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Apparently the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has a mandate to hire only persons of the "right" color and nationality, and to make white, Jewish women unwelcome!  The Leventhal v. Reno lawsuit may change INS's tune.

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Case 20 - White Woman v. Immigration Service
Updated Oct. 15, 2000

Racial Preferences Cost!

In Leventhal v.
Reno, Caryl B. Leventhal charges reverse discrimination by black INS employees.

          Caryl B. Leventhal is white, she's Jewish and she has Multiple Sclerosis, which is a certifiable medical disability.  During her employment at the INS she was continually harassed by the INS office's predominantly black employees because of her race, religion, and medical condition.

Go:  Details of Leventhal v. Reno Caryl B. Leventhal v. Janet Reno:  The specifics of the INS religious, racial, and medical discrimination.

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See Also:
Apr. 25, 2000 - Leventhal Summarizes INS Case to Adversity.Net
Oct. 15, 2000 - UPDATE:  Leventhal Reports Results of Sept. 25, 2000 Trial

Caryl Leventhal's Case Against INS

Summary:  Caryl Leventhal has Multiple Sclerosis.  She is Jewish and she is white.  She was assigned to work in an all black unit within the INS where she suffered constant ridicule for her race, disdain for choosing the Jewish faith, and blatant discrimination against her medical condition.  Her INS supervisor repeatedly assigned Caryl to lift and move file boxes weighing up to 50 pounds, clearly with cruel disregard for Caryl's medical condition which makes lifting heavy objects quite difficult.

          During Caryl's entire employment within that INS office she was never allowed to forget the fact that she was the only white person working there.  She was also repeatedly refused accommodation for her medical condition and was refused time off for the highest holy day in the Jewish calendar. 

          When Caryl's Multiple Sclerosis worsened and she had to take time off work, her management labeled her as AWOL (Away Without Leave) and terminated her. 

          In fact, INS was devious enough to get another MS sufferer to sign the dismissal order and INS hid information on Caryl's medical condition from him.  Thus, Edward McElroy, District Director for the INS, signed Caryl's termination order without access to critical information on the valid medical reasons for Caryl's absences. 

          At trial, Mr. McElroy testified that he had never met Caryl Leventhal, that he was not informed that she had Multiple Sclerosis, and that he based his firing decision entirely on her supervisor's report showing that Caryl repeatedly failed to show up for work.  He testified in September 2000 that he would not have fired Ms. Leventhal had he known that the reasons for her absences were related to her worsening MS.

          Caryl and her husband are dedicated to getting justice from the INS for the racial and other discrimination she suffered.   They have refused to submit to threats from anonymous callers and veiled threats from the powerful U.S. Attorney's office.  The Leventhals' are adamant in seeking justice and thereby helping other victims of reverse discrimination.

          So far the Leventhal's have flatly refused to accept any settlement offer from the government which would include "sealing" (i.e., making secret) the terms of Caryl's settlement from the American people.  They believe U.S. citizens deserve to know the extent of reverse discrimination in the workplace.

Leventhals' Letter to Adversity.Net
April 25, 2000

On April 25, 2000 the Leventhal's wrote to Adversity.Net:

          "On October 8, 1999, the first case of racial discrimination against a white woman employee by African-Americans working in the Immigration and Naturalization Service was filed in federal court (Caryl B. Leventhal v. Janet Reno, 99civ.10405 October 8, 1999 Amended January 10, 2000).

          "This was done after some three years of INS/EEO obstructing the process. It took two years of battling with them to even accept Race as a Basis for the timely and properly filed complaint, because (according to a very candid D/Regional Counsel, INS), they don't want to create a racial incident.

          "This case is now in the Discovery process. With no surprises, the US Attorney is refusing to reveal non-individual racial employment statistics in one section (section 245) of INS, 26 Federal Plaza, NYC. They are hiding behind "client confidentiality" and "unavailability."

          "I could secure this information under the Freedom of Information Act, but that would take too long. And while my wife's (the plaintiff) lawyer will be petitioning the judge assigned to order this information released, I am aware of the imperial attitude taken by the US Attorney towards these requests.

          "We intend to take this case to trial. It is very strong, well documented and we want a discrimination judgment against the US Department of Justice.

          "Hopefully, they will appeal. We want a 2nd Circuit decision on the record to help others. We will be meeting with the judge for the final pretrial hearing on June 15th. After the nominating conventions, we will be making every attempt at gaining national publicity.

          "But these statistics are very important (although not critical to the outcome) to show racial profiling in the hiring process.

