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May 04 2015
Out Professionals Group Rejects Fire Island Pines Boycott: Here's Why Comments (0)

OutProfessionals.org is holding a mixer on Fire Island. A friend wrote them to ask why they're going ahead with this, when other organizations have been cutting ties to properties owned by Ian Reisner and/or Mati Weiderpass.

They replied:

Thank you for contacting us about the mixer in Fire Island Pines. We have been monitoring the situation as it has unfolded and the venue, the only one of its kind in the Pines, was booked prior to this controversy. We have also been informed that Ian Reisner, the individual in question, is not the owner nor the operator of Sip-n-Twirl. He is one of several investors in what was known as Fire Island Pines Ventures, which licenses Sip-n-Twirl as well as the Bistro and Pines Pizza. The owner-operator of Sip-n-Twirl has been a strong member of and advocate for the Fire Island LGBT community for many years.

So in order to boycott something, the target in question must be full owner and operator? And it helps, if you're going to cozy up to anti-gay forces, to use pro-gay co-investors to provide you cover? 

UPDATE: Jack Schlegel of Out Professionals sent this to Boy Culture:

As a resident of the Pines since 1976, I attended a special meeting of the community this weekend. 
 
Jay Pagano, president of Fire Island Pines Property Owners Assn, today e-mailed his summary of what took place:
 
I was very pleased by the meeting at Whyte Hall on Saturday to discuss the proposed boycott of the new commercial establishment in the Pines.  The proposed boycott results from the new owner Ian Reisner's hosting a Republican presidential candidate opposed to LGBT rights.  Approximately 300 people attended.  Attendees included homeowners, renters and workers in the community.  A wide range of opinions were expressed and the discussion was very civil.   There was a shared community outrage at Ian's affiliation with Ted Cruz.  Considerable support was expressed for co-owner PJ McAteer.  Sentiment was expressed for Ian selling his interest and FIPPOA was asked if it was possible for us to buy it, which we are legally barred from doing, even if that were financially possible.   There was a keen feeling that a boycott was not the correct action because it would have a significantly detrimental impact on the Pines and people having nothing to do with the matter.   The general view was that a boycott would be unduly harmful and that the Pines should not suffer for the conduct of one person.  There was a great deal of discussion of what Ian could do in recompense.  

Recommendations included:
*  A sincere apology from Ian that we can believe.
* A percentage of the profits of the properties or an outright contribution to organizations and/or candidates supporting LGBT rights.
* A contribution to the organizations that were encouraged to cancel events at the Out Hotel this week.
* A contribution to FIPPOA PAC to be distributed to candidates supporting LGBT rights.

FIPPOA was directed to convey to Ian the substance of the meeting and the recommended actions, which we will do.  The Pines can be proud that we came together, expressed our views to each other, agreeing and disagreeing and resolving to come together and move forward.
 
Some background:
 
Sip•n•Twirl is housed on the second floor of a building owned by Nicole LaFountaine, a longtime  property owner and former Pines fire commissioner. Nicole assured the standing-room-only crowd that Reisner and Weiderpass own no part of her building, which also house the Bistro and Pines Pizza. 
 
Like Sip•n•Twirl, those businesses have been owned by PJ McAteer, for 10 years a popular and community-minded figure in the Pines. 
 
In contrast, the premises constituting “80% of the commercial property in the Pines” are on the harbor. 
 
Until the recent sale, they were owned by FIP Ventures, a partnership of Andrew Kirtzman, Seth Weissman and Matt Blesso. Until now, PJ’s three businesses were independent of them. It is now my understanding that the business entity that has replaced FIP Venters now licenses Sip•n•Twirl as well as the Bistro and Pines Pizza.
 
This, recently from PJ to the Pines community:
 
“Ian Reisner, one of my investors, is not part of any of our day-to-day business operations, not the owner on-island, rolling up his sleeves, training an expanded staff to prepare for, and ultimately — and caringly — serve the Pines community," wrote McAteer. "On the flip side, I am not involved in, or consulted about, Ian's outside-the-partnership activities and associations. I was as surprised to hear of the Senator Cruz issue as everyone else.

So in summary, it appears that Reisner IS a part owner of the businesses in the Pines that are the subject of a suggested boycott (maybe 20%?), but their other owners, many locals and others feel that boycotting those businesses to punish Reisner will kill those businesses unfairly.

If that's the case, then it would appear that Reisner just has to keep doing business with good people and he can get away with murder, er, metaphorically speaking.

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