A group of Los Angeles area Jews claim the owner of the upscale Shangri-La Hotel in Santa Monica became furious when she learned a charity event being held there was organized by Jews.
The Times of Israel says more than a dozen young adults organized a pool party earlier this month, to raise money for the non-profit organization Friends of the Israel Defence Forces. But they allege that when hotel owner Tehmina Adaya learned that they were Jewish she cancelled the party even though it had been approved by hotel management earlier.
The plaintiffs have charged Adaya and the Shangri-La hotel with discrimination, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress and they are seeking both compensatory and punitive damages of about $1 million.
In his opening statement to the jury in Santa Monica Superior Court, their lawyer, James Turken says he will make the case that Adaya became “exceedingly” angry when she learned that an event at the hotel was organized by a Jewish group.
The Jewish Press reports that when Adaya made the discovery she screamed, “Get the [expletive] Jews out of my Pool.”
Defense attorney John Levitt, says while the group thought they had arranged for the party, no agreement had been made with the hotel’s management, and therefore they were trespassing.
Not so, according to Turken. He says all the arrangements had been made in advance and staff at the hotel had set up a check-in table and had roped off the area for the event. Turken adds that the day before the pool party, “the head of hotel security gave a briefing to the staff to prepare them for the crowd of 150 that were expected to attend.”
The trial is expected to last two weeks.