The leader of the Greater Springfield NAACP says the group has reached out over and over again to Hard Rock Casino, but never heard back.
The Rev. Talbert Swan II says this past year his group has called, emailed and sent letters to Hard Rock asking for a meeting.
“And we can’t get a response from them. I think it’s irresponsible for an organization like Hard Rock to ignore an organization like the NAACP,” Swan says.
Swan says he wants to talk to Hard Rock about what its plan to build a casino in West Springfield, Massachusetts, would mean for people of color seeking jobs or contracts. He says he’s met with the two other companies bidding for a Western Massachusetts casino license: Mohegon Sun, which wants a casino in Palmer, and MGM, which proposed one for Springfield.
Swan’s group has said it favors MGMs plan, but the reverend denies that has anything to do with these public comments. He sent a letter Thursday to West Springfield Mayor Greg Neffinger, asking for his “intervention to facilitate a meeting.”
As for Hard Rock’s response, the company’s Tim Maland says he is surprised. He says no one on his team knew the NAACP chapter was looking for a meeting.
“Hard Rock welcomes to opportunity to meet with the NAACP, and has reached out to the reverend to set up such a meeting,” Maland says.
Hard Rock casino’s proposal goes before West Springfield voters on September 10th.