RAPID CITY — Already embroiled in convictions and ongoing legal battles over discriminatory practices against Native Americans, yet another lawsuit has been filed against the Grand Gateway Hotel in Rapid City S.D.
A federal lawsuit has been filed alleging discrimination against a biracial couple.
It alleges the Grand Gateway Hotel refused to rent rooms to a Wisconsin family when a staffer realized the husband was Native American, even though the family had reserved three rooms online.
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota Western Division by Sioux Falls lawyer Brendan Johnson.
According to filed documents, Jessica and Ryan White of Lac du Flambeau, Wis., tried to check into the Grand Gateway at 1721 N. Lacrosse St. on Aug. 13, having booked rooms through Travelocity.
After Ryan White (who is Native) joined Jessica White in the check-in process, a Grand Gateway employee allegedly stopped processing the White family’s reservation and told the Whites there was no room reservations for them. After a call to Travelocity to confirm the reservation, the employee continued to refuse to provide lodging.
The Whites found other accommodations through Travelocity. They reported what they interpreted as discrimination to the Rapid City Community Relations Commission. They said prior to being excluded from the hotel, they did not engage in behavior that would warrant such treatment.
The lawsuit lists the Retsel Corporation, a South Dakota corporation owned and controlled by the Uhre family, as the defendant. It does business as the Grand Gateway Hotel.
The lawsuit is asking the court for compensatory and punitive damages as well as paying costs, expenses and attorneys’ fees.