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Wednesday, May 29, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Blatant Racism

LOUISVILLE (CN) - The Maker's Mark Bourbon House and Lounge "demanded to know the ratio of 'black people' to 'white people'" who planned to attend a public event, then denied entrance to every black person who showed up, a man claims in court.

Andre Mulligan sued Louisville Bourbon LLC dba Maker's Mark Bourbon House and Lounge, of Louisville, and Cordish Operating Ventures, of Baltimore, Md., in Jefferson County Court.

Cordish operates the 4th Street Live venue in Louisville, where Maker's Mark runs a restaurant. Both "provide accommodations to the public," Mulligan says in his complaint.

Mulligan, a citizen of the United States and Kentucky who has bachelor's degrees in history and political science from the University of Louisville, claims that he and his brother met with Maker's Mark officials on Aug. 17, "in preparation for an even that was to be held at the lounge on Aug. 18" this year, the complaint states.

"During the meeting the officials from Maker's Mark demanded to know the ratio of 'black people' to 'white people' attending the event," according to the complaint.

"Plaintiff informed the Maker's Mark officials that the party would be 100 percent African American. And the Maker's Mark officials responded by informing the plaintiff that he and other African Americans would not be allowed to hold an event at the Maker's Mark Lounge.

"Maker's Mark officials specifically informed the plaintiff that he would not be served if he attempted to enter the lounge on Aug. 18, 2012.

"On Aug. 18, 2012 Maker's Mark officials refused service to all African Americans (in the event) who attempted to gain access to the lounge (just as they had promised)." (Parentheses in complaint.)

Mulligan claims the defendants refused to let him enter, and that "Cordish security told the plaintiff to 'shut up' and that he was trespassing. Cordish security informed the plaintiff that he would be 'locked up' if he did not leave the grounds; at the exact same moment the plaintiff witnessed numerous Caucasian patrons entering the 4th Street Live venue without incident."

Mulligan seeks punitive damages for violations of the Kentucky Civil Rights Act, and costs.

He is represented by Kurt Scharfenberger.

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