JPMorgan Chase employees were allegedly caught on recordings denigrating wealthy black clients — including an ex-New York Giant — as scary and irresponsible, according to a new report.
Retired defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy recorded one Chase worker in Arizona allegedly suggesting he was “intimidating” because “they don’t see people like you a lot.”
“You’re bigger than the average person, period. And you’re also an African American,” financial adviser Charles Belton, who is also black, said in the recording published by the New York Times on Wednesday. “We’re in Arizona. I don’t have to tell you about what the demographics are in Arizona.”
On another soundbite, an ex-Chase bank boss allegedly suggested a black woman would blow a $372,000 settlement she received after her son’s death because she “didn’t earn it.”
“You’ve got somebody who’s coming from Section 8, never had a nickel to spend, and now she’s got $400,000,” Frank Venniro, who worked as a JPMorgan Chase executive director in the Phoenix area, said on the clip. “What do you think’s going to happen with that money? It’s gone.”
The remark came during a conversation between Venniro and former Chase financial adviser Ricardo Peters, who told the Times he had complained that a colleague was trying to snatch up the black woman as a client. Venniro said he did not want to get involved because the woman was not worth pursuing, according to the paper.
Peters was later moved to a different branch and landed Kennedy as a client, the Times reported. Peters reportedly promised Kennedy, a Yonkers native, he would get Chase’s coveted “private client” status, which comes with better loan deals and travel discounts.
But Kennedy learned he hadn’t gotten the designation after Peters was fired and he was assigned to Belton, who told him other bank workers were afraid of interacting with him, the Times reported.
“We’ve seen people that are not of your stature get irate, and it’s like, ‘Well, if this dude gets upset, like what’s going to happen to me?’” Belton reportedly said.
Kennedy took most of his money out of JPMorgan and complained to an industry watchdog, according to the Times.
Peters filed a racial discrimination complaint against JPMorgan Chase with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after the bank fired him last year, according to the Times. JPMorgan Chase spokeswoman Trish Wexler said he was terminated for “incentive manipulation.”
“There was extraordinarily bad judgment used all around” at the branch involved in the Times’ story, Wexler told The Post in an email, adding that Venniro no longer works for JPMorgan Chase.
“This is not reflective of the culture I’ve seen at this company that champions opportunity, diversity and treating everyone with respect — but even one employee can hurt this culture, and we must call it out if we see it,” Wexler said.