RAPID CITY, S.D. – Following an agreement to a consent decree reached by the owners and operators of the Grand Gateway Hotel and the Cheers Sports Lounge and Casino and the U.S. Department of Justice, the following letter – that was a requirement of the consent – has been sent to the media by the owners of the business.
The lawsuit – filed in 2022 – alleged that the defendants violated Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by discriminating against Native American customers.
Almost simultaneously, another federal lawsuit was filed against the business over alleged discriminatory practices against a biracial couple that occurred on Aug. 13, 2023
Following is the letter issued by the Retsel Corporation, that includes the Grand Gateway Hotel and Cheers Sports Lounge:
We extend our sincere apology to all for the statements made by Connie Uhre on March 19-20, 2022, regarding Native Americans. Ms. Uhre’s comments were not consistent with the values or policies of our company or of our businesses, the Grand Gateway Hotel and Cheers Sports Lounge.
We deeply regret the pain or harm Ms. Uhre’s statements have caused within our Native American community. We want to make clear that we welcome all Native Americans to the Grand Gateway Hotel and Cheers Sports Lounge.
In acknowledging that Ms. Uhre’s comments were wrong, we also want to acknowledge the remarkable Native American families who live and work within our community. We treasure our many relationships with Tribal members over the years. And we know, based on those relationships, that the Native American community is made up of hardworking individuals who are dedicated to their families and their culture.
We are privileged and fo1tunate to have many friends, employees, and neighbors who are Tribal members. The values of inclusivity, respect, and unity are shared, and we wish to assure our patrons that our businesses are committed to these values.
We have a deep history and relationship with the tribes and their members for over 45 years, and we look forward to continuing that relationship far into the future.
Chad Uhre, director and owner
Josh Uhre, director and owner
Judd Uhre, owner
Leslie Sherry, director and owner
Nicholas Uhre, director, owner and manager
Connie Uhre, former president, former director, former owner