(AP/Nati Harnik)

“I am shaken to my bones”: Gay NYC real-estate baron apologizes for hosting Ted Cruz event

Both said they were "deeply sorry" for their "inconceivable" ignorance -- but the boycotts have already started


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Scott Eric Kaufman
April 27, 2015 8:10PM (UTC)

Facing a furious backlash from the LGBT community, the two gay New York City real estate developers who own nearly three-quarters of the real estate in Fire Island Pines and LGBT-oriented hotel The OUT NYC issued an apology over the weekend for hosting a fundraiser for arch conservative Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

David Badash at the New Civil Rights Movement reported that Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass are furiously backtracking on their support for the Tea Party favorite and 2016 presidential hopeful, calling the fundraising dinner "a terrible mistake."

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"I am shaken to my bones by the e-mails, texts, postings and phone calls of the past few days," Reisner said on Facebook Sunday night. "I made a terrible mistake. I was ignorant, naive and much too quick in accepting a request to co-host a dinner with Cruz at my home without taking the time to completely understand all of his positions on gay rights."

"I've spent the past 24 hours reviewing videos of Cruz' statements on gay marriage and I am shocked and angry," Reisner continued. "I sincerely apologize for hurting the gay community and so many of our friends, family, allies, customers and employees. I will try my best to make up for my poor judgement. Again, I am deeply sorry."

Mati Weiderpass echoed his sentiments, writing that "I came to realize that I might have nullified my past efforts and accomplishments in just one week. On the eve of this momentous legal occasion at the Supreme Court, I dedicate myself to work even harder to advance our cause that I share with the LGBT community; our community."

But those who read these statements were having none of it. Keith Gibbons wrote that it's "inconceivable that any well-informed, aware adult in this country could not known where Ted Cruz stood issues affecting the LGBT community."

James Roman was even more withering, writing that "I founded the political action committee that got the Gay Rights Bill passed in New York, so that the next generation would never have to know the venom that my generation experienced from intolerant Conservatives. Then YOU come along and give a leg up to the Conservative monster who wants to dismantle our equal rights. Does all that money make you stupid, or just deaf? Sell the properties in The Pines immediately. This community is spitting you out."

But the furor isn't limited to Facebook -- the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS non-profit has already cancelled its annual even at a Weiderpass and Reisner property, as has the New York City Gay Men's Chorus, David Badash reported.

Reisner caught the attention of the national media last fall, when paramedics rushed 23-year-old Sean Verdi from the real estate tycoon's penthouse -- where the Cruz meet-and-greet was held -- in an unsuccessful attempt to save his life. Investigators determined that the probable cause of death was a drug overdose, but did not believe Reisner was criminally responsible for Verdi's demise.


Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at skaufman@salon.com.

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