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Ex-TEDCO fund director alleges race, sex discrimination in federal lawsuit

A former fund director at the Maryland Technology Development Corporation is claiming in a new federal lawsuit that she was subjected to race- and sex-based discrimination while she worked at the investment organization, which is better known as TEDCO.

Angela Singleton filed her lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court in Maryland. In the complaint, she alleges that she was fired from TEDCO in June 2020 because she complained about the discrimination she faced there as a Black woman.

Angela Singleton

Angela Singleton

Singleton worked at TEDCO from 2012 until 2020, and during her last years there she directed the Builder Fund, which focused on providing support to minority entrepreneurs. The Maryland legislature created TEDCO in 1998 to support new business ventures.

Singleton claims the discrimination she experienced also extended to entrepreneurs who applied for TEDCO funding.

“From the outset, plaintiff was subjected to a pattern of race and sex-based discrimination, and witnessed the discriminatory treatment of colleagues and applicants for TEDCO funding based on their race and sex,” Singleton’s attorney, Denise Clark, wrote in the complaint. Clark declined to comment for this story.

The complaint claims that in 2017 and 2018, only 10 out of TEDCO’s 135 investments were made in companies run by Black entrepreneurs, and that those companies represented only 0.85% of the total investment amount — $270,000 out of the more than $31 million TEDCO invested during those years.

TEDCO’s CEO at the time told Singleton that investments in Black-owned businesses were “higher risk,” the complaint claims.

A spokesperson for TEDCO could not be reached for comment Monday.

Singleton also alleges that she was personally subjected to discrimination by her colleagues, including male co-workers who “shunned and excluded her from important meetings and networking events, often refused to speak to her, (and) refused to come to meetings about her deals they were charged by their managing director to attend,” according to the complaint.

She and another female colleague were transferred to different positions when they raised concerns about the discrimination they faced, the complaint claims.

Singleton then developed the idea for the Builder Fund and helped secure funding for the program, according to the complaint, though TEDCO at first did not name her director of the fund and assigned a male co-worker to lead the project with her. She was eventually made director of the fund.

The complaint claims that three other women also raised similar concerns about sex and race discrimination at TEDCO when the organization’s Board of Directors commissioned a “workplace cultural study” in 2019. TEDCO reported that the study revealed no evidence of discrimination, according to the complaint.

Singleton also alleges that her supervisor at TEDCO began sabotaging the Builder Fund in retaliation for the complaints. A male employee who worked on the Builder Fund also began making complaints about Singleton’s management style and began going around Singleton to supervisors.

Singleton was placed on a performance improvement plan on June 15, 2020, according to the complaint, and fired four days later. Two other women who had also complained about discrimination were also terminated in 2020, the complaint claims.

The lawsuit brings claims of race- and sex-based discrimination, retaliation, and defamation. Singleton is seeking unspecified damages and backpay.

The case is docketed in U.S. District Court in Maryland at 1:22-cv-999.