Castle Toyota Rescinds Scholarships After Students Decide To Mourn Their Dead Teacher Instead Of Staging A Commercial

Poor Howard Castleman. All he wanted was a little PR for his car dealership. Castleman planned to give four scholarships to students at Patterson High School in Baltimore, but instead of honoring Castleman’s charity by inviting the media and displaying his dealership’s banner at the senior’s farewell ceremony, the school instead decided to honor a long-time teacher who recently died of a heart attack…

Castleman responded by angrily withdrawing the scholarships, leaving the four students without the means to attend college.

The president and CEO of Castle Automotive Group, Howard Castleman, said it didn’t have to be this way. “We opted not to give it to them because of, quite frankly, attitude,” he said in a phone interview. He said school officials accused him of wanting to bring in a “media circus” and would not allow him to hang his company’s banner.

Castleman said that having press at the event would have paid public tribute to the teacher who died, it would have encouraged more people to donate to the school, and “we would’ve gotten some PR.”

[…]

“My family was very excited when they heard I would receive the money from Toyota in order to go to college,” said one of them, Iftin Iftin, a Somali refugee who graduated from Patterson on Saturday and plans to study English and computer programming.

When D’Anna summoned the students to tell them Castle wasn’t donating the money after all, Iftin said, “I couldn’t even smile all day.” At night, he said, “I couldn’t get sleep.”

Castleman also decided to cancel his annual Christmas party for poor Baltimore children, saying “This is it. I’ll never have another Christmas party for these kids. It doesn’t pay.”

Um, the missed lesson here, Castleman, is that charity should be its own reward, not a hackneyed public relations scheme.

Firm reneges on scholarships [The Baltimore Sun] (Thanks to Stanton!)

Comments

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  1. Skankingmike says:

    The school should have just hung both banners up what difference does it make?

    The guys a jerk and the school’s stupid.

  2. Angryrider says:

    Heartless, very heartless.
    I suppose he’s going to defend himself by saying he had this entire plan worked out for months, and these kids and their attitudes had to go and ruin it. What a putz. At least he got his publicity.

  3. statnut says:

    @Skankingmike: Probably because schools shouldnt been seen as advertising.

  4. Angryrider says:

    [www.baltimoresun.com]
    An even bigger putz, the Principal who probably wants the dealership to beg to give the scholarship.

  5. @Angryrider: He DID donate the money, just not to the kids. In reality, according to the article, they weren’t supposed to find out until the ceremony.

    It’s not like they were asking the students to wear a logo on their gowns, on their hats, or made them spell out the name of the dealership. It was a banner, and there would have been a few cameras. I mean, how much “Media” did the school expect to show up for a car dealerships sponsoring of some students? I’m guessing CNN, Fox, and MSNBC weren’t warming up the newsvans to rush to cover this.

  6. @statnut: Have you ever gone to see a baseball or football or ANY event at a school? There are banners all over the fences, scoreboards, and anywhere else they can cram them. I personally don’t mind because that’s a few less dollars that I DON’T have to pay in taxes. Let them advertise. Until they require the students to wear buttons or stick bumper stickers to their asses, it’s not bothering anyone.

  7. swvaboy says:

    “Charity should be its own reward, not a hackneyed public relations scheme.” – Why Not?

    When my company does something on this magnitude we expect some PR, we aren’t a non-profit as I sure this car dealership is not.

    Call me the bad guy, but the school should have worked with him – not against him!

  8. muffinpan says:

    He’s a car dealer. What did you expect. If you lie down with snakes expect to get bit.

  9. morganlh85 says:

    What a jerkoff.

  10. ConsumerAdvocacy1010 says:

    Well, I hope this is getting a lot of local media attention and people decide not to do business with that dealership.

    And maybe, and this is reaching….Toyota itself steps up and does the nice thing?

  11. CaptZ says:

    My PR blitz would have worked if it weren’t for those pesky kids, their dog and their dead teacher…….

    Sorry, couldn’t help myself

  12. god_forbids says:

    You didn’t see the part of the article that said “Inner city youth overcomes one-armed-ness to become car dealership owner; is painted as demon by self-righteous hippies who ‘have no business sense [and] view business and marketing negatively as a reflex.'”

    Full story after the jump.

  13. sleze69 says:

    Um, the missed lesson here, Castleman, is that charity should be its own reward, not a hackneyed public relations scheme.

