Feds sue hotels over handicapped access

By Adam Pincus | January 13, 2009 05:30PM

Five Midtown hotels were charged by the federal government for violating the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, according to complaints filed today by the office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Manhattan.

Federal prosecutors alleged in the five civil complaints that the hotel entrances, registration counters and public restrooms are inaccessible to people with disabilities, and in several instances, not one hotel room was accessible to disabled guests.

The hotels named in the filings were the Moderne at 243 West 55th Street; Ameritania at 230 West 54th Street; Amsterdam Court at 226 West 50th Street; Hotel Carter at 250 West 43rd Street; and Radio City Suites at 142 West 49th Street.

The investigation began in 2005 with the inspection of 50 Theater District hotels. The five named today were the first to be sued, prosecutors said.

The government is seeking a declaration from each hotel that it has not complied with the law, and an effort to force the businesses to comply. The hotels also each face penalties as high as $55,000, the U.S. attorney’s office said.