Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 33 / 17 August 2017

Outgames audit released

by Roger Brigham
An official summary of the long-awaited city audit of the 2017 World Outgames that were canceled at the last minute in May was presented to Miami Beach Commission Tuesday, revealing that organizers had spent almost half ($600,000) of the money the event raised on advertising, promotional fees, and consultants. The summary said that Ivan Cano, the vice president and chief executive officer, was paid almost $107,000 for consulting fees.

Ivan Cano

Ivan Cano

Overall, the audit report stated, almost $1.4 million of the trimmed-down $2.4 million budget flowed into Outgames accounts but only $7,000 was left.

“It became apparent that the general ledger was not necessarily accurate as it was found to contain incorrect check numbers and disbursement classification errors,” the audit report said. “Compounding matters was the lack of sufficient, complete, and organized documentation.”
The audit has been given to the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office and Miami Beach Police Department for further investigation into what, if any, criminal charges should be filed. (See July 6, 2017 JockTalk, “Outgames: A fine mess.”)

Numerous creditors still have not been paid substantial amounts. Sales manager Justin M. Wyse of the South Florida Gay News, one of the few publications to have been actively reporting on the event’s collapse, told the Bay Area Reporter, “They neglected to pay for the contract of advertising they agreed to. They owed us $2,000 for the contract and failed to list us as an event sponsor as agreed upon digitally and in print.”

Sports participants had already paid about half a million dollars by the time Outgames sports program, with three exceptions, was abruptly canceled while hundreds of athletes were still en route. Not only were they out registration and travel costs, many said they are stuck with hotel bills they had already paid when they booked their accommodations through the Outgames website.
Aquatics, western dance, and soccer were all held as scheduled, as were conferences and cultural events, but the rest of the sports were eliminated without notice. Ultimately Outgames spent less than $66,000 on sports.

Auditors reported Outgames spent $296,498 on promotional advertising and $330,218 on consultants. On the two non-sports programs that were successfully held, Lynare Robbins was paid $69,400 to produce the human rights conference and Carol Coombes $57,344 to produce the cultural program.
Activist Justin Bell said his promotions company, Lion Company, received more than $140,000 from Outgames before withdrawing in late 2015 because of delinquent payments, one of which was more than 200 days past due.

The first World Outgames were held in Montreal in 2006 and lost more than $5 million Canadian. The last two World Outgames were held in 2009 in Copenhagen and 2013 in Antwerp. The North American Outgames, a smaller continental event, was canceled last year by host St. Louis. Winnipeg, the host for the 2020 North American Outgames, dropped it following the announcement of the Miami cancellation, saying the brand name is now too toxic to be of value. [See the Jock Talk column online.] Former presidents of the Gay and Lesbian Sports Association have called for the licensing body to put an end to the World Outgames and disband.

— Cynthia Laird, August 16, 2017 @ 10:51 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Woman’s purse stolen in morning Noe Valley robbery

A woman was robbed of her purse in San Francisco’s Noe Valley Thursday morning.

According to police, the incident occurred at about 9:45 a.m. near 24th and Guerrero streets.

The 28-year-old victim was sitting outside a café with her purse next to her when the suspect threw water at her face, then took her purse, police said. The suspect fled the scene in a car.

The victim, who lost cash as well as her purse in the incident, wasn’t injured.

The suspect was described only as a black male in his 20s.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, August 11, 2017 @ 11:35 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Three shot in Dolores Park

Police at the scene of a shooting in Dolores Park Thursday, August 3. (Photo: Seth Hemmelgarn)

Police at the scene of a shooting in Dolores Park Thursday, August 3. (Photo: Seth Hemmelgarn)

Three people were shot in San Francisco’s Dolores Park Thursday afternoon, according to police, who said there are no suspects in custody.

Many details weren’t immediately available about the incident, which occurred at the pedestrian bridge and the statue of Miguel Hidalgo near Church Street, but police said it occurred at 3:05pm.

All victims were taken to a hospital for their injuries, but their medical statuses weren’t available.

Police said the victims were 16, 37, and 69. There are five suspects.

Antonia Juhasz, 47, was in the park when she heard three gunshots. When she got close to where the shooting had occurred, she saw someone holding a “smaller black handgun” in their outstretched arm who was running toward Church. She said all she saw of the person was their arm.

One of the victims was “an older white guy” and another victim had been covered, said Juhasz, who lives near the park.

She couldn’t see much of the victims police, who got to the scene “extremely fast,” had surrounded the scene by the time she got there.

Topher W., who didn’t want his last name published, was near the tennis courts on 18th Street when “I heard eight to 10 gunshots.”