    I gotta disagree. Companies don’t anonymously give scholarships. I have to side with the dealership on this one. The school had very little to do in order to give those kids a scholarship. They didn’t fulfill their part of the bargain and thus, hurt these kids futures.

  14. wtrwlkr says:

    @ ConsumerAdvocacy1010

    Absolutely, this guy should get 10x the publicity he had hoped for, only negative. First the holly roller Ford dealership, now this guy. The auto companies need to slap around their rogue franchisees alittle.

  15. P_Smith says:

    He should be thinking in human terms, not thinking inhuman terms.

  16. TheDude06 says:

    The dealership did not know someone told the students about the award, they were supposed to inform the students the day of the awards.

    He also seems to have told the school what would happen if the banner wasnt allowed. the school changed their mind.

    also, it was the PRINCIPAL, not the students that decided to not have a “media circus”. You know how much those kids would have just /hated/ being on the local news receiving a scholarship….

    The principal is the one who should be the one in the title

  17. TheDude06 says:

    Moreso, it seems to be the /dealership/ that has been pushing for local media coverage. not the students/school!

    “Even before Thomas’ death, Castleman said, his staff had to go through “unbelievable” bureaucratic hoops to donate money to Patterson.”

  18. RumorsDaily says:

    No ad banners at school.

  19. BigJimSlade says:

    Seems like bad timing and bad choices by both parties involved, however it’s not like this is the only advertising you see associated with schools. There’s sleazy dealings going on all the time with companies working deals to make schools exclusively deal with them (Coke/Pepsi come to mind). It’s just a shame that the scholarships got axed because of all this.

  20. ClayS says:

    @sleze69:
    Exactly right, refusing to display a banner? That school shouldn’t expect to see a lot of contributions or scholarships from local businesses with their attitude.

  21. greghayden70 says:

    Charity is the last thing this guy had on his mind, What a greedy piece of shit.

  22. one800higgins says:

    Although that’s shitty… I can understand where he’s coming from. He’s offering to give away a lot of money in exchange for some fairly painless marketing. If they pulled their end of the deal, then he has every right to pull his end.

    It sucks that the school couldn’t just advertise him like expected while still mourning the loss of the teacher.

  23. marsneedsrabbits says:

    But what is Mr. Castleman’s view on atheists and gays?

    Why couldn’t Castleman have included it in his own advertising? “Castleman’s Edsel – proud scholarship sponsor of Baltimore City Schools” or whatever.

    I understand the school’s point: these kids lost a teacher and wanted to celebrate his life. The senior farewell became a memorial service and suddenly, sponsorship by a car dealership and a news crew wasn’t appropriate.

    And why is a news crew appropriate, anyway? How is a car dealership doing anything PR-related news-worthy?

    Finally, in what way did Mr. Castleman figure that angrily yanking the scholarships away from deprived children who want to go to colelge could possibly work to his advantage?

  24. Trai_Dep says:

    Perhaps if Castleman killed himself, the kids would hold a celebration, then he’d finally get the PR he so desperately craves.

  25. Concerned_Citizen says:

    What the hell is wrong with the school? Hang his banner and make him happy. I blame all of this on the school. They told him media would be there and his banner would be hanging. So he agreed to donate the money. If you tell a business that if they donate they will get media and a banner and you later take those things away, you damn well better expect the donation to be canceled. If you promise a business publicity for a donation, you damn well better provide the publicity. The school should have at least come up with an alternative. I am sure they could have got a newspaper article to mention it, they could have hung his banner at next years sporting events, etc. But the school is 100% wrong in this situation.

  26. VeeKaChu says:

    Well at least we can tell Mister Castleman and associates how we feel for free, as he kindly provides a toll-free phone # on the website.

    [www.castletoyota.com]

  27. Trai_Dep says:

    @marsneedsrabbits: Precisely. As tacky as it would be to trumpet your charitable largess, placing your own ad is the way to do it.
    Public schools are public. Not the promotional playthings of whoever wants to throw scraps.

    @CaptZ: Heh. I laughed. :)

  28. Manok says:

    I expect nothing less from greasy car salesmen/car lot owners.

  29. Albion01 says:

    “It doesn’t pay”? Greedy f*ck!

