Black Bisexual Battles
NYC's Dakota Coop Board
(Credit: Fred R. Conrad, NY Times.)
The New York Times on Saturday pulled the gilded curtain way back on one of Manhattan's most-exclusive coop boards at a fabled apartment building, the Dakota, and there's a bisexual angle involving a black man. One of the wealthy and well-connected tenants, Alphonse Fletcher Jr, has run into problems as he's tried to acquire more apartments.
The bisexual aspects surface early in the article, accompanied by the photo below, showing Fletcher, right, accepting an award in 2005 from a gay group at Harvard:
In a building whose name brings to mind Lennon, Bacall and Bernstein, Mr. Fletcher may not be the most famous resident, but he was already one of its most intriguing, even before he took on its board. In college, he was a member of R.O.T.C., which convened at M.I.T., as well as the Harvard Gay and Lesbian Caucus; the reason he says he needs more space is because he is now married, and he and his wife have a young daughter. ....
(Credit: Harvard Gay/Lesbian Caucus.)
The Dakota was not the only exclusive location where Fletcher was buying real estate with his very robust bank accounts:
He bought 1,100 acres in Litchfield County, Conn., with a storybook house employees called the Castle. He had his own security team.
He was popular among his neighbors, as was his companion, Hobart V. Fowlkes Jr., not least because of the parties they threw, often for charity. But he continued his quest to expand within the building, and kept coming up against obstacles that he now says are evidence of [racial] discrimination. ...
Adding another layer to the many issues involved in this high-stakes battle for valuable Manhattan property, were the charges of same-sex harassment:
Christopher Marsh, a contractor, said that in 2003 Mr. Fletcher hired him to manage his Connecticut property after they saw each other at their 20th high school reunion. After several weeks, Mr. Marsh, who was engaged to be married, quit. He said that Mr. Fletcher had made repeated sexual advances toward him. The two reached a confidential settlement, Mr. Marsh said.
Three years later, a man named John Van Hoosier filed a lawsuit saying he had been fired as Mr. Fletcher’s property manager after rejecting Mr. Fletcher’s sexual advances. Mr. Van Hoosier could not be reached and his lawyer declined to comment, citing a confidentiality agreement he reached. ...
It is only after facts and names about Fletcher's interactions with other man are provided that the Times writes about his wife and daughter, obliquely addressing the bisexual elements of the drama at the Dakota:
Despite becoming president [of the coop board], Mr. Fletcher began to spend more of his time in California, with Ellen K. Pao, a Bay Area venture capitalist he met at a conference and married in 2007. “Human beings aren’t so simple that you can characterize them as straight or gay,” said Mr. Fowlkes, Mr. Fletcher’s former companion. He still works for Mr. Fletcher and is the godfather of his daughter, Matilda. “What I will say about Buddy is that he’s my very best friend and I would do anything for him.”...
Over all, I'd say this Times story was more favorable toward Fletcher and his fights with the Dakota's coop board. I expect the paper will continue to cover Fletcher. His case has so many juicy elements - wealthy tenants, racial discrimination allegations, bisexuality and straight marriage, Harvard links, high-value real estate - it would make for great reality TV.
Now, if the Dakota residents and their teams of lawyers ever miraculous agreed to such a TV series, you can bet it would attract a sizable audience.