United States / 17-08-2012
Hotel owner to compensate Friends of IDF
Muslim owner of Shangri-La Hotel in Santa Monica to pay $1.2 million in compensation to Friends of IDF, California court rules
Tehmina Adaya, the owner of the Shangri-La Hotel in Santa Monica, was ordered by a California jury to pay $1.2 million in damages for discriminating against members of a pro-Israel organization who were guests at her hotel.
Two years ago, Adaya ordered her employees to remove all banners and informational brochures of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, a nonprofit group that was holding an event at the hotel.
Though the organization had booked the hotel pool in advance and the event was approved by the hotel's management, Adaya ordered the group to stop the event, crying out that her family could deny her a share of her father's inheritance if it was to find out that she was hosting a Jewish event.
In the trial, which started on July 2012, Adaya denied that that she had violated the California Unruh Civil Rights Act, which bars hotels and businesses from discriminating on the basis of sex, race, color or religion. But a former employee at her hotel, Nathan Codrey, testified that Adaya repeatedly cursed the members of the Friends of the IDF, and demanded that they stop their event immediately.
Codrey's testimony was crucial to the ruling, and on Wednesday, the Californian jury found that the hotel owner indeed violated the Unruh Act, and that she is to pay the Friends of the IDF more than $1.2 million in damages.