Council moves meeting from Adam's Mark

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  • | 12:00 p.m. November 8, 2001
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by Glenn Tschimpke

Staff Writer

The long-reaching tentacles of the NAACP boycott has extended to City Hall. As one of the possible locations for City Council’s breakfast with the Masan delegation from Korea Tuesday morning, the Adam’s Mark Hotel was crossed off the list when a few Council members were uncomfortable with the venue.

“I would not go over there because I am a lifelong member of the NAACP,” said City Council member Pat Lockett-Felder. “I could not go across the picket line. I’m true blue to my word.”

Lockett-Felder said she has been to the Jacksonville location “once or twice” and has had no problems with the hotel. Her complaint is with the chain as a whole.

“To me, it was very nice. I don’t have anything bad to say about them,” she said of Jacksonville’s riverfront hotel. “I can’t separate the two. The local Adam’s Mark happens to be part of the chain. There’s no way to separate them just like you can’t separate Pat from Lockett-Felder.”

Lockett-Felder said Council members Reggie Fullwood and King Holzendorf also expressed concerns to her about the location of the breakfast. Neither could be reached for comment.

The Adam’s Mark chain came under fire by the country’s African-American leadership after black college students were allegedly mistreated in Daytona Beach during spring break in 1999. Room rates were raised and a variety of inconveniences were imposed that the NAACP said weren’t applied to whites.

Rather than cause an uncomfortable situation or have other Council members drop out of the breakfast, Council president Matt Carlucci decided to hold the event at the Omni.

“I like the Adam’s Mark on a personal level. I think it’s a great hotel,” he said. “As Council president, you have to make sure everyone is comfortable with the location. I guess you do the best you can do, which is the best you can do.”

Jacksonville’s Adam’s Mark has hosted a number of African-American conventions since opening earlier this year, despite the ongoing boycott, and none have complained of mistreatment or poor service.

“Obviously, we feel very strongly we’re doing a good job in the city,” said Adam’s Mark general manager Irving Kass. “We’ve had numerous events that have had very diverse groups in the hotel. It’s unfortunate no one would want to use the property.”