Whew. This one is ugly.
Two months ago, Queens-based property management firm Charter Management closed its doors amid reports that the district attorney had launched an investigation into whether the firm had commingled and possibly stolen clients’ money.
Tell-all interviews with two former Charter agents—each of whom had left months before the firm’s implosion—ran in the October issue of Habitat Magazine. Both men described becoming disillusioned by growing evidence of their employer’s shady business practices.
Particularly compelling was the magazine’s “Portrait of a Whistleblower” profile of one of the men, James Shields. It portrayed Shields’ dilemma in sympathetic detail, ending with the unemployed father hunting for a $7-dollar-an-hour job pizza parlor job.
Now, as Habitat points out in the online version of its whistleblower piece, someone at Charter appears to have it in for Shields: The defunct company’s website has been transformed into one long, vicious attack on the 27-year-old ex-property manager.
Anchored at the top by a picture of a man holding his middle finger up to the camera, the new homepage claims Shields was fired after his boss found out Shields was cheating on his live-in girlfriend a.k.a. the mother of his newborn son. The accusation is illustrated with email exchanges that supposedly took place between Shields and several other women.
The site contains other emails purported to be written by board members frustrated with Shields’ performance as a managing agent, as well as a links to business ventures said to be run by Shields the “scam artist,” and some choice verbiage apparently lifted from Shields’ MySpace page. There’s also an attack on Shields’ mother.
So what accusations does the site refrain from making?
Perhaps most tellingly, it says nothing to discredit the other agent profiled by Habitat.