Venice Chamber Responds to Misleading Statements & False Accusations

  • Share:
March 17, 2019
Venice Chamber Issues Formal Response to
Misleading Statements & False Accusations
Venice, CA. March 17, 2019 – The Venice Chamber of Commerce is strongly in support of our LGBTQ members and the wider LGBTQ community and we always will be. We were saddened to learn of the accusations directed at the Chamber by Grant Turk and are therefore forced to clarify and respond.
The Sign Lighting event celebrating gay pride began with a request of Daniel Samakow in 2015.  It took over a year to organize and produce the initial event, which the Chamber did gladly.   In the wake of that event, Venice Pride was incorporated and, again at the request of Daniel Samakow, the Chamber took the unusual and risky step of allowing an outside organization to do a Sign Lighting event.  This was done under a license on a year-by-year basis.  The primary factor which gave the Chamber the assurance to enter into such an arrangement was confidence in the oversight of Venice Pride Board of Directors.
During the 2 years of Venice Pride's oversight of the event, there have been a number of direct violations of the agreement, most egregious is the failure to contribute agreed-upon bulb sponsorship fees to the Sign maintenance fund.  Allowing Venice Pride to collect funds for bulb adoptions in order to assist in funding the Sign Lighting was unprecedented and done as a concrete show of the Chamber's support for the LGBTQ community.  The fact that the agreed percentage was never paid is unconscionable.
Ultimately, the entire Board of Directors of Venice Pride resigned, communicating to the Chamber various reasons, all concerning the actions and behavior of Grant Turk.  Other community members have reported serious concerns with Mr. Turk as well.  It is for these and other valid reasons that the Chamber has declined to renew Venice Pride's membership and to return the Sign Lighting event production to the Chamber as it was originally.  Ironically, the CA Corp Code cited by Grant Turk in an effort to disavow the Chamber's ability to regulate membership is inapplicable as it is part of the Davis Stirling Act which was created to regulate residential common interest developments in California.
The VENICE Sign is a federally registered trademark of the Venice Chamber of Commerce.
Photo by Venice Paparazzi

The Chamber is working with the former Board members of Venice Pride to form a Pride Committee to help with the production of the event in the future.  This will ensure transparency and accountability and that the event benefits the community and helps maintain the Venice Sign as opposed to benefiting one person.
In reference to the maintenance of the Venice Sign: the Chamber is charged with its upkeep and we are currently soliciting estimates to do a much needed renovation.  While from the ground, it appears as no problems exist; we regularly maintain the Sign with an expert technician and after nearly 12 years there are a number of issues that are problematic and require repair and restoration.  When the Chamber performs the needed repairs and renovation has not yet been decided.

About the Venice Sign 

Spanning across Windward Avenue at Pacific, the VENICE Sign in lights is a modern day replica of the one originally installed in 1905 by the legendary Abbot Kinney. It is a defining symbol of Venice, past and present.
In 2007, the Venice Sign Restoration Project recreated and installed the contemporary version of this historic sign. Since that time the Venice Chamber has been responsible for the sign and for protecting its trademark. Visitors are invited to photograph the sign for their personal use and enjoyment.
Learn More:

Download document
Donna Lasman, CEO