NYC human rights officers ‘carefully monitoring’ allegations towards proprietor of homosexual bar

New York Metropolis’s Fee on Human Rights says it’s “carefully monitoring” allegations of sexual misconduct and racial discrimination towards Michael J. Cohen, who was lengthy a gatekeeper within the metropolis’s homosexual nightlife scene. 

NBC Information reported final month that 9 males had accused Cohen of a variety of undesirable sexual conduct, together with accusations that he groped or pressured males to have intercourse or to ship nude pictures. As well as, NBC Information reported that eight individuals had accused Cohen or workers members of Motel 23, the New York homosexual bar Cohen owns, of treating some males of colour and girls in another way from white males, together with charging them extra to enter. Cohen denied the accusations of misconduct and discrimination.

“The Fee is conscious of those allegations, as they’ve been raised by inner and exterior sources,” Jose Rios Lua, the manager director of communications and advertising on the Fee on Human Rights, stated in an e-mail. “We take each allegation severely and are carefully monitoring this subject.”

The closed location of Motel 23 in New York on Aug. 22, 2022.Marc J. Franklin / NBC Information

Rios Lua confirmed in a cellphone interview that his assertion encompassed all the allegations towards Cohen in NBC Information’ reporting, in addition to allegations NBC Information reported about Motel 23 and different nightclubs the place Cohen beforehand hosted events. 

Rios Lua added within the e-mail that he couldn’t say whether or not the fee had opened an investigation. “We’re unable to verify or deny the existence of ongoing investigations as disclosure can intrude with the company’s regulation enforcement mission,” he stated. 

Rebecca Kaufman, an legal professional for Cohen, stated in an announcement: “There isn’t any investigation by any company into Mr. Cohen or Motel 23. Mr. Cohen would welcome the revealing of nameless sources who falsely accused him and the prospect of confronting them in courtroom — no particular person ought to be subjected to the guilt-before-innocence presumption he has endured.” 

Motel 23 introduced in late July it could be closing for renovations; it has not reopened.

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After NBC Information’ article about Cohen was printed final month, New York Metropolis Council member Erik Bottcher, who represents a swath of Manhattan’s West Facet that features Motel 23’s location and who has been photographed attending events Cohen has hosted, stated in an announcement that the “allegations have to be absolutely investigated.” 

Bottcher’s chief of workers, Sean Coughlin, confirmed this month that Bottcher’s workplace had urged the Fee on Human Rights to analyze the allegations of sexual misconduct and racial discrimination.

“We will probably be following up within the weeks and months forward to make sure that these allegations are investigated completely,” Coughlin stated in an e-mail.

The fee confirmed that Bottcher’s workplace had reached out.

The Fee on Human Rights is tasked with implementing New York Metropolis’s human rights regulation, which prohibits discrimination in employment, housing and public lodging on the premise of race, faith, intercourse or nationwide origin. 

The fee has the ability to levy civil penalties of as much as $250,000 and require companies or individuals to take different actions, together with mandating anti-bias coaching for managers and staff, based on its web site. 

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