Executives at DaimlerChrysler Services' Chicago zone office made racially derogatory references to black employees and customers, according to depositions from two employees of the captive finance company.
The sworn statements were taken in connection with two lawsuits that allege discriminatory lending practices by DaimlerChrysler AG.
One suit was filed last year by Gerald Gorman, owner of two Chicago-area dealerships, Dodge of Midlothian and Marquette Chrysler-Jeep.
In a separate legal action, six Chicago residents are suing DaimlerChrysler Services claiming that it denied them low-interest loans because they are black. The depositions will be used in both lawsuits.
Bill Porter, a DaimlerChrysler Services spokesman, said the finance arm does not tolerate discrimination based on race and that its lending practices adhere to the law.
He said "swift and decisive" action was taken against one of the executives who was named in the depositions. Porter said Erv Sirovy, the former Chicago zone manager, was terminated three years ago. Porter also said if internal investigations find that other employees engaged in improper behavior, the company will take disciplinary action.
"That is a practice that DaimlerChrysler Services absolutely does not tolerate," Porter said.
In the depositions, which were taken in December, DaimlerChrysler Services managers James J. Schultz and Timothy Devine said they heard Sirovy make derogatory comments and racist slurs in reference to blacks. Sirovy was their superior.
Schultz said Sirovy did not like the fact that employees got Martin Luther King Jr. Day off. Schultz said: "We were off, and he didn't like that and just said, 'Hey, let's shoot four more and give us the whole week off,' along those lines."
Schultz said he understood Sirovy to be referring to shooting four more black people.
Devine said he once heard Sirovy say "n--- lie" when referring to a black employee.
Devine also said he heard another DaimlerChrysler Services executive in the Chicago office use a racial slur. The executive has been transferred to another location.
Gorman alleges in his lawsuit that racism at the finance arm caused prospective buyers at his dealerships to be turned down for credit because they were black.