          "The US Attorney's office is very upset about our web site publicizing Caryl's case. They have made these feelings known."

-- Lieutenant Colonel Michael G. Leventhal (Plaintiffs husband)

Update Oct. 15, 2000:
Leventhal v. Reno

The Leventhals filed this report and update on October 15, 2000:

          Michael Leventhal writes:  Our case went to trial on Sept. 25, 2000.  Here is my summary of the results:

          Although the USDOJ wanted to settle, (my wife) Caryl stood firm on her demand that there would be no settlement unless INS / DOJ supply her with a letter stating that she was unfairly treated. Money was never an issue to us, although we are far from wealthy. Caryl always told me that what happened to her could never be undone, but she wanted it to have meaning so it wouldn't happen to others. She felt that if someone in USDOJ could admit that she was mistreated, maybe things would change in that agency.

          We understood that standing up to the might of the US Department of Justice's US Attorney "guard dogs" would be difficult, but Caryl is someone of principle. Although we are not people of means, we refused to be bought off.  The results of the trial are as follows:

          The trial of Caryl Leventhal v. Janet Reno and the US Department of Justice was to begin on September 25th.

          On September 22nd, Caryl's lawyer received a call from a Mr. Kaufman, the Head of the US Attorney's CRIMINAL Division. He told Caryl's lawyer to deliver the following message to me, Michael Leventhal:

1. Kaufman   said "The US Attorney's office Criminal Division is watching Leventhal’s web site, www.justice-denied.net, very carefully."  (As you may remember, this is Caryl's website that I, her husband, designed and which I administer. Caryl wanted a website because we had received a prior death threat that was duly reported via Certified Mail to the USDOJ. Naturally, they refused to act on it.). Commentary:  So what?  The Justice Department watches a LOT of innocent citizens.  This statement represents a hollow effort at intimidation by the US DOJ.  This is a common tactic by the government when faced with a challenge to its authority.
2. Kaufman said "Tell Michael Leventhal that he is skirting the limits of his First Amendment freedoms." Commentary:  US DOJ always threatens plaintiffs with curtailment of their first amendment freedoms to speak out.  Another hollow threat designed to intimidate Plaintiff Leventhal.  US DOJ has no power to curtail the first amendment rights of plaintiff Caryl Leventhal, but DOJ hopes that their veiled threat will intimidate Plaintff Caryl Leventhal and her husband into settling.
3. Kaufman said "We know Michael Leventhal owns firearms." Kaufman went on to identify one or two of them, which means that they had just conducted a check relative to my legally registered firearms. Commentary:  Again, so what?  Access to gun registration information is freely available to those who know how to ask.  Gun registration info is virtually "public record".  Obviously this is another hollow threat by the government designed to intimidate Plaintiff Leventhal.
4. Kaufman said "The US Attorney's Office Criminal Division does not like the way the US Attorney Civil Division is being portrayed on Leventhal’s web site, www.justice-denied.net." Commentary:  A really BIG "So What!"  US DOJ watches everyone who does not agree with their policies.   This statement indicates that DOJ feels that their "displeasure" should intimidate Plaintiff Leventhal into keeping quiet about the discrimination she has suffered at the INS.  Unfortunately, there is no Canon of Ethics which prohibits federal lawyers from engaging in such hollow intimidation tactics.

           Not being the diplomat, I informed Caryl's very nervous attorney to deliver a message from me. My message to DOJ was "Lieutenant Colonel Michael Leventhal says that the Head of the US Attorney's Office Criminal Division can kiss his Jewish ass."

          I immediately placed information about the intimidating phone call from DOJ on  www.Justice-Denied.net. You can reach it by scrolling down a few inches on the homepage and clicking on the hyperlink "Delusions of Omnipotence."

          At trial, it turned out that the US Attorneys never raised the issue of our web site -- www.justice-denied.net. Apparently the US Attrorney did not want to open the door to testimony and evidence regarding the facts presented on our web site. The government preferred that the jury not be allowed to hear the contents of the web site.

          I’ve beem a soldier in the Reserves for many years. I've been decorated for bravery. I don't take very well to being strong armed, particularly by my own government and even more particularly by people trying to intimidate a witness (me) and a dying plaintiff with Multiple Sclerosis (Caryl).

          I brought up these events when I was testifying as a witness at Caryl’s trial, but the judge didn't pick up on it.

