Acting on a tip from an employee within a Denver heating, ventilation, and air conditioning company, a local news affiliate, KDVR, sent an undercover producer to apply for a job — and in the process, learned that the company routinely discriminates against what one employee called “colored” people.
Mile High Heating and Cooling bills itself as “your trusted name in heating and cooling.” They note that they’ve “been able to maintain a loyal customer base for many years” — a loyal customer base that, according to a local Fox Denver report, is whiter than a Finnish Christmas.
As part of the training, the producer was shown a list of zip codes to cold call. The list included most neighborhoods in the city — except one: Montbello. That particular one was listed as “never call.”
Montbello — or “Mount Ghetto,” as the manager called it — is a diverse community with a population of over 30,000 and over 9,000 housing units. The majority population is actually Hispanic, according to the figures cited by Wikipedia and the Demographics Research Group (to find the community, click “remove map labels” to turn the map labels on, find Denver, and then zoom in on the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Reserve. Montbello is immediately to the south, bordered on the west by Peoria Street).
The manager told the KDVR producer that it was a “colored neighborhood” and that people didn’t pay their bills. The station also interviewed Pam Jiner, a black woman from Montebello who called the company and never heard back.
“It blows my mind,” Jiner said. ” It blows my mind. Who would do something like that? Single out a race and a community?”
Jiner added that it was “racism, clearly. Blatant, outright racism.”
When the station tried to follow up with the manager who made the comments about “colored people,” she instructed them to “speak to the owner” — Kevin Dykman and his son, Kasey Dykman. Kevin Dykman, according to KDVR, has a conviction for theft and DUI.
The father/son team released a statement on Thursday noting that, “Insensitive comments, or anything that goes against our culture of respect and inclusion, is simply not tolerated.”
The statement also noted that they fired the manager who made the remarks.
Mile High Heating and Cooling has been hammered after the report; local community leaders have called for a boycott of the business, and asked citizens who may have been discriminated against to take part in a potential investigation by the state.
Other companies have also spoken out; no fewer than four companies have a similar name. While I was looking for the company’s website, I ran across one of them, Mile High Heating & Cooling, Inc., who had a statement on their homepage reading:
Four Denver area companies share a similar name as ours. We are as outraged as the rest of the Denver community about the comments that one of those companies made, that was broadcast on Fox recently. We are absolutely not a discriminatory company, and are saddened by the mindset of our competitor. If you have any questions, please call us.
We have long been confused with those other companies because of the closeness of our incorporated names. However, we will never be confused with them on integrity and embracing diversity.
They’ve also been getting hammered on Yelp; currently, every review is a negative one, and their total rating is one star:
You can watch the report below:
[h/t and cover image TPM]