Casino’s Last Stand: A Nauseating Display of Hate

Downtown Richmond

by Jon Baliles

The second casino referendum will be decided on Tuesday and it will be a vote (again) on whether or not Richmond wants to do the get-rich-quick schemes to help people or do the hard work of methodically mapping out a strategy and building a future. The get-rich-quick schemes like the casino and Navy Hill only benefit the select few, but the promoters promise the world to everyone and benevolence as far as the eye can see — vote for it and approve it for YOUR benefit, they say. It will be better FOR YOU than it will be for us, they boast.

We called B.S. on Navy Hill and we need to do it again with the casino, which will be a predatory drain on the community and do more harm than good, despite what they promise. And this will not be a policy wonky dive into the casino, I promise. That’s because this issue is sadly a nauseating reveal of what the casino developers really think about Richmond and Richmonders, told in their own words.

News came out this week that the promoters of the casino have been going on radio in recent days and trashing everyone in Richmond that does not support the casino. They have spent more than $10 million to try and convince people to vote for it, but they are badmouthing and trashing opponents on their own radio stations for all to hear with vile and offensive an inexcusable comments demeaning people of all kinds — black and white; the rich, middle class and poor; churchgoers, pastors. It did not matter. It was open season on anyone who didn’t support the casino; they especially went after Jim Ukrop and they absolutely thrash Tim Kaine because he voted no in 2021 and said there were better ways to promote economic development in Southside.

You probably wouldn’t believe the things they said on air if I wrote them down on paper. I would be accused of making things up or that I used an artificial intelligence program (AI) to create it and that it was just disinformation. For example, if I wrote:

  • Tim Kaine might have wanted a Confederate statue in his front yard;
  • Spending $10 million to get the referendum passed was a waste of money;
  • Richmond is filled with house n***as and field n***as;
  • Two black activists opposed to the casino were “self-hating black folk” who are being paid to oppose it;
  • Jim Ukrop was demented;
  • Casino opponent organizer Paul Goldman was a Jew who had the same traits as Judas.

But those statements were not made with an AI app. They were all said in recent days on air on a radio show called Richmond Grand Casino Update (click here for the flyer) — and you can hear all of them (and more) below. The comments were made on a station owned by casino developer and Radio One media magnate Cathy Hughes while talking with radio show host Gary Flowers and other guests.

They are repulsive, offensive, antisemitic, and worthy of listening to ONLY in the sense that it is more imperative than ever to vote NO (again) on the casino. This city does not need people (no city does) that say these types of horrid, hateful, demeaning, and insulting things in public and on air — especially since they are asking the public (again!) to put them in charge of running a predatory enterprise that will completely dominate local politics and money for a generation or more. They will profit and benefit immensely, and the city and the people will suffer. Period.

Be prepared to be offended and repulsed when listing to these audio clips, which are in THEIR own words: CLICK HERE.

So after spending $10 million to buy votes and influence (and complaining about it in audio clip #13), after all of the free meals, door knocking, paying people off, offering free rides to the polls, paying for union support, and contributing to local politicians, the referendum is still too close to call. Recent news reports show polls that are very close, but the casino developers still found the time to insult, demean, and badmouth everyone in Richmond.

A few apologies started coming out this morning. Alfred Liggins, Urban One’s CEO, apologized to Paul Goldman this morning (according to his statement here) and Mayor Stoney condemned the antisemitic attack on Goldman on Twitter (without actually calling or texting him).

But curiously, as of this writing, Stoney has not expressed his opinion nor condemned Ms. Hughes’ belittling and insulting comments toward Senator Kaine or Jim Ukrop — two people who have done more to improve Richmond in the last 50+ years than anything Ms. Hughes would ever do or could ever buy.

In fact, it’s hard to find any apologies or statements from politicians and local groups and individuals about ANYTHING regarding these horrid and vile comments. Nothing from the eight City Councilors who voted for the casino (twice) and nothing from the many people and organizations who have been supportive of the casino and/or benefit from its largesse (maybe those statements will arrive later this evening when the story hits the evening news, but don’t hold your breath). And the silence is EXACTLY what will happen to our city for the next twenty years if the casino gets approved (which it very well could if we don’t vote NO — the casino advocates are spending $1 million this final weekend to get out the vote).

The city will be run by the casino and the politicians in their pocket that, once approved, will be able to say whatever they want on the airwaves, insult and attack anyone that stands in their way, and force through legislation to please whatever whims they approve. No politician will have the stones to stand up and say, “This is wrong” or, “I have changed my position now that I know the truth,” or “I can’t self-consciously stand by and support a project run by people who hate the city I love and the people (ALL of them) that I represent.”

But we haven’t seen those statements yet — and we most likely won’t in the last four days of voting. Which is a true shame, because hideous statements like these that attack every race, color, creed, and people that have worked for decades to improve our city are simply being ignored by those supporting the casino. Instead, they are all remaining silent so they don’t offend the casino developers in hopes this will squeak by at the polls and all of this can be forgotten.

But we can’t let it be forgotten, so please share this with your friends and tell them to vote NO on Tuesday.

Unlike the casino developers who spew hate, and the politicians and supporters who stand silently and nervously by, the rest of us are trying to ensure that the future our city is filled with promise — and we will not defer or hand over control to people whose only interest in Richmond is the money they can extract from it.

Jon Baliles is a former Richmond city councilman.

Republished with permission from RVA 5×5.