A peril of being a Fortune 500 kind of city: Sometimes, the companies we call neighbors behave in less-than-exemplary ways. There's been a bit of that going around lately, with Duke Energy and coal ash, plus Bank of America's perpetual legal troubles over unfair lending practices. Now, there's some pending bad publicity for Chiquita Brands International, also based (for now) in Charlotte.
A report today in The Daily Beast says Chiquita has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying against a bill that would allow 9/11 victims to collect damages in lawsuits from the "sponsors of terrorism."
Chiquita has no connection to 9/11 terrorism, so why would the company care? Writes The Daily Beast's Tim Mak:
And so, Mak reports, Chiquita responded to the perceived threat. The company hired a high-powered Washington lobbying firm. It approached members of Congress with Chiquita facilities in their districts, and it apparently found one lawmaker with a sympathetic ear, Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia.
What follows is some rude treatment of 9/11 families and, ultimately, legislation that has been stalled by the lobbying effort. Add it up, and it's a bruise on the banana company, plus Charlotte getting a mention in the wrong kind of way. That's an unpleasant, but survivable, byproduct of being a good place to do business. Besides, we have bigger headlines to wince at today.
Peter St. Onge