- Associated Press - Friday, March 7, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A former employee of Kansas City’s downtown entertainment district alleges that the district’s owners and others deliberately created disturbances so they could eject black patrons from the area.

Glen Cusimano, a former security liaison for the Power & Light district, alleges in a lawsuit filed in Jackson County Court that Cordish Companies and others engaged in several racially discriminatory practices, including having white men start arguments with black patrons to get the patrons kicked out of the area.

Cusimano said the practice was used 20 to 30 times last summer, the Kansas City Star reported Friday (https://bit.ly/1jZC0Gy )

Cordish, a Baltimore-based developer of the district, called the accusations “complete fabrications” from a disgruntled employee who was fired.

Cusimano, who is black, is seeking $10 million in actual and punitive damages. He was first hired as a security guard for a bar in 2009 before being promoted to a security liaison for the entire entertainment district and general manager for the Mosaic Lounge and Hotel Nightclub.

Cusimano said he was ordered in 2012 to hire a white man, known as a “rabbit,” to start arguments with black patrons. He also alleges that he was fired for no valid reason last September after Mosaic switched from being a hip-hop music venue that was popular with black patrons.

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

She said the dispute with the Cordish properties intensified when Cusimano refused to sign a confidentiality agreement about the alleged civil rights violations he witnessed.

Lounge KC LLC and Entertainment Concepts Investors LLC, two Cordish-tied enterprises, and First Response Inc., a security company, also are named in the lawsuit.

Cordish officials said Cusimano was charged with assault after he attacked a handcuffed person during an incident. The company said his firing was justified and attorney Bob Fowler called the lawsuit’s accusations “complete fabrications and 100 percent false.”

Fowler said, “Mosaic Nightclub had no choice but to terminate Mr. Cusimano’s employment. Mosaic will vigorously defend Mr. Cusimano’s outrageous allegations and intends to file its own counterclaims against Mr. Cusimano.”

Fowler also said Cusimano failed to disclose that he served nine months in prison after being convicted of federal wire fraud in June 2005.


Information from: The Kansas City Star, https://www.kcstar.com

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