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City: Actor Gere Must Include Access In Resort Plan

BEDFORD, NEW YORK--Thanks to the City of Bedford, film actor Richard Gere will avoid the same fate as fellow actor Clint Eastwood when it comes to accessibility at his planned resort.

According to a brief item in the New York Daily News, Gere, 56, and business partner Russell Hernandez have purchased a 14-acre property, which includes an 18th century house and barn, with the intention of turning it into a luxury hotel and restaurant.

But the town has refused to issue a building permit -- thereby putting a stop to any renovation of the Revolutionary War-era buildings -- until Gere and Hernandez provide plans showing wheelchair access and an elevator.

This means that Gere and Hernandez will probably not have to deal with legal challenges of the sort that Eastwood faced over accessibility at his Mission Ranch Inn in Carmel, California.

In September 2000, a California jury decided that Eastwood was liable for three violations under the Americans with Disabilities Act and ordered him to provide a ramp to the registration office, a second accessible guest room, and signs about the accessible restrooms -- which were 234 feet away from the main building.

That year, Eastwood unsuccessfully campaigned for Congress to amend the ADA to force people with disabilities to give businesses a 90-day notice before filing a discrimination complaint.

Some critics have speculated that the plot of Eastwood's Academy Award-winning film "Million Dollar Baby", which included a scene in which his character turned off life-support for the movie's injured heroine, was a form of retaliation against disability rights advocates for losing the ADA lawsuit.

"ADA Notification & Clint Eastwood" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)
Million Dollar Bigot

Copyright 2006 Inonit Publishing
Article reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express international disability rights news service. Please do not reprint, republish or forward without permission.

You rock, Bedford.

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