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Gil spent two years searching for an attorney to represent Círculo after the City of Long Beach forced the organization,

after the first day of operation, to cancel its XV Hispanic Festival. It was evident to us that Círculo was denied the right

to use public space, as other ethnic groups did, to express the culture and richness of our Hispanic Heritage. Círculo

had successfully organized this Festival for the twelve years prior.

Mr. Bernardino approached a number of attorneys including well known attorneys in Nassau County but no one would

accept in the case. In October of 1999, after receiving a recommendation from the Center from Constitutional Rights,

Círculo outreached to Mr. Jonathan Moore. Mr. Moore accepted our case without requiring a deposit of $50,000

that other law firms required, including some well-known ones on Long Island. For three years, Mr. Moore worked

diligently to bring Círculo’s case to federal court.

He reviewed footage from the event including interviews from Channel 12 that included the City Manager, Ed Eaton;

the President of the City Council, Michael Zapson; and Gil Bernardino from when the festival was cancelled. On the

tape the City blamed Círculo for the cancellation of the festival. The trial was very difficult and painful. Individuals

testified whom Gil remembered from his many years in Long Beach. He stated it was hard to watch individuals that

he had trusted lie under testimony in front of a federal judge and jury about events that occurred.


























To raise annual scholarships for youth we sought a new way to raise funds. In conversation, with a friend of Círculo,

Mr. Regnante, Gil Bernardino was given great advice. “Do you want Círculo de la Hispanidad to be in the first

division or in the third division?” The answer was obvious. First division. Following this advice, Círculo looked

for a new way to raise funds for programming and scholarships, a dinner dance.

Círculo’s First Spring Gala was held in 2000 at the Carlton on the Green celebrating Círculo’s twentieth anniversary.

We did it on a Thursday evening. Employees complained that having it on a Thursday people could not dance and

enjoy themselves. The following year we planned to hold it on a Friday night.

We continued to work to raise funds for Círculo Center. Our first Annual Spring Gala was to raise funds for

scholarships as well as furniture for the center and for other needed items. We owned the property at 605

Peninsula Boulevard and were working with an architect on the plans. It soon became apparent however

that the building was not built to code and that we would not be able to use the infrastructure of the original

building for our Center. We had to invest more money in plans and in funding for the site.

At this time Gil Bernardino worked with David Boone, a financial consultant, to put together financial proposals

to different banks and financial institutions for funding for the Center. This was challenging and many doors were

closed. David and Gil continued to work together for the next six years seeking funding for the Center. Seed money

that Círculo received from the legislative grant supported by Senator Dean Skelos was used to purchase the land, create

the first plans and conduct environmental tests. With news that the original building structure on the site could not

be used, now we needed additional funds to demolished the building and start again from the beginning.