Should Walmart be Audited Over the Sherman Heights Future Store?


This is the March on Walmart back in September. The building in the back is the building in question

May 4, 2013 (San Diego)Well, this is a relevant question. In a press release Mickey Kasparian writes:

SAN DIEGO – With the recent completion of a state audit of the City of San Diego Development Services Department, United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 135 President Mickey Kasparian calls for the City of San Diego to take action, based on those results.

“In light of the finding by state auditors, our city has no choice but to take extreme action on the Walmart project in Sherman Heights,” demanded Kasparian. “The clear violations of City codes and procedures, possible ethics violations, and a complete lack of transparency, are stunning in their magnitude.”

“Former San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and his Administration are completely responsible for this mess,” said Kasparian. “An historic site was demolished under his watch. San Diego and its citizens deserve better.”

So, what kind of violations is Kasparian referring to? Why would this matter to the Community of Sherman Heights, or for that matter San Diego city proper and even the county?

The story of the bribery scandal in Mexico was first broken by the New York Times in April 2012. In this article we learned that:

Wal-Mart dispatched investigators to Mexico City, and within days they unearthed evidence of widespread bribery. They found a paper trail of hundreds of suspect payments totaling more than $24 million. They also found documents showing that Wal-Mart de Mexico’s top executives not only knew about the payments, but had taken steps to conceal them from Wal-Mart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. In a confidential report to his superiors, Wal-Mart’s lead investigator, a former F.B.I. special agent, summed up their initial findings this way: “There is reasonable suspicion to believe that Mexican and USA laws have been violated.”

This scandal broke so many laws, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, as well as other American and Mexican Laws that it is quite frankly, breathtaking.. This was the tip of the iceberg.

Kasparian is asking for a review of practices since the Sherman Heights project was fast tracked by the office of Mayor Sanders.. In fact, demolition of the historic building started in the dark, and by the time activists were able to bring it to Court, it was too late to stop. It became a matter of so-sorry.

If Walmart is willing to do this in foreign countries, asking if there were ethics violations in the United States is more than just proper.

For the record, the Huffington Post reports that Walmart is expected to incur a loss due to the ongoing scandal. They also quote a letter to investors.

“This is clearly a bad action, if found guilty, but we believe these issues and penalties will not dramatically impair their balance sheet and its ongoing business model,” especially in the U.S., Janney Capital Markets analyst David Strasser said in a note to investors.

So here is the question? Should there be an audit given the history of the company? Yes. Will there be an audit? Likely not, why? Walmart is too big to fail, and while they have gotten in hot water over their practices in Mexico, and now India and China, Bentonville knows that they are pretty much safe. Profits are also so large that 300 million is a slap in the wrist.

This only adds to the long pattern of disregard for law as the company strives to become a monopoly. The Times called it Market Dominance, but in reality it is as close to monopoly as you can get in Mexico. It gets worst, they bribed their way to building a super center in an archeological zone…and in this case they even got UNESCO to sign onto the project.

So their disregard for Historic Sites is not unique to Sherman Heights in San Diego. They include places like The City of the Gods, Teotihuacan, about forty five minutes from Mexico City.

Categories: labor, labor practices

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