As opening day approaches for Eureka's Wal-Mart (behold the interactive 360-degree panorama of the construction site above), a story in today's New York Times shows just how far the biggest of big box retailers will go in its "relentless pursuit of growth."
The exhaustive story (this sucker clocks in at nearly 8,000 words) reports widespread bribery of government officials by executives of Wal-Mart de Mexico. A whistleblower says that the company engaged in an orchestrated bribery campaign "to obtain permits in virtually every corner of the country." When Wal-Mart's U.S. leaders were informed that Mexican and U.S. laws had likely been broken, they took a willfully blind, half-assed approach to an internal investigation, the story reports.
A former executive of Wal-Mart de Mexico says the bribes "targeted mayors and city council members, obscure urban planners, low-level bureaucrats who issued permits -- anyone with the power to thwart Wal-Mart's growth."
In 1999, Wal-Mart tried and failed to convince Eureka voters to support a zoning change on the so-called Balloon Track property. Their entry to the Bayshore Mall required no such zoning change or voter approval.
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