Archive for the ‘Legal Reputation’ Category

MEN-toring a Scandal

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Women in the business, political and career worlds often seek out a mentor; someone to emulate and guide their career path. When a young Huma Abedin went to work for Hillary Clinton, did she mistake the search for a mentor? Watching her downcast vacant eyes while standing next to her husband made viewers squirm. There are so many lessons and examples of positive role models for women, but somehow this smart and seemingly talented woman mistook mentoring with “manning up”. Either way, what’s with the MEN?!

Summer Brings Different Kind of Heat for McDonalds

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

Summer is supposed to be the best time of year filled with vacation, ice cream and relaxing by the pool.  However, it is certainly anything but relaxing for McDonalds’ public relations team.  Within the past few months, McDonalds has come under fire in the media for the ways it has been treating employees.

The media first reported in June that a lawsuit was filed against McDonalds for paying employees with prepaid debit cards.  Many employees then incur excessive fees on their cards, which results in them being paid less than they are owed and, at times, less than minimum wage.

A few weeks ago, McDonalds came under scrutiny again for its “Practical Money Skills Budget Journal” which serves as a supposed guideline for how employees can budget their paychecks responsibly.  Not only does the budget suggest employees hold a second job in addition to their full-time job, but it also recommends that they pay impossibly low amounts in expenses ($0 in heat and $20 in insurance?? – McDonalds does not even offer $20 per month insurance for employees!)

In the most recent episode, employees at a McDonalds in New York walked out after a co-worker fainted due to the extreme heat conditions they are forced to work in.  With record temperatures across the country this summer, it was noted that the employees were working in a kitchen with no air conditioning.  Despite frequent complaints to the manager and owners, this McDonalds’ kitchen was working with air conditioning for nine years!

There is no quick “Band-Aid” fix for McDonalds’ situation.  It would be one thing if McDonalds just had one instance of treating employees poorly.  But it now has THREE – and all of them occurred within weeks of each other.  The timing caused each situation to gain more and more media attention.  Although two of the instances were part of McDonalds’ franchises, the company is still responsible for how their franchises operate.

It is insulting how McDonalds disregarded their employee’s standard of living and created an unattainable budget.  I highly doubt the person writing those guidelines would be able to follow his or her own advice.  McDonalds is going to need to make major internal changes and prove to employees they are respected and valued.  The company should make sure the media is convinced as well, because, right now, many people have doubts about how principled the company really is.

Spitzer’s Fight for Reputation Redemption

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Scandal within politics is far from scarce, but nothing gains more attention than when it involves inappropriate sexual relations. This rang especially true for former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer who resigned in disgrace in 2008 following revelations that he had spent thousands of tax payer dollars on prostitutes. Yet now he is back, throwing himself into the election for New York City comptroller.

The real question is not whether he is qualified for the position, however it is whether the public be able to forgive him and move on. Although political sex scandals can be entertaining and create plenty of amusing headlines, Spitzer still ruined his credibility among his voters. Spitzer came off as a politician who believed he was above the rules and did not hold himself to the same standards he held the rest of New York. As Attorney General, he even seized and apprehended other prostitution rings because they are illegal!

Now that the dust on the scandal has settled and Spitzer has decided to bring himself back into the political spotlight, he is going to have to closely manage his reputation. Whether he is a changed man or not, he needs to appear as someone who is ready to beg for the public’s forgiveness. People need to believe that Spitzer has left his soliciting days behind him and now is focused on serving the people of New York (aka his voters).

The ideal game plan for redeeming his reputation includes taking responsibility for his past mistakes.  Then, he should apologize to the voters and people of New York for his indiscretions. His apologies need to seem sincere. Following the initial media “tour,” his focus should be on discussing how he is ready to change the city by being elected comptroller and keeping out of trouble.

So far, he has kept himself on track. He has made statements such as “I made significant errors. I stood up, accepted responsibility, resigned”. He claims he will be walking the streets of New York asking for forgiveness and collecting signatures for his campaign. But we shouldn’t get too far ahead of ourselves; he just announced he was running yesterday. People who are deceived do not take it lightly, and Spitzer’s really going to have to work at a sparkling reputation if he wants to win the election. Good luck to him because his voters will not be fooled twice.

Where Is Your Donation Actually Going?

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Those dreaded bills! What can one do if the pile keeps growing? A native New Jersey couple decided to solve their bill problem through the creation of the fraudulent charity, the Hurricane Sandy Relief Foundation (HSRF).

After Hurricane Sandy hit, many areas which were left devastated looked for aid. One way relief was given was through the contributions of charities. To try and capitalize on this, John Sandberg and Christina Terraccino of Sparta created the Hurricane Sandy Relief Foundation, which they said was a way to raise money by storm victims for other storm victims. Their website, created the day prior to the storm, http://sandyrelief.org/, received more than $631,000 in donations.

So what does one possibly do with all of that money? Help victims relocate their homes? Help build up the shore area or dress people who lost all of their clothing? Unfortunately, this was not the case here – roughly $13,000 from the foundations bank account were allegedly transferred and used by the couple!

What I feel to be even more appalling is the percentage of the donations that were actually given to the victims of the hurricane. The state financial records indicate that less than one percent of the money donated has been disbursed to aid the hurricane victims.

Sandberg and Terraccino’s creation has caused them multiple violations of consumer fraud and charity laws. Thankfully they can expect to be fined for up to $20,000 for each of those violations.

In regards to the donations raised, the Division of Consumer Affairs has ensured that the donations given to this charity will be used towards the purposes initially represented through the foundation.

Is this couple and fraudulent charity being dealt with? The state claims so, but the foundations website has yet to be shut down and their PayPal account continues to accept donations. I guess we’ll have to watch this story as it continues to grow…

NJ: Voted most likely to…

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Yet again, NJ distinguishes ourselves as the State most likely to…humiliate its residents. Today our US Senator is disputing rumors that he traveled to the Caribbean to have sex with underage women. Last week our other US Senator threatened to spank the Mayor of the largest NJ city. And then our Governor recently graced the cover of a national weekly magazine characterized as a Mafia kingpin.

We resident of the Garden State endure more public embarrassment than the other 49 states combined. The reality shows, the sitcoms, the movies all know that if you want to go for a cheap laugh, a tacky personification, or a loud argumentative impersonation: we are here and we are Jersey ready.

The politicians of the state are immersed in how best to rebuild the institutions damaged by Hurricane Sandy.. maybe it is time to rebuild the reputation damaged by the Hurricane of  Politicians.