Oh, The Lies They’ll Tell – I

Why am I so angry? I can’t imagine, really. Part of it couldn’t be their lawyers, could it? Not that they’re effective enough to actually get under my skin, but rather because they’ve proven themselves to largely be ineffectual liars. Liars who not only lie to official bodies, but also to their peers whom they’ve known for thirty years. Yes. I think that’s part of it. 

Why do they do it? Why do lawyers lie? Well, in my experience, it’s usually only for two reasons: One, they think they can get away with it; they’ve been getting away with it for so long that they’ve settled into a pattern defined and informed by a toxic blend of complacency and arrogance. And if no one challenges them, or at least not substantively, well, why not? Throw it all at the wall and see what sticks. Two, because they have nothing else; absolutely, positively not one leg on which to stand. Interestingly, the attorneys who currently represent Land O’Lakes in my action against my former boss fall into both of the above categories, but also seem to have an almost frighteningly thick layer of gullibility icing layered on top of their very particularly ornate fabrication cupcake.  

In their response to one adjudicating body alone, they told almost nothing but lies. “The complainant confirmed she had received and read the employee handbook,” (approximation). Umm, no. I can clearly be heard saying not once, not twice, but three times in a row on the recording of the interview with their – cough – “investigator” that I never saw any such document, let alone acknowledged or signed it. Of course, maybe she didn’t hear my response because she was too busy asking me how to spell “WPP.” Well, usually W-P-P. But I digress. That’s just a single example, one of eight manifest lies they told, in writing, despite what I actually said which is recorded for the entire world to see. If need be. But then they also claimed I delayed the interview when it was, in fact, they who stated their “investigator” was “out of the country” and could not make the earlier date we had requested. Tsk, tsk. How do you walk without tripping over your nose?

I can, though, to some degree understand their confidence; after all, they’ve had well over a year to get their story straight, get on the same page. So maybe, in thinking about it, perhaps at least a small part of my dismay is their collusion. They’ve known this was coming since December of 2016 when their outside counsel advised them to draw it out for a year, beyond the limit for a sexual harassment claim as provided under Minnesota law. Yes, their lawyer literally instructed them to attempt to deprive me of my statutory rights and told them how to do it. So it isn’t enough that this man did what he did, but then members of leadership found out, had a conversation about it, and came to a joint decision to seek counsel as to how best to keep them all from being exposed to legal action as a result of his behavior. As I pointed out in Public vs. Private, it wasn’t the break-in at The Watergate which brought down Nixon; it was the attempt to cover it up which ensued thereafter. Though in this case, they mostly sought help in order to protect their share of the revenue from the earnout. Oh, did I fail to mention that all of the people who told LOL lawyers exactly what they wanted to hear all stand to gain quite a bit in an earnout? At least $1.5M each? And that they’ve all been friends – and in most cases have cohabitated at one time or another with him – in their little club of debauchery for more than twenty-five years? But I’m sure that’s in no way swayed their collective conscience.

Then, of course, there is him. 

Everything that I do, I set out to do exceptionally well: I never accept second best from myself and as such almost only, ever do one thing at a time. So for the last several months as I have had to scrounge for a living for my family whilst also being the very best witness for myself that I can be, while going well outside of my character to network in order to ensure that I am also marketing myself and my abilities as well as possible while I search for a new position, and at the same holding my family together and doing the most important job I have – mom – to the best of my ability, that man has still been employed in one position doing almost no work and earning a very high six figure salary. An atmosphere existed which allowed a man like this to be a leader and his habits to grow and fester; it created a cabal of people who were only too ready to conspire to deprive me of my rights in order to preserve their own personal playground of excess; and because of all of this, one day I made $250K and the next day, I didn’t. Of course I’m angry. What respiring creature on God’s earth wouldn’t be filled with the motivational rage of Themis?

This is a man who has already been in trouble at least once with LOL accountants for fiddling the numbers to make revenue targets; a man who never really created or wanted a real HR department because, well, hello! A man who would, on a whim, tell an employee they needed to go on a trip to Vegas with him instead of, say, be in a kick-off meeting for a project for the company’s largest client, and would fail to tell said employee’s direct manager or the room full of people waiting to have said kick-off meeting. A man who made lude, lustful, disgusting comments about a girl – an employee – barely older than his own daughter. And when challenged on these comments by me, his only retort was that I was wrong about her age. By one year. She is three years older than his daughter; not two, as my assertion would have implied. He was my boss and couldn’t tell you from one day to the next what I was actually working on (but then we’ve already established that I wasn’t really there to work, was I), but he could tell you the exact age of the young account assistant he often chose as his traveling companion. And everyone knew all of this. Knows all of this. And how I would love to hear what she would have to say under oath.

