In an unusual twist on discrimination charges, the former president of a black-owned bank in Chicago claims he was fired because he is white.
Lawrence F. Granucci filed suit against Drexel National Bank and its holding company, Indecorp Inc., in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois last week. He is seeking reinstatement, back pay and benefits, and additional compensation.
Alvin J. Boutte, Indecorp's president and chief executive, could not be reached for comment.
Mr. Granucci, who is suing under the equal protection and due process clauses of the 14th Amendment, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, said in the complaint that while he was president of Drexel from April 1989 through July 1991, he was subject to different policies than previous presidents because of his race.
He alleges that as Drexel's president, he was not given stock options, a company car, or retroactive pay -- perks that predecessors of his who were black had received. His replacement, who is black, was given stock options, a company car, and retroactive pay, the suit alleges.
Mr. Granucci also said he was the only white senior officer and board member.
In the suit he said he was "summarily discharged" on July 2, 1991. He said the bank failed to follow company policies and procedures for disciplinary proceedings and requests for future employment references, the suit charges.
Since his firing, Mr. Granucci alleges he has lost "considerable pay" and other benefits and has been unable to find work in the banking industry.
Mr. Granucci was hired by Indecorp in 1984 as vice president of Independence Bank, a subsidiary of the holding company. Five years later he was appointed president of Drexel National.
Complaint Filed in '92
In March 1992, Mr. Granucci filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's Chicago District Office. The handwritten document said the alleged discrimination against him prompted him to start seeking a new job in 1990.
He said Mr. Boutte told him, "if he heard of me looking for a job one more time he and the board will terminate me." Mr. Granucci said he knew of no one else at the company who was terminated for looking for a job.
The EEOC issued a "notice of right to sue" in May, after which Mr. Granucci filed his lawsuit.
Meantime, William T. Johnson, president of Omnibanc Corp., River Rouge, Mich., is waiting for regulatory approval from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago to acquire Indecorp. Mr. Johnson could not be reached for comment regarding the lawsuit.