Contractor fires superintendent, foreman on duty at time of Point Edwards noose incident

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The noose as photographed by one of workers.

The job superintendent and foreman on duty at the time that two African American employees found a noose at an Edmonds construction job site have been fired, according to a statement from the company managing construction for the project.

Seattle-based Venture General Contracting announced Thursday that it “has terminated employment of the job superintendent and foreman” who oversaw work at the 68-unit Point Edwards Building 10 construction site. The company added that it “stands with others in the Edmonds community who are appalled by this highly offensive incident.”

“We are deeply committed to maintaining an open and inclusive workplace and will continue to work openly with all parties involved as this incident is investigated,” the company said.

Details of the noose discovery unfolded in an email exchange Nov. 5 between Karen Dove, Executive Director of Apprenticeship and Non-Traditional Employment for Women (ANEW) and Edmonds City Councilmember Dave Teitzel.

Dove cited an account from the Seattle Vocational Institute, which placed one of the workers on the job site at 50 Pine St. through its Pre-Apprentice Construction Training (PACT) program. According to the account, the worker came to the job site — later identified as the Building 10 multifamily housing project at Point Edwards — to find a noose “hanging in a spot designed for him to see it.”

The student and another African American co-worker who saw the noose informed the job site foreman about the problem, but he reportedly “brushed it off” with a comment about “how the knot wasn’t tied correctly,” Dove said. Both workers then walked off the site, and one subsequently resigned his position after taking photographs documenting the incident.

Edmonds police are continuing investigating an incident, reported in our earlier story here, and have talked with both workers who found the noose, said Edmonds police spokesman Sgt. Shane Hawley. The FBI has also been notified, he added

Here is Venture General Construction’s complete statement:

“As referenced in our previous statement, Venture General Contracting strictly prohibits workplace harassment and racial intolerance and stands with others in the Edmonds community who are appalled by this highly offensive incident.

After further internal investigation, and in line with this strong commitment, Venture General Contracting has terminated employment of the job superintendent and foreman involved in the incident. We are deeply committed to maintaining an open and inclusive workplace and will continue to work openly with all parties involved as this incident is investigated.”

11 COMMENTS

  1. So the superintendent and Forman are fired? Explain that to me. So the foreman “brushed it off”? Says who? Something is fishy about this? Not condoning the noose display but seriously, this article is seriously lacking some information. Did the superintendent and Forman both have anything to do with this? I smell lawsuit too.

    • The witch has to be thrown in the pond to determine if she’s a witch or not. Imagine if no racist witch were singled out. Maybe 40 random people with zero information would show up to the job site instead of 20 like last time. Our mayor was smart by creating a Diversity Commision so that when someone who works for the city is accused of racism (which will happen), the city will have an added level of plausible deniability when defending a lawsuit. Firing the witch (who has a family to provide for) was a good start, but every construction company should get a token Diversity Commision. It’s the cost of doing business these days.

  2. This is a good start.

    Superintendents have the full responsibility for the whole project, including their crews safety. Foremen have the responsibility to protect their workers from harassment and other sorts of harm.

    Furthermore – these affected individuals were in the apprenticeship program – what did they learn? That a complaint about a noose would be brushed off. That their concerns about their personal safety were treated lightly. This foreman’s behavior erodes trust and that affects everyone’s personal and physical safety.

    Finally – from a management perspective – any Superintendent or foreman that loses apprentices due to their failure to act is a poor manager. These are high demand jobs. These pre-apprentices can go anywhere they want.

    • “Superintendents have the full responsibility for the whole project, including their crews safety.”

      I bet the Forman was in charge of whatever people were handed to him, tasked with getting many different people focused on getting the job done. Most middle managers I know cant be 100% accountable for everything other people do.

      Libya was 2nd world country with womans rights, first world healthcare, and no ISIL. Libya was a model African country. Now it’s overrun by terrorists and has open-air slave trading. Let’s hold Hillary and Obama accountable by your logic. https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/10/libya-public-slave-auctions-un-migration

  3. Making a comment about a noose “not being tied correctly” is not merely “brushing it off,” which implies neutrality, it actively sanctions this despicable act of racism and violent threat. The only acceptable response to such an act is shock and strong condemnation, and Venture was right to take immediate and strong action. There is no place for any act of racism in America.

  4. So let’s see……It’s close to Halloween and all through downtown Edmonds you can see wonderful displays of festive decorations. Some kids probably put the rope up as a Halloween prank. But before anyone can get to the bottom of who did it a big bag of flaming dog crap was smashed all over the porch. Papers read, F.B.I notified of Edmonds hate crime. Hate crime? W.T.F? And to just walk off the job because you saw a rope? Did the rope try to harm them? Were there any righting’s on the walls that promote racism? And calling the two people that saw the rope victims? How’s that work? Just because they were African American everyone thinks the rope was meant for them. I’m not buying it. This is fear mongering at it’s best. We are not raciest in Edmonds far from it. However if people are just waiting for a trigger to set them off and maybe make some money good luck. I’m sure some lawyer is just licking his lips right now. P.S. Save me the hate mail just wake up.

      • I’ll stop using the poor guy’s name. Maybe he just wants this to go away. An issue that required tact and due process was turned into a witch hunt by people like Councilman Nelsen whose statement presumed it was someone who worked for the company and that there was a guilty party at large before any facts were known. It could have been a kid, or a trespasser. It could have been a hoax by the very people who said they found it (that’s a thing). It could have been a systemic problem of racism on the job site and I’ll eat my hat, who knows. If you didn’t tie the noose, if you’re not a racist, if you want to seek legal recourse (I wouldn’t blame you either way) contact me and I’ll help you find a lawyer. mdrich2012@gmail.com

      • If Don the Fired Foreman is so concerned about supporting his family, maybe in the future he should avoid committing, condoning, or covering up hate crimes.
        It’s just good business! ☺

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