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04/19/2007


Major League Soccer Announces New Effort to Protect Gay Players

Major League Soccer and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman yesterday announced a new initiative to protect players from discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation:

SchneidermanWorking with the Attorney General's office, the League is undertaking several new efforts as part of its “Don’t Cross the Line” initiative at the outset of the 2014 season. These steps are aimed at reinforcing the League’s policies against discrimination based on sexual orientation and other criteria unrelated to athletic performance. Efforts to be undertaken by MLS include expanded sensitivity training for players, a centralized complaint system and the dissemination and posting of a Player Code of Conduct prohibiting discrimination in home and visitor locker rooms.
 
“Harassment and discrimination in the workplace – whether in an office building, on the soccer field or a baseball diamond – are illegal,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “My office is committed to ensuring equal protection under the law for all employees no matter where they work, and I applaud Major League Soccer for working cooperatively with us to promote a culture of inclusion. Together, we are sending a powerful message that discrimination and harassment will not be tolerated in any form in the world of major league sports.”


Donald Trump Sued For $40M Over Fake 'University': VIDEO

Donald-trumpReal estate "mogul" and reality TV entrepreneur Donald Trump is being sued for $40 million by the New York State Attorney General's office over "Trump University", an allegedly false university that lured students in with promises of wealth. According to the suit, all students got were expensive seminars and promises of apprenticeships that often went unfulfilled. 

New York AG Eric Schneiderman told the AP that:

"Trump University engaged in deception at every stage of consumers' advancement through costly programmes and caused real financial harm. Trump University, with Donald Trump's knowledge and participation, relied on Trump's name recognition and celebrity status to take advantage of consumers who believed in the Trump brand."

Schneiderman also told members of the press that many of the "university's" 5,000 students, who paid up to $35,000 a piece in tuition costs, thought that they might at least get to briefly shake Trump's hand at some point during the program. Instead, they got to take a photo next to a life size cardboard cutout. 

Of course, Trump and his attorney Michael Cohen are dismissing the lawsuit as largely political. "The attorney general has been angry because he felt that Mr Trump and his various companies should have done much more for him in terms of fundraising," Cohen said. "This entire investigation is politically motivated and it is a tremendous waste of taxpayers' money." Trump has also started a new website attacking Schneiderman, claiming, in all caps, that:

"TRUMP UNIVERSITY HAS A 98% APPROVAL RATING. SO WHY IS NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC SCHNEIDERMAN WASTING MILLIONS IN TAXPAYER MONEY GOING AFTER THEM?"

SchneidermanAccording to AP, Trump University has already been in trouble with the state for years. State education department officials told Trump and company to change the school's name back in 2011, saying that it lacked the proper accreditation to call itself a "university". It has since been renamed as the Trump Entrepreneur Institute, bearing its original name as a "nickname". It has also been "dogged" by civil complaints and isolated lawsuits for years beforehand. Scneiderman's lawsuit itself convers complaints ranging from 2005 to 2011 on behalf of students who paid anywhere between $1,495 and $35,000. 

"Scheiderman said the three-day seminars did not, as promised, teach consumers everything they needed to know about real estate. The Trump University manual tells instructors not to let consumers 'think three days will be enough to make them successful', Schneiderman said.

"At the seminars, consumers were told about 'Trump Elite' mentorships that cost $10,000 to $35,000. Students were promised individual instruction until they made their first deal. Schneiderman said participants were urged to extend the limit on their credit cards for real estate deals, but then used the credit to pay for the Trump Elite programmes. The attorney-general said the program also failed to promptly cancel memberships as promised."

On paper, these practices led to charges of "persistent fraud, illegal and deceptive conduct and violating federal consumer protection law." According to the suit, many students were unable to use their "apprenticeships" to land even one deal, leaving them with thousands in credit card debt without a way to pay those debts off. As for Trump's claims of the lawsuit having political motivation, Schneiderman says that it's actually Trump who has the political motivations. Spokesman Andrew Friedman told the AP that, "the fact that he's still brave enough to follow the investigation wherever it may lead speaks to Mr Schneiderman's character."

Schneiderman also explained in an interview with CNN that the lawsuit came as part of a statewide investigation of for-profit universities in general.

You can watch that interview AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Donald Trump Sued For $40M Over Fake 'University': VIDEO" »


Major League Baseball Takes Big Step to Protect Players from Anti-Gay Discrimination, Harassment

MlbAt an event Tuesday afternoon prior to the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman , Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig (below, top right) and Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) Executive Director Michael Weiner will announce groundbreaking steps to protect current and future players for discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation, according to a press release obtained by Towleroad.

SeligFollowing discussions with the Attorney General's office, MLB and MLBPA agreed to undertake new actions to reinforce its workplace discrimination policies, including the creation and dissemination of a Workplace Code of Conduct to be distributed to every Major and Minor League player and posted in each locker room conveying MLB’s non-discrimination policies.

The League also agreed to implement new training opportunities for team officials and create a centralized complaint system for reporting incidents involving harassment and discrimination...

...As a result of MLB's and MLBPA’s cooperation with the Attorney General's office, the League has committed to additional steps to ensure that “America’s pastime” is open to all players, regardless of sexual orientation. Among these steps, MLB has agreed to develop and disseminate materials on sexual orientation non-discrimination to all Club Scouting and Farm Directors involved in the acquisition of amateur talent.

This will help to create a culture of acceptance early in the process. In addition, MLB’s Office of the Commissioner will conduct training sessions for Club and League officials and staff at the bi-annual industry meetings. The next meeting is scheduled for November 2013 in Orlando, Florida and will include training on sexual orientation non-discrimination principles.