He said he ran toward the shooting to make sure people were OK when a man told him to get an ambulance because his friend had been shot.

“He was walking. He was talking. He told me he was good. I was like, ‘Bro, you just got shot,'” Topher said of the victim. The victim’s friend told Topher that the victim’s 16. The teen eventually got in an ambulance.

Topher said another victim “seemed to be bleeding from the upper part of his body” and wasn’t moving, and he also saw a third victim. The third person was moving, he said.

He’d been having a conversation with someone and hadn’t heard what may have happened before the shots, which came “within 10 seconds, 20 seconds of each other,” he said. Topher, who’s 26 and lives on the Peninsula, said he hadn’t seen anyone with a gun, but he’d seen “a lot of people running away” right after the shooting.

The teen who was shot looked like “a regular kid,” he said. “He was wearing a polo shirt. He looked like a very normal kid.”

Manuel Oceguera, 19, said that he’d been walking down Dolores Street, on the other side of the park, when he heard “maybe three” shots.

“I was just like, ‘Oh, wow ,that’s not like fireworks,” said Oceguera, of Stockton, who saw about 10 people “scattering” from the park. He said he didn’t see the victims.

Police blocked off Church Street between 18th and 19th streets, and people were advised to avoid the area, but there were still many people lounging in the park about an hour after the shooting.

Several police officers were standing near the base of the bridge at about 4, and yellow police tape blocked off the stairs leading up to the area. Other officers were gathered in the middle of Church.

Anyone with information is asked to call the police at 415-553-0123.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, August 3, 2017 @ 6:45 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Market Street to stay open at Castro Street Fair

The scene at a previous Castro Street Fair. Photo: Rick Gerharter

The scene at a previous Castro Street Fair. Photo: Rick Gerharter

Organizers of San Francisco’s 44th annual Castro Street Fair, set for 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. October 1, have announced Market Street will not be included in this year’s festival and instead will remain open.

“In previous years, the fair has taken place along Market Street, between Diamond and Noe Streets,” organizers said in a news release Monday (July 31). “After careful consideration, the Board of Directors decided to forego closing Market Street and instead concentrate the fairgrounds along Castro Street. … Fairgoers can expect to see changes in the location of entertainment areas, as well as food and beverage vendor placement.”

The rest of the footprint remains unchanged. It will be on Castro from Market to 19th Street and on 18th Street from Noe to Diamond.

A donation of $5 – $10 is suggested at the gate. Donations help support local charities.

An updated map of the fair will be available in early August at

The Bay Area Reporter will have more information in the Thursday, August 3 edition of the paper.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, July 31, 2017 @ 4:00 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Man accused of ISIS support reportedly had eye on SF

An Oakland man who’s accused of attempting to provide material support to ISIS was contemplating San Francisco as a target because of the city’s LGBT-friendly reputation, KQED has reported.

A federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted Amer Sinan Alhaggagi, 22, this week. Along with opening social media accounts to promote the terrorist organization, Alhaggagi is also accused of identity theft because he allegedly used a stolen credit card to buy almost $5,000 in clothing, prosecutors said in a news release.

According to KQED, Assistant U.S. Attorney S. Waqar Hasib said at a detention hearing in December that Alhaggagi had exchanged messages with an FBI source in which Alhaggagi pointed to San Francisco as a potential target.

Hasib quoted one message as saying, “I live close to San Francisco. That’s like the gay capital of the world,” KQED reported, citing audio of the hearing that was recently unsealed. “I’m going to handle them right. LOL. I’m going to place a bomb in a gay club. … I’m going to tear up the city. … The whole Bay Area is going to be up in flames. My ideas are genius. LMAO.”

Hasib also said that Alhaggagi’s “plan was to blow up a car bomb at an unidentified gay nightclub in San Francisco,” according to the news station, which also said that Alhaggagi had allegedly considered starting a fire in the Berkeley Hills.

Hanni Fakhoury, an assistant federal public defender who was representing Alhaggagi at the time, “did not dispute the government’s evidence” at the hearing, KQED reported, but he said “the ultimate issue was how much of what his client said was ‘very stupid and very inappropriate and very disturbing puffery and how much of it was actually intended to be acted out.'”

Alhaggagi, who was arrested in November, is in custody.

A judge ordered him detained after Pretrial Services reported that he wasn’t employed, he’d “spent significant lengths of time in Yemen,” and he’d allegedly made statements “regarding plans to flee to Mexico and elsewhere after engaging” in attacks, court records say.

