'Jersey Shore' club owner: Secret recording proves Seaside Heights discriminates against minorities
The owner of two clubs featured on MTV’s “Jersey Shore” says that he has a secretly recorded phone conversation that proves that officials in Seaside Heights discriminate against minorities.
Club owner John Saddy filed for bankruptcy in February, following what he says was a staged police raid on Club Karma last May. He says that this raid caused promoters to cancel future events.
Saddy’s attorney Tom Mallon says that the raid was part of a plan to shut Saddy and his clubs down.
“[My client] wanted to bring in a promoter who would bring in some hip-hop music and the town, I think viewed that as something that would attract an African-American clientele,” Mallon says. “I think what happened on Memorial Day weekend at Club Karma was a reaction to that."
According to a lawsuit filed by Saddy in November, “to ensure that Plaintiff was limiting and discouraging African-American patrons, high-ranking Borough officials, including but not limited to Defendant, Chief of Police Thomas Boyd, were sent to Plaintiff's nightclubs specifically to count the number of African-Americans and report back to the Mayor and Council.”
Saddy says that he called Seaside Heights’s former longtime administrator John Camera last October to discuss the lawsuit and says that he recorded the following exchange.
SADDY: "John, you know what I had to put up with over the years, and I would never make you testify this but do you remember you had to come walking through The Bamboo because they complained about my crowd? You had to defend me all the time?"
CAMERA: "I went there specifically because the word was you were having all kinds of people they didn't want in town. Catering to, you know, different ethnic groups that were a problem and yeah, I remember that."
SADDY: "And I can't make you testify to that John but that was the truth that they, you know, they didn't like black people in town. They were complaining if I played hip-hop or whatever.”
“It’s shocking. It’s outrageous and it sounds hard to believe, but it happened,” says Mallon.
Camera told News 12 New Jersey that it was true that he would go into bars to search for signs of gang activity. But he says that it was never under the orders of Seaside Heights police or the mayor’s office. He says that he also worked with Saddy to extend operating hours and to help the businesses succeed.
Seaside Heights Borough attorney Jean Cipriani says in a statement, “The Borough and the other municipal defendants are all represented by competent counsel who will address all evidence in the proper venue and through proper procedures. It appears someone is attempting to circumvent the process and gain some sort of advantage by releasing a particular discovery item to the press simultaneously with that item being provided to defense counsel.”
The statement continued, “The litigation in this matter is young, and as the course of discovery fully runs, there will be much more information exchanged. The Borough’s position remains unchanged: The Borough of Seaside Heights does not discriminate on the basis of race or sexual preference or identity. Period.”
Borough officials deny raiding Club Karma. They said police only responded to calls of underage drinking and medical issues during the event known as HyperGlow.
Saddy and Seaside Heights officials tell News 12 that they are prepared to take this situation all the way to trial.