Breaking the Bank

Letters published September 18, 2002

"Squeeze Play" wasn't fair to Ohio Savings:

I have to voice my extreme displeasure with "Squeeze Play" [August 21]. I'm severely disappointed that such an article made it into the Scene. David Martin writes, "The lawsuit was filed in 1985. Seventeen years later, it has yet to be resolved." This clearly says it all, right here.

Clearly, if this were something "wrong" or "illegal," it would have received a ruling in the plaintiff's favor by now. Martin stated that the practice by which Ohio Savings Bank charged customers was legal. And it still is. Ohio Savings Bank surely isn't the only bank that used the practice.

I've had nothing but excellent experiences with Ohio Savings. You're doing a disservice to the community with this article. Check out some of the other financial institutions' practices in the area, and see what you find there. I can guarantee that you'll end up costing people more money by having them go to those institutions instead of Ohio Savings.

The bottom line: No one stands to gain anything on a single-person lawsuit, and Ohio Savings Bank has stopped the practice, as of 1996. So what is to gain by this lawsuit? A big fat paycheck to the attorney and a little notoriety for you, for breaking such a great "local" story. Nice try. Neither will happen, though.

Jack M. Maiher

There's no excuse for fuzzy math:

I work for a credit union out here in California, and I must say that David Martin wrote an excellent article. The attitude and way of dealing with this issue by Ohio Savings Bank has been horrible, bordering on criminal. Your article did a great job of explaining 30-day, 360-day years versus the actual calendar.

Previously, I worked at an investment bank and brokerage, and I had to do these kinds of calculations all the time [in connection with] buying bonds and discount commercial paper. It is sad, because even with the power of computers, this bank would not just fix the problem, admit fault, and refund the money. I mean, $500 to a borrower is worth a hell of a lot more than $500 to the bank. Keep up the good work.

Ed Burns

The secret is out:

Congratulations on your article exposing Radio One and Kathy Hughes for the lowlifes they really are ["Hip-Hopcrisy," August 28]. It has been a closely guarded secret among industry people, as Hughes and Radio One continue to constantly claim undeserved industry awards. I hope others will follow your lead. If you apply the call letters of any Radio One station to this story, it could apply to various markets. Thank you for putting it out there.

Pearl Jones
Dallas, TX

Walking out on Hughes's empire:

Your report was right on target. I was employed as an announcer with WWIN in Baltimore for 15 years. We were among the first stations Radio One purchased outside of Washington, D.C., and ever since the sale in 1992, the station has been the worst-operated facility I have ever worked in. Three weeks ago, I left the station for talk-radio WCBM, and it's a great difference. Thank you for exposing the hoods for what they are.

David Alan Brazelton
Columbia, MD

Two sides of crap:

Great article. Every word is the truth. I used to work for a radio station here in North Carolina when it was owned by Clear Channel. I went to work for Arista Records as a street promoter, which is basically a street-level independent promoter, so I saw the crap from both sides. As I said earlier, it's all true. So you keep writing.

Alan Riggs
Cary, NC

Sharing the misery:

Excellent story on Radio One, although it made me sad. A friend of mine, now in Atlanta (formerly a programmer in Honolulu), sent me the link to your story, which held me in rapt attention. From one writer to another: Great job.

Erika Engle
Honolulu, HI

How to get your story told:

I found your article "Hip-Hopcrisy" so interesting and so close to the same stories we have about Radio One here in Detroit. I was sexually harassed at one of Radio One's stations and was fired for defending myself against the harasser. Of course, he is still employed with Radio One. All three stations here in Detroit are run by non-African Americans. There have been physical altercations between management and employees. I even wrote Ms. Hughes a certified letter, but never got a response. I wish someone would blow the lid off this poorly managed company. How can I get my story and others like it told?

Diane Douglas
Detroit, MI

Residents rise up against fill dirt:

I live in Beulah Park ["Split Decision," August 21]. I want to relate some facts about the current status of our little part of heaven in Cleveland. Presently, the developers -- who are both Mr. McBride and James Caldwell -- have illegally dumped huge piles of landfill on the property without any permits. This represents a severe lack of trust between the residents and the developers. The police threatened to arrest neighbors who tried to stop the dumping by simply asking for the permit. Since then, the police were made to apologize for their behavior, and we now know that this pile is illegal and that the developers are being cited for dumping illegally.

The complete story of the problems at Beulah Park would take much more writing. I feel you would do well, Ms. Putre, to fully investigate what I would say is a microcosm of the greater issue facing many neighborhoods of this fair city. The clichés are endless.

Michael Feigenbaum