Thursday, February 26, 2009

Exiting The Crime Scene

In early November, I informed my wife that we would have to sell the house and
I would have to find another job. She did not act very surprised and was more
concerned about finishing her first semester of college. In fact, Anita's whole non-
reaction to all that was going on really bothered me.

Anita seemed withdrawn from me, and she had exhibited several major changes
while we were in Chicago. First, she had started going to church almost every
Sunday. In the previous nine years I had been with Anita, she had never attended
church, but shortly after we moved into our new home in Illinois, she started
attending a nearby church and she kept up the practice the entire time we had been
there. When I questioned her as to what was wrong, she would shrug off her
behavior and tell me nothing was bothering her. I knew better.

Another change which had occurred involved our social life. Prior to moving to
Wisconsin, our social life involved relationships with my friends from work making
up the largest part of our social life. Now, our social life consisted entirely of
relationships with acquaintances of hers since no one at Gamma Supplies would have any social interactions with us despite my efforts to initiate such actions. The change was real but subtle. This change seemed insignificant at the time.

My reaction toward Anita had also changed. I would frequently get irritated
and would act irrationally to minor incidences. On one occasion I could not find
a pair of scissors when I needed them so I yelled at Anita for misplacing them. I
then stormed out of the house and went and bought three pair to make sure I could
find a pair of scissors when I needed them. Incidents like this increased the stress
at home and merely added to the extreme stress I was already under.

In early November we made plans to sell the house. Anita did not offer any
arguments against the pending sale. We decided to sell the house ourselves to save
the commission paid to the real estate agents. For a week we toured other houses
for sale in our area. Then we decided on a price and placed an ad in the paper.

We had made a fortunate move when we bought our house. We were located in
the Williamsburg School District and the Chicago area was just beginning to
experience the migration(white flight) to the suburbs which had occurred in the East
several years earlier. The Williamsburg School District was an excellent one (and very white) and thus our house had an excellent, unexpected selling point. On the other hand, the biggest obstacle we faced in selling the house in a hurry was its rural location which was about twenty miles from downtown Chicago.

After two weeks of trying to sell our house on our own without any success, we
started negotiating with real estate agents who would list our house. The same day
we decided on an agent, a young couple looked at the house and made us an offer.
In one day we had sold the house without an agent and the buyers had agreed to a
closing date in late December. The sale of the house had gone exceptionally
smoothly. I had been worried that the people behind my Gamma Supplies problems might try to block the sale. Then I realized that those demented people probably wanted me to have a fast exit from the area.

With the sale of the house set, I turned my attention to finding a new job.
Actually I had been responding to want ads in “Chemical and Engineering News”
since about July with no success. In late August I responded to an unidentified ad
which I was sure had been placed by Tenneland. I called Paul Jones to
inquire about the ad, but he assured me it was not a Tenneland ad and that Tenneland
had no openings. However, I remained convinced the as had been placed by Tenneland.

Now I was making a new, intense effort to secure a job and I began calling
people at Tenneland and applying pressure. If their plan had been that I would
not remember what had happened, I dropped little reminders to let people know that I
did not forget their roll in the plan to get my testimony. Finally, one of my contacts at Tenneland told me there was an opening in Plains, Texas, and I was instructed to call a Mr. Gordon Simms who was the regional sales manager.

I phoned Mr. Simms with great apprehension because I knew Ravi was still unemployed a year after he had been fired, and I was worried that “they” might decide to keep me unemployed. As I talked with Gordon Simms, we discussed what type of job I might like and where I would like to live. Suddenly, out of nowhere, he said, "don't bother to send me a resume. We already have a copy from when you answered our ad last August. We'll use that one, and I'll send you an application form to fill out."

I had been right! The ad had been Tenneland's and they knew I had applied
and they were going to ignore me until now when I applied some pressure. I was
making so much noise they had to change their minds. The fact that their original
intention was to forget about me scared me even more, but I went ahead with plans
to visit their plant in Plains, Texas on December 3.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Terrorism The American Corporate Way

In one instance Carl and Darth staged a meeting at the laboratory door. Carl
turned to me and said he was checking his keys to see if they fit the door because he
was coming in on Saturday to work. I had worked on Saturdays when I first joined
Gamma Supplies, but I stopped that practice when I knew I had no future there. Somehow I just didn't believe Carl was the type to work on Saturdays or any other day if he thought he didn't have to. Besides lacking any real talent, Carl seemed to be rather lazy. I thought they were just trying to intimidate me to get more work out of me with this little scenario. Of course, that would have just been another unconfirmed belief of mine except that I overheard Carl talking to a secretary a short time later, and he was bragging to her about how he had never worked a Saturday in his life! When Carl turned around and saw me listening to
him, he turned beet red.

