BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
Now, national gay activists are angry with Rauhofer: He is reprising his Main Event party at Mansion on March 1 opposite the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's Winter Party Orbit fundraiser at Cameo.
"It hurts the community. That's what it comes down to,'' said Chad Richter of Miami Beach, festival chairman of this year's Winter Party. "We have volunteers who are working hard all year long. To have someone who is also gay and is doing a competing event, it's almost hard for a lot of people to believe."
Austrian-born Rauhofer, pictured above on his Sexy album, did not respond to several Miami Herald e-mails requests for comment.
Winter Party began in Miami Beach in 1994 with a one-day beach dance event off Ocean Drive. It helped finance a new foundation to benefit local gay groups. The Task Force bought the event, as well as the foundation's annual autumn recognition dinner, after the fundraising group went under in 2004.
The Task Force agreed to keep two-thirds of all net profits from the events in Miami-Dade County, giving the money to the Dade Community Foundation's GLBT Community Project Fund.
In 2008, the Task Force donated $180,000 to the community fund. Beneficiaries included the Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, Pridelines Youth Services, YES Institute for gay youth and SAVE, Miami-Dade County's leading gay-rights group.
Last year's Winter Party Sunday night dance event attracted 1,728 participants and netted the local community fund $50,628, spokesman David Orchard said.
"Every ticket sale that goes to the competing event is a 100 percent loss for us," Orchard said.
That's a likely scenario, said Rick Siclari, executive director of Care Resource, Florida's largest AIDS service agency.
Last fall, Care Resource took a fundraising hit when hundreds of revelers chose Rauhofer's Nov. 30 party at Mansion over White Party's at Cameo.
During the White Party controversy last fall, Rauhofer posted a response on his MySpace blog: "Over the past 10 years, I've supported my services and donated lots of money to White Party only to continuously get mistreated and disrespected by Ric Siclari, who runs that questionable organization. I've experienced numerous instances of extremely unprofessional treatment in the form of bounced checks, hotels not booked/not paid, flights & ground transportation not provided, and it has even gotten to the point where I've had to have my lawyer chase them (for 8 months!) for non-paid deejay fees. .... Still, after all the consistent mistreatment, I've continued to spin for White Party as I wanted to contribute to the good "cause" and not disappoint my fans."
Baloney, says Siclari.
"The guy came into town and capitalized on what is a longstanding charity weekend for us," Siclari said. "He hurt us terribly. He split the crowd that night. About 700 attended his event and we had 800 at our event."
Even several Care Resource clients attended Rauhofer's party, Siclari said.
"It's time for this community to take a really hard look at themselves and see what's in their own best interest,' he said.