NEW YORK (WPIX)— Shockwaves from the bribery scandal rocking Wal-Martin Mexico were felt on the steps of City Hall, where local politicians and several dozen protestors (including Make The Road New York) lashed out at the world’s biggest retailer they declared is not welcome in New York City.
They chanted, “Down with Wal-Mart,” and “We don’t need people who don’t pay fair wages.” Speaker after speaker condemned the retail giant for discriminatory practices against women and minorities, and for the latest allegations that Wal-Mart’s Mexico subsidiary paid $24 million in bribes to obtain construction permits to open a massive store in Mexico City. The dealings reportedly were hidden from company big wigs. “Wal-Mart can’t but trusted,” shouted one speaker. Others said this is “precisely the type of business we don’t want in New York.” Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio chimed in, “They don’t belong in New York. This is a company that won’t stop at anything to maximize profits.” Inez Barron, a Democratic member of the state Assembly from Brooklyn, added, “Wal-Mart’s slogan is low prices, but there’s a high price for those low prices. It’s not worth it.”
Elected officials pledged to do all in their power to find legal means to keep Wal-Mart from opening stores in the five boroughs. They characterized Wal-Mart executives as “bad guys” who don’t share New York’s values. Former Comptroller Bill Thompson focused on the company’s bad corporate culture, noting that “Mexico is only where they got caught.” The Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating the bribery scheme allegations. Wal-Mart has said it would conduct its own internal probe. Manhattan Borough President said pointedly, “Wal-Mart, you did this to yourself.” He concluded, “They disgraced the United States, they bribe, they connive every which way. That is not the way you do business in New York City.”
Lost in the crowd of protestors was a lone PR guy from Wal-Mart handing out the company’s latest statement that declared, “We will continue to act with integrity, provide good jobs, expand access to low prices and lead on issues that are important to our customers.”
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