Adam's Mark and NAACP reach settlement in discrimination lawsuit

Monday, December 3rd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BALTIMORE (AP) _ The Adam's Mark hotel chain will pay $2 million to settle allegations it discriminated against black guests during a 1999 black college reunion in Florida.

The settlement, announced Monday by NAACP president Kweisi Mfume, 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 $1 million, 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 will also receive payments totaling $600,000, Mfume said.

As part of the agreement, the 24-hotel chain has agreed to monitoring by the NAACP and others, and companywide diversity training, Mfume 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 said.

The settlement ``means that the many days spent marching in picket lines and protest rallies, that work has paid off,'' Mfume said.