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How African-American “Arm Candy” destroyed American Express

April 24, 2009

Did “doofus” Kenneth Chenault sink American Express? Internet Powerhouse Andy Martin blames Kenneth Chenault for American Express’ collapse. Martin’s consumer boycott begins to bite, as he and AmEx law firms square off in court over a $20 payment. Martin vows to topple the AmEx leader despite fears of a racial backlash form the Obama administration: “Chenault has to go,” says the Internet Powerhouse.

Internet Powerhouse Andy Martin says Kenneth Chenault should be ousted as American Express head

Andy says fear of a racial backlash from the Obama administration is the only factor keeping Chenault at the helm of AmEx

Executive Editor

“Factually Correct, Not
Politically Correct”


How African-American “Arm Candy” destroyed American Express

How poor customer service in the Internet age is destroying major American businesses

Do AmEx leaders, including Democratic Party majordomo Charlene Barshefsky, fear a racial backlash if Chenault is fired?

(NEW YORK)(April 24, 2009) When Morton’s Steak House charged business columnist Dan Dorfman $2.50 for a drink “on the rocks,” Dorfman’s response created a media firestorm that cost Morton’s millions of dollars in bad publicity:
When an abusive American Express (AmEx) customer service employee berated and harassed me over what he claimed was a $20 late payment, I began to investigate abusive customer service at AmEx. As a result, I am convinced that American Express is being run by an incompetent leader who should be removed: Kenneth Chenault.

Chenault represents a new risk factor in corporate leadership; African-American “arm candy.”

For those of a certain age and social background, American Express will always be an iconic firm. We picked up our mail at AmEx in London or Paris. The very name American Express meant “service.”

Today AmEx is being run with gang banger tactics. The result is that the firm is slumping, and U. S. taxpayers are likely to take a hit. A former head of AmEx was my neighbor. I am sure he is as mortified as I am at what Chenault has done to the firm.

Why is all this happening?

When Kenneth Chenault was appointed to lead AmEx the economy was booming. The fact that Mr. Chenault was a failed lawyer who shifted to corporate work and surfed the wave of “affirmative action” to senior management at AmEx was not a critical matter. With Chenault, AmEx would have a chief executive who portrayed an inclusive, progressive, African-American image to the business community and customers around the world.

But Mr. Chenault turned out to be a corporate doofus who is running AmEx into the ground:

Customers are deserting a company that has become known for abusive customer service or no service at all:

And in the midst of AmEx’s collapse, the firm’s lawyers and I continue to face off in federal and state courts in an increasingly nasty confrontation over a dispute triggered by a phone call over a $20 bill:

As Dan Dorfman would say, with or without his $2.50 Morton’s ice cubes, “I’ll drink to that.”

How could Chenault destroy one of American business’ legendary franchises? Good question. When some goon in Phoenix customer service calls up a large customer and starts berating the customer over an alleged $20 shortfall, and holy war breaks out, the firm is at fault, not the customer.

No one at AmEx management has ever apologized to me. Instead, they hired convicted swindler Jack Abramoff’s law firm to harass me with baseless litigation. Now AmEx is using a second scumbag “law firm” in New York to intimidate me. It’s all there in the court pleadings to see (see blogs above). Needless to say, neither Dan Dorfman nor I are the type to be intimidated.

In the Internet age, beating up on your customers is a prescription for failure, not success.

And in the meantime, no one is saying what needs to be said: Chenault has to go. The AmEx board fears a racial backlash from the Obama administration (more of that in a subsequent column). AmEx director Charlene Barshefsky, a longtime Democratic Party wheel horse in Washington, no doubt knows what would happen if Chenault was dumped for incompetence: the Federal Reserve Board’s bailout spigot would be turned off. AmEx had to seek a federal bailout because of Chenault’s incompetence:

And while customers are deserting AmEx, and AmEx customer service vanishes and is replaced by rapper-style tactics, Chenault continues to defraud both his stockholders and American taxpayers with his lavish compensation plan:

Racial profiteering: ain’t it great? Sadly, AmEx’s attempt to take advantage of African-American arm candy in 2001 may sink the firm today. Kenneth Chenault, however, will sail into the sunset with tens of millions of American taxpayer dollars. Today we not only have companies “too big to fail;” we have executives too dangerous to fire for incompetence. Kenneth Chenault is exhibit #1.

America: leave home without it. American Express left us long ago.

COMING: Another racial profiteering scandal; another possible racial backlash from the “Big Man Obama.”

NOTE: Andy Martin was the author of the trend-setting 2005 column, “GM Should File for Bankruptcy,” that presaged the automaker’s future collapse, see:

FOOTNOTE: A tip of the hat to the University of Illinois Economics Department, and UI College of Business, for training yours truly in business and economic analysis (consumer sampling). They taught me well.

Readers of Obama: The Man Behind The Mask, say the book is still the only gold standard and practical handbook on Barack Obama’s unfitness for the presidency. Buy it.
Book orders: or Immediate shipment from or signed copies (delayed for signing) from the publisher are available.
Andy Martin is a legendary Chicago muckraker, author, Internet columnist, radio talk show host, broadcaster and media critic. He has over forty years of radio and television experience and is the informal “dean” of Illinois media and communications. He is currently promoting his best-selling book, Obama: The Man Behind The Mask and producing the new internet movie Obama: The Hawai’i Years. Andy is the Executive Editor and publisher of

Martin comments on regional, national and world events with more than four decades of experience. He holds Economics and Juris Doctor degrees from the University of Illinois and is a former adjunct professor of law at the City University of New York. He is an announced candidate for Barack Obama’s former U. S. Senate seat.


His columns are also posted at;
[NOTE: We frequently correct typographical errors and additions/subtractions on our blogs, where you can find the latest edition of this release.]

MEDIA CONTACT: (866) 706-2639 or CELL (917) 664-9329 (not always on)
© Copyright by Andy Martin 2009.


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