Remember how a couple of weeks ago, a handful of financial-services workers gathered a little-known, phallically named firm called John Thomas Financial, for a rally in support of "Restore Wall Street," a website/movement the firm's CEO, Thomas Belesis, had started in order to defend the good, moral character of people on the Street from the "repeating, relentless" attacks they had been unjustly subjected to by the government and populace? These men deeply resented the president's use of the expression "fat-cat bankers," because of all that it implied, they told the Times, and they wanted to set the record straight, to "polish Wall Street's image," and wipe away the tarnish it had taken on over the past two years. Well. Daily Intel friend Moe Tkacik looked into Belesis's background, and found out exactly what kind of culture the CEO is so eager to restore.
Lew Lieberbaum is probably the best-known of Belesis's former employers, thanks to a 1997 federal suit brought against it by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in which various female employees testified to having been subjected to a degrading work environment. The "daily torrent and virtual hailstorm of sexual harassment" on the trading floor has been documented in a 50-page complaint and gobsmacked media reports. Lesbian strippers were allegedly a regular fixture on the trading floor, and one dancer was asked to remove her labia ring so male employees could petition female employees to sniff it. Brokers were allegedly assigned to mop up the whipped cream and bodily fluids resulting from an exec's midday frolic with his secretary. A female employee said that refusing a male superior's sexual demands was grounds for termination; men regularly wiped food-covered hands on women's breasts; a junior partner was said to have sometimes picked his nose and then rammed his finger into female brokers' sandwiches. The complaint resulted in a $1.75 million settlement -- and sparked related cases.