Racism claims against Live! casino developer cited at hearing

Activists said that the Live! Hotel and Casino project shouldn’t go forward if allegations of racism against the developer are sustained.

Pamela Peebles, chair of the Pennsylvania chapter of the National Action Network (PANAN), raised the objection during a City Planning Commission hearing on the project— citing lawsuits accusing Cordish Companies casinos in Kentucky, Kansas and Missouri of racially discriminatory practices.

“We can’t have a company coming in in 2015 and being discriminatory against people of color,” Peebles said. “We’re not welcoming them into the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection if they practice racial discrimination.”

These practices allegedly ranged from hiring a white man known as a ‘rabbit’ to start arguments with black customers to get them ejected, to instituting dress codes banning sagging pants and very long shirts, purportedly to bar minority guests, according to PANAN.

Peebles said NAN would release a report in two weeks about the validity of the allegations of racism.

Zed Smith, Cordish’s chief operating officer, told Peebles there was “misinformation” going around and said he would contact PANAN to discuss their concerns, but declined to talk to media.