In early October, the plan to get rid of me started in earnest. First, my problems with Buzz were always present and had reached a head. I went into the laboratory to find Buzz and was told by Jeff that he was in talking with Darth. Fuzzy's talk lasted for over an hour, and when he emerged I came into the laboratory to talk to him but he ignored me. Instead he walked to the other side of the laboratory to Jeff.

Jeff inquired in a loud voice. “Well, what did he say?”

Buzz responded. “He said he knew it was a bad situation, but there was nothing
he could do right now because he didn't have anyone to replace him. We just have
to live with the situation”.

Given the situation it was not hard to figure out what Buzz had been discussing
and his willingness to air his conversation in front of me did not surprise me
because what good did it do to set someone up to be fired if you didn't create the
anxiety to go with it. Anxiety was always being generated by the annoying phone
calls that were becoming more and more frequent. The harassing phone calls had
become a joke in the laboratory and everyone was aware I was being harassed. Now
it was as if they were saying, “we are going to fire you and here is how we are
going to do it.”

I was also getting increased conflict from Carl and Jay. Carl would give me
a sheet of paper with some things to be done, and then I would discuss the items
with Carl. During the discussion, he would say item 4 wasn't important and that I
shouldn't worry about it. So I would do everything but item 4, and then Jay would
come in my office and yell at me for not doing item 4. He would tell me how Carl was disappointed in me because I wasn't doing what he asked me to do. Carl then
would go tell Jay who would then lecture me. It seemed like every effort was
being made to drive me out of the company.

I had gone along with enough things, but I was not going to stand for being set
up to be fired. The next day I walked into Ralph Sampson's office. Dave Lipton was
sitting there when I said, “Well, I'm being set-up to be fired.” Both of them had
blank stares like I had said something wrong when Dave Lipton finally said “Come
on Russ, no one is setting you up.” Immediately they turned the conversation to
some trivial topic. Then I departed. I had made it know that I would not stand by
silently while Gamma Supplies people set me up to fire me. After the conversation with Dave and Ralph, the effort to get rid of me became more directed at forcing me to resign through harassment, implied suggestions and intimidation.

In early November, I informed my wife that we would have to sell the house and
I would have to find another job. She did not act very surprised and was more
concerned about finishing her first semester of college. In fact, Anita's whole non-
reaction to all that was going on really bothered me.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Psycopathic Reasoning

Despite my new title, the problems still continued in the laboratory and now, with
Carl's office near the laboratory, everyone ran to Carl with their problems. I still
had continuing problems with Buzz and I had a new problem that was becoming
more and more irritating. The problem involved the disappearance of laboratory
equipment. I would order and purchase laboratory supplies, frequently in excess of
need and put them supplies in the cabinets in the lab. Within a week or two, all of
the supplies would be gone! This was particularly irritating when I would be work-
ing in the laboratory and need a piece of equipment which I had purchased, only to
find the item was missing. I discussed this problem with everyone, but no one knew
anything about it. Then one day Jeff said he wanted to show me something. He
took me to George Landry's office and opened a desk drawer. There was all of the
equipment I had been purchasing which subsequently turned up missing. Why Gene
the head of Quality Control would want the items was a mystery to me. Jeff claimed he made the discovery accidentally while looking for something. It was just one more crazy incident that was going on and I was becoming more and more curious as to why all these events were taking place.

Shortly after the changes had been announced, Carl and I were in Darth's office
listening to Darth go on one of his ego trips explaining his views of the world. One
thing was always true about Darth and his conversations; he was always extremely
egotistical and if given a chance, he would brag. I was trying to figure out why he
had called me in his office when he began explaining how the human mind tends to forget things if conditions are made unbearable enough and that the brain secrets chemicals when under extreme stress so that a person can forget traumatic
experiences. As I sat there listening, my heart began to race. Was that the reason for all the harassment and irritation? Was my time at Gamma Supplies suppose to be so unbearable that I wouldn't know or remember what had happened to me in order to get my testimony? If that had been the purpose, it had not been successful and what if “they” knew I could remember things? What else would they do? The thoughts raced through my head. And I couldn't help but think how arrogant and stupid Darth was. But most important to me at this point was who ultimately was behind this idiotic plan!? I now knew for sure that I was dealing with some REALLY SICK PEOPLE!?

