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Lawsuit: Grand Gateway Refused Service to Whites from Wisconsin

Opening defense: But it ain’t racism if they’re Whites, right?

That training on how not to be racist can’t come a moment too soon for the staff of the Grand Gateway Hotel in Rapid City. Several days before they signed a settlement with the Department of Justice to rid themselves of one federal discrimination lawsuit, the nefarious Uhre family business got hit with another  civli rights lawsuit alleging that on August 13, 2023, the Grand Gateway refused lodging to a mixed-race couple from Wisconsin who had booked rooms online.

7. Plaintiff Ryan White is an individual residing in Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin. He is married to Jessica White. Ryan White is Native American and a member of a protected class.

8. Plaintiff Jessica White is an individual residing in Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin. She is married to Ryan White. Jessica White is not a member of a racially protected class.

17. The White family traveled from Wisconsin to South Dakota for a family vacation. The White family reserved three rooms for one night at the Grand Gateway online through the website Travelocity. Jessica and Ryan White were traveling with Ryan’s three children (who are Jessica’s step-children), Ryan White’s mother, and Ryan White’s aunt. At the time they reserved the rooms, the White family was unaware of Grand Gateway’s history of racial discrimination.

18. After driving all day, the White family arrived at the Grand Gateway at approximately 10 p.m. on August 13, 2023.

…21. Jessica White began the check-in process without any issue.

22. After parking the family’ car, Ryan White entered the Grand Gateway. The Grand Gateway employee stopped processing the White family’s reservation and abruptly told the Whites that they did not have any rooms reserved at the hotel.

23. Jessica White attempted to provide the Grand Gateway employee with their confirmation number from Travelocity. The Grand Gateway employee refused to take the confirmation number, look in the hotel’s system for the reservation, or take steps to honor the White family’s reservation.

24. The White family contacted Travelocity from the lobby of the hotel. A Travelocity representative confirmed that the White family had three rooms reserved at the Grand Gateway [White v. Retsel Corp., Complaint, U.S. District Court of South Dakota, filed 2023.10.25].

The hotel employee, whom the Whites say identified himself as the hotel manager and whom they thus deduce to be Nick Uhre, proceeded to underscore his racism by badmouthing the Travelocity employee who called the Grand Gateway to confirm the Whites’ reservation:

25. Travelocity called the Grand Gateway to confirm that the Whites had a reservation at the Grand Gateway. Despite Travelocity’s confirmation that the Whites had a reservation, the Grand Gateway employee still refused to rent rooms to them.

26. While the Grand Gateway employee was on the phone with the Travelocity representative, the White family heard the Grand Gateway employee tell the Travelocity representative—who spoke with an accent—that she needed to “speak English!” While not directed at the White family, that comment reinforced the unmistakably racial nature of the incident [Complaint, 2023.10.25].

The plaintiffs, represented by Brendan Johnson, Timothy Billion, and Thad Titze of the Sioux Falls office of Robins Kaplan, seek compensatory, general, special, and punitive damages.

The plaintiffs had to try three times to serve their summons and complaint on Chad Uhre. He wasn’t at the office the first two times Sandra White Shield popped in on October 28; when she finally caught him on October 31 (trick or treat!), Uhre apparently didn’t want Ms. White Shield piercing the white shield around the building and asked that she serve him in the parking lot.

White Shield v. Retsel Corp., Affidavit of Service, U.S. District Court of South Dakota, filed 2023.11.08
White Shield v. Retsel Corp., Affidavit of Service, U.S. District Court of South Dakota, filed 2023.11.08.

One had to wonder if any amount of anti-discrimination training and well-worded inclusivity policies will get the Uhres to stop being racist jerks to people who just want to spend the night in South Dakota and enjoy our Land of Freedom.


  1. sx123 2023-11-15 07:56

    Apparently this hotel doesn’t like money.

  2. Arlo Blundt 2023-11-15 15:17

    Blatant Racism which needs to be prosecuted.

  3. All Mammal 2023-11-15 20:58

    What really smears the stink of racism over the town following this result was the announcement today that the man who drove his truck into a 14 girl and sped off, leaving her to die while he evaded police for days and days, was just given a plea deal. He now is only charged with a misdemeanor, instead of the first degree manslaughter charge young Ms. Brave Heart’s family was led to believe he would face. They were treated like they don’t deserve justice and their baby didn’t matter. The hit and run killer is white. This needs to attract the sort of press that will bring shame and expose the lack of honor in our system so maybe they will be too scared to pull this limpdicked sort of injustice the next time a Native woman or girl is murdered. Let us not plug our nose to this stench on the daily. Plus, it sounds like the 22 year old Native woman found dead near Terry Peak a few days ago is not worth investigating either. Tf

  4. grudznick 2023-11-15 21:24

    Young Mr. Uhre is known to be a derelict at large in Rapid City. He lives right by his mommy for a reason. Let us hope the courts smite him mightily.

  5. larry kurtz 2023-11-16 07:07

    James Maher has produced bronzes of many of the horrific losers in US presidential history for the City of Presidents Foundation: Andrew Jackson, James Buchanan, Woodrow Wilson, Hoobert Heever, Harry Truman, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Supposedly he’s working on a sculpture of Donald Trump so it should be placed in the lobby of the Grand Gateway.

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