Who is Jon Yarbrough?
Jon Yarbrough is the Tennessee billionaire that is loaning the Pamunkey money at high interest rates to build the casino. No one seems to know anything about him, including the City.
What do we know about Yarbrough? Why did the city pair up with him?
Not Much for Philanthropy
As of October 2019, Yarbrough was No. 370 on the Forbes 400 richest Americans with a fortune estimated at $2.2 billion. In the same list, he received the worst “philanthropy rating” with a 1 out of 5. Forbes decides how charitable a billionaire is by figuring out the portion of a fortune donated to charity.
Yarbrough’s foundation only gives away about $500,000 per year on average, with a high of $1.2 million in 2018. Before that, it gave a few hundred thousand here and there. In 2008, the foundation gave grants and gifts for a total $15,000. In the federal tax returns of the foundation, Yarbrough goes so far as to itemize gifts of just $30 or $40.
Yarbrough paints himself as someone who is interested in helping the struggling Pamunkey tribe, but since 2006, his foundation has given less than $1 million to American Indian causes.
In fact, most of his gifts lately have been going to the Battle Ground Academy, a private, mostly-white school in Franklin, TN where both his children went. Tuition there is currently $25,000 a year.
Racial Discrimination Cases
There have also been cases of racial discrimination related to his company, VGT:
- 2006-CV-323, Northern District of Oklahoma, Ruth A. Mathews vs VGT
- 2006-CV-481, Northern District of Oklahoma, Joyce Santacruz vs VGT
In one, a black woman claimed she was subjected to derogatory racial comments such as employees referring to meetings as ‘all-white’ only as well as referring to Brazil nuts as “nigger toes.” On one particular occasion a male supervisor stated that the only reason he wouldn’t fire her was because he was “F__ing her.” Despite reporting these incidents to upper management repeatedly, no action was taken. She was terminated instead. The company settled.
In the other case, a Hispanic woman claims she was terminated because she testified on behalf of an African-American co-worker who filed a discrimination charge against VGT with the EEOC. See attached.
On an October 16 recording, Mayor Alexander said “I’ve never met Jon Yarbrough. Never spoke to him on the phone. Don’t know him.”
WE DEMAND TO KNOW HOW THE CITY VETTED YARBROUGH, IF AT ALL.