February 13, 2017
3801 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008
The Honorable Channing D. Phillips
U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia
555 Fourth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20530
RE: Social Security Fraud — Use of Perjured Sworn Statement to Obtain Benefits
Dear Mr. Phillips:
This letter details controverted, false, perjured or defamatory statements and a material omission contained in employer Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s sworn statement — Response to Interrogatories and Document Request, filed May 22, 1992 with the D.C. Department of Human Rights in agency matter Freedman v. Akin, Gump, Hauer & Feld — that formed the basis of my claim for U.S. Social Security (SSA) disability benefits, filed in April 1993. Akin Gump’s sworn statement alleges that the employer determined that I became disabled and not suitable for employment effective October 29, 1991 by reason of mental illness. Thereafter, in August 1993, SSA affirmed, in its Notice of Award, that I became disabled and not suitable for employment on October 29, 1991 on the basis of said sworn statement. I continue to receive SSA disability benefits on said claim.
The totality of misrepresentation in the sworn statement is striking.
1. The following material statement contained in the sworn statement is false or perjured:
Later Claimant was employed as a full-time legal assistant (“paralegal”) to manage massive amounts of documents for a major client (See Attachment C). Shortly thereafter, the client filed for bankruptcy protection and eventually the legal work diminished.
(a.) I was hired as a full-time paralegal effective August 1, 1989. Agency record at 144. (See Exhibit A).
(b.) The client (Eastern Airlines) filed for bankruptcy protection on March 9, 1989, five months before I was hired full-time. (See Exhibit B).
Akin Gump granted me full-time employment despite the fact that the client had filed for bankruptcy protection and the legal work diminished.
2. The following material statement contained in the sworn statement is controverted in part:
In the course of questioning Claimant’s supervisor, former supervisor and co-workers, it was even more evident that the Claimant had emotional problems which adversely affected his work and his co-workers.
On the evening of July 1, 1993 I had a telephone conversation with a former co-worker, Patricia McNeil. McNeil stated that Race had never talked to her in connection with my employment concerns and that she did not know of anyone else in the department that Race consulted. McNeil further stated that upon learning of my job termination, my coworkers seemed surprised by the termination. Agency record at 41. (See Exhibit C).
3. The following material statement contained in the sworn statement is defamatory (i.e., evidence of pretext in the termination decision) and evidence of a medically-worthless psychiatric opinion:
Because of the emotional and psychological nature of Mr. Freedman’s complaints and those lodged against him, Messrs. Lassman and Race also sought professional guidance from two outside consultants: (1) a representation from the Employee Assistance Program; and (2) a practicing psychiatrist. The two professionals advised that Claimant should seek counseling and did not oppose respondent’s recommendation to terminate Claimant. One of them identified Claimant’s habit of putting a negative meaning to virtually every event as “ideas of reference” and cautioned that individuals in similar circumstances may become violent. (See Attachment F).
It is defamatory for a psychiatrist to comment on the mental status of an individual she has not personally examined. Ginzburg v. Goldwater, 396 U.S. 1049 (1970). Akin Gump’s “very able counsel” are presumed to know the law. U.S. v. Moore, 931 F.2d 245 (4th Cir. 1991).
(See Exhibit D).
4. The following material statement contained in the sworn statement is false or perjured:
3. A. Respondent does not dispute that Claimant’s written performance evaluations were very good. . . . When terminated, he was told that his actual work product was not a problem.
(a.) In a telephone conversation I had with Race on the day following the termination (October 30, 1991), Race confirmed that the employer determined that my work performance was subpar. Agency record at 453-454. (See Exhibit E).
(b.) In a letter dated September 17, 1992 that I addressed to the D.C. Department of Human Rights I stated that Race advised me at the termination meeting that my work performance was subpar and that one of the reasons for the job termination was poor work performance. My admissions in said letter were adverse to my unlawful job termination complaint and adverse to my later SSA disability claim. Agency record at 527-532. (See Exhibit F).
5. The following material statements contained in the sworn statement are false or perjured:
B. Until the filing of this Charge, the subject of Claimant’s sexual orientation was never brought up by Claimant or anyone involved directly or indirectly with Claimant’s employment. While Claimant raised concerns about sexual and religious harassment, he never stated that it was based on his sexual orientation — nor was it ever interpreted as such by anyone involved in this matter.
Claimant’s sexual orientation was not an issue.
D. Claimant never complained of discrimination treatment based on sexual orientation.
Respondent contends that Claimant was terminated for good cause, nondiscriminatory reasons. Claimant’s sexual orientation was not a factor or even known by those involved in any stage of the decision process.
The D.C. Department of Human Rights expressly found (Initial Determination, Finding of Fact no. 7, June 30, 1993) that I complained about sexual orientation discrimination on October 23, 1991, six days before the effective date of the termination. In effect, the employer wrongly denied that it knew that I was a member of a protected class under the D.C. Human Rights Act, persuasive evidence of pretext in the termination decision. Agency record at 17. (See Exhibit G).
6. The following material statements contained in the sworn statement are knowingly deceptive, false or perjured:
In an attempt to find comparable work for the Claimant, a decision was made to transfer him to the Litigation Support Department.
During his transition from a legal assistant position (paralegal) to his work with the litigation support department, Claimant had several discussions with his direct supervisor about problems with interacting with co-workers and occasional outbursts (See Attachment 4).
