A gay hotelier who is already under fire for hosting U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) at his Manhattan apartment has admitted to making a $2,700 donation to the anti-gay Republican’s presidential campaign. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)
A gay hotelier who hosted U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) at his Manhattan penthouse last month donated $2,700 to his presidential campaign.
The New York Times on Friday reported that Ian Reisner made the donation “around the time” he and Mati Weiderpass hosted the Republican presidential candidate at their apartment that overlooks Central Park.
Reisner — who owns the Out NYC, a gay-oriented hotel on Manhattan’s West Side and purchased the Pavilion nightclub and other commercial properties in Fire Island Pines, New York, in January for $10.1 million — had insisted the dinner was not a fundraiser. The event at which Cruz appeared took place roughly six months after Sean Verdi, who managed a now closed gay bar in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, died from a suspected drug overdose after he was found unconscious in a bathtub in Reisner and Weiderpass’ apartment.
Reisner told the New York Times in a statement that he wrote the $2,700 check to Cruz to “show my support for his work on behalf of Israel.” The gay hotelier noted he asked the campaign to return his money once he “realized his donation could be misconstrued as supporting his anti-gay marriage agenda.”
“In the interest of transparency, I gave Senator Cruz a $2,700 check to show my support for his work on behalf of Israel,” Reisner told the New York Times. “When I realized his donation could be misconstrued as supporting his anti-gay marriage agenda, I asked for the money back. Senator Cruz’s office gave the money back, and I have no intention of giving any money to any politicians who aren’t in support of LGBT issues.”
Representatives of Cruz’s presidential campaign did not immediately respond to the Washington Blade’s request for comment.
The Blade on Friday contacted Reisner for comment, and he provided the same statement he issued to the New York Times.
Reisner wrote on his Facebook page shortly after the New York Times broke the news that he and Weiderpass had hosted Cruz that he had made a “terrible mistake” in hosting the Republican who vehemently opposes marriage rights for same-sex couples and other LGBT-specific issues. Jay Pagano, president of the Fire Island Pines Property Owners Association, which represents residents of the predominantly gay resort community, announced earlier this month that the gay hotelier had made a $20,000 donation to the group’s political action committee amid growing calls to boycott his properties on Fire Island and in New York.
“$20,000 was wired to the FIPPOA PAC account and Ian has clarified to me that he will be donating ‘all of his share’ of the profits from the Pines investment,” wrote Pagano. “Ian has again asked me to express his intention of getting it right.”
Pagano on Friday declined to comment to the Blade.
Several local residents have publicly supported calls to boycott the Pavilion and other businesses that Reisner owns.
Scott Clark, whose partner has spent summers in the predominantly gay resort community for 30 years, told the Blade on Friday that they “made the immediate choice that we would no longer patronize any of their establishments” once they learned that Reisner had made a donation to Cruz’s campaign.
Clark has also taken issue with FIPPOA for accepting a donation from the gay hotelier.
“To put it in a polite way I’m disgusted by the parties involved that see this only and a monetary issue and not as an equality issue,” Clark told the Blade. “For to long business have wanted gay dollars and have used those dollars against gay. This time it was too much and as a community we are fighting back.”
Reisner told the Blade on Friday that growing calls to boycott Out NYC and his Fire Island properties have not adversely impacted his bottom line.
– See more at: http://www.washingtonblade.com/2015/05/29/gay-hotelier-made-2700-donation-to-cruz-campaign/#sthash.Pt5qkdnd.dpuf