12/12/2012 04:13 pm ET

Hotel Nikko Rrazz Room Lawsuit: Club Alleges Racism


San Francisco club The Rrazz Room recently announced that it would be closing after Hotel Nikko, the club's home since its 2008 opening, failed to renew its contract. And it doled out quite the parting gift to its former venue.

The Rrazz Room filed a lawsuit against the Hotel Nikko alleging that the club's contract was not renewed because the club was attracting too many African American customers.

The suit claims that Hotel Nikko Vice President and General Manager Anna Marie Presutti encouraged the club to limit its R&B acts, and then failed to renew the club's contract when it wouldn't comply.

From the suit:

Prior to the notice of termination, Ms. Presutti requested that Rrazz Entertainment change its musical programming to reduce the number of Rhythm and Blues acts because defendants did not want the Rrazz Room to attract to the Hotel Nikko a certain "demographic" that Rhythm and Blues acts were drawing.

The Rrazz Room took Presutti's request to mean that she felt the club was attracting too many African Americans.

The club also presented the cancelling of a Sunday brunch series partnership with KBLX-FM, a local R&B radio station. In the suit, the club alleged that Presutti told them that the brunches were attracting a demographic that was undesirable to Hotel Nikko.

Ms. Presutti informed representatives of Rrazz Entertainment […] that the Hotel Nikko would change radio stations from KBLX to KSOF-FM because the station has an audience that is people who "look like me and you." Ms. Presutti and the representatives of Rrazz Entertainment who were present were all Caucasian.

In an interview with The Huffington Post, a representative from the Rrazz Room pointed to a 2007 suit against Presutti and the hotel for alleged racial discrimination against an African American employee.

Presutti and Hotel Nikko deny the allegations.

“The lawsuit is full of outrageous allegations, which we adamantly deny," Presutti told HuffPost. "It’s especially hurtful and upsetting to me and the diverse work force here at the Nikko to be accused of racism by the RRAZZ management. This is a simple case of a contract coming to an end and an attempt for RRAZZ to use slander as a bullying tactic to get their way. I will not engage in such a sophomoric manner and will rely on the facts of the contract to tell the story.”

The Rrazz Room will host its final show on New Year's Eve with a performance by jazz and blues singer Kim Nalley, and will open a new club called Live at the Rrazz the very next night.