The American Whistleblower Tour: Conversation with Michael Winston

March 25, 2014 - 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Michael Winston.

In collaboration with Syracuse University and the Government Accountaibilty Project (GAP), Michael Winston will speak at ArtRage in a moderated session that discusses his role as a whistleblower.

Michael Winston was a high level executive at Countrywide Financial, the lending giant taken over by Bank of America in 2008 during the mortgage crisis. Hired in 2005 as an executive vice president in leadership development, he was tasked with helping Countrywide develop better managers to grow the organization. Previously Mr. Winston held executive positions at Motorola, Merrill Lynch, Lockheed Martin, and McDonnell Douglas.

When Moody’s Investors Services expressed concern about Countrywide’s succession planning and other governance issues, Mr. Winston was asked by Countrywide’s president to present a report detailing the organization’s extensive succession plans to allay Moody’s concerns. He refused to comply with this request because he knew of no such plan. Soon afterward his budget was frozen and his duties severely curtailed. When Bank of America took over Countrywide in January 2007, he was fired.

Mr. Winston sued Bank of America for wrongful termination and retaliation against him for his refusal to mislead Moody’s, and for his filing a complaint with CAL-OSHA when employees in his building were sickened by exposure to toxic chemicals. His trial was the first to compel top Countrywide executives—including its now-disgraced founder Angelo Mozilo—to testify before a jury. In February 2011 he won a $3.8 million jury award, which was subsequently overturned on a legal technicality.

To read more about Mr. Winston visit

Free to the Public