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Katy Grimes

#MeToo Fails Falsely Accused State Employees in Jerry Brown’s Corrupt CA

A state of unrestrained political corruption is known as a kleptocracy,

literally meaning “rule by thieves.”

 

The failure of the #MeToo movement to offer any sincere or legitimate help to women who have actually been sexually harassed is notable, particularly in the state government workplace – and in the California Legislature with the many harassers who are still employed. In Gov. Jerry Brown’s California, the tail is wagging the dog in state employment, helped along with gross media complicity.

Case-in-Point: A state employee falsely accused of harassment by disgruntled subordinates was never allowed his day in court on any of the charges, yet the state paid off one of his accusers $276,500, and two others $841,500. He was exonerated in all three cases, so why did the state make the settlements?

The State of California does nothing to protect the falsely accused, while the state Attorney General drags the cases out, racking up huge legal fees, all to wear down the accused. Does this sound familiar in this age of corruption at the highest levels of the Department of Justice and FBI?

“They run-up the dollars, and then it’s time to settle,” accused state labor relations mediator Dennis Kellogg said. “There’s nothing in place to protect the accused; the accuser is always right.”

“The scales of justice are aborted,” he added.

A Toxic Culture of Corruption

California state government is a toxic culture of corruption, fear and retaliation, where rotten employees are protected, and good ones are targeted for a myriad of issues including retaliation for daring to blow the whistle.

Political corruption is the use of powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. Throughout California state government and its thousands of state agencies, there is a total lack of accountability. And the inmates know it.

I was a Human Resources Director and labor law specialist for 20 years in the private sector and conducted hundreds of investigations. Toxic employees poison the air in any workplace setting, usually driving good employees away – if they are lucky enough to get out before bogus harassment charges are filed.

In today’s culture of corruption, “harassment” is the catchall accusation toxic employees use, often when the hammer is about to be lowered on them.

“Harassment” accusations receive immediate action, as required by law. Harassment claims are also more abused these days by state employees than bogus back injuries by retiring police chiefs.

Journalistic Malpractice

The once objective field of journalism has now been reduced to ideology and slander. Or better put, “Modern journalism is all about deciding which facts the public shouldn’t know because they might reflect badly on Democrats,” PJ Media writer Jim Treacher once Tweeted. Media bias is probably one of the greatest threats to our democracy today — not to mention all of the innocent victims irresponsible, biased journalists slay along the way.

In April, the Sacramento Bee published a nasty hit piece on Dennis Kellogg, a 30-year state employee. The Bee made it appear that Kellogg was also a 30-year harasser, who had been rewarded and promoted multiple times.

Veteran Sacramento Bee writer and Pulitzer Prize recipient Marjie Lundstrom, who has been around long enough to know better, titled the piece, “Three sexual harassment lawsuits later, he’s still working for the state of California.” She said “He has moved nine times around six different departments in his tenure as a labor relations specialist – a strategy he says is common and even advantageous in that role.”

Lundstrom assumes all accusers are victims, and all accused are guilty. But she neglected to write that Kellogg was exonerated in all three cases after lengthy investigations.

Then Lundstrom added, “Others say he has been shuffled around because of repeat allegations of sexual harassment and retaliation.” That comment linked to another Bee expose`, Giving gropers a break? How California state workers stay employed after big payouts.

I don’t recall seeing any articles by Lundstrom about the proven gropers in the State Legislature and in the State Capitol who are still employed. But I digress.

The target of her article is Dennis Kellogg, while the victim is Annette Unruh, “who sued Kellogg, personnel officer Deborah Yue and the Department of Rehabilitation in 2006 over alleged sexual harassment and retaliation. Unruh’s case settled two years later for $276,500.” Lundstrom addresses the other two cases, for which Kellogg was exonerated, but focuses solely on Unruh’s case – for which he also was exonerated. But because the state made settlement with Unruh and the other two, it appears they were all victims of a serial harasser.

What Lundstrom doesn’t tell readers is that Dennis Kellogg, has a lengthy career as a state mediator, solving major problems for the state, and has a stellar employment record.

What Lundstrom also doesn’t tell readers is that she and her editors met with Kellogg for more than two hours, along with two of his former supervisors and his attorney. Kellogg, his attorney and former female supervisors provided mountains of legal documentation not only refuting Unruh’s tale, but walked the Bee through the legal process Kellogg has been forced to undertake, at great personal expense. Kellogg told me Lundstrom left all of the documentation provided by he and his attorney out of her article.

Twelve years ago when Unruh made her accusations against Kellogg, he refused to sign a state document saying he would not sue her after the case settled, which apparently infuriated her.

In my discussions with Kellogg, he said Unruh’s allegations were so bizarre, that in the real world she would have been laughed out of any other Human Resources department. “She handed me a tape dispenser and I touched her finger as she did this,” Kellogg said.

