The anti-Trump Metropolitan Republican Club’s 115th Annual Dinner in New York City was “a non-event,” according to some attendees. The dinner, the Club’s major fundraiser, drew approximately 80 people, some of whom were not paying supporters of the Club but self-described “space fillers.” This contrasts significantly with the 148 attendees at last year’s 2016 dinner, held prior to the Trump Purge at the Club.
“When invitations to the annual dinner were sent out, we made sure to be selective with which members we invited,” said a sitting board member last week, explaining why some longtime club members were not invited.
“I’m still waiting for my invitation,” said Allan Stevo, who was removed from the executive committee of the Upper East Side club for being a Trump supporter along with four others in January of this year. Though removed from the trustee board of the Club during the Trump Purge, they all remain members in good standing.
“I didn’t know that. If it were true, it would be an outrage,” said an Executive Committee member upon hearing that the organizing committee was more “selective” with some members than with others.
According to one insider on the organizing committee, projected attendance was so low that Club leaders pressured local businessmen John Catsimatidis and Jimmy Chue, at the last minute, to each buy a table of eight for $3,500. Neither table was filled. One table—#13—was actually empty at the event until an organizer asked two friends to move there in order to “improve the optics.”
“Johnny [Catsimatidis] got a table for cheap. He never pays full price and they were desperate to sell the tickets,” said a member of the Club’s trustee board, referring to the New York billionaire who ran for mayor in 2013 “But he could have had it even cheaper, so we kind of got one over on him.”
The annual dinner has traditionally produced 65 percent of the Club’s annual budget. This year a budget shortfall has become a concern.
“We have a $52,000 property tax bill to pay this month,” commented Club Treasurer Ambrose Benkert at a recent meeting, lamenting the poor turnout.
Headlining the event was early Trump supporter Congressman Chris Collins who event organizers believed would boost ticket sales. Turnout was “lackluster,” according to a member of his staff, who spoke off the record, and organization of the event was described as “a total disappointment.”
“What a shameful state the current leadership has left the Club in. This purge they started in January has torn the Club apart,” commented Allan Stevo “It’s truly sad to see Republicans viciously attacking Republicans.”
On the Manhattan County Republican Party Facebook page political consultant Chaplin Fay, Vice President at Mercury Public Affairs, commented about the divisiveness earlier this week “Why is the official Republican County Committee Facebook page being used to bash Republicans? When was the last time a Republican was elected in this County? Maybe focus more on winning elections and less on attacking people in your own party. It’s embarrassing.”
Stay tuned for more.
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