          From the beginning, the trial was compromised. Caryl's lawyer was very nervous about the intimidating call. Given the fact that on April 26, 1998 we had already received and recorded a very anti-Semitic death threat, Caryl was absolutely petrified. Throughout the entire trial, I sat with her and she clutched my hand as tightly as someone with Multiple Sclerosis can do.

          She was so frightened that she couldn't make a final rebuttal to defense witnesses at the end of the trial.

          Several times during the trial period, Caryl broke down in tears and said she thought the USDOJ was going to kill me. Needless to say, I was absolutely furious during the entire trial. Ever since our April 26, 1998 death threat, I had written my own life off as expendable. The important thing was securing justice for the wife I so love. You can read about the documented threat in www.Justice-Denied.net by sliding down a bit on the homepage and clicking on "INS Targeted Terror against a Disabled Woman."

         I can't believe that in past years, I ever thought of the USDOJ as "the good guys."

         The trial was very brutal, which I didn't mind because I like a good fight. Then again, I'm not a lawyer. I'm a computer techie and a soldier. The court system is not my battlefield and I don't know the rules. On the other hand, Caryl is rather frail. Her MS is slowly killing her and the actions of Mr. Kaufman from the US Attorney's Office Criminal Division didn't help.

          In any event, the witnesses were called. Brenda Grant, Caryl's primary tormentor was very straight about many things. She admitted that she would stand over Caryl in front of Caryl's staff and yell at her and humiliate her.

          INS supervisor Brenda Grant admitted that Caryl was kept out of departmental planning sessions (although Caryl was always held responsible for things that went wrong). She admitted that Caryl asked her for help carrying the fifty pound boxes and climbing unsteady shelving (remember that Caryl has Multiple Sclerosis and can't do these things without serious problems. And none of this was in her job description or else she never would have taken the job). Ms. Grant then denied that Caryl ever told her she had Multiple Sclerosis although that would be an act of suicide on Caryl's part. Grant admitted that when Caryl became ill with an Exacerbation of Multiple Sclerosis, both Caryl and I called in sick for her. Ms. Grant admitted receiving letters from us and doctor's notes. She admitted that in spite of this, she marked Caryl AWOL for every day she was home critically ill and denied her accumulated sick pay. She admitted that during the period of Caryl's critical illness, she never wrote or called to find out how Caryl was. And, when asked during her trial testimony if she cared about Caryl's condition during this period, she very matter of factly stated "no."

          Oh yes, Ms. Grant also admitted that she denied Caryl September 23rd off (Yom Kippur) on the grounds that she didn't fill out the proper form.

          Then Edward McElroy, the District Director for INS, testified. McElroy was the one who signed Caryl's termination letter, although it should be noted that neither Caryl nor McElroy ever met. Mr. McElroy also has Multiple Sclerosis.

          He was asked if he knew when he terminated Caryl that she was home ill due to her Multiple Sclerosis. McElroy said absolutely not.

          He testified that INS supervisor Brenda Grant told him that Caryl Leventhall had simply stopped showing up for work.

          When asked if he would have terminated Caryl if he knew she was home confirmed ill, McElroy said that he would not have done so.

          My admittedly subjective opinion is that the jury hated INS supervisor Brenda Grant and loved Caryl. Their hearts went out to Caryl and the brutality to which she had been submitted by INS supervisors and co-workers.

          And now, for the decision. Remember that a good deal of evidence was not allowed at the trial. Non-lawyers (myself included) never realized that through legal motions and declaring evidence "irrelevant" at the trial, key evidence can be ruled inadmissible.

          One piece of key evidence ruled inadmissible -- and which the jury was therefore not allowed to hear -- was the telephoned anti-Semitic death threat that we received on April 26, 1998 during the period when we were actively involved with a federal EEO judge during the EEOC complaint phase of our case.

          We tape-recorded the phone call, which contained a statement similar to the following: "You don't know when to quit, you fucking Jew. You and your loony wife. We're going to get you Nazi style."

          The judge ruled this tape recording inadmissible because it would prejudice the jury against the USDOJ. Not being an attorney, this logic eludes me. Caryl’s claim of a hostile work environment at INS hinged on the anti-Semitism she experienced at the INS. The taped phone call would have been a key piece of evidence in our ability to prove hostile work environment.

          Other things the judge ruled inadmissible at trial included our documented evidence that some 20% of Brenda Grant's staff at the INS was subsequently arrested for on-site criminal behavior. This fact clearly would have illustrated that Caryl Leventhal’s supervisor at the INS, Brenda Grant, was clearly incompetent in her assessment and evaluation of employees’ abilities and proclivities.

