Beyond the Grove

Bohemian Grove pays out back wages in lost suit

The Bohemian Grove recently settled a lawsuit for $7 million brought by over 600 former employees of the luxe West County campground where super-fabulous white men (for the most part) in khakis gather annually to get loaded, eat chili manly-man style, and sit around in circles for sing-alongs with the likes of Steve Miller.

This Bohemian heard from former Bohemian Grove worker David Gelsinger right after the settlement was announced, and he came by the office to share photos and his Bohemian Grove story. Gelsinger was basically an all-purpose man, making $250 a day to help campers kick back and commune with nature. It was, he says, a 24-7 job, for which he was not paid a 24-7 wage. Gelsinger says that this recent suit would not have happened had he not taken Bohemian Grove to court over underpayment for the hours he put in at the Grove. And he says they still owe him $1.5 million in back wages and wrongful-termination dollars.

Gelsinger worked at the Grove from 1994 until 2014 (the same year he sued) at various camps within the super-secret enclave, and says that during that time he was kicked by an attendee and also endured such hijinks as attendees writing “I’m gay” on his timecard. Very mature. He shared a photo of himself sitting in a circle with a bunch of men—in khakis—listening to Steve Miller strum the guitar and sing.

Gelsinger says he settled his suit under duress, for an undisclosed amount somewhere north of $50,000. For his part, Steve Miller claims to be a joker, a smoker, a midnight toker. He sure didn’t want to hurt no one.

Sonoma County Library