Dear Editor:

I am writing to point out several issues with your editorial in the latest edition of the New Orleans Tribune. 

First, let me state for the record that I am one of the “two white ones” as you so succinctly wrote in your article.  That is, I am one of the “white” owners of the subcontractor who was involved in litigation with Woodward.  Our company was not, and never represented itself as, a disadvantaged business entity.  However, I am hopeful that you don’t believe because we were only 33.33 percent  minority owned we were therefore exempt from or unable to recognize racist or otherwise objectionable behavior?

While you are certainly entitled to your opinion about the timing of any issues being raised relative to any bid, you are way off mark.  We have ZERO financial interest in Woodward, Gibbs, or any of the other characters in this process.  However, we will not now nor in the future sit idly by and allow Woodward to tout its “record” with minorities when we have witnessed behavior which says otherwise.

Our lawsuit against Woodward Design+Build dealt with contract issues.  We sued because we were wrongfully terminated and were owed over $1,200,000 for work already completed.  As part of the case, we provided evidence that the On Site Superintendent exhibited strange and erratic behavior which caused our company to lose money.

Unless and until there is real reform in the DBE program which ensures training and real careers for young African American men and women the public will continue to rightly believe the program a sham.  Real reform will require a system to ensure disadvantaged men and women are actually employed on the jobs.  And employed in a meaningful way where career paths in construction soon become realistic beacons of hope and “day labor” becomes something old men recollect with disdain.

Kindest regards,
Andrew Gross
New Orleans, La.

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