FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Sweetheart Deal for Macy’s

by

The press release from the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office reads — “Macy’s Pleads in Death of an Employee.”

According to the district attorney, Macy’s Corporate Services, Inc. plead no contest to a misdemeanor charge of corporate criminal liability for the death of an employee in 2009.

The office said that as part of a negotiated settlement, Macy’s will pay a $950,000 fine at a sentencing hearing scheduled for August 15, 2015.

On July 13, 2009, Roy Polanco, 65, was operating a cardboard baling and compactor machine at a Macy’s distribution center in East Los Angeles when he fell into an unguarded opening of the unit.

Polanco was crushed to death and decapitated by the machine’s hydraulic compacting ram.

Balers are used to compact similar types of waste for recycling. The machine had been modified so it would operate without interruption.

Under the terms of the settlement, Macy’s also must conduct an audit of all of the balers and compactors at their stores and distribution facilities in California. And the audit must be approved by the district attorney’s office.

So, that’s according to the district attorney, via the press release.

But take a look at the actual plea agreement.

According to the actual agreement, upon payment of the fine, Macy’s “may return to court, move to terminate probation, and have the conviction expunged.”

That’s not in the press release.

Why not? It’s embarrassing.

A worker is dead and Macy’s gets to expunge a misdemeanor conviction and terminate probation?

And the district attorney agrees “not to oppose either the termination of the probation or the expungement.”

We called up Daniel Wright, the prosecuting attorney who signed the agreement.

Turns out that Wright sought felony convictions of Macy’s ‘based on two willful violations of the California Occupational Safety and Health Act.

On October 15, 2013, Wright went before Judge Michael Pastor for a preliminary hearing on the two felony counts.

And the judge ruled that there was enough evidence to take Macy’s to trial on the two felony counts.

But then came the deal — drop the two felony counts, and let Macy’s plead no contest to a misdemeanor violation of the state’s Corporate Criminal Liability Act.

Macy’s does an audit of its California facilities.

Then Macy’s goes to sentencing in one year — August 11, 2015.

Macy’s pays the fine. And then gets the conviction expunged and the probation terminated.

And Wright agreed to that deal, after seeking two felony convictions?

“It wasn’t my decision,” Wright says. “My supervisors made the decision.”

Did you object?

“No comment,” Wright says.

Here’s the other strange thing about this case.

Usually, when you see a major American corporation being prosecuted in a corporate crime case, a big name law firm will be representing the company.

Not in this case.

Instead, Macy’s was represented by Southwestern Law School professor and former Los Angeles County deputy district attorney Bill Seki.

Seki is listed as co-director of Southwestern’s Trial Advocacy Honors Program.

The other co-director of Southwestern’s Trial Advocacy Honors Program?

Joseph Esposito, the current Assistant District Attorney, the number three person in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Russell Mokhiber edits Corporate Crime Reporter.

Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter..

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
September 23, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Meaning of the Trump Surge
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: More Pricks Than Kicks
Mike Whitney
Oh, Say Can You See the Carnage? Why Stand for a Country That Can Gun You Down in Cold Blood?
Chris Welzenbach
The Diminution of Chris Hayes
Vincent Emanuele
The Riots Will Continue
Rob Urie
A Scam Too Far
Pepe Escobar
Les Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes, Obfuscation and Propaganda in Syria
Timothy Braatz
The Quarterback and the Propaganda
Sheldon Richman
Obama Rewards Israel’s Bad Behavior
Libby Lunstrum - Patrick Bond
Militarizing Game Parks and Marketing Wildlife are Unsustainable Strategies
Andy Thayer
More Cops Will Worsen, Not Help, Chicago’s Violence Problem
Louis Yako
Can Westerners Help Refugees from War-torn Countries?
David Rosen
Rudy Giuliani & Trump’s Possible Cabinet
Joyce Nelson
TISA and the Privatization of Public Services
Pete Dolack
Global Warming Will Accelerate as Oceans Reach Limits of Remediation
Franklin Lamb
34 Years After the Sabra-Shatila Massacre
Cesar Chelala
How One Man Held off Nuclear War
Norman Pollack
Sovereign Immunity, War Crimes, and Compensation to 9/11 Families
Lamont Lilly
Standing Rock Stakes Claim for Sovereignty: Eyewitness Report From North Dakota
Barbara G. Ellis
A Sandernista Priority: Push Bernie’s Planks!
Hiroyuki Hamada
How Do We Dream the Dream of Peace Together?
Russell Mokhiber
From Rags and Robes to Speedos and Thongs: Why Trump is Crushing Clinton in WV
Julian Vigo
Living La Vida Loca
Aidan O'Brien
Where is Europe’s Duterte? 
Abel Cohen
Russia’s Improbable Role in Everything
Ron Jacobs
A Change Has Gotta’ Come
Uri Avnery
Shimon Peres and the Saga of Sisyphus
Graham Peebles
Ethiopian’s Crying out for Freedom and Justice
Robert Koehler
Stop the Killing
Thomas Knapp
Election 2016: Of Dog Legs and “Debates”
Yves Engler
The Media’s Biased Perspective
Victor Grossman
Omens From Berlin
Christopher Brauchli
Wells Fargo as Metaphor for the Trump Campaign
Nyla Ali Khan
War of Words Between India and Pakistan at the United Nations
Tom Barnard
Block the Bunker! Historic Victory Against Police Boondoggle in Seattle
James Rothenberg
Bullshit Recognition as Survival Tactic
Ed Rampell
A Tale of Billionaires & Ballot Bandits
Kristine Mattis
Persnickety Publishing Pet-Peeves
Charles R. Larson
Review: Helen Dewitt’s “The Last Samurai”
David Yearsley
Torture Chamber Music
September 22, 2016
Dave Lindorff
Wells Fargo’s Stumpf Leads the Way
Stan Cox
If There’s a World War II-Style Climate Mobilization, It has to Go All the Way—and Then Some
Binoy Kampmark
Source Betrayed: the Washington Post and Edward Snowden
John W. Whitehead
Wards of the Nanny State
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail