Dust still settling - Page 2

Lawsuit accusing Lennar of racism and retaliation against whistle-blowers also reveals effort to deceive the community
|
()

"Before that, I was told that I need to back off subcontractor Gordon Ball, then I was deliberately taken out of the loop."

The allegations cast a new light on Lennar's claims to us that it volunteered the information about the faulty asbestos monitoring, suggesting the company might have been concerned about McIntyre blowing the whistle to city officials who were already asking questions about dust and asbestos levels.

The day after McIntyre's Aug. 1, 2006, demotion, Menaker told Clarke and McIntyre the asbestos monitoring data could not be verified.

"I would have liked to see a report from CH2M Hill on what exactly happened," McIntyre told us. "First I heard it was record falsification, then human error, then a problem employee, then battery malfunction. I complained to my manager, Paul Menaker, but I never saw a report."

Clarke and McIntyre said Lennar's code of silence left them in an awkward position within their community.

"When the community was asking, 'What's up with asbestos and dust?' Gary was to go out and explain," Clarke told us. "So when Gary was taken off the project but his name was kept in the community as project manager, I said, 'Y'all have cut this man's testicles off by taking him off this site.' "

"How can you go out and talk to the community about dust if you're not in the loop?" McIntyre asked us. "But it wasn't just a code of silence. It was also that we were blind and deaf, since we couldn't see reports or attend meetings."

All three say they began to feel like Lennar was hurting their community.

"To me," McIntyre told us, "Minister Muhammed represents the African American community. When I looked his schoolkids in the eye, I thought these kids are thinking that I'm the one who is doing this to them."

Things came to a head for McIntyre at Newsom's Feb. 10 town hall meeting in Bayview.

Observing that Lennar had been issued with notices of violation and that public health concerns had been raised, Newsom asked, "Is someone from Lennar here to secure my confidence?"

"I waited for Kofi [Bonner, president of Lennar Urban] and Paul to say something, but they didn't even show up," McIntyre recalled. "So I took the mic, looked the minister in the eyes, and said, 'We have carried out an investigation, placed additional monitors in the community. We're trying to keep you and the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency up to date.' "

When someone in the town hall audience accused Lennar of "harming a community that's already been harmed," McIntyre said. "We're taking the most aggressive steps we could."

But inside he felt that he had been made into Lennar's scapegoat. "I wouldn't have taken this job if I'd known," McIntyre said.

Clarke agreed. "All you've got is your name. The corporation tried to take all that away. At least now I can sleep at night."

Six days after the meeting, Newsom proposed accelerating the transfer of the shipyard from the Navy to the city and Lennar in order to facilitate construction of a new stadium for the 49ers. Newsom's spokespeople did not return calls for comment. *