         We believe that the corruption and criminal activity in this INS office, and my wife, Caryl Leventhal’s, refusal to participate, constituted a major reason why Caryl's staff disliked her and antagonized her so much. When INS staff invited Caryl to join the corruption and criminal activity in the office, she refused. Caryl Levnthal continually attempted to stop the criminal endeavors of INS staff, and even provided written suggestions to INS supervisor Brenda Grant for clamping down on these criminal activities.

          Caryl and I clipped newspaper articles from the NY Post, Newsday and the New York Times which reported the names of INS staff engaged in criminal activities. But none of this was allowed as evidence at trial. The judge ruled against us on this point based on the objection of the US Attorney.

          In any event, before a jury goes out to vote, the judge Charges them. In this case, the judge told them that in a civil trial such as this, they must put aside their feelings of right and wrong and good and bad. This case is simply a matter of whether acts done to Caryl, no matter how brutal, were violations of relevant law. There is apparently no law protecting someone from a rotten sadistic boss.

          According to our lawyer, our lawsuit against the INS and the US DOJ had to narrowly prove discrimination under the terms of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). The only acts protected under Title VII are discrimination due to race, religion, color, and / or national origin.

          Early on in the trial, our charge of "racism" was killed.

          Given these limitations, Caryl and her lawyer were forced to argue that INS and DOJ had subjected her to religious discrimination under the terms of Title VII. Of course, this limited approach didn’t allow us to address the documented fact that INS supervisor Brenda Grant and other INS employees harassed Caryl Leventhal for many reasons other than her adopted Jewish faith.

          Also, remember that the Judge had disallowed the tape-recorded, anti-Semite death threat we had received by telephone. That tape was a key piece of evidence proving religious discrimination by INS toward Caryl Leventhal. Thus the jury was not allowed to hear the tape of this phone call.

          During the trial, Caryl and her lawyer were prohibited from referring to the taped anti-Semite, death threat phone call except in the most vague terms: Our side was only allowed to refer to a "nasty" or "threatening" phone call, but not to the content of the phone call.

          Anyway, the judge went on to insturct the jury that the burden of proof was on Caryl to show that the terrible things that happened to her were caused by religious prejudice. If the jury felt that Caryl had been unable to prove this -- within the severe restrictions imposed by the judge -- then no matter what the other reasons might be for her brutalization by INS, the jury was instructed to not consider anything except direct evidence of religious discrimination as defined by the judge.

          After being instructed by the judge regarding the relevant points of law, the jury retired for deliberations and returned some time later looking like they were attending a funeral.

          The jury -- which we felt was quite sympathetic to Caryl’s situation -- were forced to ignore evidence of deliberate brutality, gross insensitivity, and an overtly hostile work environment. Instead, the jury was forced to limit their deliberations to a narrow definition of "religious discrimination".

          Caryl's lawyer worked his heart out but he was limited in his experience against a war machine like the US Attorney's Office. You can find all information including the charge to the jury by going to www.justice-denied.net and clicking on the "Trial" navigation button on top of the main page.

          Over these past four years of battle, the USDOJ must have spent well over $1,000,000.00 in costs... just because they wouldn't say "I'm sorry for what happened" to a dying woman during the Admin Process. Again, that's all she ever wanted. That and changing her records to show that her being home critically ill due to actions of people at INS/USDOJ didn't make her (as stated in her termination letter) someone "displaying poor dedication to your job."

          I'm investigating the possibility of filing an appeal on, among other things, that the actions of Mr. Kaufman of the US Attorney's office Criminal Division compromised a free and fair trial through intimidation. Certainly, I'm going to Congress about these actions. I'm very resolute.

          We wanted Adversity.Net to know what was going on because so many people like myself don't realize that "Justice" is not an option in court. What matters is your legal staff, how much money you have and how existing law can be twisted.

          As for me, I'm fed up with the whole system. I can't believe I spent so many years in uniform thinking I was protecting something that had meaning. I guess there's no fool like a middle age fool.

          When this whole thing is over, I'm resigning my military commission. I never want to have anything to do with government again. Caryl and I were the type of people who listened to the Star Spangled Banner with tears running down our cheeks. We realize now that it's all a scam. Our Founding Fathers must be turning in their graves.

Signed "In Liberty --

-- LTC Michael G. Leventhal"

          For additional details and commentary in this important reverse discrimination case, please visit the Leventhal's web site: http://www.justice-denied.net

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*  We use the term reverse discrimination reluctantly and only because it is so widely understood.  In our opinion there really is only one kind of discrimination.