A Denver landlord has been caught on tape refusing to allow tenants to lease restaurant space to a Muslim family, telling her agent that Muslims are “extremely dangerous.”
As Greeley, Colorado, public radio station KUNC reports, Craig Caldwell had leased space from Katina Gatchis. Caldwell, owner of chicken-restaurant chain White Fence Farms, had closed one of his locations and wanted to sublet the space. And he’d lined up what he thought would be the perfect tenants for the space: Rashad Khan and his family, who were hoping to expand their Curry N Kebob chain.
Gatchis was having none of that.
When Caldwell first approached Gatchis about subletting the space to the Khans, Gatchis turned him down.
“American person, I need, good like you and me.”
So flabbergasted was Caldwell that he approached Gatchis again, this time with his cell phone recording the conversation. She was no more accommodating a second time around.
“They bring all the Muslims from the Middle East and then I have a problem around here. Bomb, boom. Bomb, boom. This kind type, they are very dangerous, extremely dangerous.”
[audio src="https://cpa.ds.npr.org/kunc/audio/2018/06/MdY_CivilRightsWEB.mp3" /]
Rashad Khan, for his part, says there’s not a violent bone in his body. A Muslim of Bangladeshi descent, he’s been in the U.S. since he was a young boy and speaks perfect English with no accent. So proud is he of his alma mater, the University of Colorado, that he named his dog “Blackie” after the university’s mascot.
“I bleed black and gold.”
Now Caldwell has filed a lawsuit in Colorado District Court in Denver, alleging that Gatchis’ denial of the subletting opportunity to the Khans, allegedly on the basis of their religion, is unconstitutional.
Qusair Mohamedbhai, with the Rathod-Mohamedbhai law firm in Denver, which is representing Caldwell and the Khans, said that this type of discrimination is bad for the community at large.
“When minority communities are completely locked out from certain aspects of society, from commerce and business opportunities, it keeps an entire community down.”
Meanwhile, Scott Levin, director of the Anti Defamation League in Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico, says that this type of thing has been on the rise lately.
“In a way, it seems people have been given more permission to do that than they might have otherwise been in the past.”
For her part, Katina Gatchis has refused to comment on the allegations against her. Similarly, none of the attorneys representing her have returned calls and emails for comment.