I am going to repost this again. Please share because I want this "out there". I'm old, I'm tired...and I want the world to know that this isn't right! I have been told "it's too long, I don't want to read it" but that just says to me "I don't care". Well, this is my life and I count too! I am sharing it everywhere I can! Please help me share this story. I was raped once and the government raped me again! I believe I am a strong woman and I am entitled to voice my opinion!
December 11 at 6:39pm ·
With all the talk these days about sexual harassment and abuse of power I decided to voice something today and wrote down my thoughts. The are other forms of abuse, harassment, emotional and bullying. These people should be taken serious also. So, after much thought, I decided to go ahead and post it here. I've been through the "get over it, it wasn't true, etc. So here goes...
Susan M. Phetteplace, Petitioner, v. Department of Justice, Respondent, 50 F.3d 20 (Fed. Cir. 1995)
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U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit - 50 F.3d 20 (Fed. Cir. 1995)
Feb. 24, 1995
Abuse of power in the Federal Government.
Although my experience with the Immigration and Naturalization Service in 1993 wasn’t about sexual harassment, it had everything to do with abuse of power. Due to the recent events happening in our government, I feel I needed to shed some light on abuse of power. I have lived with this everyday and every night for the last 24 years and still shed a lot of tears.
My name is Susan M. Phetteplace. I was the first employee of Richard Soli, District Council at the Immigration and Naturalization Service in Bloomington, MN. I worked for him for six years, being rated by him as “Outstanding” for 5 of those years. (The first year my review was not very good and I signed it “under duress” and responded with a lengthy memo explaining why it was wrong).
Richard Soli had a “history” of blackballing women. He didn’t like “single, empowered” women.
He liked having a Kelly Ann Conway aka Annette Toews (a general attorney in the office) in the office who would do what do whatever he wanted her to do.
After six years I started getting frustrated in my job. I penned a lengthy memo with attachments for proof, titled “My Frustrations in the ODC”, (Office of District Counsel). Richard Soli didn’t take kindly to this memo which I also sent a copy to his supervisor, Robert Popken, Soli’s supervisor.
The result being, as an “outstanding” employee, he had to set me up to fire me. For months afterward I would document everything that happened, everyday. I talked to the union representative (Mark Vosper) and he told me my position wasn’t covered by the union. He told me to keep it documented.
I went to the EAP (employee counseling) and while I was telling her what was going on, she was talking to Richard Soli counseling him on “how to handle me”. Totally unfair. One of the things she told him was for the attorneys to keep their doors to their offices closed. I continue having nightmares about being shut out!
One night I called Washington D.C. and talked to the Paul Virtue, who I believe was Robert Popken’s supervisor in the Central Office. He mentioned to me that it could be “retaliation on a whistleblower”.
I called the editor at the St. Paul Pioneer Press and was starting to tell him what was going on (I was trying to save my job I LOVED). He said he would like to talk to me and I should call him back at 10 a.m. the next day. Later that evening I was talking to Soli on the phone and mentioned “what do I have to do? Call the newspaper?” When I called the editor the next morning he just said “you don’t have a story” and wouldn’t talk to me! I believe Soli called the paper to stop it.
I prayed to God one night to send me a sign about what to do. The next day in our mail came a memo from Janet Reno, asking for help in the Reinvention of the Government and to send suggestions on how the agency could save money! Hallelujah! I thought this was a sign! I asked some people for their input and was told by John Weiss, an INS Investigator to stay out of it or I would be blackballed. I guess I’m stubborn and I replied to Janet Reno’s memo. Soli found out about it and wasn’t happy.
I was in contact with Senator Paul Wellstone’s office. His office was going to help me but after I resigned and moved to Arizona they could no longer help. I moved out of my house and gave it back to the bank because I believed Soli was watching me. I moved to Eagan which was closer to work.
My blood pressure was high and I lost a lot of weight. The stress was getting to me. The doctor would order me off work for stress. Soli would not accept the doctor’s notes without a diagnosis, prognosis and duration of disability. He sent be a certified letter suspending me without pay and placing me AWOL. (Absent without official leave).
As a result, I couldn’t pay my rent and was being evicted. Two of my friends from INS, Mary Oberg and Tina Unger came to my apartment and brought me like $500 dollars they had raised at work for my rent!
This was so thoughtful that I said I would return to work. I did go back to work and worked till lunch. When I came back from lunch, all my computer files (briefs and such that I had typed for many years) were GONE!!!! I was PISSED! Soli had changed by password when I was on ordered medical leave. When I came back to work that day I had to get the password from him. It was “ipso facto”.
That was it! I had to make a decision: my health or my job. I resigned.
I filed for unemployment and the INS appealed. I won.
I filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice. I couldn’t find a lawyer. Abuse of power, discrimination against a single person, were just not things then. I filed it for Retaliation of a Whistleblower, Discrimination against a Handicapped Person and Involuntary Resignation.
I had moved to Arizona but I had to go back to Minnesota for the hearing with the Administrative Judge. I did finally find an attorney in Minnesota about a week or two before the hearing. I had been filing all my briefs pro se.
I testified first until about noon when the Administrative Judge told Soli’s attorney (Chris Olmanson from the INS Regional Council’s office) to call Washington and make me an offer. They offered $5,000. I told my attorney “no, I have lost everything. My home, my good credit and it goes on and on.
When Soli testified about “my missing files” he said that “he had to have a computer expert from the INS Regional Office to come in and get my files back. He said this person told him, Soli, that the files were so well hidden, they had to be hidden by design”. And he found the files under the name “FUBAR”! (Fucked up beyond all recognition). Soli explained I named it that because the manager from the mail room, Art Carlson, was a friend of mine and Art was ex-military and it was a military term. Soli lied under oath.
Let me say, all I knew on the computer was how to type documents, briefs, etc. I do not know very much about computers. I am actually typing this and taking pictures of it on my phone, because I’m not sure how to save it and I don’t want to lose it! LOL!
As I sit here typing this I am physically sick. My first hospitalization in the psych ward was shortly after I resigned. Then I went back to the psych ward again 3 or 4 times over the last 23 years. It seems it always has something to do with the Federal Government, i.e., Bill Clinton admitting he lied, Paul Wellstone dying, etc. And now TRUMP!
I miss my friends at INS and I I believe I would probably be retiring about now if I still had my job. But instead I live on disability and I lost so so much!- Sue Phetteplace (St. Paul, MN)