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Sexual Harassment Injusticed & Under-Secure Facilites Aren’t Confined to Hollywood & Churches!

Advice to New York State Tourism Folks: Upgrade Security, Turn Down the Sex and Give Some Business Practices Training to Staff!

This bulletin board is located next to the entry door to an office at the Olympic Jumping Complex in Lake Placid, NY, overseen by ORDA, in the office where the First Aid Kit hangs prominently on the wall for all to use and see. . .along with this material and the postings of important contacts of people and a list of where fire extinguishers are available for  those who care for the complex!

Here’s a good place to look in the Olympic Jumping Complex if you need a fire extinguisher or a dirty joke!

The First Aid Kit hangs prominently on the wall across from the bulletin board shown above with the unique offerings unrelated to operation of the Olympic Jumping Complex in Lake Placid, NY!

The story in short:

  1. If lunatics can walk into a church in the US and maim and kill and if people in the biggest tourism center in America, Las Vegas, are at risk simply by attending a music event, you’d think that would be the signal to every agency that oversees safety at tourism destinations to take a closer look at security and shut the barn door before the rogue horse thieves get in! So this is my message to the folks at ORDA, the Olympic Regional Development Authority headquartered in Lake Placid, NY, to get some security mechanisms (like lock your doors) . . . both exterior and offices. . . and security people over at the Olympic Jumping Complex. Because I went in search of my “lunch date,” an executive of ORDA who scheduled an appointment with me for which she chose the date, time and location of that luncheon which meant a 350 mile round-trip drive over 7 hours for me to be at the appointment that she never changed nor cancelled, I wound up, not at ORDA’s headquarters but, at the administrative offices of the Olympic Jumping Complex down-the-road-a-piece. (How I got there is a whole story for another day!) That building was wide open, the warehousing area of dozens of ski suits , boots and skis was wide open;  the offices in that building, except for one with a locked door, was wide open and NOT ONE PERSON was in that building or anywhere near it. I walked in and out of every office hoping to find my lunch date executive who never showed up  at the darling restaurant right on Mirror Lake in Lake Placid that she suggested I make a reservation at but never showed up, was nowhere to be found and  had not yet returned any of my at least four (4) calls to her office and cell phone lines.

But what I did discover is that this whole area was open to whatever mischief some loony-bird might want to perpetrate!

The view of Mirror Lake from the Mirror Lake Inn

Right beside that building is this iconic tower with an elevator to the top for skiers and, at this time of year, for the many visitors who were milling about the grounds with intentions of having a look at the foliage from the top of this tower used for ski jumping in winter. WHERE WAS SECURITY??? There just wasn’t any! I entered the administration building of the Olympic Jumping Complex with only the best intentions of finding either my lunch date or someone who could tell me where I could find her. Were I a person with mischief on my mind, who knows what kind of story would have been on the front pages of every newspaper and on newscasts! But I fell into so much more!

The Olympic Jumping Complex in Lake Placid located off of Ski Jump Road/Ski Jump Lane and just outside of the Administrative Building

  1. At least one employee in that building is a woman. Her office is lovely; the only neat and nice office in what is otherwise a bunch of pig-pen offices made that way by those that use those offices. This woman, whose office I walked around freely because it was open and available to any visitor, regrettably, was not my errant lunch date as the name of the inhabitant of that office was clearly discernible from all of the memos on her desk addressed to her so my joy in seeing a lovely office that I might wait in for my appointment was crushed learning it was some other woman’s office.

I feel sorry for that woman, and any other woman who works in that building at the site of the Olympic Jumping Complex in NYS because the men who work there seem to think that at least one of those office is their private club and in this room, where there are desks for 2 people, probably men, lockers for staff, bulletin boards boasting lists of telephone contacts for key ORDA staff and maintenance crew, next to and across from the First Aid kit hanging on the wall for all who need a bandage or have an emergency, you’ll find the kind of pin-ups you might expect from a magazine that panders to those interested in viewing salacious materials. Note that I have no problem with what people want to look at in the privacy of their homes but do remember this is an office whose physical plant and employees are supported with funds from New York State which is supplied by tax payers. Additionally, there’s a copy of a  “joke” attached to the bulletin board and posted just beside lists of important phone numbers that a staff member might need so at some point, everyone who works in that office, between needs to see the lists, use the First Aid equipment or use a locker provided therein, just might have to have their faces shoved into this clearly inappropriate materials and is a clear indication of the lack of respect for the women, or woman, who works there and women in general. . . all supported by tax payer funding.

I asked a business man for whom I have great respect what would happen if the material shown in the photos here were posted in the office or jointly-used space anywhere on his company’s premises. His answer was that the material would have been removed at once, the staff given a reminder orientation of what is appropriate in the work place and an update on what is included in the term “sexual harassment.” Somehow, all of the above has been overlooked at the office building on the site of this iconic NYS monument to Olympics in NYS!

