Lennar slapped with racial discrimination lawsuit,
accused of violating toxic asbestos cleanup restrictions
Bayview Hunters Point Shipyard, file photo.
March 17, 2007
Lennar Corporation is considered the King Midas of developers,
ready to turn the Bay Area's most toxic sites to gold. But a lawsuit
filed March 16 alleges the firm is poisoning the community and
is discriminating against its workers.
lists numerous instances when African-American employees for the
firms Bayview-Hunters Point Shipyard project were
subject to humiliation and insulting comments about their race.
The three plaintiffs are Gary McIntyre, a project manager; Clementine
Clark, a community benefits manager and a member of San Francisco's
Fire Commission; and Ceola Richardson, an administrative assistant.
They describe an atmosphere in which African-American employees
were made to feel they were hired specifically to fulfill minority-owned
business requirements, and yet those requirements were not met.
The lawsuit also details instances when the plaintiffs tried
to alert their supervisor, Paul Menaker, about dangerously high
levels of asbestos in the air and near an adjacent school. Menaker
made a point of disregarding the warnings and did not ensure that
basic steps were taken to mitigate the release of dangerously
high levels of toxic asbestos dust, the suit alleges.
The San Francisco Redevelopment Agency has had to step in (item
4d) to request that Lennar undertake routine asbestos handling
Conceivably, the case could affect Lennar's standing as a favored
government contractor. The
firm is one of the largest in the country. Locally, they are
the developers for the lucrative Treasure Island, Mare Island,
Bayview-Hunter's Point, and potential 49ers stadium/housing project.
The case creates political implications on a number of levels,
which may make things awkward for Mayor Gavin Newsom. One of the
plaintiffs in the case is a mayoral appointee to the Fire Commission.
Plaintiffs' attorney Angela
Alioto plays a role in the Newsom administration. And finally,
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
is involved in Lennar's local projects.
Lennar is a green
with SF government support.
Lennar is on the record as supporting
African-American cultural history.
price has looked better, but at least one Democratic heavy
hitter is a Lennar president.
Lennar's failures at Hunters Point Shipyard highlight
the risk of putting the Bay Area's prime real estate into
the hands of profit-driven developers.