Then Darth turned his attention to the real purpose of the meeting. He had
decided “Rapid Set” was now competitive with the Better Supplies' “Fast Set” and he
now wanted me to direct my efforts toward developing a sister product called “Ice Box” on which Better Supplies had another set of patents. This was possible now because Judge Myron Gordon, The FEDERAL JUDGE presiding over the legal battle had surprisingly ruled the “Fast Set” patents were invalid on a filing date technicality. If the ruling stood, Gamma Supplies had won the legal battle over the “Rapid Set” patent infringement. This apparent victory had made Darth feel so confident that he felt he could brag about the plan to get my testimony.

Judge Myron Gordon's ruling seemed ridiculous to me and it made me question his integrity too. However, the victory would not be final until until all of the appeals had been made, but in the meantime Darth wanted to start an attack on the “Ice Box” set of patents. I was not pleased with his request because I knew my days at Gamma Supplies were numbered, and if form held true, I would be gone by the Christmas holidays. To make sure I thought about the threat of loosing my job, Darth finished by saying that he wanted the “Ice Box” type system by the end of the year. I left the meeting knowing I was never going to develop the system Darth wanted.

In mid-September another incident occurred which caused me a lot of internal
conflict. Darth said he wanted Carl, Jay and me to give a presentation at the
September 19th American Foundry Society/Wisconsin Chapter meeting. I told
Darth I preferred to wait until the February regional meeting and give a full length
talk on “Rapid Set” by myself. As always, Darth agreed although I was somewhat
surprised since the regional meeting was after the end of the year. Two weeks later
the notice for the meeting came out, and there I was listed as one of the speakers.
Before I had a chance to object, Carl and Jay were upon me discussing what the
topic should be and how we should divide up the talk. Reluctantly I gave in and
agreed to give a presentation on the importance of quality control.

I was presented to the audience as Gamma Supplies Technical Director and I talked on the importance of the quality control for the “Rapid Set” system. I had only a couple of days to prepare for the speech and I was not pleased with the content, but the presentation at the meeting was a success. Again I had been forced into doing something I did not really want to do, and as a result a lot of internal conflict had been generated. Parading me in front of other people also gave Gamma Supplies and the people behind the attack on the Better Supplies patents “proof” that Gamma Supplies had treated me well and had honored their commitment to me.

Since I did not want to work on a “Ice Box” type product at this point, I spent
most of my time in the laboratory getting involved in problems which were of
immediate importance. In two instances I was able to solve major problems which
were baffling to the people involved in the projects. Quickly solving problems that
confused Darth and Carl only help confirm my opinion about there general
incompetence. In fact, on one such problem Darth set up a meeting in order to get
me involved and solve the problem. Of course to Darth, exploiting me only showed to himself what a brilliant manager he was. I was being used as a consultant and Darth's use of me in that role said my days at Gamma Supplies were numbered. Despite the fact that I could quickly solve problems that baffled the dynamic genius duo of Darth and Carl plus the other people in the laboratory, I did not fit into Gamma's future and their plans seemed only to get the most out of my services while I was there. My only real purpose was to provide testimony in the lawsuit and amusement for my captors.

Monday, February 9, 2009

More Suggestions and a "Promotion"

I was scheduled to take a trip to Tenneland, and as usual, I had the secretary
make the arrangements. I told her I would need a rental car and that I wanted a
compact car. When I arrived in Summerfield, I found the car reserved for me was a
mid-sized Cutlass Supreme, which was the standard company car for salesmen and
it was the same model company car that Ravi had driven as the Technical Director. Obviously the secretary had reserved the wrong car. On my previous trips to Summerfield the rental cars had been much less luxurious and roomy. Again the implication was that I, as Technical Director, would have a company car.

The suggestions about a company car become more blatant a week before the big
announcement. I was talking to Jay Wells and Paul Jones about a trip to Neenah Foundry in Neenah, Wisconsin. We were discussing how we were to make the trip and who going to drive.

Paul looked at me and said, “Maybe you should wait until next week and you can go in a new company car.”

