Human rights panel clears Camden inn of discrimination

The Camden Harbour Inn.
The Camden Harbour Inn. Buy Photo
Posted Feb. 24, 2014, at 7:40 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 25, 2014, at 11:56 a.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Human Rights Commission ruled Monday that a Camden inn did not discriminate against a Wisconsin couple based on the husband’s physical disability.

The commission voted 3-1 to overrule its investigator’s finding that there were reasonable grounds to find that the Camden Harbour Inn had discriminated against Susan and Ernest Patnode of Beloit, Wis.

Susan Patnode had booked a room at the Camden inn in May 2013 to celebrate Ernest’s 86th birthday, and said she told the innkeeper over the phone that he was disabled and could not climb stairs or walk very much.

Inn officials said that Susan Patnode hadn’t told them her husband could not walk about 100 feet, and that because Ernest Patnode did not travel with a wheelchair, “one would assume” that he could walk that far. They disputed her claim that the exterior entrance to the suite was blocked. The inn said its staff offered to rebook the Patnodes to another property immediately upon their arrival and again the following day, when Susan Patnode expressed her dissatisfaction.

“We are pleased that the MHRC concluded today that there were no reasonable grounds that Relais & Chateaux Camden Harbour Inn denied complainants Susan and Ernest Patnode the full and equal enjoyment of a place of lodging on the basis of physical disability. We are also happy that the commission did realize that we went above and beyond to accommodate Mr. and Mrs. Patnode. This was a great recognition for all the hard work and extra care our staff had put in to satisfy Mr. and Mrs. Patnode’s needs. At Relais & Chateaux Camden Harbour Inn we work very hard to give our guests an extraordinary time and for that reason we belong in the top 500 of small luxury hotels in the world. We continue to regret that, despite all our efforts, Mr. and Mrs. Patnode were unable to enjoy the unique Camden Harbour Inn experience,” Raymond Brunyanszki, co-owner of the inn, said in an email statement late Monday.

Susan Patnode could not immediately be reached for comment.

Ernest Patnode has since died.

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