Alhaggagi’s arraignment date hasn’t been set.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, July 27, 2017 @ 6:01 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Man robbed in Castro

A man was robbed in San Francisco’s Castro district early Thursday morning (July 27).

Police said the suspect approached the victim at about 12:30 a.m. at Castro and 19th streets, and they engaged in conversation, police said.

As they walked together, the suspect reached into the victim’s pants pocket and grabbed his wallet. The two briefly struggled before the suspect managed to get the victim’s wallet and cash and fled north on Castro.

The suspect is described as a black male who appeared to be 35. The victim, who’s 42, wasn’t injured.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 3:08 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Castro rally to protest Trump’s trans military ban

Donald Trump, host of the television series "The Celebrity Apprentice," mugs for photographers at the NBC 2015 Winter TCA Press Tour at The Langham Huntington Hotel on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Donald Trump (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

A rally to protest President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday (July 26) at Harvey Milk Plaza in San Francisco’s Castro district.

Trump announced the ban on Twitter Wednesday morning. His move has been widely criticized by officials around the country.

In a statement calling Trump’s ban “vile and hateful,” U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), said, “This morning’s tweets reveal a president with no loyalty to the courageous men and women in uniform who risk their lives to defend our freedoms. This disgusting ban will weaken our military and the nation it defends.”

Congressman Joe Kennedy III (D-Massachusetts), who chairs the LGBT Equality Caucus’s Transgender Equality Task Force, stated, “When our bravest men and women raise their hand and volunteer to defend our nation, they defend all of her people. … Our soldiers do not discriminate. They do not offer to pay the ultimate sacrifice to protect some lives and not others. Their government owes them that courtesy – that decency – in return.”

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and gay District 8 Supervisor Jeff Sheehy issued a statement that said, “This nation’s guiding principles promise equal protections and rights for everyone, which includes the honor of joining the military and sacrificing for one’s country. These are brave, honorable individuals who seek to serve their country by putting their lives on the line in defense of others. To deny them those rights based on their gender identity is bigoted and marks a betrayal of American values. In San Francisco, we will continue to practice compassion, empathy and inclusiveness, while offering full protections for every one of our residents. We will always fight for the rights of our transgender community.”


— Seth Hemmelgarn, July 26, 2017 @ 1:17 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Sheehy, Ronen push for Milk Terminal at SFO

Gay San Francisco Supervisor Jeff Sheehy and his straight colleague, Supervisor Hillary Ronen, on Tuesday said they would push for Terminal 1 at San Francisco International Airport and the airport access road to be named after gay slain supervisor Harvey Milk.

(Two San Francisco supervisors are pushing for Terminal 1 (shown here as an artist rendering) at San Francisco International Airport be named after slain gay supervisor Harvey Milk.)

(Two San Francisco supervisors are pushing for Terminal 1 (shown here as an artist rendering) at San Francisco International Airport be named after slain gay supervisor Harvey Milk.)

Ronen was set to introduce legislation at the board’s July 25 meeting to begin the name change process. Her predecessor, gay Supervisor David Campos, had originally come up with the idea of naming the entire airport after Milk in 2013, but the project lacked support. He and Mayor Ed Lee later agreed to a compromise that would see a terminal named after the gay rights leader, but Campos was termed out of office before a committee could meet and decide which terminal should carry Milk’s name. (The panel sat dormant for years because the mayor wouldn’t name his five appointees. He did so earlier this year, and the committee had three months to vote on a recommendation.)

In a news release Tuesday, Sheehy said that naming Terminal 1 after Milk would be his top LGBT legislative priority. As the Bay Area Reporter noted in a story last month, the Airport Facilities Naming Advisory Committee unanimously recommended Terminal 1 and the access road be named after Milk.

“Forty years ago this November, San Franciscans sent a historic message – voting in progressive mayor George Moscone and electing Harvey Milk as our city’s first gay supervisor,” Sheehy said in a statement. “Their legacy endures and in these dark times, Harvey’s message of hope resonates more than ever.”

Milk and Moscone were assassinated by disgruntled ex-supervisor Dan White in November 1978, just a year after the election.

Sheehy said that last week, he sent a letter to SFO officials asking for specifics on how the name change could be accomplished.

The airport advisory panel’s June decision was expected, since the committee members at their first two meetings had indicated they would select Terminal 1 as their preferred choice. A consensus had also quickly emerged behind the road naming idea, first broached by Jim Lazarus, the senior vice president for public policy at the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.

“We need to consider the airport access way,” said Lazarus this week, noting that the terminal naming idea is still controversial and the road naming could be an acceptable alternative.