  30. MonkeyMonk says:

    This sort of give and take between schools and businesses goes on all the time. At my nephew’s elementary school McDonald’s pays the cost of printing and mailing the quarterly report cards . . . report cards that are about 1/2 grades and 1/2 McDonald’s ad. They even offer a free value meal if the kids maintain a B grade or higher.

    I don’t know if I agree with McDonald’s advertising to the children but it’s a win for the school since they no longer need to pay for those report cards and can instead put that money directly towards the kids.

  31. BlackFlag55 says:

    Never underestimate the power of human stupidity. Robert Heinlein

  32. balthisar says:

    What? So he wants a little publicity in exchange for his generosity. I’m sure that scholarships are considerably more expensive than advertising in the school paper, advertising on the radio, and advertising on local TV. The dealer can (and probably) does pursue all of these media outlets. But he chooses to go above and beyond and offer scholarships, and all he asks for is a little acknowledgment. He’s the one offering the scholarship in the first place. He’s not screwing anyone by not offering anything. The school screwed these kids over, pure and simple.

  33. SonicMan says:

    @Albion01: Who the principal or the car delaer?

    I mean the principal still wanted the money from the card dealer, for NOTHING. Who is the greedy one?

    If I wanted to give you money to advertise, and then you deciden not to do the advertising, should you still keep the money?

  34. malvones says:

    Whether or not it was appropriate for the school to display a banner is almost a moot point, this guy should have realized that all the negative PR that was coming his way wasn’t worth whatever money he was donating in the first place.

    This guy is neither a philanthropist or a good businessman, though I agree that the school certainly was less than accommodating (maybe they could have displayed these banners in another fashion.. yearbook? or if there was a graduation program guide, which most schools have)

  35. danger the pirate says:

    maybe castleman got confused and thought he was big bill hell. (colorful language warning)


    + Watch video

  36. ClayS says:

    @che_leo:
    It’s a lose-lose situation. The dealership, the students that would have received the scholarships and the school. Any other businesses that might have considered sponsoring scholarships at that school will likely stay far away.

  37. Pro-Pain says:

    I’m rooting for the Extinction Level Event asteroid(s) to come put an end to all this insanity. Dinosaurs here we come!

  38. donkeyjote says:

    So he should have the privilege of paying for nothing in return? Normally, when someone backs out of a business deal/contract (The school), the other has some type of recourse, like suing for lost revenue, or simply not paying for services not rendered or commitments not met.

    The school did not do A, so they do not get B. Everyone blaming the dealership is a prick.

  39. Tracy Ham and Eggs says:

    I want to point out a few things that were in the local coverage.

    1. Castleman says that Toyota requires that any donations over a certain amount get PR or they won’t approve it. (The guy was giving dealership funds, not his own money).

    2. He wrote the check directly to the local CC instead, to go to scholarships for local kids.

    3. The Principal is the real bad guy. Calling it a media circus is a huge overstatement, he just wanted a banner and the local newspaper was supposed to interview the kids.

    4. After the fact and the bad publicity he offered the money to the school for more scholarships, the principal refused.

    5. The Mayor actually sided with the dealership.

  40. Tracy Ham and Eggs says:

    @Trai_Dep: Wow you are classless and tacky. That was incredibly disgusting.

  41. Mr_Human says:

    God, the people on this site . . .

    Why are “charity” and “altruism” such dirty words in this country? On the one hand, we don’t think the govt should provide “handouts,” but on the other, we also think private charity is pointless unless there’s a transactional/pr/profit point to it.

    Sad. Capitalism — and I’m a fan, btw — has become a near religious ideology in America.

  42. Here_we_go says:

    I’m glad to see so many people siding with the dealership. These knee jerk reactions to blame the guy pulling the money are silly.

    The principal is the one who screwed these kids……not the dealership.

  43. Here_we_go says:

    @Mr_Human:
    Why is it such a bad thing for EVERYONE involved to profit? If the principal would have just done what he agreed to do none of this would have happened. Put up a banner……no big deal.

  44. Charles Duffy says:

    @donkeyjote: First of all, it hasn’t been established that the school agreed to hang the banner as a condition of receiving the scholarships. To be sure, the owner of the dealorship expected it — but that’s not to say that there was an up-front meeting of minds on the subject.

