CONTINUED INTENTIONAL MISREPRESENTATIONS
227. Not only have defendants hidden their complicity in slavery for years, they continue to do so today. Solely to promote their business interests in maintaining customer goodwill and increasing their profits, defendants are engaging in continued intentional misrepresentations and deceptive statements to the consuming public about their roles in the enslavement of Africans. They are unjustly enriched by these commercial acts and omissions, which are communicated through defendants' corporate websites, print and online press, and radio interviews, in the traditional manner in which corporations engage in promotional activities.
228. Defendants' continued misrepresentations include but are not limited to:
229. Aetna has long ago acknowledged that for several years shortly after its founding in 1853, the company may have insured the lives of slaves. Despite limited and incomplete information in our archives on the extent of our participation, we express our deep regret over any participation at all in this deplorable practice. AETNA STATEMENT ON PRE-CIVIL WAR INSURANCE POLICIES www.aetna.com/news/2000/pr_200000310.htm posted until late 2001.
230. Two years ago, Aetna expressed regret for “any involvement' it “may have' had in insuring slaves. Today it stands by that statement and says it has been able to find only seven policies insuring 18 slaves. “We stood up; we apologized; we tried to do the right thing.' Says Aetna spokesman Fred Laberge. Insurance Firms Issued Slave Policies, by James Cox, USA Today, February 21, 2002
231. ””I believe that I could not say with certainty that we wrote these policies,” said Thomas Strohmenger, Aetna vice president and counsel, who conducted the research. Kenneth R. Gosselin, Profits Made At The Cost Of Freedom; Beyond Aetna, Others Reaped Benefits From Slavery In US., Hartford Courant (March 10, 2000).
232. “The claimants named CSX because slave labor was used to construct portions of some U.S. rail lines under the political and legal system in place more than a century before CSX was formed in 1980. Courtrooms are the wrong setting for this issue.” CSX TRANSPORTATION STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO LAWSUIT FILED SEEKING FINANCIAL REPARATIONS, http:// web.archive.org/web/20020617141431/www.csx.com/aboutus/news/press/pressview.cfm? I D=9149, (March 26, 2002).
233. While abhorring slavery, Richmond, Virginia-based CSX offered an online statement that noted the lawsuit filed against it and “other corporations demanding financial reparations is wholly without merit and should be dismissed. The claimants named CSX because slave labor was used to construct portions of some U.S. rail lines under the political and legal system in place more than a century before CSX was formed in 1980. Courtrooms are the wrong setting for this issue.” Myra A. Thomas Reparations Lawsuits: The Target Companies And Why They Were Chosen: Aetna, CSX and Fleet Boston Financial Named In Lawsuits NorthStar Network (September 30, 2002).
234. CSX, based in Richmond, Va., says the allegations that its railroad lines were built by slave labor lack merit, and the suit should be dismissed. Ira J. Hadnot Slave descendants bound and determined to be “made whole again, The Dallas Morning News (September 5, 2002).
JP MORGAN CHASE
235. ””We have examined our archives and had them examined by an outside, independent archival expert to look for any evidence to support these allegations,” Chase spokesman Tom Johnson said. “We've found nothing to indicate that we were involved in any of the (slave) transactions that are being quoted in articles about the lawsuit.” Kevin Moran Chase Denies Slave-Trade Link, HoustonChronicle.com (January 21, 2003).
236. J.P. Morgan spokesman Thomas Johnson said the “allegations are without merit” and that the company's archives don't support the claims in the litigation. David Voreacos R.J. Reynolds, J.P. Morgan Among 12 Sued in African Slave Cases, Bloomberg (September 4, 2002). 237. Two of the many banks that merged and are part of what is today the USA's second-largest bank are listed in an 1852 circular as the banks behind a London-based consortium raising money to insure slaves. James Cox Insurance Firms Issued Slave Policies, USA Today (February 21, 2002).
238. J.P. Morgan Chase says a “thorough and extensive” search of internal and external archives turned up no evidence its predecessor banks ever did business with the consortium or that the consortium ever actually issued policies on slaves. James Cox Insurance Firms Issued Slave Policies, USA Today (February 21, 2002).
239. CN's Chicago-based spokesperson, Jack Burke, denies up and down that the company, or any of its predecessors, profited from slave labor. Sigcino Moyo, Blood On the Tracks: CN Rail Named in U.S. Suit Seeking Slave Reparations, TorontoNow.com (February 2003).