Designating the first of the airport’s four terminals after Milk could present a unique marketing opportunity, panel members had indicated, since Terminal 1 is currently undergoing a $2.4 billion remodel that will be unveiled in stages through 2024 and draw years of media coverage. They also had noted that christening the airport’s access road as Harvey Milk Way would mean all four of the terminals, as well as the airport itself, would be attached to the former supervisor’s name.

In May, airport commission President Larry Mazzola sent the naming committee members, the supervisors, and mayor a letter expressing his opposition to its naming a terminal after Milk. Four years ago the airport’s board created its own policy for naming areas of SFO, with one criterion being the person had to have a direct connection to the airport, noted Mazzola. Unsaid but suggested by his letter was that Milk did not.

“I’m confused and frustrated that the board would spend time and resources on a duplicative policy body, overriding the hard work of our committee without ever consulting our committee, and believe the board committee’s mission to recommend a terminal be named at (SFO) flies in the face of the established Airport Naming Policy,” wrote Mazzola.

Mazzola has not changed his mind. He told the San Francisco Chronicle Tuesday that the supervisors should adhere to the airport’s naming policy.

— Cynthia Laird, July 25, 2017 @ 1:52 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Two robbed in Castro incidents

One man was abducted and robbed and another was held up at an ATM in separate incidents early Sunday morning in San Francisco’s Castro district.

In the first incident, the victim was walking near 17th and Noe streets at 1:30 a.m. when the suspects’ vehicle approached him. One suspect demanded the victim’s money, but he said, “No,” according to police.

Another suspect got out of the vehicle and forced the victim to get into the backseat, police said. The suspect then drove the victim several blocks to an ATM, but the victim still refused to hand over his money.

When the suspect told the victim to empty out his pockets, he gave him his cash, cellphone, and keys. The suspects fled in their light-colored, four-door vehicle, and the victim later discovered that his truck had been stolen, according to police.

The suspects are described as a Hispanic male between the ages of 25 and 30 and a Hispanic female who appeared to be 28.

The victim, who’s 29, wasn’t injured. No arrests have been reported.

The second incident occurred at about 2:20 a.m. Police said the victim was getting money out of an ATM in the 2300 block of Market Street when another man approached him from behind, “simulated a handgun in his jacket,” and demanded the victim’s money.

The victim complied and the suspect fled in a yellow taxi that was last seen traveling eastbound on 16th Street.

The 25-year-old victim wasn’t injured. The suspect is described as a black male who’s between the ages of 35 and 40.

No arrests have been reported.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, July 24, 2017 @ 4:52 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Former B.A.R. staffer robbed in Tenderloin

Dennis Conkin (Photo: Facebook)

Dennis Conkin (Photo: Facebook)

A former Bay Area Reporter writer was robbed last Thursday night (June 29) in the Tenderloin.

In a Facebook post, Dennis Conkin, 63, who uses a wheelchair, said he was leaving the Vietnamese restaurant Tu Lan, 8 Sixth Street, when a woman who’d been harassing and “lying in wait” for him grabbed at the food he had in a Trader Joe’s bag.

Conkin said he told her, “Get away from me, bitch,” and someone from the restaurant came out and asked her what she wanted.

The woman then “followed me down the street and said you can’t call me (the N word),” said Conkin, who denied using the slur.

The woman pepper sprayed him in his eye, then followed him down Stevenson Alley. Another woman grabbed his hair “and started yanking my head back,” he said, but “I grabbed for her hand and got it.”

The first woman started hitting him, so he grabbed her shirt, said Conkin. As he did that, he was pulled out of the wheelchair.

Conkin screamed, and the woman grabbed the Target bag he’d been carrying and ran away. He went back to his home, which is two blocks from the scene, and someone called police and an ambulance.

In an email to the B.A.R., Conkin said that the thieves stole a Target bag that held his art supplies, Valium, and laxatives. He’s also missing $100, which he suspects fell out of his pocket “during the melee.”

“I do hope they thought the clear, lemon-flavored liquid in the bottles was a soft drink and enjoyed it,” he said in his Facebook post. “It was a strong, always works laxative.”

Conkin said he suffered an abrasion on his head where he hit the sidewalk when he came out of his wheelchair.

“Even though I love Tu Lan’s  shrimp fried rice, I won’t be going out to get it in my wheelchair by myself after dark anymore,” he told the B.A.R. “I’m not a young queen.  I’m a geezer and disabled.  What was I thinking? It was pretty awful. Pepper spray burns and fists hurt.”

Police said the incident occurred at about 9 p.m. They described the suspects only as two black females. One appeared to be 60 and the other was in her 20s.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, July 6, 2017 @ 1:55 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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