Thursday, April 2nd, 2009 at 10:00 am  |  41 responses

Brooklyn Folk Aren’t Big Fans of Magic Johnson

by Marcel Mutoni

Magic, as you know, is a wildly successful business man. According to certain Brooklyn residents, however, his companies aren’t exactly the best places to work for and don’t always do what’s ethical.

The Hall of Famer, who made a fortune by setting up shop in low-income areas, is being accused of taking advantage of poor people. The NY Daily News reports:

But in Brooklyn, they’ll be talking about how Johnson is the face of companies that take advantage of working-class families. “It’s a disgrace to see Johnson actively promoting businesses that we believe hurt low-income communities,” said Kyle Bragg, vice president of the Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ, which represents 70,000 New Yorkers.

Johnson’s real estate firm, Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds, is one of the companies that converted Brooklyn’s Williamsburgh Savings Bank into a luxury condo building. Local 32BJ officials said more than 90% of city luxury buildings hire union doormen, porters and gardeners, but Johnson and his partners in the building – rechristened One Hanson Place – have resisted efforts to unionize staff at the iconic building. One Hanson Place workers have to pay $360 a month for health care for each member of their family; they are also not offered pensions, job training and other benefits offered to union workers.

Johnson may be celebrated this weekend in Detroit, but his business ties have fans fuming in Brooklyn. “Magic Johnson should be ashamed of himself,” City Councilwoman Letitia James said at a demonstration organized by Local 32BJ at a Manhattan Jackson Hewitt location earlier this week. “There is nothing magic about what he does. What he does is prey upon poor people.”

Magic has yet to address the allegations, and one of his spokespeople declined to comment.

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  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Oh, Magic….

  • Gumdrop

    A Union rep that is critical of a business owner!? My stars.

  • Gumdrop

    “There is nothing magic about what he does. What he does is prey upon poor people.” But what if he used his magical powers to prey upon poor people. Abbra-Ka-Dabra-your-pension-is-gone.

  • Gumdrop

    And so forth.

  • http://lastknickstanding.blogspot.com Bryan

    I didn’t know magic is the one who did that wsb. F*ck magic my mom and dad had their first jobs there.

  • Fred34

    “Magic, as you know, is a wildly successful business man.” Translation – he’s all/only about the paper and wildly sh*ts on everyone else aka the little people. Don’t worry, he’s far from alone. That’s called doin Biz in the USA.

  • http://allanzuss@yahoo.com Mendel

    How is not hiring a union preying on poor people? Get a life. they just wish they could say Dolla dolla bill ya all.

  • Fred34

    Mendel – this is kosher to you? : “have to pay $360 a month for health care for each member of their family; they are also not offered pensions, job training and other benefits offered to union workers.”


    I think everyone should not be mad at Magic, Look into those Unions, Some unions do not have the low income family best interest either. They are mad because Magic is not going with the program, and giving them business. Let’s not be so quick to judge.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/officerbarbrady what

    In his defense, science has proven that the cure for AIDS is money…

  • ic3

    lol @ what. that was genius.

  • ryan

    Wow, Magic doesn’t want to hire a union…the same unions that are 100% anti capitalist and that actually bring up the unemployment rate and make the US less competitive globally… yes, Magic is such a bad guy.

    Magic should be praised for this and the author, Marcel Mutoni, should take an economics course before he should be allowed to write another article.

  • Prison Mike

    Science Damn It!

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    If these people are really playing $360.00 per person for health care. Magic Johnson should be reprimanded, he knows, that these people need their jobs, so he is slacking on his end to gain as much profit as possible, by having the little man struggle. Magic Johson is nothing but a token, cured, rich man forgot where he came from, money hungry pimp. Don’t let the fake smile fool you, never been a fan of him.

  • steve

    There is no way these workers are paying $360 per month per family member for health care. That’s an extremely exaggerated number. Maybe $360 for a family but I doubt they pay enough to allow these workers to afford to pay $1440 a month just for health care for a family of 4.

