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
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.