    Second, and more importantly, charitable donations aren’t like regular contracts — it’s been too long since I took Business Law, but (effectively) the ability to tell others that you’re making a charitable donation is consideration in and of itself, so an agreement to donate to a charity is enforceable even if that charity isn’t doing something for you in return (other than, of course, letting you advertise that you’re doing something good — which you can do with or without the charity’s help, so long as you’re careful about respecting trademarks and speaking only truthfully).

  45. Mr_Human says:

    @Here_we_go: I’m not saying it’s bad, but I’m saying it shouldn’t be the point, or the deal breaker.

  46. Here_we_go says:

    @Mr_Human:
    I agree that doing a charity for the sole purpose of doing something good is a noble act that we should all do but this was something that could have easily been avoided by BOTH parties.

    It’s just as much the fault of the principal who refused to hang a simple banner. Then the prideful principal refused the donation when it was offered back. Who did that help? Certainly not the students.

  47. Pithlit says:

    @Mr_Human: I agree. If this comment gets me banned, I don’t care because I feel so strongly about it right now. I don’t know how the best blog in the Gawker community manages to attract the biggest, scummiest, soul suckingest douchebags. I would recommend that every single person who defended the dealership do a little self reflection, but it would be an utter waste of time. I tell myself I shouldn’t read the comments, even if they are occasionally informative and intelligent.

    Please, Gawker. Do some housecleaning in your comments section. For the love of all things decent and good.

  48. haoshufu says:

    Car salesman is always going to be a car salesman. This guy does not want to do charity. He is using charity’s name to benefit his business. The moment he wants publicity with the dealership name, you know what’s going on. Someone should call the IRS and remove all those dollars as charitable donation and make him pay tax on them.

  49. Mr_Human says:

    @Here_we_go: I don’t disagree that this could have been avoided. I’m just despairing a little at some of the comments here. And I found the Castleman quotes obnoxious.

  50. Skeptic says:

    People should read the article. The reason that the principal didn’t want media at the assembly was because it was, in large part, a memorial to a teacher who had died and the principal thought it would be inappropriate for such an assembly to be used to publicize a car dealership. Sounds like the right call to me.

    The agreement to donate to the charity was a contract, whether written or oral, and one that was not contingent on post hoc conditions like allowing the media to watch the announcement nor was the contract somehow void until the date the dealer thought the students were to be notified. There were still other ways to publicize the donation, such a photos with the recipients and the dealer at a later date.

    The donation was only for a mere a total of a mere $8,400, which, in dealership marketing budgets is chump change, so pulling the the scholarship was a totally bogus move on the part of the dealer.

    Due to the overwhelming outrage, the public has made donations that have exceeded the withdrawn offer and the principal has, on principle, subsequently refused face saving attempts to re-instate the original donation .

  51. Skankingmike says:

    @statnut: you are aware that some of the biggest contributors to education in poor neighborhoods are companies like Pepsi, Coca cola, and McDonald’s right?

    They give out free textbooks or highly subsidized ones and in side those textbooks are pages filled with subliminal advertisement and blatant.

    I grew up in Jersey so I honestly wouldn’t know what a poor school looks like. (yes we have poor area’s but they are funded by taxes from rich areas aka Newark NJ spends 18,000 dollars per kid ridiculous i know).

    anyway, if the school is poor it should take whatever it can get. The guy is a jerk, but it makes good business sense and really if you owned your own company and somebody screwed you out of your hard earned advertisement money you’d probably retract your offer as well.

  52. Granolaheadesq says:

    Let them know what you think

    [www.trycrystal.com]

  53. Tracy Ham and Eggs says:

    @Skankingmike: Baltimore pays more per student then you would think. Check this article out
    [www.usatoday.com]

    Graduations rates for the nations 50 biggest school district. Baltimore City, #49, Baltimore County #3. And the county spends less per student then the city (plus their transportation cost are significantly less, since most kids in the city can walk).

  54. donkeyjote says:

    @Charles Duffy: I would think they did have a meeting about it (and about not telling the students before hand), or the article would most likely have had the school saying that “We never agreed to a banner and/or press” or “We were not given any reason or told that we should not tell the students before hand” (Though telling the students early is reasonable, because they need to know before they choose a school, but the dealership should have been told they were going to let the students know).

