Kansas City Power & Light Entertainment District

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Two Black men who say they were harassed and denied entrance into a downtown Kansas City entertainment district nightclub because of their race have filed a lawsuit against the district’s owners.

Dante A.R. Combs and Adam Williams’ filed their federal lawsuit Monday, a week after a former Power & Light Entertainment District employee, Glen Cusimano, filed a state lawsuit alleging that the district’s owners paid White men, known as “rabbits,” to create disturbances that would get Black patrons ejected or arrested.

Combs and Williams, who work in professional sales for the pharmaceutical and medical industries, say that on three occasions in 2010 and 2011, one of them was denied entry to a nightclub or singled out for harassment — in one case leading to a fight — despite their acting calm and being professionally dressed, The Kansas City Star reported (http://bit.ly/PoiSZ0 ).

They are seeking $5 million in damages and class-action status for their lawsuit, saying that hundreds or even thousands of other Black patrons could have been discriminated against.

They allege that there was a pattern of “harassment, fraud, targeting, ejecting, exclusion, humiliation” and more for “the purpose of controlling and/or reducing/limiting the number of African-American patrons.”

Zed Smith, director of Asset Management, one of several businesses tied to the defendant, Cordish Cos., called the latest lawsuit baseless.

“We all work collaboratively to ensure that the guest experience is excellent for all of our customers,” said Smith. “We take pride in our customer service and the customer service of our tenants, and we vigorously deny this trumped-up and meritless claim.”

Cordish officials also denied Cusimano’s allegations.

The plaintiffs in both cases have the same attorney, Linda Dickens.


Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com

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