As the Luzerne County Convention Center Authority considers its next step in attempting to remove member George Horwatt, he’s doing the same in his fight to hold onto his appointed seat.
At its public meeting last Wednesday the authority, all of whose members are appointed by the county, voted for Horwatt’s resignation, citing unspecified “inappropriate conduct.”But he said he suspected it was for the emails he sent that were critical of authority chair Donna Cupinski and the management of the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
“I think what they did last week was an attempt at censorship,” Horwatt said Sunday. “I’ll have to consider my options. If she (Cupinski) thinks these tactics are pressuring me, she’s wrong.”
Horwatt, 60, of Dallas, did not attend the meeting because he was dealing with the aftermath of damaging storm that passed through the Back Mountain on Tuesday. When contacted after the meeting about the vote, he said he would provide copies of the email between himself, Cupinski and Rebecca Bonnevier, general manager with SMG which manages the arena.
Copies were emailed to the The Times Leader on Thursday, but Horwatt said they did not come from him. He did confirm their accuracy.
The exchanges from Dec. 7, 2013 to June 19 cover a variety of issues and include Horwatt’s sharp comments to Cupinski and Bonnevier, who show exasperation and frustration in dealing with him.
In an exchange from April 18, Horwatt expressed his displeasure with being asked by a security guard at the arena for an authority identification card. He wrote to Bonnevier, “I will tell you that you (sic) that your black shirt Gestapo agent at the door insisted on my ID even though this was a meeting open to the public. I attempted to show other ID but it wasn’t acceptable to this trooper.”
Cupinski was provided a copy of the email to Bonnevier and chastised Horwatt for his use of “very unsettling words” to refer to the security guard, a retired U.S. Army 1st Sgt. “This is not only insulting, it is unprofessional and will not be tolerated. Your displeasure of the board’s security methods is duly noted as is your lack of respect for a gentleman that truly deserves such reverence,” Cupinski wrote.
Horwatt replied, “You want to make out ‘black shirt’ as meaning race, go ahead and like all liberals make it an issue. The man had on a dark shirt and you obviously don’t understand German history and terms that destroyed liberty back then.” He added, ” You are not my boss and I will say what I want. I will not tolerate your innuendo that I insulted this man or his race personally. Keep this stuff up and I will involve the media and other political figures.”
Cupinski responded, “I’m beginning to think you are deeply disturbed and I will not waste my time arguing with you.”
She cuts him off in the June 19 exchange, saying she will no longer participate in a back and forth with him “since all you want to do is insult me and others.”
Horwatt shot back, “This is business. Weak, little (whiny) girl, can’t take it — resign for the good of the community!!”
Cupinski did not vote for the resignation due to her involvement and her options apart from the authority. “It could play out with individuals,” she said last week. “Gender discrimination, bullying, harassment, none of that is to be taken lightly,” she said.