    @Pithlit: Oh look. The dealership gave the money to another school other then not giving it to anyone. We should really rethink our supporting the dealership now. /sarcasm

    BTW Carey, the article link is borked. It has “http://consumerist.com/tag/heartless/” in front of it.

  55. GrandizerGo says:

    @BlackFlag55: And TANSTAAFL!
    There Aint No Such Thing As A Free Lunch!
    Also a Quote by Heinlein…

    Sorry, but if the deal was made before hand, who ever PULLED OUT FIRST is to blame.

    And truthfully, with the cost of college nowadays, I would allow him to hang his banner in my front yard for every year I was in college.

  56. ClayS says:

    @Mr_Human:
    I don’t think a scholarship given to a couple of students is even considered charity, meaning it isn’t tax-deductible. Do want the government (meaning taxpayers) to fund all scholarships? Or to hell with financially needy students?

    Private contributions by business is a great thing in my opinion. I don’t see how displaying a banner inhibits the school from memorializing a teacher who passed on. The school should be able to accomodate both priorities.

  57. Sudonum says:

    @Tracy Ham and Eggs:
    According to this follow up in the Sun, another Toyota Dealership has asked to contribute, and yet another dealership states that the “Toyota requires PR” line is BS.
    [weblogs.baltimoresun.com]
    I think the dealership screwed up and threw a temper tantrum, and the principal is an idiot for refusing to take the money from them when they offered it again.

  58. Mr_Human says:

    @ClayS: You misunderstand me. I am all for private contributions to scholarships or whatever. And banners are fine, although it should be up to the school as to whether it is appropriate; since this was a memorial, I guess they thought it wasn’t. To put it bluntly, Castleman was douche about it.

  59. donkeyjote says:

    @Sudonum: Yet the comments on that article show that the Principal is the one to blame.

  60. Concerned_Citizen says:

    @haoshufu: Clearly you do not understand how charity works. People do it because they get something out of it. No one just does it. People want tax breaks, they want publicity, or they just want a good feeling from helping others. But no one gives to charity and gets nothing in return. If people didn’t get tax breaks for charity, you would see the amount of donations fall real fast.

  61. Here_we_go says:

    @Sudonum:

    Maybe you should read what you posted. Read the comments from people that actually know the parties at hand. Seems the principal is a real sweetheart.

  62. Tracy Ham and Eggs says:

    @Mr_Human: It wasn’t a memorial, it was graduation. The principal apparently decided to turn it in to a memorial over the objections of the students and teachers, who wanted to make it a separate event.

  63. karmaghost says:

    Let’s face it, people; when a company of any kind and any size offers scholarships and other charity contributions, it’s to further their own business in the form of good press and PR. It’s not purely out of the goodness of their hearts, it’s essentially another business transaction. This guy is an ass and will now definitely get bad press instead (any press is good press, right?), but the school was a little short-sighted perhaps by not allowing some media and a banner to be put up.

    Both sides need to wise up.

  64. maverickuw says:

    Note to self, for all of you who think it’s a little bit of harmless advertising, let’s hope some company decides they want an ad banner at the memorial service of someone who is important to you.

  65. @Tracy Ham and Eggs: @Trai_Dep: Wow you are classless and tacky. That was incredibly disgusting.

    I agree. That star’s (probably) a two-way street. Act like you deserve it, instead of trolling.

  66. Here_we_go says:

    @maverickuw:
    It wasn’t a memorial service. It was a graduation where banners for companies are otherwise displayed every year across america. Just so happens someone died at this particular high school this year.

  67. theblackdog says:

    Hey guys, your link is broken, it keeps trying to search for a heartless tag along with the URL of the baltimore sun story.

  68. yaos says:

    If anybody is complaining about the fact that he’s not giving away the scholarships, and not the dead teach thing, please start giving away scholarships.

  69. @sleze69: Companies don’t anonymously give scholarships. I have to side with the dealership on this one.

    It’s like NPR and PBS. Companies support broadcasting in exchange for “The Diane Rehm Show is brought to you by the MathWorks. The MathWorks, makes of technical computing software… online at http://www.mathworks.com.”

    I imagine that some of Castleman’s comments were just out of frustration. When he issues an apology, I’ll believe it. I’m disappointed that the school refused his money when he reinstanted the offer: [www.baltimoresun.com] . It does make the school look like pricks. They couldn’t have given 8 scholarships or something?

