Democrats call on Tennessee to divest McDonald’s shares

The state Capitol on March 16, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Democratic Reps. Yusuf Hakeem of Chattanooga and Joe Towns of Memphis are calling on state Treasurer David Lillard to divest Tennessee of its $80 million worth of shares in McDonald’s after 77 African-American former franchisees sued the company for allegedly denying them the same opportunities as white restaurant owners.

Here’s the letter Hakeem sent to Lillard this week:

Dear Treasurer Lillard, 

I write to concur with the request made of you by Representative Towns in September of this year to reconsider the Tennessee Treasury’s investment in McDonald’s stock. The allegations in the amended complaint filed against McDonald’s on behalf of 77 former Black franchisees are disturbing, and even more troubling is the significant decline in the number of McDonald’s Black franchisees. I share the concern expressed by Representative Towns’ that the Tennessee Treasury currently holds nearly $80 million of McDonald’s stock and I likewise believe we should use this moment to take a stand for racial equality and divest our state’s stock in McDonald’s.

Studies have shown that income inequality leads to higher rates of health and social problems. While these former franchisees sought to achieve the American dream and financial security, McDonald’s allegedly took steps to ensure that African-American owners were not afforded the same opportunity to succeed at the same levels as White franchisees financially. The State of Tennessee should not support any business that systematically engages in harmful practices to Black business owners and further widens the income gap. Sadly, the company has a well- documented history of racial discrimination and based on the allegations in the lawsuit; they still have much work to do. Until McDonald’s takes steps to correct its misdeeds, Tennesseans should not reward the company by holding onto nearly $80 million in its stock. Please call me at your convenience to discuss.



State Representative Yusuf Hakeem

11 Responses to Democrats call on Tennessee to divest McDonald’s shares

  • Avatar
    John Whiteley says:

    Sure, screw all the Black Tennesseans who benefit from good investments.
    These people are idiots.

  • Avatar
    Stuart I. Anderson says:


  • Avatar
    Dave West says:

    First, these allegations have not been proven or even presented in court. It is premature to take this action until the suit is resolved. Then, if the plaintiffs prevail, debate can take place over what action, if any, the state should take.

    Second, this is an an attempt to weaponize state funds/investments to further an agenda. The one criteria for public fund investments should be that they benefit the state — and therefore all its citizens. To make investment decisions on other reasons can lead to reduction of the benefits desired.

  • Avatar
    Karen Bracken says:

    I have no doubt there is much more to this story than we are being told.

  • Avatar
    Beatrice Shaw says:

    That 80 million can go a LONG way to helping minorities and disenfranchised persons (like ones in this article) to get on their feet in this 1% driven society where we all basically work for 3 or 4 corporations.

  • Avatar
    James White says:

    Texas Lawsuit Now Joined by Eight Other States; Likely to Determine Election Outcome…. Tennessee is Not one of the joiners…. Why not?

    • Avatar
      Taxpayer #314 says:

      TN did not join the law suit against other states because that lawsuit is a farce and will get laughed out of court. No state has ANY say so in how another state votes. The election “outcome” has already been decided and recounted many times and Biden won. Trump lost by a landslide. It is over. Every single lawsuit from trump’s farting lawyer was rejected from every court and cost republican donors millions of dollars, but they keep giving. Trump keeps getting laughed out of court and today 1,500 judges and lawyers posted a letter urging stripping the legal licenses from the entire team of trumps lawyers. The election is over, done with, get over it. Repeat, Biden Won, Trump Lost by a landslide!

  • Avatar
    Phillip Lassiter says:

    The TN AG is a Haslam puppet. Haslam a den. That’s why. Simple and truthful.
    As far as this article goes, didn’t Pilot Oil also take advantage of people in a similar way? I believe, yes!! You know it’s true also.

  • Avatar
    Taxpayer #314 says:

    The fact that the state of TN “joined” in the lawsuit does nothing except show the USA more of the “Trump Effect” in leading the country down the rabbit hole. A lot of the cowering republican led states are blindly joining in this lawsuit simply to appease Trump. This lawsuit will be quickly laughed out of court and might just be the trigger for many of the lawyers involved to loose their licenses to practice law. Lawyers are not supposed to lie to judges and judges take that pretty seriously. Even a Trump appointed judge would have a rough time spending even a few minutes of the court’s time on such a foolish suit. It is a non starter. Trump is way past desperate and shooting at the moon with a revolver.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *