Originally published 10 July 2000
in general release
Were here today to mark the release of the report of the
Joint Legislative Audit Committee on its investigation of Irving Moskowitzs
dealings with Hawaiian Gardens, a tiny city on the southeastern edge of Los
report was only released late last week, so we havent had time to absorb
its details. But we have noted - and we hope youll note - that it confirms
what weve said all along: that Hawaiian Gardens got the short end of the
stick in its dealings with Moskowitz. He, a rich man, bamboozled a poor,
unsophisticated city into financing the lions share - $12 Million - of his
casino on Hawaiian Gardens best piece of developable land.
It is inconceivable,
in light of this report, that state gambling officials could dream of issuing
Moskowitz a license to operate the Casino. Indeed, Attorney General Bill
Lockyer should immediately deny Moskowitz the license and then to help Hawaiian
Gardens recover the $12 millions it plowed into the casino. The project has
driven Hawaiian Gardens deeply into debt.
With Moskowitz removed from
the scene, Hawaiian Gardens can award the casino license to its choice of
straight-dealing bidders and start to recover its civic dignity. Money alone
wont mend the lives of those whove suffered from opposing Moskowitz - or
those, particularly young people, whove suffered from social neglect as Hawaiian
Gardens government turned its focus from its duty to the casino.
coalition is committed to working for that healing. We Jewish activists have
been pained to see Moskowitz present himself as representing the Jewish people.
it wasnt Moskowitzs casino dealings that brought us to Hawaiian Gardens.
We got involved because of the enormous bingo Moskowitz runs through the
Moskowitz Foundation, to comply with state laws limiting bingo to non-profit
organizations. We objected to his use of the millions of dollars in bingo
proceeds to fund the anti-democratic, anti-peace efforts of extremist Jewish
settlers in Israel.
Then we learned that Moskowitz had been using
bingo proceeds to get control of Hawaiian Gardens' government; and we met
the victims of Moskowitzs "philanthropic tyranny." Having obtained control,
Moskowitz stopped donating bingo profits to the city.
We remain concerned
about the mostly immigrant bingo workers. The Moskowitz Foundation takes
advantage of the law, intended to help legitimate charities, which requires
bingo workers to be volunteers. The Moskowitz bingo workers toil only for
tips. At least some of them do. We recently found, and sent the attorney
general, a W-2 income tax form, showing that one bingo worker was paid, illegally,
by Moskowitzs security company.
We hope JLAC will go on to investigate
the bingo. But even better would be the attorney general acting immediately
to revoke Moskowitzs bingo license. Then Hawaiian Gardens could bid out the
lucrative game to an operator who promised to share the wealth with the struggling
Its too soon to know whether the report will spark any criminal
prosecutions. The report calls for such investigations.there is no question
that it is a stinging moral indictment of Moskowitzs reign of intimidation
over Hawaiian Gardens.
READ THE OTHER STATEMENTS FROM THE JLAC PRESS CONFERENCE
Haim Dov Beliak | Rabbis
Steven Jacobs and Jerry Goldstein | Walter
McKinney | Mina
K. Meyer | Sharon