240. “We have been presented with no documentation showing that we profited, that there was any profit from slave labor,” he says. “If there was a predecessor railroad called the Mobile & Ohio, I'm not aware of it.” Sigcino Moyo, Blood On the Tracks: CN Rail Named in US. Suit Seeking Slave Reparations, TorontoNow.com (February 2003).
241. “Any reparations suit against CN is wholly without merit and CN will defend itself vigorously,” spokesman Jack Burke said. “Neither CN nor Illinois Central, which was acquired by CN in 1999, ever employed slave labor.” Brett Martel, Slave Descendants File Lawsuits Associated Press (September 4 2002).
242. “The bank was one of hundreds that created Fleet,” said Fleet spokesman James Mahoney. “The link between Fleet and Brown is extremely remote.” Tom Walsh, Reparations group eyes Fleet; Lawyers readying case, The Boston Herald (February 22, 2002).
243. A FleetBoston spokesman said it appears there is no connection to Brown's bank, though FleetBoston doesn't have records that date back 200 years. Kenneth R. Gosselin, Profits Made at the Cost of Freedom; Beyond Aetna, Others Reaped Benefits From Slavery In U.S., Hartford Courant (March 10, 2000).
244. “And the connection between the original bank and our bank is a very distant one,” said FleetBoston spokesman James E. Mahoney.” Kenneth R. Gosselin, Profits Made at the Cost of Freedom; Beyond Aetna, Others Reaped Benefits From Slavery In U.S., Hartford Courant (March 10, 2000).
245. R.J. Reynolds spokeswoman Maura Payne said the allegations are “completely without merit” because the company was founded in 1876, a decade after slavery was abolished.” David Voreacos, R.J. Reynolds, J.P. Morgan Among 12 Sued in African Slave Cases, Bloomberg (September 4, 2002).
246. “All of our employees since the company has existed have been paid for their work time,” Payne said. David Voreacos, R.J. Reynolds, J.P. Morgan Among 12 Sued in African Slave Cases, Bloomberg (September 4,2002).
247. R.J. Reynolds spokeswoman Maura Payne said the allegations are “completely without merit” because the company was founded in 1876, a decade after slavery was abolished.” Another Group Files Slave Suit, The New York Post (September 5, 2002).
BROWN BROTHER'S HARRIMAN
248. An emailed statement to NorthStar by Donald Murphy, a partner at Brown Brothers Harriman in New York City, noted,... “Today's firm has no capital or earnings connection with the Browns of the nineteenth century.” Myra A. Thomas, Reparations Lawsuits: The Target Companies And Why They Were Chosen: Aetna, CSX and FleetBoston Financial Named In Lawsuits NorthStar Network (September 30, 2002).
249. Donald Murphy, a partner, says the investment bank has no pre-Civil War records and sees no need to go through its records. James Cox, Brown Bros: Loans Gave Planters Cash to Buy Slaves.
250. The named defendants and/or their predecessor entities engaged in one or more of the following: slave business dealings which were self-concealing, denials of any profits from slavery and/or denials to the public for access to or accountings of documented slavery dealings and profits from same.
251. The nature of the complained of business dealings by the defendants, as discussed in more detail in those portions of this Complaint, establishes that they were self-concealing from the enslaved African and African-Americans. For example, there is no reason for the slaves to know or be aware that their lives were insured; that financing deals controlled their lives; or that profits far a field from their miserable existence occurred.
252. A number of the defendants have also over the years specifically and falsely denied having any connection to slavery.
253. Despite efforts, the plaintiffs have been unable to secure records from a number of the defendants with regards to their ancestors due to the failure of most, if not all, to be able to reliably access documents establishing business relationships, ventures and dealings, contracts, shipping manifests, human cargo lists that may directly connect the plaintiffs with their slave ancestors and their free ancestors. The lists should provide more connections than not having this information, obviously. However, even this information will not provide an easy answer as further efforts were employed to destroy access to information and causation such as the changing of names at most, if not all, stages of the slave trade to include the original kidnapping and Trans-Atlantic journey, all sales and resales, sales of children and their children's children thus making it nearly impossible to accurately trace records.
254. Recent advances in Internet and computer databases have made these records more accessible.
255. Likewise, corporate histories and records have also been extremely difficult and inaccessible to most people. Hence, research tracing the monetary benefit derived by American corporations from the slave trade has only been accessible and discussed by prominent researchers within the last year.
256. Plaintiffs incorporate by reference, as if fully set forth herein, the paragraphs from the preceding Federal Accrual/Discovery Rule section related to the defendants' efforts to withhold documentation and information.