Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Adam's Mark Faces New Accusations of Racial Bias

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Adam's Mark Faces New Accusations of Racial Bias

Article excerpt

Black College Reunion participant says Daytona Beach, Fla., hotel was hostile to Black guests


A year after receiving scads of negative publicity resulting from a racial discrimination settlement, the Adam's Mark Hotel in Daytona Beach, Fla., faces new accusations of racial bias from a participant in the city's annual Black College Reunion.

A lawsuit filed in federal court last month by a promoter of the event is the third such action against the hotel chain's Daytona Beach location in the last two years.

Black College Reunion or BCR, is an annual weekend of festivities that attracts more than 100,000 Black youths to Daytona Beach each spring. The event has been broadcast on Black Entertainment Television in recent years and has been a popular venue for nationally known hip-hop music performers including Snoop Dogg and Eminem. But BCR has been making headlines for accusations of racism by Black students against hotels and other Daytona Beach businesses.

In a lawsuit filed just days before this year's BCR took place from March 30-April 1, Thomas "T.C" Copeland of Jacksonville, Fla., asked for an unspecified amount for damages from HBE Corp. of St. Louis, the Adam's Mark parent company.

The lawsuit claims the Adam's Mark at Daytona Beach discriminated in 1999 against Black patrons by creating a special set of "house rules" applicable only to them.

The rules included a requirement that hotel guests in town for BCR be at least 21 years old. According to the lawsuit, hotel officials used "insulting, stereotypical language admonishing the BCR attendees that illegal activity was prohibited." The lawsuit alleges that Adam's Mark displayed hostility toward Black guests and that Copeland, who was responsible for the accommodations for record executives and performers, lost business with record companies and musical artists because of the treatment.

"He was hurt financially," Copeland's lawyer, Rodney Gregory, told Black Issues. "He suffered lost dollars."

Copeland did not return several telephone calls seeking comment.

Fred Kummer III, executive vice president of HBE Corp., the hotel's parent company, vehemently denied the accusations. Kummer, whose father founded HBE in 1960 and began the hotel division in 1973, said the policies and procedures in place that weekend two years ago applied to all hotel patrons. …

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