Wilson told me she and Moreno “are great friends now” after hosting a fundraiser for his campaign last autumn. The Black service manager of an Akron Infiniti dealership managed by BMC subsidiary M9 Motors sued in 2017 for being disciplined and demoted after complaining to human resources about white coworkers and a subordinate getting paid the same or more.
Ronell Thompson alleged racial prejudice caused his demotion and firing. On the phone, he sent a reporter to his lawyer, Peter Mabley, who acknowledged that his Cleveland-area law firm represented Thompson and that the issue “has been resolved” – suggesting a settlement agreement prevents him from sharing details.
An award-winning, top-performing saleswoman at 67 sued BMC and Moreno for gender and age discrimination in the third case the same year. According to Dolores Wolfe of Rocky River, a Cleveland suburb, she was routinely passed up for advancements in favor of white males, some in their 20s.
She told the court she was about to seek a new job in New York when Moreno flew in to meet her and offer a promotion with more pay, perks, and incentives. She stated she declined the out-of-state post and stayed, but the promotion never came. She testified that her treatment caused her financial, emotional, and bodily suffering.
According to Wolfe, her case “had to do with business issues” and Moreno is a fantastic businessman who would be a great senator. “Every female and every age group who worked for him, were generously treated,” she added.
Official Moreno campaign spokesperson Conor McGuinness claimed Moreno knows Wolfe and Wilson and “they have all moved past any previous misunderstandings.” He called Moreno “a proud minority businessman” who founded his company “on the colorblind principles of merit and hard-work.”
His statement continued, “As someone who has experienced discrimination himself, Bernie has always been committed to giving opportunities to all of his workers, regardless of race, color, gender or creed.
Ohio University corporate law and ethics professor Robert Foehl said many lawsuits against a corporation “doesn’t necessarily mean there’s something systemically wrong.” Foehl said BMC's scale warrants a thorough management anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation training program.
It's really incumbent on the employer in these traditionally male-dominated industries to be sure that they're working within the bounds of employment law, providing those opportunities to men and women in the workplace, and ensuring equal opportunity for all based on protected characteristics," he said.
In response to the AP's allegations, the Moreno campaign released an open letter signed by 23 former female workers claiming he treated them fairly and politely. The Florida case against M10 Motors, a BMC subsidiary, was unconnected to discrimination. The civil rights class action initiated by blind Andres Gomez claimed a Coral Gables Infiniti dealership's website was inaccessible to the visually handicapped, violating the ADA. The case was settled in 2020.