Statement of Ron Silverman before the California Gambling Control Commission opposing the license application of Irving Moskowitz to operate the Hawaiian Gardens Casino.

Jan. 9, 2004

Good afternoon. I am Ron Silverman. I am here today with my wife, Linda Silverman. Up until this past November, we were the contractors for the food concession at the Hawaiian Gardens Bingo. We have come here today to tell you about the business practices of Irving Moskowitz and his foundation and our experience working for him.

For the past ten years we leased a snack bar concession in his foundation's bingo. We signed an agreement to $5,000 per month or 18% of profits - which ever was larger - on a month to month basis.

At the time that we signed the contract we also agreed to pay an additional $7,000 per month for the first year we were in business. We were told by the bingo's manager, Al Lazar, that the $84,000 would be considered a deposit and the money would be returned to us when the business relationship was terminated. Lazar also told us that despite what was in our contract that we did not have to pay out the 18% of profits in the months when that amount exceeded the $5,000. None of this was put in writing but our business relationship proceeded along these lines for many years and was never challenged. But in 2001 Moskowitz's accountant Gary Kramer did an audit and informed us that we were more than a $100,000 in arrears --- when we were told years before that we would never have to pay the additional amount. We negotiated to pay Moskowitz $40,000 in installments.

Our contract was terminated on October 31, 2003; we were not given a specific reason why we were being forced out in favor or another contractor; nor were we give the chance to make a counter-offer. Moskowitz only gave us $3,000 of our deposit money back because of the outstanding debt we supposedly owed.

We thought Moskowtiz was a man of his word but we found out differently as lots of others have, too. We feel we mistreated by the bingo operations but we were not alone. The Latino workers employed by the bingo as runners and other positions also were treated badly. Workers were told they could not speak Spanish in the building and they were not allowed to congregate. There was no break area for them to sit and rest during their breaks. Just one coffee table for 50 workers to use when they were not on the bingo floor.

We think this shows an overall lack of respect that demonstrates Moskowitz does not have the good character necessary to operate a California casino. Irving Moskowitz should not be granted a permanent casino license. Thank you.

Postscript: Later during the January 9th hearing, when Moskowitz's representatives rebutted the testimony of opponents of the license, one of them alleged that Moskowitz had terminated the Silvermans' contract because their concession "did not meet appropriate health standards." The Silvermans were so offended they obtained copies of the inspection reports. In April the Coalition sent these to the Gambling Control Commission. We have posted the reports and our cover letter. If you'd like to read them,` click here.

2003 design by elbop for the Coalition for Justice in Hawaiian Gardens and Jerusalem