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Legally Right versus Morally Right Which do you Choose?

Updated on June 10, 2013

Doing the Right Thing

How often do any of us struggle with moral decisions that run contrary to legal rights? How many of us would risk losing our jobs because our moral compass runs opposite of the legal rights of our employer? Not being a billionaire, I need to work but I am fairly certain that I would not forgo my moral beliefs for the sake of asserting my employer's legal rights. And, if that employer has profits of $3.9 billion, I would be less inclined to pick on someone less strong to save my billionaire bosses a few bucks. I always side with David over Goliath. In my book of what is right, David always wins.

Would you blow the whistle on your employer if what your boss was asking you to do was morally wrong but legally right? What if blowing the whistle met losing your job? Yes..there are laws to protect employees who spill the beans on corrupt and illegal operations of their employers, but really, how much protection can be offered? What if your employer makes up some excuse as to why you were fired as in "No, no Mr. Smith's leaving was all about his poor work product or his untimeliness of his monthly reports not because he reported us to the FDIC".

So this week when I heard about this person Niko Black it made me stop and think about heavy issues of what is morally right versus what is legally within your rights. Niko is a beautiful Native American woman struggling with a rare and malignant form of breast cancer who is fighting hard to stay alive. It takes all the energy she can muster to keep up with her treatments, medications and find the financing for both. Fighting for her life is her priority and should be her only priority, unfortunately, it is not. Ms. Black has been fighting with her mortgage lender, Wells Fargo for some time now and it came to a head last month.

Regardless of the fact Niko's attorney had filed a motion in opposition and won against Wells Fargo's motion asking to be granted the right to evict Niko from her home, Orange County Sheriff's stormed Niko's home, breaking down the front door with guns drawn and forced this terminally ill woman from her home with nothing but the clothes on her back and her wheelchair. Left behind were much needed daily medications and medical equipment. Once removed from her home, Niko was prevented from re-entering to get those things that help her to fight her cancer. Apparently to protect and serve is not the Orange County Sheriff's motto-my mistake.

Naturally Niko's situation tugs at the heart strings of even the most harden among us, at least I truly hope it does. It was not too long before local talk radio got wind of this incident. When talk radio contacted the Orange County Sheriff asking why they needed the show of force on a terminally ill woman, the response was "it is procedure" and "we were following orders" a statement that made many think back to Nazi Germany. It made me think that so little of us do any agonizing over what is right or wrong. Maybe our heads are so filled with the garbage of daily life that it takes too much energy or time to think of such challenging things. I have to believe someone at Wells Fargo or the Sheriff's office had to give one second of thought to "is this the right thing to do?" Maybe not, maybe it's just me. Wells Fargo in spite of having countless legal mouths to speak for them, apparently is mum on the whole matter.

Attempting to battle with a giant like Wells Fargo to save your home is a daunting task for the healthy person, I can only imagine trying to battle when you are ill. I do not know all the particulars of Niko's home loan with Wells Fargo. I suspect she was a victim of fraud like I was and have written about in my other hubs. The fact is, I really do not care if Wells Fargo is legally in their rights. I only care that they are morally in the wrong. Wells Fargo has at their command a bounty of legal talking heads who stand posed for battle ready to pick on a little person like Niko. A person who is not physically, emotionally or financially able to really defend herself. Niko is David and I am on her side.

Most corporate mission statements are laughable and Wells Fargo's does not disappoint "Our vision has nothing to do with transactions, pushing products or getting bigger for the sake of bigness. It’s about building lifelong relationships one customer at a time. The reason we wake up in the morning is to help our customers succeed financially and to satisfy all their financial needs. The result is we make money because of our focus on serving customers, not the other way around. This time-tested vision will forever be what matters to Wells Fargo. We’ll never put the stagecoach ahead of the horses" They are however, not adverse to kicking you out of your home IV and all! I found it totally ironic Wells Fargo promotes their "community spirit" by having employees work on projects like Habitat for Humanity maybe they can build Niko a home now that she is homeless.

Wells Fargo's profits for 2011 exceeded their own expectations to a whopping $3.9 billion. Seems they have not been impacted adversely by this recession. It is no wonder why Wells Fargo cannot relate to their customers inability to make their mortgage payments. I suspect Wells Fargo's advertising budget for just this year could probably buy 10 of Niko's homes. Wonder why Wells Fargo will not take the high road and let a dying woman keep her home? Do you think anyone on Wells Fargo's legal team suggested this? Maybe pointed out to Wells Fargo execs that stealing a home from a dying woman is just bad publicity? Does anyone at Wells Fargo have a heart? At least the tin man had one, but I doubt anyone at Wells Fargo even knows what having a heart means.

The reality is: Right is right; wrong is wrong. If only Wells Fargo would stop being Mr. Potter and strive to be more like Clarence whose only wish was to earn his wings, maybe this World would be a little kinder. I hope and pray for Niko to win all her battles and have a Wonderful Life. At the very least she should be allowed to fight her battle for life surrounded by comforting familiar things in her own home.

Friends of Niko have started a facebook page Please visit it and lend your support.


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