In addition to the centralized point of contact, those who assist in making or investigating complaints will also be protected from retaliation.

SchneidermanSaid Schneiderman (right):

“No one should face harassment or discrimination whether their workplace is an office park or a baseball diamond. By making a clear stand against discrimination in the workplace, our National Pastime is showing national leadership in the fight to promote equal justice for all. I am committed to using every tool at my disposal to ensure equal protection under the law for all employees no matter where they work, and I applaud Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association for working cooperatively with our office to promote a culture of inclusion and equality.”

Added Selig:

“I expect all those who represent Major League Baseball, as a social institution that has important social responsibilities, to act with kind of respect and sensitivity that our game’s diverse players, employees and fans deserve. We welcome all individuals regardless of sexual orientation into our ballparks, along with those of different races, religions, genders and national origins. Both on the field and away from it, Major League Baseball has a zero-tolerance policy for harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation.”


NY Attorney General Calls on NFL to Investigate Whether Draft Picks Were Asked, Illegally, About Sexual Orientation

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is calling on the NFL to investigate whether potential recruits at the recent NFL Combine were asked, illegally, about their sexual orientation, the AP reports.

Kasa"We ask that the league immediately issue a statement that any form of discrimination or harassment on the basis of sexual orientation by league teams or players against potential recruits or players constitutes a violation of state, local and, in some cases, contractor law and will not be tolerated," Schneiderman said in a letter dated Thursday and released to news organizations.

Schneiderman asked NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to call him by next Wednesday to schedule a meeting on the matter.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league was already looking into the issue and would discuss it at its meeting next week in Phoenix.

The request comes following remarks in late February by prospect Nick Kasa, a senior at the University of Colorado, to ESPN radio. Kasa said that recruiters at the NFL Scouting Combine asked him questions like, ‘Do you have a girlfriend?’ Are you married?’ Do you like girls?’.

The NFL released a statement at the time:

“Like all employers, our teams are expected to follow applicable federal, state and local employment laws. It is league policy to neither consider nor inquire about sexual orientation in the hiring process. In addition, there are specific protections in our collective bargaining agreement with the players that prohibit discrimination against any player, including on the basis of sexual orientation. We will look into the report on the questioning of Nick Kasa at the Scouting Combine. Any team or employee that inquires about impermissible subjects or makes an employment decision based on such factors is subject to league discipline.”

Said Hudson Taylor, Executive Director Athlete Ally, in a response to Schneiderman's letter:

“We have seen how important leadership from the Commissioner's Office is when it comes to gay inclusion in sports. It was former commissioner Paul Tagliabue who worked diligently behind the scenes to include an anti-discrimination clause based on sexual in the collective bargaining agreement. Now, with the call for the league's policy to be more fully articulated, we are confident Roger Goodell, who maintains a public track record supporting gay rights issues like anti-bullying, will make this part of his legacy as commissioner.”


Judge Rules Lawsuit Challenging New York Marriage Equality Law Can Proceed

New York Supreme Court Judge Robert Wiggins has ruled that a lawsuit brought by New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedom challenging the state's marriage equality law can proceed.

McguireThe NY Daily News wrote, of the lawsuit, in July:

The group, led by the Rev. Jason J. McGuire (pictured), claims that the state Senate, in adopting the legislation, violated the state’s Open Meetings Law by closing off the Senate galleries and lobby; and by holding closed door meetings with Mayor Bloomberg and others who backed the law.

The group also claims, among other things, that Gov. Cuomo and the Senate ignored the constitutionally mandated three-day waiting period before a bill can be acted upon and that lawmakers approved the legislation in exchange for campaign contributions from Bloomberg and other high profile "Wall Street financiers."

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman asked Wiggins to dismiss the case in September. The AP:

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman argued in papers filed Friday that the opponents have not been harmed by the law, don’t have standing to challenge the actions of the Senate and any procedural actions of the Senate and governor aren’t subject to judicial review.

Capitol Confidential reports on Wiggins ruling:

The four-page decision includes some tough language for the way things get done at the Capitol, including what the judge labels as “disingenuous” justifications from Gov. Andrew Cuomo for issuing a message of necessity that rushed the legislation onto the Senate floor on the final evening of session. In the case of same-sex marriage, the message stated that speed was required as long as 50,000 New Yorkers were being denied their right to marry — a set of circumstances that had pertained for the previous 200-odd years without prompting emergency action.

However, Wiggins "concludes the decision by shooting down all of the lawsuit’s complaints" and letting the Attorney General off the hook as a defendant: "Wiggins notes that since the court must assume the underlying facts in the suit’s case to be true, the matter is therefore 'a justiciable issue' to be determined in court."

Wiggins also notes in his ruling that the measure is not one in which the Court should be involved:

 this Court is reluctantly obliged to rule that that the message of necessity submitted by the Governor was accepted by vote of the Senate, and is NOT within this Court’s province to nullify.”

More from Capital Tonight HERE.

More from the NY Daily News HERE.

Full ruling, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Judge Rules Lawsuit Challenging New York Marriage Equality Law Can Proceed" »


New York AG Schneiderman Asks Court to Reject Challenge to Marriage Equality Law

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman asked a New York court on Friday to throw out a lawsuit challenging the state's marriage equality law, the AP reports:

Schneiderman New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms and several other opponents of the law sued on July 25, claiming in part that the law should be nullified because the state Senate violated its own rules and the state’s open meetings law before the critical vote that led to its narrow passage.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman argued in papers filed Friday that the opponents have not been harmed by the law, don’t have standing to challenge the actions of the Senate and any procedural actions of the Senate and governor aren’t subject to judicial review.

Schneiderman has requested an October 17 hearing.


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