Anonymous Letter by Rochester Doe
An anonymous letter penned by "Rochester Doe" was sent to all media outlets describing concern about embattled ex-President of the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce, Rob Miller. He has resigned and a full investigation is underway due to the allegations brought forth in a letter from Judy Braatz against Miller that got leaked to the media. A law firm had been hired by the Chamber to complete investigation.
The anonymous letter describes interactions that they allege to have occurred between Miller and other women. Here's the letter (omitting staffer names) from "Rochester Doe":
I have to speak up about Rob and The Chamber incident. But I don't have the guts to reveal who I am. As a woman who has worked in the Rochester business community for over two decades, I know what I'm about to say would kill my career and I'll forever suffer if people knew my identity. I would get harassed and trolled, both from men and even some women. We are actually a small community and 90% of you who read this know who I am. So forgive my lack of guts. I'm just not willing to commit career suicide.
But I can tell you this:
One out of every two women in this community has a Rob story. The stories are surfacing at a rapid pace right now, shared at any gathering where there are two or more women, but typically no men present. That's why men don't know about it. It's always followed up with, "But I didn't say anything because I'm afraid it will hurt my career." Or "My boss won't want me saying anything against Rob." Or "It's not gonna change anything."
The women in this town are sharing their stories. Even some men have Rob stories. I honestly do have empathy for Rob. I don't think he's evil. I think he's clueless. He still doesn't know what he's done.
But the stories are out there.
Personally, the first time I met Rob he referred to the group of women I was standing with as "you girls," repeatedly. We were in business suits and are in our 40's, we're not girls. Within the first minute I met him I understood his view of women. I witnessed how he talk to the female chamber staffers at that event and I knew bad things were to come.
From that point on I avoided Rob as much as possible. I didn't have an interest in conversing with him because I understood his view of women. I witnessed things myself and heard many stories.
He walked up to a group of three women and one male. The male happened to be a chamber staffer and said, "Hello girls." One of the women in the group said, "Uh, XXXX is here too," as she pointed to XXXX. To which Rob said, "Right, that's why I said, hello girls." Sadly, it's a deep insult to a male to be referred to as a female in our society but not the other way around. It's a way of saying women are less than men. We never walk up to a group of women and say, "hello boys."
Another woman shared how he called her at her office and said, "You're looking good today. I like your dress." This woman described to me how it freaked her out. She was wondering who was watching her at her desk. She asked who he was and if he could see her at that moment. He then told her that he had seen her crossing the street when he was in his car earlier that day. She asked who he was again and he wouldn't tell her. This woman knew Rob but didn't realize that's who was on the phone. She only found out at a later date because the passenger in the car with Rob, a female Chamber staffer, called her and apologized for the incident. Rob probably wasn't trying to be creepy, again he was just clueless. But this woman had to think about that conversation for quite some time. She wondered if she had a stalker.
I don't know how this investigation will turn out. I'm concerned that it will be whitewashed. If this private investigation firm truly is not biased and wants the truth, I hope they would create a way that people could submit their stories, completely anonymously. Rochester is too small. That's the only way the real truth will come out.
Ultimately, my hope is that male bosses in this town pay attention to this situation. Closely. Inappropriate behavior towards women happens daily in Rochester. I don't mean inappropriate sexual behavior so much, but rather language that keeps women from getting promoted when they should, taking away their power, or humiliating them. It happens constantly and discussions among female friends occur daily in this town about incidents that happen to them at work.
If we truly have a shot at becoming a premier Destination Medical Center, and I think we do, we need to get this problem cleaned up in our city. It's not the women's fault for not reporting him, it's not the current board's fault for not fixing a problem they've inherited. Instead of looking at who is to blame when these things blowup, let's admit that this is a very real problem in our business climate and determine how we can clean it up.
Possibly, more training is needed because I don't think it's intentional most of the time. But it is happening daily and women have a hard time speaking up. They still have too much to lose and too little to gain if they do.
We're reached out to Miller for comment. Previously, he told ABC 6 News that the attacks were unjustified.
The Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce responded with a statement.