I want to relate to you a situation that happened today.
My fiance, until last week, was working as an independent contractor at the Denver, Colorado offices of TIAA-CREF. She is a fibromyalgia sufferer and has had an extended flare (very rare) for the past week, which caused her to miss several days of work. TIAA-CREF chose to terminate her contract with them, a technically permissible action, though questionable on the ethics. Friday, she sent a message to Bret Deardorff (firstname.lastname@example.org) informing him that I would be coming this morning (Monday, December 17th) to retrieve her personal effects like her mp3 player and her purse, which she accidently left at work last week.
When I arrived at their office this morning, I went straight to their security desk, which is located on the 28th floor of the building they are in (note that I am leaving the actual address out, please) and attempted to request one of the TIAA-CREF staff retrieve her belongings. I had her security badge with me, in case they requested it, and the key to her desk. The security guard (Wes) stated he could not reach anyone to help unless I knew their LAST name. At the time, the information was on my fiance's Yahoo! Mail account. I tried to reach her by phone while I was there, but was unsuccessful. I informed the security guard that I would have to go back home to retrieve the information he requested, but he refused to allow me to leave unless I surrendered her badge immediately. Begrudgingly, I gave it to him, but kept her desk key, intending on contacting Bert Deardorff to request his presence when I returned. When I got home, we found a letter from Chris Weston (head of Global System Staffing) insisting on a contact phone number for Laura. It seems TIAA-CREF had told him that Laura gave me her security badge and that I was wandering around the building in violation of security rules, which was a blatant lie.
I sent an email informing them that the security guard's action to detain me was an illegal detainment which could subject them to civil litigation action by me and that their lack of cooperation in returning Laura's belongings were, under Colorado law, an act of criminal theft (failure to surrender property to its rightful owner when demanded), but that, as a professional courtesy between nonprofit organizations (I run House Wyldstar) I was willing to overlook this misconduct if they would simply return my fiance's belongings because she needs her ID for a plane flight Wednesday morning.
Chris Weston flamed back an email accusing me of threatening them and violating TIAA-CREF security, which I never did either of those, I merely pointed out the misconduct of their staff in the situation and reminded them of the potential effects of it.
I will admit, my last email was slightly more than heated, though I did my best not to become abusing towards them. I was originally, in response to their attitudes, going to have a civil escort go with me this afternoon. I thought it might be prudent to have an officer assist me with this crazy situation. Unfortunately the Denver Police Department did not have one available before 5pm, so I will have to do it in the morning.
Such misconduct is unbecoming to ANY organization, much less one with as much responsibility as TIAA-CREF. I would personally NEVER treat anyone like this and would NOT let a situation like this get out of hand like they have done, but after viewing the wide variety of consumer complaints against TIAA-CREF, I am really not surprised.
And by the way, if anyone from TIAA-CREF wishes to challenge my statements here, I have the emails mentioned saved and could easily post them online for everyone to view. Or we could post the security video of my visit there and let the rest of the world judge for themselves. Think about it.
December 20, 2007
This situation has been more or less resolved.
My fiance contacted the TSA (airport security) and learned that her student ID would suffice for boarding her airplane. Subsequently she had contact with Chris Webster (who is actually an executive with Global System Solutions, a TIAA-Cref contractor, and not TIAA-Cref itself) and agreed to have her belongings shipped to our home.
We were also informed that I have effectively been banned from the Denver TIAA-Cref occupied building by Mr. Webster, although I am not certain he has the authority to do that. Personally, I could care less if the building suddenly collapsed around him, except one of my favorite Starbuck's is also in the building. I guess one cannot truly consider themselves an activist until they have either been arrested during a protest (which almost did happen to me years ago, but that is another story) or have been banned from a facility for standing up to governmental or corporate misconduct and corruption. Perhaps I should take this incident as my ''coming of age'' event, maybe?