Lawsuit Alleges That Ivanka Pal-Turned-White House Advisor Banned Black People From His Clubs

Donald Trump this week announced his latest White House advisor, a man whose real estate management company is currently being sued for racial discrimination, the Daily Beast reports.


Trump on Monday tapped Reed Cordish, president of Entertainment Concept Investors—a real estate management company that owns bars and clubs throughout the U.S.—to be his assistant to the president for Intergovernmental and Technology Initiatives. As New York Magazine reports, the president-elect is friends with David Cordish, who owns ECI’s parent company; Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump even facilitated Reed Cordish’s engagement to his current wife.

According to the Daily Beast, ECI currently faces two discrimination lawsuits stemming from a Kansas City, Missouri project Cordish partnered on with incoming White House adviser Jared Kushner. The project was on a building in the city’s Power and Light District, which according to two separate lawsuits is commonly referred to as the “Power and White District.”

Dante Combs and Adams Williams filed a class action racial discrimination against Cordish’s business in 2014 claiming they were beaten and harassed by white employees. During testimony in that case, Christian Martinez—a former floor manager at Tengo, a club owned by Cordish—told the court, “Reed Cordish’s code words for blacks was ‘urbans’ or ‘Canadians.’”

She also said Jake Miller, vice president of ECI, “did not want any African-Americans” at Tengo. According to Martinez, she once overheard Miller demand the DJ change the music, demanding, “Get that fucking n**ger music off here.”

“He made the comment that if he ever saw this many n**gers in the building again, he would chain the doors and burn it down with me inside,” Whitlock testified. “He was embarrassed and horrified to see what we had done to his club.”

Another man, Thomas Alexitch, told the court he was hired at Cordish-owned Mosaic club to “start altercations with certain groups of people. By starting these altercations, I ensured that these groups of people would be kicked out of the club,” alleging supervisors told him who to target.

“I would estimate that 90 percent of the people I started altercations with were African Americans,” Alexitch said in a sworn testimony.

Another lawsuit filed by Shelton McElroy in 2015 said a Cordish-owned club discriminated against him under the guise of the club’s dress code.

After initially denying McElroy access to the club, the suit alleges “the music abruptly switched [from hip hop] to country music” once he was inside. A bouncer later approached him to say he’ was in violation of the dress code because his pants were “sagging.”

According to McElroy, he was wearing “a polo and khaki slacks” while he watched “three white men are dancing on top of the bar completely shirtless while the female bartender poured drinks in their mouth.” McElroy was eventually arrested for second-degree criminal trespassing stemming from his night at the club.

In a statement, Cordish said “an ethos of public service” is a “core foundation” of his family’s companies.

“It is a true honor for me to be appointed as an assistant to the president,” Cordish said in a statement. “The core foundation of the Cordish Companies was built upon an ethos of public service and a commitment to transforming American cities across the country. Accepting this position is in keeping with those values and I am proud to serve our country in this capacity,”

The Trump transition team called the allegations against Cordish “baseless.”

“The allegations referenced against the company were determined to be baseless and dismissed by summary judgment with no finding of wrongdoing,” a statement reads. “In fact Cordish has been recognized from leading civil-rights groups as a model company for inclusiveness. In its 100-year history, including welcoming over 50 million visitors per year to its developments and with a work-force of over 10,000 employees, the company has a truly exemplary civil-rights record without a single finding against the company or its principals.”

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