Jay looked at Paul as if to say, “your getting a little too obvious.” After a period of awkward silence, the conversation continued until we decided to wait until the following week after the big announcement to determine who should drive.

The day before the announcement, Carl came into my office and told me that I would be the new Technical Director. At the same time, he would become Vice President of Technical Operations, and he would be moving into Ravi's old office next to mine. He also implied that he would be taking a more active role in the running of the laboratory operations, which meant that I would have even less say in running the laboratory than I already had. It was now evident why Carl had been “hidden” from me when I first joined the company and why his role in the company had never been well defined until now. The fact that Carl was a klutz and borderline competent was really disheartening. At least Ravi had been competent and scientifically knowledgeable and that was one of the major reasons I had come to Gamma Supplies originally.

The fact that Carl was going to play an increasing roll in the laboratory had been evident when in July he had informed me he was doing the laboratory budget for the next year and he wondered if there were any items I might want. After a year of trying, and now as “Technical Director”, I still did not even get a copy of the budget. The day after Carl had told me of my promotion, an official announcement was made in a memo which stated that I was the new Gamma Supplies "Technical Director." What confused me about all of this charade, was why was all of this being done in an official and public manner.

* I always considered both Darth Corey and Carl Host to be marginally competent. I now know that as a fact, given that 20 years latter, Gamma Supplies has shown zero, none, nada growth in terms of real dollars. I don't know how many years Darth and Carl stayed on at Gamma Supplies after I left, but I do know they were there 6 years latter when I returned. In 1998, the Clines sold Gamma Supplies to HA International a large foreign owned company. I sure that they,Darth, and Carl if they were still there at the time, made a lot of money off of my efforts. But that's what makes america great; the powerful exploiting the poor.

For anyone reading this and who owns a business, Darth and Carl both claimed to have an advanced degree from the University of Chicago Business School. Based on their performance, I would discourage any business owner from hiring anyone from the Chicago School of Business!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Purpose in the harassment.

After Darth 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.

I decided I would not decline the offer, but that I would ignore the whole thing. Besides, the "promotion" would enhance my chances of getting a better job in the future. Refusal to accept the promotion would also put me in a position of having to defend myself and my views and by now I was avoiding as much confrontation a possible. I also decided not to inform my wife because I did not want to get her hopes up especially since she had just quit her job and was beginning to get ready to go to school to become a nurse.

After Darth informed me of my pending promotion, a couple of peculiar
incidences occurred. Ben Kenholz, from the quality control laboratory started
coming to my office and kidding me about changing offices and moving into Ravi's
old office which was adjacent to my mine. Ben's timing and his almost daily
presence at my office door told me he knew of the impending announcement, but
every time I asked him if he knew something I didn't know, he would profess
ignorance. I kept wondering how a laboratory worker from quality control knew
about my “promotion” to Technical Director, but all he would ever say was “when
are you moving into your new office?” I never did consider changing offices, but I
often wondered who would move into the now vacant office.

Another implication involved the use of a company car. One late afternoon,
Darth asked me to join him, Josh Rilley, Dave Lipton and Ralph Sampson for drinks
at a near-by tavern. I reluctantly agreed to stop by for a few minutes. When I
arrived Darth was there and we began to chat. Shortly afterwards, Josh joined us.
As the three of us sat there talking, Ralph Sampson and Dave Lipton came in and
started kidding me about driving a “purple Lincoln”. I asked them and Josh, to
whom Ralph reported, what they were talking about. Josh just shrugged
his shoulders and the other two just went silent. I left that night wondering what all the talk about a “purple Lincoln” was all about.

After that, just about everyday at work someone at work would come up to
me and say, "Gee, I wish I had a 'purple Lincoln'”. As soon as I tried to question
someone about what they had said, they would ignore me. The only purple Lincoln
that I knew of in Gamma Supplies was the one driven by Joel Gitz who was the original
owner of Delta Oil. Joe was now retained as a consultant and adviser, and he drove
a deep plumb colored Lincoln.

The suggestions were made to imply that I was going to get a company car. I did not expect a company car, and I assumed the comments and suggestions were just
another form of harassment to drive me out of the company. But what I didn't fully
appreciate was that I had been abused so badly that I was loosing control of my
rational thought processes. I also didn't realize at that moment that causing me to
loose control of my rational thought process was the exact purpose of all of the