies.

Since Better Supplies had such extensive protective patent coverage, the development of competitive seemed prohibited. The data reinforced the need to break up the Better Supplies' patents and confirmed my suspicions that the litigation was important to more companies than just Gamma Supplies. The questions which ran through my head were for whom was I really working and what was their plans for me. I was beginning to get more than a little concerned.

The next day I ran into Ralpgh Sampson and he asked me about the sales meeting. I told him for my purposes the meeting was pretty much a waste of time. Then I related to him the coincidence about what Darth said at the meeting and what I had said to Pete Dini. When Ralph said nothing I emphasized that not only did Darth state the same thought, but he used the same words! Still, Ralph expressed no thought on the subject. I couldn't understand his lack of reaction to the incident.

Minor incidents also occurred which bothered me. Sometimes when I would get bored with my work I would take a break and frequently go down to the computer room and chat with Dave Lipton. On one occasion we were discussing Carl's role in the company. Dave was rather gruff person and in only a manner that he could do it, he stated “Every time I see that worthless SOB he is sitting at his desk reading the paper”.

I said, “Well, I don't know about that, but I do know he runs the laboratory from a distance. After a while I left Dave's office and returned to my office. Amazingly, the next three times I walked past Carl's office on a way to meet with someone, there was Ralph sitting there reading the paper. I thought it's almost as if it was staged, but the thought seemed ridiculous to me.

The most frightening coincidence, and the one that would eventually be used to make life a real nightmare involved a comment I made at the last management meeting I was to attend. Darth as usual informed me of the date of the meeting and then gave me a book titled “Corporation Man” by Anthony Jay. He told me the three chapters I was responsible for covering. Then he mentioned that he was going to cover another book by Anthony Jay titled “Machiavelli and Management” which he had used at sales meetings, but he thought that given the circumstances, he would do “Corporation Man” first. I did not ask what the circumstances were, but somehow I couldn't help but feel the circumstances involved me. Darth also gave me the responsibility for finding a place for the meeting and for putting out a memo to the other people announcing the meeting.

By now I knew I had been used and had no future at Gamma Supplies. To protect myself I was documenting as many of the unusual happenings as I could. As luck would have it, a week before I sent out the meeting notice, a story on the drought in the Chicago area appeared in the paper and accompanying the article was a picture of a man trying to locate underground water with a divining rod. Finding water and nickels with a divining rod had been an unannounced topic at our previous management meeting. The memo I sent out had a picture of the man holding a divining rod and all of the pertinent information regarding the next meeting. The day the memo was sent out Darth summoned me to his office and asked who was responsible for the memo. I told him I was. Darth acted very annoyed, but made no direct comments expressing his disapproval. I could only assume his reaction was because I had put on paper a reminder of the ridiculous subjects we had covered the previous meeting. The conversation amounted to little more than Darth saying “I don't like this.”

Thursday, January 8, 2009

More problems and coincidences

This time I wrote a memo to Darth, with copies to Carl and Buzz about the direction of the research in the laboratory. If nothing else, I hoped the memo would lead to discussions to resolve the differences between Buzz and me, and it would document the problem.

The response was totally unexpected. First, when the memo was circulated, Darth was out of town and he did not immediately see it. Second, Jay Wells came into my office and told me that Carl had showed him the memo. He proceeded for about one hour to tell me how wrong I was in issuing the memo and what a bad move it was to do that. Had I been aware at that point of what was really going on, I would have thrown him out of my office, but I was not to become totally aware of the scope of things until several months later.

The next morning Carl called me in his office and “discussed” the problem with me. He defended Buzz and then said it would be best if “we” removed the memo from
Darth's desk and not say anything more about the subject. In other words, I was to live with the problem. I said I wanted Darth to see the memo, and did not see any reason for bringing Jay into the discussion. Carl had no explanation for his behavior.

That afternoon, Carl came back into my office and in a toned down manner told me again how wrong I was in writing the memo and that I could still save myself by not letting Darth see it. I still said no. Finally, late in the afternoon I saw Carl in the hall and he said, “Oh, I did you a favor, I took your memo off Darth's desk.”

Before I could say anything he continued on his way. I had been beaten again, but since Carl was now an executive in the company, I felt I had accomplished my purpose of documenting Buzz's behavior. Darth, officially never did see the memo. All of this was farcical because all I had tried to do was follow the exact procedure to start an investigation into firing a person that Darth had outlined at one of the meetings.

After I sent out the memo about Buzz's behavior, he refused to talk to me and he would literally run away from me when I approached him to discuss anything. He maintained this behavior for a period of better than two weeks and then eventually he began talking to me again.

