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Cordish fights racism allegations in Kansas City

May 12, 2014

kc-light-districtIt’s not every day that a company sues a lawyer for defamation, and rarer still that the suit alleges defamation that allegedly occurred as part of a legal filing. But Baltimore-based Cordish Co. has done that in Kansas City, according to a report in the Star newspaper.

The move comes in a counter suit after a former Cordish employee named Glen Cusimano sued the owner of the Kansas City Power and Light District (basically it’s that city’s Power Plant Live) for $10 million, claiming he was fired unfairly from his $78,000-a-year job.  Cusimano, who is African-American, also claims the company ordered him to hire a white guy to hassle African-American patrons, the Star story says:

Cusimano says he saw numerous instances of racially discriminatory practices in which African-Americans were turned away from clubs more frequently or forced to wait longer in lines. He says that in the summer of 2012, he was ordered to employ a “rabbit,” a Caucasian male to start arguments with African-Americans to get them kicked out of Power & Light. That practice, he says, was used 20 to 30 times in the summer of 2013.

Right-o! Because real life is basically a cheesy TV show, and thus utterly illogical, counter-productive schemes like this are just the way business is done.

Cordish lawyers pointed out that Cusimano is a convicted fraudster who omitted that fact from his job application, although they later promoted him to manage Baltimore’s Mosaic, one of its biggest clubs at the time, and apparently did not check his record. He also hit a guy who was handcuffed, so there is that. But Cusimano claims the guy was trying to head-butt him at the time, according to his lawyer, and that anyway it was all part of an evil plot:

“We believe Cordish set up their own ‘rabbit’ incident against Glen to trump up a reason to fire him,” said Linda S. Dickens, an attorney for Cusimano in Overland Park. “Since then, we believe his name was slandered and defamed.”

Legal papers are usually exempt from defamation suits, libel claims, and the like. Cordish’s lawyers filed a suit against Dickens and another attorney at her firm anyway last week seeking unspecified damages. Cordish says the “rabbit” story is an elaborate extortion scheme by Cusimano and his lawyers, who know the allegations are false.

Meanwhile, Cusimano’s lawyers produced a signed affidavit by Tom Alexitch, who Cusimano said was his go-to rabbit.* According to the Star, Alexitch claimed he’d be paid free drinks, plus $50-$150 per night, “for starting fights that led to ejections.”

The African-Americans would be kicked out for the night but, Alexitch claimed, according to the Star, that he would be allowed back in to, in the Star’s words, “start more trouble if needed.”

*And has anyone, anywhere, ever heard that word used this way before? I mean, WTF?

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  • Woodrow

    Just sent an email complaining about the lack of black acts at the Pier 6 Pavilion. If it quacks like a duck and walk like a duck 9 times out of 10 its a duck.

  • dalemcclinton

    You missed a great show a couple of weeks ago at Pier Six! Ledisi headlined with The Robert Glasper Experiment and Leela James. Pier Six isn’t the best venue, and it needs to be updated. Stephen Marley and Jurassic 5 are performers for the rest of the season.
    I personal like Soundstage much more. It has a more balanced calendar with better accommodations.