  1. The process of that led to this missed appointment opened up a series of events I could not have expected! While calling to leave messages for my lunch date in hopes of tracking her down before I made the 175mile/3.5 hour drive home without meeting with her, I went online again to see if there was another location in Lake Placid for ORDA and, having left voicemails for a superior in that office I thought I should try again to reach him to see if he could direct me to my missing lunch date. In doing a generic search for the name of the “boss” and the name of the organization hoping to find a cell phone or other way to reach this fellow before sunset in hopes of getting some input on my missing lunch date, I fell upon a Google result of a pdf of the court decree that declined the defendants’ counter-suit to dismiss the action which came up in the first 10 results on the first page of results for that search that I clicked on that I hope you take the time to read so you, too, will know what I know related to the fish rotting  from the head down.  Apparently, a sexually harassed three+ years female employee with only good review evaluations complained to her female superior about sexual harassment she experienced from a particular male employee and her superior essentially told her to try to get along so she complained to the “boss,” who told her to “get used to it.” (The judge was clear in his distaste for that remark and lack of action to protect this women immediately!). Through spectacularly clever maneuverings, the harassed woman wound up with no job and out the door. She’s just gone. But the “boss” who told her to get used to it was promoted this May, 2017 to ‘top dawg’ of the organization that oversees the place that the harassment took place as well as the greater reach of the organization overall! And to add icing to this awful cake,ehile the harasser was fired, to soften the blow of letting him go he was given ski passes for the winter as a ‘goodbye severance gift,’ which gave him access to come back with some frequency to where he used to work to continue to focus on what he saw as the relationship between his genitals and verbal abuse and the woman who complained about him and ultimately lost her position.  Finding this public information truly sidetracked the intention of my visit to Lake Placid! I hope you read what the District Court Judge Gary L. Sharpe decreed when the Defendants requested that the court dismiss the case against the harasser, the superior who did not fight for relief for the complainant, and the top executive whose attitude and advice to the abused employee was, “Get used to it!” I loved reading the judges remarks. Read the whole decree. . .it’s fascinating and not a difficult read! Then you’ll be accurately informed, too.

Ski suits hanging in an unlocked warehousing room on the first level of the administrative building of the Olympic Jumping Complex with not      one staff person nor one security person anywhere around. What’s with that?

If you look at the material on the bulletin board currently available at the Olympic Jumping Complex in NYS and you factor in what appears to be a long-standing attitudes toward women internally in that organization as is evidenced by the District  Court’s public statements, how does indifference to respect for women in the workplace result in heaping more praise, more responsibility, and more rewards upon those in charge who do nothing to better the situation for the victim while the victim is sent off to disappear from a job for which, over her more than three-year longevity, she received only praise-worthy evaluations according to the court records which anyone can access online and which prominently appear for search only for the new head fellow’s name and the organization’s acronym?

By the way: I finally got a call from my errant lunch date at 3:45pm that day who, with a great chuckle on her part giggling about how this could have happened, told me that she was, at that moment, on her way to Albany, NY while I was still in Lake Placid looking for her! Pity she didn’t call me earlier to tell me her plans were taking her to Albany to deliver some posters by 6pm as Albany is a one-hour drive and 29 miles each way from where I live which could have been accomplished in a 2-hour drive and 58 mile trip  as opposed to the 350 miles and 7 hour drive to which I was subjected. (And when I suggested we’d get to Albany by 6m as we were leaving Lake Placid now and perhaps we could have a snack or dinner or whatever fit into her schedule, regrettably, I was told that she thought she might be meeting a friend for dinner and that was that! Just as well!)

But maybe it was Divinely Planned that I go in search of this woman so that I was confronted with the nature of what I was about to step into. You may recall my story recently on Generali Global Assistance, a company I thought would be a great fit as a sponsor for my nationally syndicated radio shows, only to find out that our standards hold a higher bar than their history as a company could meet. This is a similar story, i believe. Clearly, there are issues here from staff whose business practices make working with them more than difficult to ‘ol’ boys club’ attitudes that reward those who allow men to abuse women. I’m glad I didn’t have lunch that day or I would have risked losing that lunch on the way home.

In the new era of focus on the garbage that women are subject to in the entertainment industry, let it be known that the entertainment industry does not have the market cornered on sleazy men who exhibit horrendous behavior because they have “issues” and because they have power in the workplace and believe they can get away with just about anything. Tragically, when such things emerge that demonstrate that those who do not stand up for what is right, who are in supervisory capacities, whose advice is not to rectify the situation immediately but to advise the victim of such actions to, “Get used to it,” and the result is that the victim is maneuvered out of her job but the  supervisor is honored, lauded, praised and promoted to the Big Cheese with press stories announcing why this choice is not only the best choice but the only logical choice for ‘leader of the pack,’ one wonders if there is any justice anywhere.  The Harvey Weinstein story should be an eye-opener for all people and a reminder of something I have learned from business and personal experience:

When someone behaves bizarrely with me, it’s neither the first nor the last time that person is going to behave that way.

In the case of the woman who worked for ORDA  at Gore Mountain and was harassed and got no protection from her superiors, both female and male) in that regard which ended in a law suit she justifiably filed to seek relief, it would be no surprise to me that other women are out there who have stories to tell but, like this victim, were afraid of losing their jobs. When you live in a remote mountainous place and you lose your job, the choices for re-employment are not as vast as one will find in a big city and the gossip that surrounds a ‘whistle-blower’ is enough to ruin what might have been a career path. All of this is the stuff that sad films are made of but this isn’t fictional drama. This is all real. And it’s something I want no parts of under the circumstances I have uncovered in doing something as innocent as wanting to help an organization that should be of interest to tourists and travelers to meet and exceed its goals. Not so much any longer, thank you!

And as a reminder to all people in business, and even those of you who make a date for lunch with a friend:

If your plans change, be sure you let your lunch companion know as soon as you do and don’t play Hide & Seek at the appointed time. Worst of all, this character was in her office the whole time I was leaving her messages on her office and cell phone numbers telling her I was at the restaurant waiting for her! UGH! When I train the world maybe we can get everyone on the same page! Watch for the fictionalized version of all of this in my  next novel, SECRET, which I hope will be out next year. . . so go read RUMORS now!

--Gotta Fly Now!sm
Your Personal Travel Expert
Nationally syndiated radio show host
Stephanie Abrams

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