Agency upholds reverse discrimination complaint

CLEVELAND (AP) - The Ohio Civil Rights Commission has upheld a reverse discrimination complaint by a white executive who worked for a black-oriented cable television station.
The commission found reason to believe Thursday that the now-defunct Cleveland Minority Cable Channel violated the civil rights of Amy Castelli, who had served as the station's news and program director.
Commission spokeswoman Connie Higgins said the decision clears the way for a settlement between Castelli and Cleveland Television Network, which ceased operating about two months ago.
If the two parties cannot come to an agreement, the Ohio attorney general's office will hear her complaint, Higgins said.
Castelli told the commission that station officials failed to honor her contract because she is white. The former anchor for WOIO-TV in Cleveland said she was the only white employee at the station, which provided cable programs tailored to blacks, Latinos and Asians.
In her complaint, Castelli said her employers eventually took her off the air. She also claimed management denied her perks afforded to black managers, including a company credit card, invitations to social functions and business travel.
Castelli's lawyer, Joseph Diemert, welcomed the decision.
"We had a very favorable result this morning from the civil rights commission," Diemert said.
CTN lawyer Shana Marbury declined to comment on the decision, according to The Plain Dealer. A message seeking comment was left at her office by The Associated Press Friday morning before regular business hours.
The Cleveland Minority Arts and Education Fund stripped CTN of nearly all funding last year after an audit revealed nearly 20 bookkeeping and management gaffes at the station.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)