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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Whites Banned From Share In Ken Blackwell's Cincinnati Bengals Luxury Suite? Lawsuit Claims Wealthy Blacks Set Racial Barrier

Racial Preferences Alleged
CINCINNATI (TDB) -- The allegation that whites can't buy a share in the Cincinnati Bengals luxury suite that comes with 16 season tickets appears in a Hamilton County Common Pleas Court lawsuit.  It's a dispute filed by Ken Blackwell -- the GOP candidate for Ohio governor in 2006 -- and several African American partners who claim they have been stiffed out of more than $60,000 in fees owed on the box at Paul Brown Stadium.  The couple who allegedly owe the money, James and Deborah Davis, contend the Blackwell group instructed them not to try to sell their interest in the luxury box to whites.  Here's what the Davis's lawyer, Ashley Meier Barlow, wrote in a recent court filing:

"In this case, Plaintiffs [the Blackwell group] failed to take any action to mitigate the damages from the alleged breach of contract by Defendants.  In fact, when Defendants informed Plaintiffs that they were not going to adhere to the obligations of the Suiteholder Agreement, Plaintiffs suggested that Defendants should attempt to find individuals to assume Defendants' obligations.  Worse, Plaintiffs instructed Defendants that they should try to find substitute African American individuals of influence interested in assuming Defendants alleged contractual obligations.

"Clearly, Plaintiffs should have made a reasonable effort to avoid the damages that resulted from the alleged breach of the Suiteholder Agreement.  Instead, Plaintiffs made no effort whatsoever to mitigate their damages and in fact made it more difficult for Defendants to assign their tickets as Plaintiffs placed limitations on what individuals would be acceptable."

The language in the filing uses the word plaintiffs -- plural -- and does not get specific about who actually suggested the suite share should be sold to some other African Americans.  Still, it clearly does allege some racial preference was at work.  Blackwell is a political conservative and is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council. He's also been involved with the Club for Growth and the National Taxpayers Union. He was the first African American elected to statewide office in Ohio when he won the state treasurer's job in 1994. He ran for chairman of the Republican National Committee last year but lost to Michael Steele.  Blackwell does not have a reputation as a black racist or black nationalist, and the allegations in the lawsuit seems at odds with the way he has publicly conducted his life.

The lawsuit is Case No. A 0910309, d.e. Foxx & Associates Inc et al v. James Davis et al.  It is assigned to Judge Bob Winkler, who has sent the dispute to mediation.  A mediation session is set for Dec. 8.  Besides Ken Blackwell and d.e. Foxx Inc., the five other plaintiffs include Blue Chip Enterprises, Dr. Joseph Hackworth, Dr. Charles Johnson and Progressive Marketing & Management, which is based in Columbus.  That group contends the Davis's purchased two shares in the suite package in September 2007.  It says they have failed and refused to pay their pro-rata share due in March 2009.  The group has not filed an answer to the motion to dismiss that raised the allegation that the luxury suite and season tickets should preferably be in the hands of African American shareholders.  Judge Winkler has stayed the date for the answer pending mediation.

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