Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Adam's Mark Loses Governor's Chamber Speech NAACP Boycott Spurs Move, Jacksonville Chamber Says

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Adam's Mark Loses Governor's Chamber Speech NAACP Boycott Spurs Move, Jacksonville Chamber Says

Article excerpt

Byline: Moshay Simpson, Times-Union staff writer

********** CORRECTION July 15, 2001

Walt Bussells is chairman of Cornerstone, the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce's economic branch. Because of a reporter's error, his name was misspelled in a story on Page A-1 yesterday.

***************

Gov. Jeb Bush will keep his July 27 Chamber of Commerce speaking engagement in Jacksonville.

But it will not be at Adam's Mark hotel.

The Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce decided yesterday to move its quarterly luncheon, hosted by Cornerstone, from the Adam's Mark to Exhibit Hall B of the Prime Osborn Convention Center after the NAACP's decision to reinstate its boycott of the Adam's Mark.

"We have decided to change the location to avoid putting our membership or the governor in an awkward position," said Walt Brussells, chairman of Cornerstone, the chamber's economic branch.

Brussells and other chamber officials, including Chamber of Commerce President Wally Lee, decided to move the 700-guest luncheon after the two-year-old feud between the NAACP and Adam's Mark reignited this week.

"The governor respects their decision and still plans to speak at the luncheon," said Lisa Gates, a spokeswoman for the governor's office. She said the chamber informed the governor's office yesterday afternoon that the luncheon would be moved.

"It's unfortunate the boycott announced by the national NAACP has forced the chamber to take this action," said Irving Kass, general manager of Jacksonville's 966-room Adam's Mark. The hotel opened in February.

The NAACP accused the hotel chain's Daytona Beach location of discriminating against five guests during Black College Reunion in 1999. It also said the hotel chain has a pattern of mistreating and failing to promote black employees.

"Adam's Mark is a leader in diversity in the hospitality community," Kass said. "We're committed to treating all guests equally, and the NAACP's allegations are false. …

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