The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found, in unrelated litigation — apparently based on Akin Gump’s own production — that a move from the firm’s litigation support department to the paralegal program constituted a promotion. McNeil v. Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld at n. 2, D.C.D.C. no. 93-0477 (Nov. 29, 1993). My own reverse move from paralegal to litigation support in March 1990 constituted an unexplained or discriminatory demotion, wrongly denied by the employer as a “transfer” or “transition.” See Appellant’s Brief on Appeal at B-2. (See Exhibit H).
7. The following statement in the sworn statement contains a material omission:
On October 23, 1991, Claimant approached Earl Segal, the partner in charge of the legal assistants, and stated that he was being harassed on sexual and religious bases. Claimant’s concerns were communicated to a Managing Partner, Malcolm Lassman, who instructed Mr. Segal to memorialize his conversation with Claimant (See Attachment E).
In fact, I requested that Segal investigate the possibility of promoting me to the legal assistant program. Shortly thereafter, Segal did investigate the possibility of promoting me. Segal admits that he later spoke with Legal Assistant Administrator, Maggie Sinnott and Legal Assistant Coordinator, J.D. Neary. Agency record at 67. (See Exhibit I). Segal’s act of investigating a job promotion in the period immediately prior to the termination (and Race’s act of concealing that action in the sworn statement) taints Akin Gump’s proffered justification for the termination — that I was not suitable for employment by reason of mental instability — as pretextual. Cf. McNeil v. Economics Laboratory, Inc. 800 F.2d 111, 114 (7th Cir. 1986) (employer who immediately offered a terminated sales manager a commissioned sales position undermined its attempt to demonstrate that the employee had been fired for behavioral problems, rather than because of his age, thereby violating the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967).
8. The following material statement in the sworn statement falsely depicts my perceptions of my work environment as the product of a psychiatric disorder:
Claimant also mentioned several phrases which he felt were anti-Semitic: one employee referring to a July bill with emphasis as if to mean “Jew-lie” and thereafter was heard singing “liar, liar, pants on fire”; the group’s mascot was a pig . . . which symbolized pork; and once a black employee was heard to use a Yiddish term.
On April 9, 1992, one of my coworkers in the Litigation Support Department, Patricia McNeil was terminated following an act of insubordination. 1/ The firm’s managing partner, Laurence J. Hoffman was directly involved in the termination and was presumably apprised that the work environment in Litigation Support was disruptive, unprofessional — and tinged with antisemitism. McNeil had reportedly called a fellow employee a “stupid Jew” (See Exhibit H) or a “Jewish bitch” (Agency record at 59) (See Exhibit J).
The following timeline is significant:
(a.) I was terminated on October 29, 1991 after I alleged to firm management that the work environment in Litigation Support was disruptive, unprofessional — and tinged with antisemitism.
(b.) On about April 9, 1992, the firm’s managing partner, Hoffman was presumably apprised that the work environment in Litigation Support was in fact disruptive, unprofessional — and tinged with antisemitism.
(c.) On May 22, 1992 Race filed the subject sworn statement that alleged that the employer had a good faith belief that my allegation that the work environment in Litigation Support was disruptive, unprofessional and tinged with antisemitism was the product of a psychiatric disorder. It was Hoffman who certified that the subject sworn statement was true. As of May 22, 1992 Akin Gump had a standing invitation from the D.C. Department of Human Rights to mediate my unlawful job termination complaint but declined to do so.
In sum, the U.S. Social Security Administration based its disability determination in August 1993 on a sworn statement made by the employer, Akin Gump (Dennis M. Race, Esq. and Laurence J. Hoffman, Esq.) that knowingly misrepresented the nature of my employment and the circumstances surrounding my job termination on October 29, 1991. Said sworn statement knowingly created a false impression of my mental state and suitability for employment as of October 29, 1991 and the period preceding. Simple reference to documentary evidence in the agency record amply demonstrates the falsity of material claims made by the employer. 1/ There is persuasive evidence, therefore, that my Social Security disability claim — based as it was on said sworn statement — was based on an act of criminal fraud.
1/ Thereafter, the D.C. Department of Human Rights filed an unlawful job termination complaint against Akin Gump on behalf of McNeil. It was Race who filed Akin Gump’s response to said complaint. The Director of Human Rights was Margie A. Utley. See n. 2, below. McNeil subsequently filed a Title VII action in U.S. District Court.
2/ The D.C. Department of Human Rights issued a Final Determination in agency matter Freedman v. Akin, Gump, Hauer & Feld on September 24, 1993, finding that there was no probable cause to believe that Akin Gump had engaged in unlawful discrimination. The agency determination was affirmed by the D.C. Court of Appeals. Freedman v. D.C. Dept. Human Rights, D.C.C.A. 96-CV-961 (Sept. 1, 1998). The Human Rights Director was Margie A. Utley. Utley was later found to have engaged in a Hatch Act violation, Special Counsel v. Malone, 77 M.S.P.R. 477 (1998), indicating her propensity to violate the law to help out her friends. Utley was also later disbarred by the State of Georgia and the District of Columbia for engaging in misappropriation of estate funds, an act involving moral turpitude. In the Matter of Utley, 698 A.2d 446 (D.C.App. 1997); In the Matter of Margie A. Utley, 507 S.E.2d 727 (1998). Utley had served as Human Rights Director under D.C. Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly, who had close ties to Akin Gump senior counsel, Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. Jordan had served as Mayor-elect Kelly’s transition chairman in the fall of 1990.