NATIONAL GAMBLING IMPACT STUDY COMMISSION
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Murrell -- is that correct? -- Murrell Watkins.
MR. WATKINS: Murrell Watkins.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Murrell Watkins. Welcome.
MR. WATKINS: Thank you.
The impact of gambling in Atlantic City. I feel that the gambling has affected the black community and black businesses in the resort. The destruction of the minority community due to the improvement of roadway access routes and the new Convention Center, the proposal of building a tunnel through a stable black neighborhood, relocating people in Baccarat Boulevard, residents in Pitney Village must be relocated by the end of September 1997.
All these decisions and changes are made by the State of New Jersey and local government.
Decline in black business doing business with the casino, our constitutional and civil rights have been violated by the State of New Jersey. Testimony has been given by me regarding racial discrimination at two casinos, Resort International and Bally's' Park Place. I have testified before the Casino Control Commission, but to no avail regarding racial discrimination and the violation of my civil rights.
A lawsuit was filed in court against Resort and Bally's' Park Place. I won a favorable decision, but big money overturned the decision, and the court erred in making a decision against Murrell Watkins and Resort International.
The Supreme Court erred April 28th, 1994, in their decision denying me a certificate to sue the casino.
We have exhausted all of our means, followed the law. We've been shut out of all the business in the State of New Jersey when it comes to the casino.
The federal department, in my opinion, did not research the case thoroughly. The Supreme Court has blocked my certificate in error.
The community itself has been destroyed. One of the best black neighborhoods in Atlantic City is going to be destroyed now by a tunnel which serves no purpose when there are five alternatives, and which will destroy 75 homes. All of these things is for the casino and nothing for the black people.
We had jobs, of course. We had jobs at the bottom of the economic ladder. Anyone can get a job, but when it comes to an administrative position or black community, they want to put a tunnel in to black elementary school and put the carbon monoxide, all the fumes, into a black community where we have a stable neighborhood instead of using the alternative.
The Commissioner, the Governor, Gormley, and all of these people are saying, "We ought to go through this black neighborhood and tear it up to get what we want." I would like for the Justice Department to uphold the black people's community, civil rights, our rights, and the Constitution.
We have, in my last statement, would like for someone to look into this from the Justice Department to support us.
Thank you very much for your time.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Thank you.