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News Release
Appeal to Attorney General Lockyer

Update:  June 26, 1999, Attorney General Lockyer has agreed to meet with representatives of The Coalition for Justice in Hawaiian Gardens and Jerusalem.

Friday, June 25, 1999
Contact: The Coalition for Justice in Hawaiian Gardens and Jerusalem

Immediate Release and Background

Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak, Coordinator for the Coalition for Justice in Hawaiian Gardens and Jerusalem, this morning has delivered an urgent appeal to Attorney General Bill Lockyer, urging him to stop the Hawaiian Gardens Redevelopment Agency from signing a bizarre and dangerous document prepared by casino developer Irving Moskowitz. Beliak plans to be at the 9 a.m. 'emergency meeting' at Hawaiian Gardens City Hall to oppose and protest the passage. The document was ready for the agency's regular meeting Tuesday night, said Rabbi Beliak, adding: 'We believe the Hawaiian Gardens City Council and the Redevelopment Agency deliberately called the 'emergency' meeting to adopt this fateful document with the minimum of public attention.'

The Coalition for Justice in Hawaiian Gardens and Jerusalem has sent the enclosed letter to the Attorney General after receiving the attached copy of the "Certificate of Estoppel." The Coalition is asking the Attorney General to act immediately to stop or undo the adoption of the certificate, which would gravely harm the city's interests.


The long suffering City of Hawaiian Gardens is again faced with a twist of fate and fortune brought on by the political, economic, and ideological manipulations of the City's sometime patron and developer, Dr. Irving Moskowitz. Moskowitz is demanding that the City give over all control and discretion over its financial future by signing away it right to question the legality of the past as orchestrated by Moskowitz. Using a legal maneuver known as an Estoppel Certificate, Moskowitz is seeking to quash and silence opposition to the questionable dealings around the building of the Hawaiian Gardens Card Club. The certificate would deny the past history of the City's redevelopment agency's financing of the casino, very possibly in violation of the Isenberg statutes. Assemblyman Alan Lowenthal is currently investigating whether the agency violated that statute, which forbids the use of redevelopment agency funds for gambling enterprises contracted after April 1996.

Moskowitz came to the City of Hawaiian Gardens as a hospital developer. Since 1988, using the Irving Moskowitz Foundation's tax-exempt status, he has run the Bingo Club. The high-speed bingo produces the highest revenue in California. The foundation's latest IRS filings, from 1997, indicate it grossed approximately $33 million. Far from being a boon to the residents of Hawaiian Gardens, the bingo proceeds have gone largely to support right-wing Israeli settler organizations. In contravention of the spirit of the state's charity bingo statute Moskowitz claims volunteer status for his workers. But he keeps them in virtual bondage to his 363-day-a-year gold mine. The volunteers earn only tips from bingo winners.

As Moskowitz prepares to expand his five table Card Casino to a 250 table operation, the City's fortunes continue to go from bad to worse. Beginning in 1995 Moskowitz began exercising complete political control over the less than 3000 voters. Moskowitz disallowed the City opportunities offered from other developers who sought to open stores, competing Bingo operations, and even a privately funded alternative Casino.

A recently launched challenge to Moskowitz -- The Coalition for Justice in Hawaiian Gardens and Jerusalem -- opposes Moskowitz's viselike control and urges the Attorney General, Bill Lockyer to intervene by denying Moskowitz a permanent license for the Casino; demanding that Moskowitz's Bingo Operations cease; that the Isenberg Bill be enforced; and the City of Hawaiian Gardens be helped to regain control over its future. The coalition is made up of residents of Hawaiian Gardens, Hispanic, Asian - American, Jewish and other community leaders.

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