  70. There’s an interesting exchange going on with some self-described Patterson high school teachers and a close personal friend of a teacher here:
    [weblogs.baltimoresun.com] .

    As a Patterson High School employee, I was outraged not by Castle Toyota’s decision to rescind the scholarships, but by Laura D’Anna’s complete mishandling of the situation. According to Sara Neufeld’s article, “Since students and staff were grieving, she [D’Anna] decided that no media would be allowed.” What does one have to do with the other? There is no doubt that the students involved absolutely deserve the scholarships, but Castle Toyota was put in an unfairly difficult position. Major Thomas’s death is a tragedy, but should not have been the central theme of Patterson’s Senior Farewell. …

    My personal opinion is that Ms. D’Anna is a bully and a manipulator, and it’s because of those qualities that I (and any other Patterson staff members who were immune to her sermonizing and general propaganda) don’t want to stand against her. I just want to beg you to dig a little deeper into this story. I know that it seems like it’s a happy ending, and the evil Big Company is put into its place – but that just isn’t the whole truth. [“A Patterson High Employee – Really”]

    When you clear away all of the “he said / she said” and all the talk about who intended to do what for whom and why, in the end a few clear facts remain: Laura D’Anna took the high road, and Castle Toyota took the low road, and Laura D’Anna got the scholarships (and then some) for the students. …

    Laura D’Anna is invested in creating opportunities for success for Baltimore students, as evidenced by this and her long track record as an educator and administrator. Based on results alone, it is obvious who the “bad guy” is, here, and it’s not Laura D’Anna. [“Another Patterson High School Teacher”]

  71. Wubbytoes says:

    Man, what an ass.

  72. @Concerned_Citizen: If people didn’t get tax breaks for charity, you would see the amount of donations fall real fast.

    In fact, that’s precisely why the tax breaks exist: to encourage donations to charity.

  73. Trai_Dep says:

    Tasteless? What!? It’d be free! And it’d get him a ton of publicity!
    Geez, try to help an uncharitable guy out with a helpful suggestion and this is the thanks I get?!

    PS: it’s humor. It’s the weekend. Lighten up? Yeesh.

  74. nsv says:

    Wait, a car salesman is a money grubbing scumbag? No! Really?

  75. Sudonum says:

    @Here_we_go:
    I read what the paper reported, not the opinions of the commenters. Then I offered my opinion. What’s your point?

  76. @Trai_Dep: Of course you weren’t serious, but it’s still in bad taste. Shall I start telling offensive racist jokes? It’s just humor, after all.

  77. shufflemoomin says:

    I can’t believe people are being so hard on the car dealer. He wanted some PR and instead of giving the money to some big advertising company, he was going to use it to put some kids through college and still get awareness of his business. The school should have been grateful to do some PR in order to get something good for the students. Everyone was a winner. Then the school has to be a bastard and refuse to give one day of PR in return for all that. I think it’s the school that sucks here, not the car dealer.

  78. dantsea says:

    What a dick.

  79. Parting says:

    Eeeeewww. What idiotic management in this dealership. They could just ask to do some other type of publicity with the college. Maybe dealership logo on next year agendas, or on school bags. Or a day of PR for first school day in the end of this summer.

    @shufflemoomin: He wanted a PR on a particular day, the one where students wanted to honor a deceased teacher. At smallest, it’s bad taste. I’ve given alternatives to this PR day. And I’m not running a dealership.

    Now students that attend this college, hate him. So that’s a lot of lost clientèle in the future. And I didn’t even mention relatives/people who hear about this mess through media.

  80. Chaosium says:

    “Um, the missed lesson here, Castleman, is that charity should be its own reward, not a hackneyed public relations scheme.”

    “The free market at work” indeed.

  81. Uriel says:

    CASTLEMAN!!!!!!!!!

  82. @Victo: He donated the money directly to the college instead, so why would students at the college hate him? Second, the administration decided to have a media-free memorial at the senior banquet.

    Nobody ever asks what the students want.

  83. EtherealStrife says:

    The school screwed these kids, not the dealership.

  84. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Why couldn’t they have presented those students with the scholarships after the graduation then? Or maybe hold an assembly at school to present the scholarships before the graduation.

    I just don’t see why it had to turn into an all or nothing pissing contest. They could have easily figured out a way for the dealership to get some of the PR it was asking for while allowing the graduation to be a memorial for Major Thomas.

