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Seminole Tribe of Florida

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A jury decided in early June that boxer Antonio Tarver and three others - Samuel Jordan, Douglas Greer and Viral Patel - had their civil rights violated by a hotel owned by the tribe. The four men, three of whom are black and one Asian, were awarded $1.5 million in punitive damages and $100,000 each in compensatory damages. Ron A. Hobgood, who represented Seminole Economic Development Inc., said he plans to appeal the decision. The men sued Seminole Economic Development for racial bias after the Jan. 30, 1998, incident. They claimed to have ordered food while staying at the Sheraton Four Points Hotel and were told by a waitress they needed to give a deposit or credit card for her to take the order. Patel did so and the men ate, but they said white patrons weren't required to do the same. A hotel spokesman denied such a policy. "They (the restaurant) assumed they were going to run out on their bill because of their color," said Todd Long, Tarver's attorney. Long said he would ask for legal fees as well. The Sheraton Four Points in Tampa closed about two months ago, a Sheraton employee in Palm Harbor told the Orlando Sentinel