Tales of Justice
Owner of Phoenix Industries and leader of Wyldfire
Former redhead now gone mainly white, Dr. Jean-Claude Gironde is a slim, fit man in his late fifties or possibly early sixties. As an experienced psychiatrist, he is very good at projecting a neutral presence but he can be very abrupt in business environments. He usually wears glasses. He likes to go for long walks and may have neglected to take off his jacket.
Dr. Jean-Claude Gironde inherited a group of businesses known collectively as “Phoenix Industries” from his father. He is a businessman and philanthropist in the same sense that Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne are businessmen and philanthropists. He’s not on the Wayne level of “ludicrously wealthy” but he’s in no danger of ever dipping into his capital, either.
Public records show that he was something of a rabble-rouser when he was a very young man, participating in public debates and the occasional sit-in. Eventually he followed in his father’s footsteps: he got a degree in psychiatry and ran a private practice for several years with an allegedly exclusive clientele. ((Actually, he was working for the NSA, but people in the wealthy class assumed he was treating Our Kind and being properly discreet about it.))
At some point in his early thirties, his spine was injured — no one ever got the exact story as to how — and he was wheelchair-bound for many years. Unable to continue many of his long-standing activities, he decided to re-found a private boarding school for “special needs students”, based in large part on the Montessori method. Jean-Paul Gironde had run a similarly private school for select students, but it was much more like a military school, and closed down in the early sixties due to its sponsor’s failing health.
Jean-Claude receives no government or public funding for his school, and takes only pupils whose needs are uniquely suited to his setup and who cannot be helped in other facilities. There’s no waiting list — either he accepts the student after a meeting with the child and with the child’s parent(s), in which case primary guardianship is assigned to his school; or he turns the application down permanently. Other than regular inspections by a federal agency, there’s no government involvement at all. Many of his graduates go on to work for some branch of Phoenix Industries as their first formal employment — in fact, most of the staff and teachers at the NYC branch of the Gironde Institute for Special Needs Students are graduates of the original Metropolis location.
In late 1999, he returned from an overseas trip on crutches; a single press release stated that he’d undergone an experimental treatment developed by one of his privately-owned international firms, a research-based biotechnic lab, and would be applying for FDA approval to offer the new cybernetic chip to U.S. candidates as soon as in-house legal staff were satisfied that the patent was irrefutably established. Naturally, that’s going to take forever. He can’t really run, but he can now walk for reasonable amounts of time.
TOP SECRET: Jean-Claude is a telepath and has some telekinetic abilities as well; his father was a broadcast empath with similar telekinetic abilities. And since he’s a (now fading to grey) redhead, he’s pretty sure that the X-Men comics were based in no small part on his family. He’d have gotten it shut down, but he would have had to expose his family’s secret heritage. Needless to say, “that badly-thought-out soap opera farce” is not permitted material on school grounds, and it would really not be a wise idea to write a term paper on Chris Claremont no matter how amazing the storytelling may be.