But here’s the problem: early on, Land O’Lakes’ attorneys drank their own cool-aid. They went into their situation armed not with an objective mindset or probing questions, but only with the soft guidance of confirmation bias. They asked nicely, heard what they wanted and retreated back to their $650/hour ivory tower. Hell, I’m not even sure they really tried that hard; maybe they never even left their building. After all, it wouldn’t have taken more than a very gentle prodding to establish that the man in question is a heavy drinker who’s run through at least 1.5 marriages, untold other women and has an affection for Xanax – “Man, I LOVE that shit” – though this doctor stopped prescribing them to him because, he said, he “has an addictive personality.” And perhaps this statement alone says all that one needs to know about this man: he is always looking for something to numb the angst, get him through, provide a distraction. Whether that is a pill or alcohol or a new fascination with the female a la mode, he becomes addicted to or fixated with the latest substance or habit or individual to see him through until the next one comes along. The journey from addiction to obsession is a very short one indeed. But let’s not get caught up in facts, not when there are so many lies we can tell to distract from anything messy (aka true).

No. I should be fine with all of this. Just dandy, actually.  According to them, at least, which is no doubt why it still seems to almost daily surprise them that I will not in any way shrink from this task, or that I will not treat it as anything other than a job. Believing that I will in any way cower, lose focus or that my resolve will diminish would be to demonstrate a considerable error in judgment on their part. But that’s just one more mistake they made and continue to make: me. 

Why are people always so surprised when you turn out to be exactly who and what you say you are? When you behave in a manner you told them you would? Easy. Because the majority of society is so very and entirely full of shit. I’m strong, I’m smart, I have a family from the parallel dimension of “I don’t give a damn about the consequences, you just do what’s right,” standing behind me, including my ex-husband who is, himself, an attorney, and with whom I first imparted my harassment at the hands of my former boss on November 2 of 2016 in his office. I’m the daughter of a double Emmy award-winning investigative reporter who refused to join the union while at CBS because he wanted no aspect of his work, life or integrity dictated by them. My uncle who has so generously helped out financially during this little life event never went to college, but now flies a Lear jet, a stunt plane (for fun) and is a champion sniper (because he wanted to shoot, but why not just be the best?). A different breed, to be sure, but resolve is in my DNA, manifold. In short, my family doesn’t play.

So knowing all of this and having read my professional profile and knowing what my specific area of expertise is, why on earth would you ever want to piss me off? Oh, that’s right – because they don’t know me at all. All they’ve heard are the versions of me from one man who suffers from emotional instability and likes to heavily self-medicate with whatever he can get his hands on, two other people who stand to gain (or lose) a few million in an earnout if it all goes tits up, and one woman with whom I have never in my life spent even one minute alone, but who inserted herself into this situation to save her friend and to aggrandize herself and her importance; one of those lookey-loos who shows up at tragedies and pretends to have been directly affected or involved. 

I am exactly who I say I am and will do exactly what I say I will do. I have three degrees, speak three languages; have lived in four countries, been to more than thirty; have hiked some of the roughest terrains on earth through some of the most politically unstable territories; have met generals, world leaders, Nobel laureates, and despots. I refused child support and alimony from my ex-husband because I wanted to raise my child in the way I saw fit. And in my son’s senior year at his $56,000 a year college, I had to leave my job because Land O’Lakes fostered an atmosphere which allowed a man like this to be a leader and his habits to grow and fester; it created a cabal of people who were only too ready to conspire to deprive me of my rights in order to preserve their own personal profit; and because of all of this, one day I made $250K and the next day, I didn’t.

Yes, I’m repeating myself. Because they did not seem to get it the first, second, fifteenth or twentieth time.

So I’ve spent the last few weeks ring-fencing my life from this; making any blowback entirely obsolete to my life. Removing them from my resume, getting the founder of the best company I ever worked for to be a reference and fill in the blank left by my time at LOL. And frankly, where I am now, no one knows or has even heard of Land O’Lakes anyway. I’ve dug in, I have no fear, and I have nothing to lose.