BOSTON (AP) – Former owner of upscale Boston shoe and clothing store accused of discriminating against black man, woman of Middle Eastern descent and others Customers were permanently banned from operating a retail business in the state and ordered to pay $ 220,000 under a deal with the attorney general’s office announced Friday.
The consent judgment settles a 2018 lawsuit against Hicham Ali “Sam” Hassan, owner of The Tannery in Boston’s Back Bay, who alleged he violated state law by engaging in discriminatory behavior, including making derogatory comments and denying service to clients because of their real or perceived race, national origin or immigration status.
The store has since closed.
“We have strict laws in Massachusetts to end the kind of illegal, unacceptable and racist behavior that this business owner has blatantly displayed in his store,” Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement. “This regulation relieves customers who have been wronged and makes it clear that everyone should be welcome and respected in businesses in our state.”
The $ 220,000 will be used to compensate victims and fund anti-discrimination and racial justice programs.
Hassan denies ever discriminating against a client, his lawyer Dan Conley said in an emailed statement.
“Mr. Hassan is an immigrant from the Middle East to our country and has himself been discriminated against on several occasions over the years,” the statement said.
He is now 70 years old and is dealing with serious health problems.
“He settled this lawsuit to avoid unnecessary legal costs, to end the case and to fully focus on his health and recovery,” Conley said.
According to the attorney general, Hassan told a black customer in 2017 that he did not want his “kind” in the store, hinted that he did not have enough money to shop there and he said to leave.
On another occasion, when a woman of Middle Eastern origin walked into the store with her husband and 8-year-old child, Hassan laughed at her accent and told her to “go back to her country and clean up.” and cook ‘mgadara’, a traditional Middle Eastern dish.
The attorney general’s office has also chronicled other cases of Hassan’s alleged discriminatory behavior.