Niagara Gazette

March 4, 2012

EDITORIAL: Casino ban just bad manners

Staff Reports
Niagara Gazette

— The recent decision by the leaders of the Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel to ban state Sen. Mark Grisanti and his wife, Maria, from the premises, after a recent incident at the casino, seems childish and petty.

The whole ugly incident — which occurred in the bar area and which resulted in video of someone slamming the senator’s wife’s head on the floor — should have been left to rest.

Police officials decided not to press charges in the case, but to add insult to injury, the Seneca banned Grisanti for three years and his wife for one year from all Seneca properties.

Now, while there is no clear proof about what started the Feb.10 incident, which Grisanti said occurred after he stepped in to try and stop an altercation between two others, it’s fairly clear from all accounts that Mrs. Grisanti was an innocent party who was attacked for no good reason.

The whole ugly incident could have been laid to rest but the Senecas issued a statement on Tuesday noting they were barring the five people involved from all Seneca Nation properties for periods up to five years.

Whether or not the incident impacts the senator’s career is yet to be determined, but if he was truly just trying to break up a bar fight and, seconds later, trying to protect his wife, it’s a pretty sad state of affairs that both he and his wife, Maria, are being painted as guilty for their part in the altercation.

The decision by the Senecas to bar them, without trial or much of an investigation, seems designed to throw one last insult upon the injuries Mrs. Grisanti sustained. The Senecas are calling the decision a “common” response to anyone involved in such incidents, but the Grisantis are not “anyone.” Considering all the local organizations who hold events at casino and who often seek the presence of local politicians, it seems extremely punitive to bar Grisanti from Seneca properties. That also may encourage organizations to consider holding their events in friendlier locations.

It would be sad to think that the Seneca's response may be a political decision to provide grist for those who seek to foil the senator’s bid for re-election. The Senecas should have let the whole ugly incident fade away.

To describe the banning as a “common” response, seems a cowardly way to denote what looks like one last sucker punch, the type delivered by somebody who doesn’t want to stop swinging once a bar brawl is calmed by outsiders.

And, this time, for certain, the Grisantis are the targets of the blow.