Activists blast A.C. casino owner for donations to antigay politicos
by Jen Colletta
Oct 27, 2011 | 1602 views | 1 1 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Union leaders are criticizing the co-owner of an Atlantic City casino that recently launched an LGBT club for having a history of donating to antigay New York politicians.

Resorts co-owner Morris Bailey and his family have donated more than $100,000 to a group of New York local and state lawmakers since 2004.

This past summer, Resorts launched Prohibition, the first and only LGBT casino nightclub in Atlantic City.

At the time of Prohibition’s opening, Resorts’ new director of LGBT marketing told PGN the club was the brainchild of the casino hotel’s co-owner and CEO Dennis Gomes.

Bailey’s donations were brought to light by longtime LGBT activist Cleve Jones, a labor leader with Unite Here, whose Local 54 represents Atlantic City casino workers.

Among the beneficiaries of donations from Bailey, his wife Paulette, daughter Ester Jerome and her husband Joseph Jerome are New York City Councilmembers Simcha Felder and Martin Golden and New York Sens. David Greenfield and Carl Kruger.

“I think it’s glaringly hypocritical that these folks who have a clearly documented history of supporting candidates who are vehemently opposed to equality for LGBT people want to seek to profit from gay money,” Jones said.

Bailey and Gomes did not return calls for comment.

Kruger’s name was in the news in the past year after he was outed following his indictment on bribery and forgery charges.

The Democrat voted against same-sex marriage in 2009 but, following last spring’s headlines, cast his vote in support of the state’s successful gay-marriage bill in June.

Golden, a Republican, voted against the same-sex marriage bill this year and in 2009, and last year voted against a measure that would allow unmarried partners to adopt a child.

Felder voted against a 2002 measure to allow New York City to recognize domestic partnerships, civil unions or same-sex marriages performed legally in other jurisdictions, as well as a 2007 resolution to urge Congress to pass the Uniting American Families Act, which would make immigration laws equitable for same-sex couples.

Felder, who now serves as the city’s deputy comptroller, backed open lesbian Councilwoman Christine Quinn’s bid to become Council Speaker but left to visit the restroom when the vote was taking place, with a spokesperson later saying he did not vote because of “religious reasons.”

Felder also voted against a measure that would require city contractors to offer same-sex domestic-partner benefits and a bill to include gender identity as a class protected from discrimination.

Greenfield, who succeeded Felder, was the sole member of Council last summer to vote against a bill, proposed after the state Senate blocked the same-sex marriage measure, that required the New York City Clerk’s Office to offer information on which jurisdictions throughout the world offer same-sex marriage.

Between 2005-10, Bailey donated $4,500 to Kruger and $5,000 each to Felder and Greenfield, while his wife contributed $37,500 between 2004-10: $18,750 to Felder, $5,000 to Greenfield, $7,500 to Kruger and $6,250 to Golden.

Bailey’s daughter has contributed $6,250 to Golden and $5,000 to Greenfield since 2006, while her husband donated $25,500 to Kruger, $5,000 to Greenfield, $6,250 to Golden and $4,250 to Felder.

Resorts is owned by Gomes Gaming Inc., of which Bailey has 25-percent ownership, and which owns Gomes Gaming NJ LLC.

Gomes Gaming NJ LLC has a management agreement with DGMB Casino LLC, owned almost exclusively by DGMB Casino Holding LLC. The last company is 75-percent owned by JEMB Resorts LLC, of which Joseph Jerome is a 25-percent owner, and 30-percent ownership is also delegated to the Bailey Family 2010 Grandchildren’s Trust in Ester Jerome’s name.

Unite Here holds favorable positions on an array of LGBT issues, including the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and marriage equality and offers domestic-partner benefits for staff. Jones said the organization has a history of advocating for LGBT equality — which he said is antithetical to the voting records of the politicos Bailey supported.

“Unite Here is unequivocally committed for full equality for LGBT people. We’re putting in the hard work educating our members about these issues, marching in Pride celebrations and fighting for job protections in all of our contracts in states where it’s illegal to discriminate against LGBT people,” Jones said. “This is a fighting union, and we want to speak out to show support for all of our workers and families. And we want to let the owners of Resorts know that this is unacceptable.”

Resorts came under fire earlier this year after it fired 16 female cocktail servers ages 40-60 because they didn’t meet new appearance standards, which included a new flapper-themed uniform.

Jen Colletta can be reached at jen@epgn.com.

Comments
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RICHARD32
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November 02, 2011
What a great story. I would have had no idea of the connection or backgrounds without your research. You could have left out half the dollars, percentages, relationships and some of the GOMES and UNITE HERE tedium, personally. The first half of the story was stellar.

and wtf does firing cocktail waitresses have to do with lgbt affairs?