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South Philly Hotel Owner Says Racism Not Behind Restaurant’s Eviction

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The local branch of the NAACP is accusing a South Philadelphia hotel of discrimination for allegedly asking that the attached restaurant not schedule any hip-hop parties.

At issue is a dispute between the Holiday Inn on Packer Avenue (above) down near the South Philadelphia sports stadiums, and the former operators of the on-site restaurant.

NAACP chapter president Jerome Mondesire says the hotel’s owners in 2009 told the restaurant operators to stop holding hip-hop dances there.

“They were scheduling some individual parties, and they were ordered by the owners — Trent Motel Associates — to stop doing events that attracted black customers,” Mondesire claims. “It’s getting to the (baseball) season when the Holiday Inn is going to do a lot of business, so we wanted to alert the public about it now,” he told KYW Newsradio Friday.

The former restaurant operators, Brett and Matt Levy, have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the hotel’s owners.

A spokesman for the owners says the restaurant operators were evicted from the site for non-payment of rent after losing their liquor license and after the city had cited them for non-payment of taxes.  The spokesman says the directive to stop the dances came only after one such dance ended in gunfire.

Reported by KYW City Hall Bureau chief Mike Dunn

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