    Regardless, as a business man you should always be concerned with unions and having your employees unionize so I see no issue with his behavior.

  • Cizzo

    Majic just lost his Hood Pass I thought Majic was a man of the people!

  • http://double-technical.blogspot.com Zee!

    Yo Earvin, WTF?

  • Plasticman

    … and I heard he likes to shoot puppies and kittens.

  • riggs

    dont even get me started on his theaters…

  • http://allanzuss@yahoo.com Mendel

    @ Steve. AMEN

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    yea, he provides jobs to some working class folk, but no benefits, etc. is bogus. dont blame magic, hes just doing what his consultants tell him to do. this country is circling the drain. thats that big whooshing sound. what beat me to it.

  • Kayfah

    sounds like magic is a ass…

  • larrylegend

    never like magic…and please american people stop bringing harvest all over the world and stop thinking you’re top of the world. 15 years from now your country will run out of money, like argentina some years ago.

  • donlaker

    we dont need no stinking union, we are the killer b’s

  • solito

    Sure Slam… nothing else to do? So you go after good guys?… Nice, real nice.

  • http://fdklf.com Jukai

    You know guys, there is a FANTASTIC Law and Order episode and it centers around unions. It’s pretty incredible. You guys should all watch it.

  • http://sjsu.edu davidR

    $360 per family member? that has to be the top of the line coverage!

  • that dude

    ryan, thanks for peddling the token George Bush-esque economic theory, you dumbfu(k. Because unregulated capitalism is working wonders right now.

    Magic was a great basketball player with a million dollar smile. Let’s not get it twisted. But whether he’s just a figurehead or intimately involved with his business ventures, if his workers are indeed paying $360 for healthcare for each family member, they have a legit gripe.

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    Magic should start a business with Vanessa Bryant.

  • the obvious

    maybe this will be the motivation the doormen,porters,and gardeners need to aim higher..

  • Kozmic

    Blackmans Wal-Mart… Damn Magic you should move to Bentonville!

  • chintao

    In other news, capitalists depend upon artificially low labor costs in order to make their margins, while union bosses collect large ducats by chewing-off a percentage from each worker’s check. Ain’t nothing right about the system. The only thing that is working is the little man.

  • Nik

    So if he wouldnt have built those shops, they would have got a better job right??
    Then he should not have created jobs for them

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper


  • Kihwan

    So Magic doesn’t want to hire union workers?? Don’t see anything wrong with that, a smart business move. He’s offering expensive health care coverage?? It’s a free market, call Blue Cross/Blue Shield or someone like that and get your own coverage for less. No pension?? Whoop-dee-doo? How many of you have a pension through your jobs?? This is a bunch of BS. If the benefits and working conditions were so bad, how come the ACTUAL EMPLOYEES aren’t complaining???

  • http://twitter.com/KingAkai Alpha-bet

    I will admit, I was a little disappointed to see Magic in those commercials endorsing Aaron’s rent-a-centers..It’s a known fact that these rent-a-centers prey on poor & low income people.

  • memyselfand9

    smh @ the people that say this is a smart bizness move praising sth like that.
    u take some more classes in LIFE.

  • Dave

    Big props to Kihwan and ryan for visiting Earth from Planet Mars. Thanks for dropping in, guys, we hope you enjoyed suburbia, the gardens and the zoo for the full spectrum view of Earthling life…

  • DJR

    I can’t talk from experience but I work in Hotels (currently in Australia) and from everyone I have spoken to – US Hotels that are unionized are the worst to work in throughout the whole world. Everything is 10 times as hard to do in other countries or non-union properties – from this I can completely understand Magic not wanting his employees to be unionized. Question: Do people in unions progress in their career the same way non-union people progress?

  • Waylonakolipse

    ….you can live through anything if Magic made it.

  • http://www.mynameinorange.blogspot.com Hisham

    A whole season of the Wire too, Jukai.