  85. ironchef says:

    who the hell designed that logo? Sorry, It’s hideous.

  86. Edward Lionheart says:

    Hi corporate tools. Nice to have you around. Now go f*** Castleman in the *** and leave us alone. Your kind of capitalism is why George W. Bush has in eight years destroyed this country for my children and probably their children’s childrem. Question: Are you employed by corporate America to post here? Transparency! (Something of course you fight up and down through your congressional lobbyists.) Shame. Assholes.

  87. Jon Parker says:

    Any sympathy (admittedly not much) I had for the dealer went away when I read this bit from the Sunpaper story:

    For the past few years, he’s teamed up with the Steve McNair Foundation to throw an annual Christmas party for impoverished Baltimore children and provide them with presents. “These people aren’t going to buy cars from me,” he said. “We get a little PR out of it.”

    “These people”? Racist creep.

  88. bossco says:

    Greedy Bastard. Toyota? Oh what a felling….

  89. @Jon Parker: Dude, the man grew up “in a poor baltimore neighborhood”. If he was racist, he wouldn’t have been throwing the party or donating scholarships in the first place.

    Besides, who said anything about race? People of all colors are poor.

    @Edward Lionheart: This is a battle here between two egotistic forces: a corporation and a school administration. Neither is a knight in shining armor. Both seem to value themselves over the best interest of the students. If you read the whole story (both Part 1 and Part 2), you’ll see that it’s not a simple case of good and evil.

    Also, I think you’re a bit pessimistic that it’ll take 2 generations to fix the problems that W. wrought. He was bad, but not that bad that we can’t recover.

  90. ChuckECheese says:

    College students and orphans are so poor. There’s gotta be some way to make money off of that. Yeah, that’s a great definition of charity. Or is it called quid pro quo?

  91. christoj879 says:

    Castleman also decided to cancel his annual Christmas party for poor Baltimore children, saying “This is it. I’ll never have another Christmas party for these kids. It doesn’t pay.”

    As bad as it sounds, he basically said what every business is thinking. OF COURSE he’s expecting something out of it, if the guy were truly benevolent, he would have anonymously donated the money to the students. He definitely wants exposure – I too wouldn’t engage in something under my business name if it wouldn’t give me more in business than I spent.

    As others have said, the school pulled their end of the deal, I wouldn’t expect him to give them money for free without some sort of advertisement/PR.

    I’ve thought of sponsoring events and such, but it really doesn’t seem worth it for the exposure I would get. I have to side with Castleman on everything.

  92. Sugarless says:

    @sleze69: Companies don’t anonymously give scholarships.

    I disagree, perhaps the companies you know don’t anonymously give donations/scholarships, but there are companies that do.

    If the dealership owner wanted public acknowledgment of his “gift” then he said have called it public relations from the start and not pretended to give to the school to help students who clearly need assistance paying for college.

    I think he did more harm for his company.

  93. ryan_h says:

    If this guy wants the silent PR that goes along with this type of thing, he should have kept silent himself.

  94. RevRagnarok says:

    No, I didn’t read all the comments… I’m on vacation and had to read this article because my wife used to work there (Patterson).

    Anyway, as for people saying “inappropriate for ads” – you’re crazy. What’s inappropriate is when it is more than a banner. When I was an undergrad, a certain “red” cola company bought the school a nice new scoreboard for our fieldhouse and the pay-off included the stipulation that there would be no “blue” vending of ANY kind on campus for a certain number of YEARS – dorms, cafe, nothing. That was too far.

    Anyway, from what I remember the principal was a b* and the only reason my wife was able to handle it was the VP.

  95. @RevRagnarok: The pay-off included the stipulation that there would be no “blue” vending of ANY kind on campus for a certain number of YEARS – dorms, cafe, nothing.

    I’m not saying I agree with it, but those types of exclusive contracts are a pretty standard tactic for the soda giants. I still remember the day two years ago at Arizona State University when trucks showed up with Pepsi machines and hauled all of the Coke ones away. I was told it was not the time this had happened.

    There was some consolation for me, a Coke drinker, that the food service went the other direction around the same time, when they switched from Sodexho to Aramark. That victory was short-lived, however, when I learned that Aramark was worse than Sodexho.

