Spokesperson says claims about Atlanta mayor in Hawks lawsuit ar - CBS46 News

Spokesperson says claims about Atlanta mayor in Hawks lawsuit are false

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File photo of Mayor Kasim Reed (Source: WGCL) File photo of Mayor Kasim Reed (Source: WGCL)
ATLANTA (CBS46) -

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said through a spokeswoman that claims about him in a discrimination lawsuit against the Atlanta Hawks are false.

Fired security manager Samuel Hayes III claims that security measures at Phillips Arena were "enforced, or not enforced, based on race."

(MORE: Read the entire lawsuit)

Hayes filed a lawsuit against the Atlanta Hawks, LLC and Jason Parker, its vice president of customer service and operations, for racial discrimination and retaliation.

While the lawsuit doesn't target the mayor, he is listed in the suit as allegedly being denied a security exception. 

(MORE: Fired security manager says Philips Arena discriminated against black entertainers)

In the lawsuit, Hayes claims that security exceptions were granted for Caucasian performers, while the same exceptions were allegedly denied for African American performers.

Hayes provides specific examples involving more than a dozen entertainers and well-known people, including Mayor Reed.

Specifically regarding Mayor Reed, Hayes claims in the lawsuit that Parker denied a request from Reed's security detail for the mayor to be dropped off at the media entrance to a Bad Boy Family Reunion concert that Hayes says the mayor attended as a ticket holder. "Parker denied that request even though the Atlanta Hawks had granted the same request when made by white entertainers and celebrities," according to the lawsuit. 

According to Hayes, Parker vented to him that the mayor "thinks he's a celebrity," and "has an attitude that he deserves special privileges" every time he comes in the building, adding that the mayor "thinks he owns the place."

Mayor Reed's spokesperson told CBS46 in a statement that he never requested special privileges or treatment at Phillips Arena. 

The entire statement from the mayor's spokesperson is below:

Mayor Reed has never requested special privileges or treatment at Philips Arena; accordingly, the claims concerning Mayor Reed made in this lawsuit are totally and completely false. 

The Executive Protection Unit of the Atlanta Police Department sets the security protocol for the Mayor’s travel around the city, including to special events at venues like Philips Arena. This unit reports directly to the Chief Erika Shields, who is responsible for ensuring the safety of Mayor Reed and his family.

And as a reminder, the City of Atlanta, through the Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority, is the majority owner of Philips Arena.

Hayes says in the lawsuit that he was fired as retaliation, but Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Nzinga Shaw says he was fired for "poor performance." 

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