The Cordish Companies under fire after new reports of racial discrimination
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Cordish Companies, the company that manages 4th Street Live!, is under fire after the release of a new report that outlines widespread allegations of discrimination.
Click HERE to read the full report. (WARNING: Report includes graphic language.)
The report was completed by a consulting firm in New York and examined discrimination allegations at multiple Cordish properties, including Louisville's Fourth Street Live! and similar venues in Philadelphia and Kansas City.
Minister Jerald Muhammad of Brothers Helping Brothers pointed to the report as evidence of widespread, management-directed efforts to keep black people out of these venues.
The report outlines testimony of club employees who say management used code words to prevent admitting black people, using the phrase, "It's getting dark in here," to indicate that club bouncers should tell blacks waiting to enter that the club was full.
Muhammad says this should spark outrage, not only from black citizens, but from all citizens of Louisville.
"This 350,000 square foot facility is heavily subsidized by government money, so the taxpayers of Louisville help funding of Fourth Street Live!, so your funding – your tax dollars – are going to an organization that does not practice fair treatment to minorities," Muhammad said.
A meeting is expected to be held Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Yealings Club on W. Broadway to hear from victims of discrimination and form a plan of action.
But The Cordish Companies was quick to respond after the report was released, pointing to another report conducted by two groups -- The Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity and the NAACP -- that defends the company's civil rights record.
Zed Smith, Chief Operating Officer of The Cordish Companies, issued the following statement:
"As evidenced in the attached articles, the so-called report has been completely discredited. The background is that NAACP Chapter of Philadelphia was asked to participate in a press conference the purpose of which was to impugn our company’s civil rights record. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, in an article dated June 13, 2015, Reverend Rodney Muhammad, President of the Philadelphia Branch of the NAACP, refused to participate when he became aware that Unite Here, a labor union seeking an inside track on organizing workers at Stadium Casino LLC’s (Cordish) planned $475 million casino, was linked to the report.
The Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity, on behalf of the NCAAP, conducted an investigation on our company's record, and then issued a report on same which concluded that “The Cordish Companies has a strong record in promoting diversity” and “Cordish has gone over and beyond the goals set for minority inclusion.” Rodney Muhammad, President NAACP Philadelphia stated, “The Company has a track record of commitment to diversity and community building and is a model in that regard.”
As The Cordish Companies Chief Operating Officer, I am proud of not only of what our company has accomplished in the area of inclusion and diversity as an organization, but that we have taken a leadership role in every city in which we operate. It is gratifying to have such distinguished organizations as The Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity and NAACP Chapters throughout the country validate the way we do business. The Black Clergy and NAACP Report and its accompanying testimonials cite our outstanding positive track record in the areas of minority contracting, hiring and community outreach, and the core values within our organization that embrace diversity and inclusion based on the simple premise that it’s the right thing to do."
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