Will Racist Rapid City Rant Alter ND Travel Plans? (UPDATE)
This is an update to a report filed on March 24th, 2022...
The Uhre family certainly seems to be an impulsive bunch.
In March of 2022, we were introduced to the Uhre family through a tweet that elicited a firestorm of reaction throughout the region. It was a social media post from Connie Uhre, part of the ownership group of the Grand Gateway Hotel in Rapid City. It followed a murder on the hotel property on March 19th, 2022.
'Do to the killing that took place at the Grand Gateway Hotel on March 19 2022 at 4 am plus all the vandalism we have had since the Mayor and Police Department ate working with the non profit organization (Dark Money) .
We will no long allow any Native American on property. Or in Cheers Sports Bar. Natives killing Natives.
Rancher and Travelers will receive a very special rate of 59.00 a night. Book Direct'
As you can see in the original report below, the reaction was swift to Connie's over-reaching and quickly deleted tweet. But the damage was done. It seems damage within the family was also done. Months later on Monday, June 6th, Connie's son Judson Uhre filed a lawsuit against members of his family and the family corporation.
Judson Uhre filed a lawsuit in Pennington County against his mother Connie, who issued the racist tweet, as well as his brothers Nick and Chad Uhre. He also sued the Retsel Corporation, a family company, citing breach of fiduciary duty, shareholder oppression and tortious interference in the operation of the hotel.
On Saturday, June 11th, Judson seems to have a change of heart, telling The Daily Beast he regretted filing the lawsuit and plans to withdraw it.
“I will be withdrawing the lawsuit,” Judson said. “I just want them to look at some other things but they are hard-headed. But I love them. I feel absolutely horrified and stupid. I love my mother very much.”
No question that significant financial losses have been incurred at the hotel since both the murder and the social media controversy. Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender had this reaction to the latest developments
“It certainly seems best for the Uhre family and for Rapid City to put this whole mess behind us. Unfortunately, the Uhre family will not allow this to happen,”
Read below for the rest of the story filed on March 24th.
Thousands of North Dakotans travel to or through Rapid City on their Black Hills getaways. Will this outrageous story affect your lodging choices?
It was a social media post earlier this week from Connie Uhre, one of the owners of Rapid City's Grand Gateway Hotel that has ignited a South Dakota wildfire of protest that has led to a federal civil rights class-action lawsuit. The post followed a shooting incident at the hotel early in the morning on Saturday that left one man with serious injuries.
Connie Uhre's post reflects the current fragile race relations in Rapid City.
Grammatical and factual errors in the post may indicate Uhre's state of mind when she took to Facebook on Sunday. With the filing of the federal lawsuit, it's clear the matter cannot simply be dismissed as an egregious mistake. This will be a costly lesson for not just Connie Uhre but for the Retsel Corporation, the parent company of the hotel.
So here's the post that sent hundreds of demonstrators to the streets on Wednesday
'Do to the killing that took place at the Grand Gateway Hotel on March 19 2022 at 4 am plus all the vandalism we have had since the Mayor and Police Department ate working with the non profit organization (Dark Money) . We will no long allow any Native American on property. Or in Cheers Sports Bar. Natives killing Natives. Rancher and Travelers will receive a very special rate of 59.00 a night. Book Direct'
The post was quickly removed but not before it was screenshot and reposted.
Connie's son Nick who is a manager at the hotel said a ban on Native Americans staying at the hotel would not be considered. This was reported in Yahoo News
NDN Collective sent Sunny Red Bear, racial equity campaign director for the collective, to the hotel to book a room and she was denied. They then sent the director of operations Alberta Eagle to book rooms on behalf of the organization. He said Eagle was denied and removed from the lobby.
Nick also provided a rationale for his mother's actions.
"I believe that my mother cries so loudly when gunshots ring through the hotel and vandals destroy guest property because she feels that everything she has sacrificed her life for is being destroyed,"
Since the uproar, many Native American employees including management have walked away from their jobs to avoid the controversy. I would presume Connie Uhre's intended results may come to fruition when Native Americans boycott the hotel. It may also draw those that are in agreement with Connie's thoughts. Although it seems pretty clear a class action civil rights lawsuit is going to be very expensive to the corporation.