Shaking up Denver

Harry C. Alford | 10/10/2013, midnight
National Black Chamber of Commerce

The times were getting contentious, and then I got a phone call from one of the opposing attorneys. He said, “Mr. Alford your attorney is about to miss a very serious deadline in filing. If he doesn’t produce required documents, which were seriously past due, by next Friday the judge will throw your lawsuit out.” Besides being shocked, I wondered why they were helping us. I had to act quickly. I went to my old friend in Indianapolis, attorney Robert Webster (a White veteran of the civil rights bus rider movement who worked on Indianapolis cases with us). He took over and saved our case.

US West hired my childhood companion and first cousin as a vice president. They got the intelligence on my mind from him. He later told me “I let them know that you could not be intimidated and had a bite like a pit bulldog. It is best to settle with him.”

At the same time, I was given some very sexy controversial information about one of the executives who was in the chain of command over their minority business office. In the last deposition, I told it all (hoping it was true). They abruptly ended the deposition.

That same day CEO Richard McCormack offered me a flight back to DC on their corporate jet. He informed me he would be on the plane also (a planned meeting he had in DC). We flew out and discussed our philosophies.

At the end of the flight, he said they would settle the case. They did and our guys got paid!

The Black folks in Denver still can’t figure out how we were successful and are still alive. As one of their Black businesses told me recently, “Denver Black businesses are pushovers.” There is some truth to that.

Alford is the co-founder, president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce.

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