    Now I’m at Texas A&M and there’s Coke in the vending machines and Coke in the cafeteria. I couldn’t be happier.

  96. Oh except, of course, that the food here is an in-house service and it sucks. Can’t win them all.

  97. donkeyjote says:

    @Victo: College? Students wanting to honor a dead teacher? The dealership specifically wanting to advertise on that day? What article are you reading? It was a high school, where the Principal, not the students (or teachers) decided to change the graduation to a memorial service, a week before the event. The dealership had been planning it way in advance.

    And the dealership ended up giving the money directly to the college for them to decided who gets a scholarship, instead of the asshole principal at the school.

    @Jon Parker: Racist? Because he used the phrase “These people”? Wow. Classist, maybe, because he’s talking about poor people, from the same area he is from. Poor people who can’t afford to give their kids gifts, who take public transportation, who will most likely never buy a car because they don’t need one in the middle of the city. But you’re the racist, automatically thinking poor = minority.

  98. donkeyjote says:

    @Michael Belisle: Same thing just happened at Rutgers. They went from killer coke to dipshit pepsi. What was the freaking point…

  99. unravel says:

    @Jon Parker: I wasn’t aware impoverished was a race, and I’m not sure how pointing out that people who are poor (can’t afford christmas presents poor, not “Gee, maybe I’ll skip Starbucks on Mondays and save some money because the next gen iPhone just came out!” poor) are not going to buy your cars, is racist. :shrug:

  100. redkamel says:

    well castleman shouldnt have pulled the scholarships…but it was really the schools fault. I mean, all he wanted was one freaking banner, the local news…who probably would have talked about the teacher who passed away.

  101. calebb says:

    …all he wanted was one freaking banner…”

    This is INCORRECT… Toyota *required* “one freaking banner” as a prerequisite in order to give the funds.

    This was clearly presented to the principal ahead of time. The principal renegotiated, and unfortunately, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. had to renegotiate as well.

  102. RokMartian says:

    I blame the dead ROTC teacher. If he didn’t have that heart attack, then this would not be an issue. Must have been a smoker….

  103. torazarot says:

    A follow-up article says the dealership changed its mind and tried to give the money back, but the principal refused it: [www.baltimoresun.com]

  104. evilinkblot says:

    All I can say is that I’d have been annoyed if my graduation was a memorial service/funeral.

  105. Ein2015 says:

    Ugh the public education system is so stupid.

  106. witeowl says:

    @Ein2015: Seriously? Overgeneralize much?

  107. davidc says:

    School is there to prepare kids for the real world. Business donate money for two reasons. Tax write off and publicity. Period. That is the real world.

    The problem is that Public School Admin’s generally live in a Fantasy world, which is another reason why they do a lousy job of preparing kids for the real world.

    The school taught the kids a lesson … the only downside is the “Kids” are the ones paying for the lesson. The School Admin’s couldn’t care less.

  108. mrearly2 says:

    Castleman (the greedy bastard) is giving other Jews a bad name…

  109. IC18 says:

    The principle was stupid for not thinking of the bottom line that these kids will not have a chance to go to college. The car salesman is a given.

  110. 67alecto says:

    For some reason, I’m reminded of this “other” car dealer in Baltimore:

    (nsfw):


    + Watch video

  111. LUV2CattleCall says:

    More pressing question: Does Iftin Iftin have a TomTom?

  112. geoffhazel says:

    from the bottom of the original story:
    “Castleman said he empathizes with city students, having grown up in a poor Boston neighborhood and losing the use of his right arm in a childhood accident. For the past few years, he’s teamed up with the Steve McNair Foundation to throw an annual Christmas party for impoverished Baltimore children and provide them with presents. “These people aren’t going to buy cars from me,” he said. “We get a little PR out of it.”

    But no more. After what happened at Patterson, Castleman said, “I’ll never, ever, ever give money again. This is it. I’ll never have another Christmas party for these kids. It doesn’t pay.”

    Yeah, well let’s see how much PR you get out of THIS story buddy.

    Perhaps he doesn’t realize that in the car business, there’s GOOD PR and BAD PR.

    Here in Seattle, Huling Bros in West Seattle wound up closing because a couple of their salesmen sold a pickup to a mentally deficient old guy and then went over and robbed his home to boot. The community never forgave them and the dealership is now closed.