A heating and air conditioning company in Denver is accused of being racist after a hidden camera (video below) captured the moment a manager refused to service what she called a “colored neighborhood.”
An employee at Mile High Heating and Cooling in the city's Westminster neighborhood had filed a complaint claiming that the company did not service one of Denver’s largest areas, Montbello. FOX31 news station launched an investigation, which found the complaint to be true and the reason was disturbing.
“They call it Mount Ghetto,” the employee told FOX31.
The Problem Solvers investigation team used hidden cameras and a producer to go undercover to infiltrate the company. The team says employees talked openly in the office about the company’s policy on not serving a predominantly black neighborhood.
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The news team sent one a producer to reply to an advertised job opening for appointment setters. The producer met with 'Andrea,' a manager at the company, who began training the producer on how to cold call.
When looking at the call list, the producer noticed that “never call” was written next to “Montbello 80239.” The producer asked why and that’s when Andrea exposed what she presented as the company’s racist policy.
“Do you know anything about Montbello?” Andre asked the producer. “... You don’t live there do you? … We call it Mount Ghetto … um, colored neighborhood.”
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Andrea said the company never cold calls Montbello because the residents there don’t pay their bills.
FOX31 decided to take its investigation one step further to see what would happen when a Montbello resident calls the company for service.
Montbello Homeowner Pam Jiner called Mile High Heating and Cooling for a furnace service. When she gave the employee her ZIP code, the employee told her a scheduler would call her back to set an appointment. Jiner says she never got a call back.
The Problem Solvers then called the company and asked for the same $49 service, but gave a different ZIP code. They were connected to a dispatcher and an appointment was set immediately.
“It blows my mind. It blows my mind. Who would do something like that? Single out a race and a community?” Jiner told FOX31. “It is racism, clearly, blatant outright racism.”
Neighbor and Army veteran Duane Topping agreed.
“Those stereotypes are born of ignorance. I’ve grown up with all these people in this neighborhood, so this is a family,” Topping said. “We don’t care how much money you make, we don’t care what color you are, we don’t care what religion you are.”
FOX31 spoke with American Civil Liberties Union legal director Mark Silverstein, who said race-based discrimination policies are against the law.
“There are local ordinances, there are statutes and there are even federal laws that forbid this kind of discrimination based on race,” Silverstein said.
The Problem Solvers tried to speak with Andrea, but she reportedly avoided the cameras and told producers to speak with the owner.
The team of investigators then contacted the owners of the company, 21-year-old Kasey Dykman and his 48-year-old father, Kevin Dykman. They asked if the company was racist and if they could explain their policy on Montbello, but the owners didn’t have any answers.
Jiner had a message for Mile High Heating and Cooling: “Go to hell Don’t send me any more of your publications and how dare you.”
According to FOX31, Montbello is home to about 31,000 people. The community is made up of mostly Hispanic residents and the average household income is $45,000, which is $2,000 less than Denver’s average household income.
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