During the April/May time period, the coincidences at Gamma were becoming more
frequent and broader in their scope. On example which really bothered me involved a sales representative who sold computer printout paper to Gamma Supplies. Pete Dini had worked as a sales representative for a computer company before he struck out on his own selling peripheral material needed in computer operations. Gamma Supplies was an important customer to his fledgling operation, and he had befriended Gamma Supplies' computer programmer, Dave Lipton. It was through Dave that I had first met Pete.

One evening after work, I stopped at the Full Sails by myself for a drink. I ran into Pete and we discussed work and my overall impression of Gamma Supplies. I told Pete I thought Gamma had a good future, but I was concerned because all the managers were young and seemed to lack good business acumen.We concluded our conversation and I thought no more of it.

About a week later, Darth stopped by my office and requested that I attend a sales management meeting that was to be held a couple of days hence. I really wasn't interested, but Darth was persistent and insisted that I attend.

I reluctantly attended the meeting and was sitting there thoroughly bored when out of the blue, Darth started talking about what some people were saying about Gamma Supplies. He then went on to say that some people thought that Gamma Supplies'managers were young and lacked good business acumen. Not only did he express the thought I had relayed to Pete at the Full Sail, but he used the same words verbatim! I sat there almost in a state of shock. To express the same thought was one thing, but to use the exact same words was mind boggling. Darth's insistence that I attend the meeting followed by his regurgitating my exact words was mind boggling. Also, "business acumen" is just not the type of language or expression that I would have expected Darth to use. It just seemed like too much of a coincidence to be a true coincidence. I listened intently the rest of the meeting, but nothing else unusual occurred.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Screen/Script Writer Wanted!

I continued to work on the patent application and finally got a completed draft to Dan Gane. Dan edited and modified the application to make it legally sound and then submitted it to the patent office. The records show the patent was applied for on May 8, 1977. Thus Gamma Supplies now had my testimony and in all probability a patent on the “Rapid Set” system. One more item was needed before I became completely disposable.

Example 12 in one of the patents under litigation was now the focal point of the legal battle. Although I had testified extensively on my inability to make Example 12 work, my deposition still had not been transcribed and signed which meant there were no legal documents in place to present to the federal judge. In mid-May, Arnold and Darth came into my office and told me they wanted me to sign and affidavit that Example 12 had been falsified and did not work. Dan would then submit the document to the court. I refused.I had given them my testimony and a potential patent and still I was being driven out of the job. I was not about to put my name on another court document. Arnold and Darth argued vigorously and applied tremendous pressure, but I would not budge. Finally, I told them I did not see why Example 12 would not work, and I wanted to run some more experiments. They left but not before telling me I had one week to run more experiments and that they would be back with the affidavit to sign. Darth and Arnold made it clear that I had no choice but to sign the affidavit. The whole scenario was like one of those scenes in a Western movie where the bad guys force the ranch owner to sign over the deed to his ranch.

I had won a momentary victory, but I did not know what to do. I really had no experiments to run, and I was running out of excuses for not signing the document. That week, at least once a day, Arnold or Darth would call or come into my office and ask me if I was ready to sign the affidavit. Finally, I acquiesced and signed the document stating that Example 12 did not work. Dan Gane then submitted the document to Judge Myron Gordan for consideration.

I continued to try to establish a working relationship with Jeff and Buzz, but I was constantly rebuffed, and they along with John continued to make my life in the laboratory miserable. At one point I asked them to join me for lunch, at my expense, for some informal talk. I was hoping that maybe outside of the work environment I could find some reason their antagonistic attitude and find some solution to the problem. During lunch we talked and I tried to explain what I expected the lab to accomplish. I came back to Gamma feeling I had made some progress. That illusion was quickly shattered the next day, when a follow-up conversation, Buzz accused me of trying to buy his friendship! I felt totally
frustrated. No matter what I did, the negative aspect of it was thrown back at me; I could do nothing right in their eyes.

Finally, the situation with Buzz got totally out of hand. He would not discuss his work with me, and his work habits were still poor. I was really puzzled by Buzz's performance. In rummaging through lab drawers, I had found some reports written by Buzz prior to his six month sabbatical in Iran. I found those reports to be reasonably well written and generally of good quality for a person of his training and experience. Yet his work during the period I was at Gamma Supplies had been poor and his written communications had been horrendous. It seemed as if his poor performance was deliberate. In addition, Buzz refused to direct his research in the direction I wanted it to go and seemed to care less about what I wanted. Any attempt to discuss the issue with Darth or Carl resulted in the usual frustration.