“Kellogg said he is not a serial harasser at all, and he vehemently denied the charges in all three lawsuits,” the Bee reported. “He said the state let him down by settling two of them, despite his vigorous efforts to see them go to trial.”

“The state of California is a soft target because they don’t stand up to these cases when the facts prove they should,” he said. “Allegations do not equate to factual truth.”

Kellogg, married for 27 years and a father, explained that in the Unruh Case, “no violation of law was found in an investigation done by an unlicensed non-investigator, who was the friend of the Department of Rehabilitation chief Counsel. The ‘alleged’ Investigator was recently released – ‘fired’ – by her State department and was unemployed,’” Kellogg explained.

What became clear as we talked is that the state, through the Attorney General’s office, prefers to settle cases, at taxpayer expense, rather than take them to trial where they would have to present an actual legal case. And accusers know this.

Kellogg explained: “I was indemnified. The Department of Rehabilitation paid my attorney, and only DOR decided to settle the case. I refused and was going to counter sue, but the State threatened me in writing to my attorney, that if I didn’t agree to the DOR’s settlement with Unruh and agree to not sue Unruh, the State would withdraw my legal representation.” The settlement states Kellogg is not at fault. “Basically they pushed me to not protect my own legal interests.”

Which makes one wonder why 12 years later, Unruh was featured as a victim on the pages of the Sacramento Bee, while Dennis Kellogg was defamed.

Political corruption is the use of powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain.

Kellogg asks why state departments quickly intervene, rather than involve CalHR when a bona fide sexual harassment complaint is filed, and why state government is only interested in settling cases – even those without merit – and writing checks to accusers. The answer is simple – they are paying creepy, lousy, corrupt and toxic employees to go away. This only victimizes the accused all over again.

Kellogg was never allowed his day in court on any of the charges. He said the State of California does nothing to protect the falsely accused.

“In September 2013, the last of the lawsuits – this one involving the Department of Parks and Recreation – settled for $565,000,” the Bee reported. “Each of the plaintiffs, Dianne Chapin and Tammy Helie, received $158,885, while their San Francisco-based legal team was apportioned $247,230.”

“Chapin and Helie could not be reached for comment. But their lawsuit emphasized Kellogg’s work history and condemned the state for its ‘conduct of moving Kellogg from agency to agency’ to prey on others.”

Kellogg said he and his attorney and supervisors provided The Bee with detailed information about his job as a mediator and labor relations specialist for the state. He has a specialized set of skills, especially with the labor union-laden state agencies, and moves to state agencies in need of his skills.

Kellogg also shared important documents and details with the Bee about the investigations:

“In the Parks case, again the investigations found I was a model manager in a statement of the investigator to me personally. Parks fully covered the attorney and I negotiated (learning from Unruh Case) to be fully released by the plaintiffs ’before’ the State/Parks settled the case. So I had ‘no’ connection to the case at the time of settlement. Furthermore, learning from Unruh, I negotiated a non-slander/defamation agreement as part of my release from the suit.

What that did is ‘if’ the Plaintiffs ever slander or defamed me I could sue them with a ‘specified’ amount if  I prevailed. So, that is why the Bee got a ‘no comment’ from the Parks Plaintiffs. Should they do what Unruh did with the Bee, I’d have a tool to sue.”

“After filing 41 Public Records Acts requests to the state’s largest entities, we reported in January that California had paid out more than $25 million in the last three fiscal years to settle sexual harassment claims,” the Bee reported. “The 99 settlements involved workers and supervisors at state agencies and public universities, but did not include the Legislature.”

“What the data didn’t reveal, though, were the experiences of state workers at the center of these controversies. We wanted to know what happens to the women and men who complain about sexual harassment – and what happens to the accused.”

It is apparent the Sacramento Bee had a story theme already prepared that they wanted to back into, even with Dennis Kellogg’s interview, and assuming the accusers were bona fide. Rather than including and reporting all of the controversy surrounding Dennis Kellogg’s case, they committed journalistic malpractice when they withheld very important legal documentation from readers, depicting Kellogg as a villain, despite that the legal documents of all parties clearly show an entirely different set of facts.

The Bee chose the wrong case to do an exposé on, and should have pulled the story after meeting with Kellogg and his attorney – especially since there are literally hundreds other harassment cases in state government to choose from which would have served this purpose.

Had the State of California done a legitimate by-the-book harassment investigation, hundreds of thousands of dollars would not have been paid out, and a good man’s name would not have been dragged through the dregs of the Sacramento Bee newsroom.

The system is more broken than anyone really knows – except perhaps Dennis Kellogg. It’s too easy these days to destroy someone with false allegations. We are seeing this level of corruption and legal abuse at the highest levels of government in the U.S. Department of Justice, and in the California Attorney General’s offices.

The system is fraudulent, and is being used by corrupt state employees, at taxpayer expense, to do everything wrong – the very definition of political corruption in Jerry Brown’s California. Can we trust our government at all anymore?

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