An angry tirade posted to YouTube is sparking legal threats from the employee union at the McGuire Veterans Hospital in Richmond.
The video shows David Dooley wearing a federal government badge and swearing about the men he supervises while he was General Foreman for Engineering Services at the hospital.
"You don't interview people by yourself. Then they hired two f****** white guys. So he interviewed all these f****** six guys or seven guys by his f****** self like he's Billy Bad Ass," Dooley is heard saying in the video.
American Federation of Government Employees Local 2145 President Jennifer Marshall says the rant is "the definition of racism." The union says Dooley and two others named in discrimination complaints were members of an all-white job panel that failed to promote African-Americans. McGuire paid out millions to settle in 2010 and 2011 and the union says discrimination is deeply rooted.
"And the other f****** buckwheats and my God so they filed a f****** suit and they won them too. So now, I'm going to f****** end up with every one of them," Dooley says in another excerpt of the video.
"He's referring to them as buckwheats," said Marshall "It really is the plantation mentality. There's so much hope for change but there's never been any type of leadership that would do it."
Dooley did not return repeated phone calls, but answered questions when confronted at his home Monday night. When asked if he was a racist, he denied the allegations, saying "No, ma'am. No, no way."
"Basically what that was me being in anger and I said a few words that I shouldn't have said and everybody has done it," he explained. "As you know and I didn't say it to hurt anybody because I thought I was talking to myself and one other person egged me on."
McGuire Director John Brandecker first saw Dooley's recorded rant last September. He called it reprehensible in a statement, said it would not be tolerated and sent his spokesperson to answer questions.
"To hear a department head dropping the 'F-bomb' and dropping ethnic slurs like that, just rolling off his tongue like that, that's not acceptable?" asked NBC12 On Your Side Investigator Diane Walker in September
"Certainly anything of this nature, We do not find acceptable. We've got an incredible workforce of talented and diverse people and anything that would cause them any harm or discomfort, we don't tolerate," responded McGuire VA Spokeswoman Darlene Edwards
Dooley was absent from work for about four months following the interview, but is back now.
"I'm working in a hostile work environment now. I'm stressed. I'm depressed," said employee Roland Simmons.
"They moved him, Diane, from the basement to the second floor," said another employee, Alfred Holloway. "He's not directly in contact with us, but what they did, It seems like it rewarded him."
"I've seen the video. I think that he shouldn't be allowed on the property," said Simmons.
The date on the YouTube video post coincides with Dooley's return to work. The union claims he was on paid leave, says he's now a grade lower, keeps his pay and was moved to the executive suites. Neither McGuire nor Dooley will confirm.
"I don't want to get in trouble because there was disciplinary action done," said Dooley. "I'm shameful enough and I've done what I'm suppose to do and I want it over with."
McGuire issued a new statement saying, in part, "... appropriate actions were taken based on personnel and VA regulations. Because of these regulations we are unable to discuss individual cases".
"He affected the whole hospital. There's a lot of people that's angry that the director don't even know," said employee Violi Height.
The VA says law requires Dooley receive due process.
"Due process. Ha! Ha! They should do what they suppose to do," said employee Gerald Branch. "They should have gotten rid of him. Plan and simple."
"Why didn't they fire him? To let us know who's in charge," added Height. "You know you stand up. I'm in charge. My way or the highway. That means you leave, but we running this show here."
The union is now considering options to force Dooley out. McGuire's Director sent a letter to employees telling them who to call to report a problem and how to get help.
Dooley is contrite and defensive. He says anger got the best of him and he has apologized. He admits that what he says in the video is bad but, says he was illegally taped and the person who recorded it waited years to release it.
Dooley says he's not the racist supervisor he's accused of being in this video. He says anger got the best of him years ago when he dropped the "F" bomb and hurled what some employees deemed racist comments about African American men working under him. It was a hot reaction he says to a discrimination settlement and he blamed a co-worker for it.
He says he has an idea who illegally recorded him, but he claims not to be concerned with retaliation.
"The tape should have never been taped," he said. "Yes I shouldn't have said what I said, OK, and I apologize for saying it and it was under anger and basically I'm very shameful for it."
He says he's worried about people he may have hurt "That's one of the things that's bothering me a lot too, because I care a lot about there and I care about my life too. My family. I had to admit to my preacher and everybody about all this," Dooley said.
Dooley feels remorse and says he has apologized to some, but employees who Called 12 about Dooley, the video rant and allegations of a plantation mentality at McGuire all say McGuire is sending the wrong message by keeping him on the job.
"I'm working in a hostile work environment. now. I'm stressed," employee Roland Simmons said.
Another employee, Violi Height, said, "He affected the whole hospital. There's a lot of people that's angry that the director don't even know."
A third employee, Alfred Holloway, said, "They moved him from the basement to the second floor. He's not directly in contact with us, but what they did, it seems like it rewarded him."
About the negative reaction from employees, Dooley said, "That's a shame because of all the work that I have put in and the veterans and stuff and like I said, everybody has said something in anger, all right, and I apologize for it. I know I've always treated people and I've always treated people right."
Dooley said they all have him pegged wrong. "That was in anger. I'm a very good person. Every person that knows me including Alfred and these other people you just brought up, they're very good people."
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