Adam’s Mark, NAACP Reach Settlement
In Discrimination Lawsuit
The Adam’s Mark hotel chain will pay $1.1 million to settle allegations that it discriminated against Black guests during a 1999 Black college reunion in Florida.
The settlement ends a boycott by the organization against Adam’s Mark and legal action by the hotel chain against those who canceled contracts as part of the boycott.
The case stems from a lawsuit filed by five Black guests who attended the 1999 Black College Reunion in Daytona Beach, Fla. The five claimed they were overcharged, given inferior rooms, forced to wear neon orange wristbands and required to carry their own luggage.
Fred S. Kummer III, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Adam’s Mark, said the company denies it discriminated against the guests, but agreed to the settlement to end the court battle.
Under the settlement, the plaintiffs will receive $100,000, while other guests who were discriminated against at the reunion will be paid from a $400,000 fund. The Florida attorney general’s office has put aside $1,000 for each guest on the list of 400 for that weekend. Four historically Black colleges also will receive payments totaling $600,000.
As part of the agreement, the 24-hotel chain has agreed to monitoring by the NAACP and others, says NAACP president Kweisi Mfume. The company previously had agreed to companywide diversity training as part of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, a company spokesman said.
Adam’s Mark also agreed not to pursue legal action against those who canceled contracts totaling about $3 million as part of the boycott, Mfume says.
The settlement “means that the many days spent marching in picket lines and protest rallies, that work has paid off,” he says.
The Organization of American Historians (OAH) is one of the groups who canceled their contracts with the hotel in support of the NAACP boycott. The organization relocated its 2000 annual conference from the chain’s St. Louis hotel to the campus of Saint Louis University. Five months later, Adam’s Mark sued OAH for breach of contract (see Black Issues, Sept. 14, 2000).
“We are extremely pleased to have taken a stand against racism and to have reached an end to the past year of legal wrangling,” says Dr. Lee W. Formwalt, OAH executive director. “Now we can return, full-focus, to our mission of promoting history education and research.”
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