The Oaks Club has been in hot water with the law recently. The card room, in business since the 1890's, has recently been the site of FBI stings for loan sharking and money laundering.
Even though the gambling establishment has famously attracted a criminal element to Emeryville, the Oaks has for years paid very little by way of taxes to the City. In a move to rectify that, in 1997, Emeryville voters overwhelmingly passed Measure B which increased the gross receipts tax on the Oaks Club to 9% from 6.5 %. The increase however still left the Oaks with a lower municipal tax than any other card room in the Bay Area (which charge up to 13%). Measure B was hotly contested and the owner of the Oaks Club, John Tibbetts told voters before the election, the proposed card room tax increase would likely drive him out of business, forcing him to fire all his employees and close down his 100 year Emeryville family run business. The tax increase for the Oaks passed by 63% of Emeryville voters needing only at least 50%.
Campaign Donation: Quid Pro Quo?
The current labor strife has been brewing for several months and Council members Martinez and Donahue interceded on behalf of the workers recently in a meeting between Oaks Club managers and workers the two new Council members report. Councilman Donahue noted a manager at that meeting asked incredulously and overtly why he and Ms Martinez were siding with the workers since Oaks Club owner John Tibbetts had donated money to the two Council member's election campaigns in November.