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Scams by the Elite Are Still a Scam

8 March 2010 Written by: Orietta Ramirez 5 Comments
Scams by the Elite Are Still a Scam

A sensitive but timely topic in the media is about those in important and powerful positions who abuse their status and role, and intentionally or not, violate the moral and civil codes of ethics, and yet expect to be exonerated because of who they are and what they do. Take a look at “Rash of Scandals Tests Democrats at Sensitive Time” to get the details on the dirt.

The above is premised on a recent New York byline regarding the NYS Governor, among other politicians, who finds himself embroiled in an alleged conspiracy to dissipate supposed criminal acts committed by one of his staff. The case of a top aide to the Governor, accused of domestic violence against his partner, and the Governor’s alleged role in attempting to influence and quite possibly intimidate the accuser. (See Times “Paterson’s Ethics Breach Is Turned Over to Prosecutors” for the details on this. )

Stories, some in fact, hold that the Governor requested members of his staff to approach the accuser and advise her to drop the charges, in order, one would believe, to obviate and/or protect his aide from criminal charges. One can assume that the Governor feels a certain sense of loyalty to his staff. He might even believe the charges to be unfounded. Even if all this were true, why would he knowingly impede a legal process using his position of authority and influence? Could it be that he believes himself to be above or beyond the common law? More importantly, and irrespective of the legal and right thing to do, did he forget what happened to his predecessor when then Governor Spitzer knowingly and willingly committed a federal crime? Thus, I would opine, is the present state of our ethical standards.

It takes me back to last week’s article on clueless CEOs. Maybe they are not as clueless as we are led to believe. As one CEO stated, the core values ought to be honesty, integrity as well as job security. Possibly, given their financial power, they believe themselves to be exempt from the first two but not the third. Heaven forbid they are vilified for their wrongful acts. Ironically, they take this as a personal affront. (Case in point, former presidential candidate John Edwards). The belief that because they hold positions of power, and can (and do) financially affect large-scale (even global) outcomes (not all good), gives them carte blanche or a free pass to commit illegal acts, is not only wrongly premised, it is legally incorrect. A strong statement yes, but not a wrong or misguided one, I would argue.

Admittedly, even with media information, we may never know the entire truth to any of these acts, but one aspect of this process is very clear, there was, even if at a small scale, an abuse of power. I would further premise it is based on arrogance and not lack of knowledge. For no fully informed individual would or ought to believe otherwise.

Our laws provide that one is innocent until proven guilty. However, this does not imply and for that matter, state, that you can willingly, knowingly and intentionally ignore such laws to benefit yourself or those close to you. Even when the facts and documents support the fact those wrongful acts have been committed, these individuals still insist on ignoring the law, and worst yet, be excused from proper legal repercussions or just compensation.

A company’s corporate social responsibility plan as well as its mission statement holds (or ought to) not only its employees but its officers and senior executives to a strong and valid standard of fairness, obedience to and regulation of the laws as it relates to the business and related activities. Politicians are elected with, not only the implied but stated obligation, to enact as well as represent the laws of the land, ethically and morally.

Whatever the causes, one important solution is that we, as the general public, need to hold accountable those in important and far-reaching positions for their intended misdeeds. I would further argue that such holders of power and influence ought to be held to an even higher standard, for their acts (good or bad) have long and widespread repercussions, not unlike the financial and unemployment difficulties, we are presently faced with. Most importantly, we must re-align the moral and ethical compass, which has been pointing in the wrong direction for some time. Moreover, apply it across the board (pun intended) and at all levels, equally and fairly.


Orietta Ramirez is a native New Yorker, born in Brooklyn, raised in The Bronx, and presently calls home in Dutchess County, New York. Pedagogically, her claim to fame, as she puts it, is that she shares Cardinal Spellman H.S. as her alma mater with the distinguished Associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Fordham University with Vince Lombardi and Steve Bellán, first Latin American to play Major League Baseball, and with Geraldo Rivera, another Brooklyn Law School alum. A first generation Chilean-American, she is a dynamic bilingual lawyer, employee relations advocate and project manager, with experience in human capital administration, audit and risk management. While leveraging her legal and compliance background as an HR partner, she incorporates her expertise on projects and in business relationships with a focus on diversity and inclusion as well as talent management. She is an avid reader and includes salsa dancing among her extracurricular activities, and is always open to all that is intriguing and challenging, which offers new opportunities for thought.

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5 Comments »

  • Antonio Rivera said:

    Orietta, spot on! Besides arrogance, add GREED to the mix. The people need to RISE and take their country back! Come November we need to exrcise our right to vote and clean house. Enough already. Whatever happened to government for the people, by the people?

  • djl said:

    Great Article! Corporate Governance has definitely become more of an issue with emphasis on pay for performance and more importantly accountability (corporate and social). Ambivalence and yes some ignorance by the masses in the past has allowed these CEO/Board members to proceed with “business as usual.” This has changed as the public is requesting more accountability and transparency. The politicians are next in line but it will take a major shake up in the current system to be effective. Let’s start with making those who draw up the healthcare plan, direct participants in the plan they produce. I bet it would be a lot easier to understand, more efficient and would not need a 1000 page tome to explain.

    Under Cover Senator next Reality Show?

  • uberVU - social comments said:

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by CareerJockey: Scams by the Elite Are Still Scams http://ow.ly/1gnQf

  • Inking Stamp : said:

    there are always scam everywhere so we should always be very careful when dealing with others–`

  • Bar Fridge said:

    i hate scams wheter it is offline scam or online scams, there are lots of it these days *`’

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