Coalition for Justice in
Hawaiian Gardens and Jerusalem
Story of Moskowitz and Hawaiian Gardens
to Attorney General Bill Lockyer
Others Are Saying
the E-Mail List
Letter to Western
We've sent you the video in this package because we
believe it's important for you to know what Irving Moskowitz is doing,
both in Jerusalem and the small city in Los Angeles County, Hawaiian
Gardens. It's important because he's doing it in your name! Moskowitz has
access to influential politicians and acts as though he has the support of
the entire Jewish community.
You've undoubtedly heard about Moskowitz's controversial
dealings in Jerusalem, which are widely
viewed as a declaration of war against the peace process. For some years
he has bought Palestinian homes for militant settler organizations and in
1996 he was a leading funder of an "archeological" tunnel, which
sparked riots resulting in over 70 deaths. This year, Moskowitz has been
constructing two Jewish housing projects--one of them in Abu Dis, regarded
as the key to compromise on the Palestinian demand for a Jerusalem
But did you know...
...that Moskowitz gets money for his Jerusalem real
estate purchases from an enormous "charitable" bingo his Irving
I. Moskowitz foundation runs in Hawaiian Gardens?
Moskowitz has given the militant settler group Ateret
Cohanim 4.7 million in bingo funds through the non-profit American Friends
of Ateret Cohanim. The group, which openly advocates exclusive Jewish
control of Jerusalem.
- Moskowitz funneled $3 million in bingo funds into
provocative Jerusalem real estate purchases through the American
Friends of Everest, a US-based foundation
wholly controlled by his family.
- With his provocative real estate ventures,
Moskowitz is taking it upon himself to make life and death decisions
for Israelis, wrote
a Jewish telegraphic agency analyst: "Moskowitz's rise to
prominence stems not so much from the size of the funds he puts at the
disposal of land-purchasing groups...but from his unerring choice of
and did you know that...
...the Moskowitz "charitable" bingo is so
large and lucrative his foundation grosses as much as $33 million a year
on the bingo?
- With 600 seats, the Moskowitz bingo is so big and its
prizes are so lavish (players can even win new cars) that it's driven
out smaller, traditional charity games. Every single synagogue within
20 miles of Hawaiian Gardens that relied on bingo has abandoned or cut
way back on its games. We're hearing the same story from churches and
- The Moskowitz foundation has no members to volunteer
to run the games. Instead, availing himself of a state law requiring
bingo workers to be volunteers of the organization running the game,
Moskowitz uses unpaid Mexican immigrants. They run their feet off for
whatever tips players toss their way.
- The Moskowitz "charitable" bingo is hard to
distinguish from a commercial, for-profit business. It's using its
tax-exempt status in a way that strains credulity and, ultimately,
threatens the tax-exempt privileges enjoyed by real religious and
- Moskowitz enjoys an explicit bingo monopoly in
Hawaiian Gardens. One city council member who advocated an ordinance
that would end the monopoly found himself out of Moskowitz's favor and
soon after, out of office, a common trajectory for local politicos who
...that Moskowitz uses the bingo revenues to control
Hawaiian Gardens--not to alleviate its serious poverty?
- Despite his promise, when Hawaiian Gardens gave him
his bingo license in 1988, to donate most of the bingo profits to the
city, Moskowitz donates the bulk of his foundation's bingo revenues to
organizations opposing Middle East peace.
- Indeed, this year, Moskowitz has only donated $35,000
to the city -- less than one percent of his giving to municipal causes
several years ago, when he was soliciting votes and securing
public funds to build a poker casino (see below).
- is this not a unique situation, that, in the name of
the Jewish community, Moskowitz has taken over the politics, the
economy and the future of a poor majority-latino city?
...that Moskowitz has put Hawaiian Gardens and its
redevelopment agency in hock to build his casino?
- In 1993, Moskowitz pushed through a sweetheart deal
with the Hawaiian Gardens Community Redevelopment Agency to develop
what, at the time, everyone thought would be a large retail complex.
But by 1995, Moskowitz was backing a ballot measure authorizing a
casino-with over $500,000, almost $200 a vote.
- In 1996 and 1997, when Moskowitz was recalling casino
opponents on the city council and getting the project underway, he
lavished bingo foundation funds on Hawaiian Gardens. then he cut way,
way back, necessitating dismantling of the city's police force and the
laying off of over half its staff.
- Meanwhile, the city and the Redevelopment Agency are
staggering under the burden of Moskowitz's casino, which, unlike the
"charitable" bingo, is a private venture of Moskowitz and
his wife. But private in this instance does not preclude generous
public funding. (The members of the Hawaiian Gardens city council
comprise the redevelopment agency's board of directors.)
- That 1993 sweetheart deal has come back to bite the
two government bodies, which have frantically borrowed from each other
(and deprived residents of municipal services and redevelopment) as
they scramble to cover the agency's commitments to pay most of the
eminent domain costs and many of the construction costs of Moskowitz's
casino. The agency is in danger of going belly up, its outside
- A state assembly member who represents Hawaiian
Gardens is investigating whether the agency's contributions to
Moskowitz's gambling venture are even legal under 1996 legislation
known as the Isenberg amendment.
- This July, the agency's inability to pay for work on
the casino apparently reawakened Moskowitz's giving instincts. but he
didn't let his generosity run amok. Instead, he loaned the city $3.5
million at prime rate. The loan deal has the city doling the money out
to the agency as casino bills come in. later, Moskowitz will withhold
the city's cut of casino revenues until principal and interest are
- Those casino revenues, which promised the city
prosperity, were the point of the whole exercise. Now it appears that
Moskowitz--who lives in Florida--will be the only one to prosper.
And, finally, did you know
...that Moskowitz is
operating the casino on a provisional license and has been campaigning to
get the required permanent state license?
- He sponsored a birthday fundraiser for Attorney
General Bill Lockyer, whose department issues gambling licenses.
- We surmise that the attorney general has not
addressed the issues we've outlined in this letter for fear of
offending the Jewish community.
Please learn more about Moskowitz's impact on Hawaiian
Gardens and Jerusalem by spending 18 minutes viewing the video.
The Coalition for Justice in Hawaiian Gardens and
Jerusalem is asking Lockyer to:
- Deny Moskowitz a casino license!
- Revoke Moskowitz's "charitable" bingo
- Help Hawaiian Gardens residents regain control of
We hope you'll schedule viewings of the video for the
maximum number of people in your congregation and that you --and they --
will join us in urging Attorney General Lockyer and other officials to stop
This is an opportunity to express our desire for social
justice in Hawaiian Gardens and for a fair chance for Israelis and
Palestinians to achieve peace.
You can write to Lockyer at:
Office of the Attorney General
Department of Justice
P.O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550
You can also phone him at 916-445-9555 or visit his web
site at caag.state.ca.us, which has
forms for sending him email messages.
Please also visit our frequently updated web site,
Thank you for your attention and sincerely yours,
Haim dov Beliak, Rabbi
Click here to read
a summary of the Coalition's video, "A Tale of Two Cities: Hawaiian
Gardens and Jerusalem"