Pride Fort Lauderdale Hires New ED

Ernie Yuen. Photo via

“I don’t think Ernie [Yuen] should be in charge of a nonprofit.” That’s the not-so-ringing endorsement of Las Vegas PRIDE President Brady McGill, who worked with Yuen when Yuen was with the organization. 

In an interview with Queer News Tonight (QNT) on June 6, Fort Lauderdale Pride President Miik Martorell confirmed that Yuen is Pride Fort Lauderdale’s new Executive Director.

Martorell has not made Yuen available for an interview or responded to OutSFL’s request for comment.

On QNT, Pride President Miik Martorell disputed McGill’s criticism.

“I think he’s wrong,” Martorell said. “I know that Brady [McGill] and [Yuen] had some disagreements.”

Martorell said Yuen has a way of bringing people and groups together and that people in Pride Fort Lauderdale adore him.

According to Yuen’s LinkedIn page, since 2014 he has served as the Executive Director of Southern Nevada Association of PRIDE, Inc (SNAPI), which produces the annual Las Vegas PRIDE festival. Before that he was the F&B Catering, Banquet, Convention Manager for MGM Resorts International for 11 years.

Yuen’s reviews from his last job are indifferent at best. One out LGBT media personality in Las Vegas told OutSFL, “I’ve had [a] very limited conversation with him when I was hosting the Pride Parade broadcast, but he was never my main point of contact.”

Another person close to the organization echoed the ambivalence.

“I don’t really have anything bad to say about him, although I don’t know if I necessarily have anything great to say about him either. My interactions with him have all been pleasant, and I haven’t had any negative experiences. Yet, if you were to ask me what I thought about the pride organization in town, and if they do incredible projects, and push the envelope for making Vegas a gay destination? Well, then the proof is in the pudding."

OutSFL eventually tracked down Yuen’s personal email asking him directly for an interview.

Yuen did not respond to OutSFL, responding to Martorell saying “As instructed if I hear John Hayden, I forward you his request.”

Yuen appeared to have some supporters. According to an April article from the Pahrump Valley Times Yuen served as the director of the DIVA Drag Queen Charity Bingo, which broke a fundraising record this year, raising $12,156 for three of the local county’s nonprofit animal rescues.

‘I’d Tell Them To Watch Their Backs’

The harshest criticism comes from McGill. In an exclusive conversation with OutSFL, McGill painted a picture of dysfunction. “Over the years he made a lot of enemies and doesn’t have a big fan club.”

McGill says Yuen tends to exaggerate his skill sets.

“Ernie tends to like to play the role of expert which is dangerous when you’re working with tax codes,” he said.

Credible accounting is important in maintaining tax-exempt status. “There are places where you take on more than you should be. There should be CPAs.”

He goes on to say Yuen’s departure from SNAPI was an “unpleasant breakup,” and that the board ended the relationship following money problems that left the organization mired in a years-long audit.

McGill ended the conversation with an ominous warning: “I hope people learn from our experiences.”

According to a press release from SNAPI in 2014 the organization had high hopes for Yuen at the time saying, “As a volunteer and board member, Ernie has been instrumental in creating and/or producing many Las Vegas PRIDE events for the LGBT community of Southern Nevada such as PRIDE Family Bingo, Rainbow Fest, PRIDE Pets, NCOD, PRIDE Royalty Pageants, the Annual PRIDE Night Parade and PRIDE Festival. Chances are that if you have attended any Las Vegas PRIDE event since 1998, Ernie has been an integral part of the production of that event. It is because of his experience and commitment to the organization that he was selected to serve as the first Executive Director for SNAPI.”


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