FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEAG
TUESDAY, MARCH 21, 2000(202) 514-2007
WWW.USDOJ.GOVTDD (202) 514-1888
STATEMENT BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
ON THE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT WITH ADAM'S MARK HOTEL CHAIN
"In this democracy that we live in, we must constantly rededicate ourselves to the principle of equal opportunity and justice for all of the people of this country.
"Thirty five years ago, Congress passed civil rights laws that were intended to make this principle a reality. And at the Department of Justice, we have been vigorously enforcing these laws -- and, as a result, witnessing significant change in the way that Americans are treated.
"That is why I am so pleased to announce a settlement with a major hotel chain that will ensure that every guest is treated equally -- and fairly.
"As you recall, last December we sued the Adam's Mark Hotel chain for allegedly discriminating against African Americans. It was a suit that stemmed from allegations made by a group of young African Americans who checked into the Adam's Mark in Daytona Beach last spring during the Black College Reunion.
"Today's settlement, which is subject to court approval, resolves not only the Justice Department suit, but also suits filed by private class action plaintiffs and the State of Florida.
"Under today's settlement with the Justice Department, the 21-unit hotel chain has agreed to adopt a comprehensive plan which will ensure that every hotel will be operated in a non-discriminatory fashion. Under this agreement, Adams Mark will modify all hotel policies to ensure non-discrimination. It will set forth steps to be taken concerning future Black College Reunion events and other group events. It will create an effective method for investigating and resolving complaints. It will retain an independent monitor to ensure that the chain is complying with the agreement, and, it will employ strategies to attract minority customers.
"In addition, as a result of the class action, Adams Mark will pay $8 million in monetary relief -- part of which will fund hotel management programs at Florida's four historically black colleges.
"This settlement is the product of a cooperative effort between Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth and the State of Florida -- John Relman, who represents the plaintiff's attorneys -- and Bill Lann Lee, the Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. This type of cooperation, at the federal and state level, as well as between the public sector and the private sector, should serve as a model for the future.
"Today, is not the time for rehashing facts, or assigning blame. Instead, today's settlement is an opportunity - a time to look forward and define what will be the future of our country. I am pleased that Adams Mark chose to work with us to ensure that all guests will be treated fairly in the future. And I am confident that non-discrimination will now define the policies of Adams Mark. I would urge all members of the hospitality industry to review their own operation to ensure that no discriminatory practices exist at their hotels.
"Young adults served as the impetus for this change. They came forward, and they represent our future. Their actions, their ideas, their dreams and beliefs will shape this new century for our country, and if other young people are like them, I think our country is in good hands.
"Now, I am delighted and pleased to introduce the Attorney General of Florida -- a very great public servant, a good friend, a person who is absolutely committed to the enforcement of civil rights -- Bob Butterworth."