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NAACP Sues to Remove False, Misleading and Inappropriate Use of its Name in No on Prop 26 Ballot Arguments

August 2, 2022

Card Room Casino Operators Deceptively and Inappropriately Included NAACP Name in No on 26 Ballot Arguments – Despite the Fact that NAACP Strongly Supports Prop 26

For Immediate Release: August 2, 2022
Contact: Kathy Fairbanks, (916) 813-1010
kfairbanks@bcfpublicaffairs.com

Sacramento, CA – Today, the California-Hawaii State Conference of the NAACP filed a lawsuit in Sacramento Superior Court seeking to remove the deceptive and inappropriate use of its name in the No on 26 ballot arguments. The NAACP formally supports Prop 26, and the lawsuit claims that the statement in the No on 26 ballot arguments is false and misleading and violates the organization’s bylaws governing the use of its trademarked name.

“NAACP is proud to stand with California Indian Tribes in strong support of Prop 26 to help preserve and further Indian self-reliance,” said Rick Callender, Esq., President of the California-Hawaii State Conference of the NAACP. “We are outraged that the cardroom casinos and their No on 26 campaign would deceptively use the NAACP name in its arguments despite our strong support. We are suing to have these dishonest statements removed from the ballot arguments so it does not mislead voters.”

The argument against Proposition 26 contains the following statement:

“We oppose Prop 26 to protect young people from developing lifelong gambling addictions that often lead to ruined finances, relationships, even homelessness and crime.”

Minnie Hadley-Hempstead, Retired teacher and President Emeritus of the Los Angeles NAACP Branch

The statement is false and misleading for several reasons.  First, the quotation gives the impression that the NAACP opposes Proposition 26.  This is categorically false.  The California – Hawaii State Conference NAACP publicly endorsed Proposition 26 on February 18, 2022.  Nor has the Los Angeles Branch of the NAACP endorsed No on Proposition 26.  The NAACP Bylaws specifically prohibit local NAACP Branches such as the Los Angeles Branch from taking positions contrary to that of the State Branch. 

Furthermore, the Los Angeles NAACP Branch does not have the position of “President Emeritus.”  Using this made-up title furthers the impression that the statement is made on behalf of the NAACP.

Finally, the petition claims, Ms. Hadley-Hempstead – who has been a member of the NAACP for over forty years – only allowed her name to be used in this statement because she believed that the NAACP leadership was requesting her to do so, under her assumption that the NAACP opposed Proposition 26. 

Rick Callender concluded: “The cardroom casino operators responsible for the deceptive No on 26 campaign have a well-documented and deplorable track record of flouting the law. They’ve been fined millions for violating anti-money laundering laws, misleading regulators, and even illegal gambling. We are suing to prevent their misleading statements from appearing in the voter information guide sent to tens of millions of voters.

Background:

Prop 26, the in-person Tribal Sports Wagering Act would authorize in-person sports wagering at existing tribal casinos. This measure is the most responsible approach to authorizing sports betting in California: all bets must be placed in-person at a tribal casino with safeguards in place to prevent underage and illegal gambling. It will help create jobs and economic opportunities that support Indian self-reliance, while benefiting all Californians, generating tens of millions of dollars annually in new revenues for public schools, wildfire prevention and other state priorities.