Trump supporters accuse Detroit hotel of discrimination

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News
The Detroit Foundation Hotel

Detroit — An advocacy organization is accusing the Detroit Foundation Hotel of discrimination, saying its members were denied a discount for being supporters of President Donald Trump. 

High-profile Trump supporters expected to attend the We Build The Wall townhall at Cobo Center on Thursday were recommended to stay at the Detroit Foundation Hotel for the close proximity, said organization spokeswoman Jennifer Lawrence. 

The group was trying to slot 23 rooms for Wednesday and Thursday nights for its event. Lawrence said the hotel sales representative replied the group had the rooms available at a bundle rate of $186 per room per night — a discount from the online single reservation of $250 per night.

Brian Kolfage, leader of the Florida-based organization, accepted the offer immediately. In the final steps, the salesperson requested a list of names and an email address to send an invoice to, Lawrence said.

However, about an hour after sending a list of the room attendees, Kolfage received an email back from the hotel staffer saying the hotel decided to “withdraw” the group offer, Lawrence said.

“Thanks so much for taking the time to send over this information. After reviewing our hotel’s position, unfortunately, we are going to have to withdraw our group offer for this program. We are in a bit of a tough spot at the moment, and feel it’s best to walk away,” the email response said from the hotel.

“Your guests are more than welcome to book on their own through our website, but we cannot place a group offer."

Michigan's Build The Wall Townhall is featuring former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, veteran Brian Kolfage, Kansas' Secretary of State Kris Koback and others on its Detroit agenda.

"It was pretty blatant and clear they had their own positions," Lawrence told The Detroit News. "Once they had a list of names and saw Brian, Steve Bannon, our angel parents and Sheriff David Clark, they didn't like the idea of a group of such supporters staying in the hotel."

Singer Joy Villa, a vocal supporter of the wall, is expected to open up the townhall event singing the national anthem. 

The Foundation Hotel replied in a statement to The News, saying the hotel team did reach out to Kolfage to reinstate the offer.

"The Foundation Hotel apologizes that a position that does not reflect our policy was in any way represented to a potential guest and that an unauthorized decision to rescind a standing offer was made," the hotel stated. "We have taken necessary steps to resolve the situation. The discount group offer for the party in question is extended." 

Lawrence said the group ended up moving to a different hotel.

"It's their loss. We're not going to pay extra money for their beliefs," Lawrence said. 

The group is expecting 2,000 people at their Cobo event on Thursday. Detroit is their third national event this year.

While some Republicans plan to rally for the wall, some Democrats say they will also be holding a forum at Hometown Heros Coffee, at 25029 Van Dyke Ave. in Center Line, to discuss local issues for citizens of Warren, Center Line and surrounding communities.

In attendance will be U.S. Rep. Andy Levin, state Sen. Paul Wojno, state Reps. John Chirkun, Lori Stone, Nate Shannon, County Commissioner Andrey Duzyj and City Treasurer Lorie Barnwell.

“Democrats cannot continue to be defined by what we are against.  We have to stand up and tell people what we are for,” said Jeremy Fisher, a labor lawyer and president of the Warren Area Democratic Club.

"Working people in this country are sick of hearing about the wall, the affairs and the various other scandals of this corrupt administration.  They want to hear how we are going to fix their roads and their schools.  They want to know how we are going to ensure they have access to a good job with a fair wage... Everything else is just noise.”
Twitter: @SarahRahal_