American Renaissance - 3 - February 2001
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Jared Taylor, EditorJames P. Lubinskas, Contributing EditorGlayde Whitney, Contributing EditorGeorge McDaniel, Web Page Editor
review of 956 backlogged discrimina-tion complaints. The department paidmillions of dollars to bring field officeworkers to Washington to review thesecomplaints, with the result that
discrimination was found to have oc-curred in only
of 956 cases.The department suppressed these in-convenient findings. After these em-ployees had spent months poring overcase files a Glickman assistant con-demned them to their faces as liars in-tent on covering up the misdeeds of fel-low employees. He also told them to de-stroy their notes.
Let’s Make a Deal
There had to be a better solution, andMr. Glickman set out to find it. In 1995,five USDA borrowers had filed a law-suit (
Williams v. Glickman
) chargingdiscrimination against black and His-panic farmers. District of ColumbiaJudge Thomas Flannery denied class-action status, citing the amorphous na-ture of the proposed class and noting thatthe claims of the named plaintiffs werenot representative of the claims of po-tential class members.However, with the legal climate im-proved by Mr. Glickman charging hisown employees with bigotry, two black farmers in North Carolina filed separatebut similar suits in 1997, this time onbehalf of blacks only. One plaintiff wasTimothy Pigford and the other was CecilBrewington. The Pigford suit is particu-larly notable because USDA had inves-tigated his claims at least three times andfound no discrimination.What’s more, a previous suit by Mr.Pigford against USDA had been dis-missed
, which means heshould not have been allowed to fileanother suit making the same charges.Both he and Mr. Brewington enlistedhigh-powered professional civil rightslawyers who recruited hundreds of plaintiffs. At least partly because USDArefused to challenge Mr. Pigford’s rightto sue, and made only token defenses,the cases became a legal juggernaut.U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman, aClinton appointee, got both cases. JudgeFriedman often presided over sensitiveClinton-related cases, which he appearsto have received outside the normal as-signment process. His cases includedthose of Chinese bagman Charlie Trie,Democrat fund-raiser Pauline Kanchan-alak, and Maria Hsia of the notoriousBuddhist temple fund-raiser. In eachcase, Judge Friedman dismissed thecharges against Mr. Clinton’s associates,and in each case, a higher court promptlyreinstated the charges, leading to thesuspicion that Judge Friedman might beanswering to a higher authority thanmere law. (Judge Friedman also got theslander suit filed by White House aideSidney Blumenthal against Internet re-porter Matt Drudge. Under JudgeFriedman’s supervision, that case hasdragged on for years, sapping Mr.Drudge’s finances and energy. No trialdate is set.)Judge Friedman combined the casesand they are today known as
Amazingly, the complaintcites
absolutely no evidence of discrimi-nation
by USDA other than Mr. Glick-man’s statement that discrimination wasrampant in his department. Judge Fried-man certified class-action status for thesuit in October, 1998, and the jugger-naut was ready to launch.
t least one of the complain-ants at the “listening” ses-sions had already won anofficial USDA determination that hehad, indeed, suffered discrimination.The word around USDA is that thisfinding was reached at the specificinstruction of former Secretary MikeEspy, who was later forced to resignamid charges of corruption but wasfound not guilty by a District of Co-lumbia jury in 1998. The finding of discrimination ignored numerousprevious investigations of the samecharges that had found no wrongdo-ing. According to USDA sources,the text of the final determination(which is unavailable to the public)is so tortured it can only have beenwritten under secretarial duress.This farmer was found not to havesucceeded because USDA “providedhim with inadequate loan funds andtechnical assistance” to become asuccessful farmer. With no apparentsense of irony, the decision thenwent on to fault the government forapproving loans when the borrowerdid not meet minimum cash flow andrepayment requirements–which isnot discrimination, but a violation of federal law that prohibits lendingmoney to uncreditworthy borrowersand the very opposite of denyingassistance. The department foundthat this same black borrower failedas a farmer because the governmentdid not provide sufficient “closetechnical guidance and managementsupervision.” The official findingneglected to mention that this farmerhad been a
teacher of vocationalagriculture
for nearly 20 years.This and other individual caseswere settled prior to the current black farmer class-action lawsuit, result-ing in payouts of millions of dollarsand the forgiveness of more millionsin USDA loans that should havebeen paid back to the government.Some farmers even got additionalloans from USDA and some of themhave refused to repay them. The cur-rent “civil rights” climate makes ithard to try to collect on them.