Judge Rejects Lawsuit by 2 Black Men Alleging a Pattern of Racial Discrimination at Kansas City Entertainment District

Kansas City Royals fans cheer at the Power & Light District during Game 7 of the World Series Oct. 29, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. 
Julie Denesha/Getty Images

A U.S. District court has thrown out a class action racial-discrimination lawsuit against a Kansas City, Mo., entertainment center.

Two African-American men accused Cordish Cos.—which owns the downtown Kansas City, Mo., entertainment area called the Kansas City Power & Light District—of using various tactics to limit the number of black patrons at the district’s restaurants, bars and stores. U.S. District Judge Ortrie Smith dismissed the second count of their two-count, class action lawsuit earlier this week. Smith said that he found no evidence to support their claims. He had previously dismissed the first count, the Kansas City Star reports.


The attorney for the plaintiffs, Dante A.R. Combs and Adam S. Williams, based her case, in part, on the testimony of former district employees. The Kansas City Star highlights three tactics Cordish allegedly used to limit the number of African-American patrons.

One tactic was to claim that restaurants were overbooked or reservations lost. They also selectively enforced dress codes, targeting primarily black men. The third tactic was to employ “rabbits,” a code name for white men hired to instigate arguments with black men, with the aim of having security throw out the targeted black man.

Meanwhile, the Kansas City Star says that the company is facing opposition in Philadelphia. Cordish seeks to build a $475 million hotel-and-casino complex there, but African-American leaders are raising concerns about the company’s reputation on race. As the Philadelphia Tribune reports, there is concern about Cordish’s lack of racially diverse ownership. The company also faces racial-discrimination lawsuits from black patrons in Louisville, Ky., and St. Louis—in addition to the one in Kansas City.

Linda Dickens, the attorney for Combs and Williams, is undeterred by the judge’s initial ruling. She plans to ask him to reconsider and intends to appeal to a higher court if necessary, according to the Kansas City Star.


Read more at the Kansas City Star and the Philadelphia Tribune.

Share This Story

Start the discussion