The Pittsburgh Human Relations Commission is investigating claims of racial discrimination made by event promoter William Marshall against Station Square owner Forest City Enterprises and tenant Cadillac Ranch Group for halting them from conducting events that cater to a largely African-American audience.
In his complaint, Marshall states that in October, he and fight promoter Rayco Saunders had to move a scheduled boxing match after Forest City would not allow the event to take place at its Carson Street Live location.
They further claim, “Forest City has entered into verbal agreement with all Lessee of Station Square property not to do, promote, nor have events that will attract African-Americans.”
Marshall said he had promoted events at Cadillac Ranch’s Margarita Mamas before it closed in 2008, and did a series of outdoor events at Station Square’s amphitheater through the summer of 2010.
In July and again in September, Marshall and Saunders promoted boxing events at Carson Street Live, but in October, Cadillac Ranch told him they were shutting down and “lease restrictions” prevented any further urban events at the other venues they managed, Station Square, Barroom and Saddle Ridge.
This coincided with a shooting that injured two people at the, now closed, Zen nightclub in Station Square.
Attorney Patricia Monahan, who represents Forest City, said she would not comment on the complaint because, at this stage, HRC proceedings are supposed to be confidential, as are the agreements between her client and its tenants.
“My client doesn’t discriminate against anyone,” she said. “We vehemently deny Mr. Marshall’s charges.”
Pittsburgh HRC Executive Director Charles Morrison declined comment on the complaint other than acknowledging its receipt and confirming that an investigation was in its earliest stages.
Marshall, however, is happy to talk.
“It’s not just me. It’s a lot of other people being hurt,” he said. “There hasn’t been one single urban event at Station Square since October. But they just booked a boxing match at Saddle Ridge, with some White promoters.”
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