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Attorney General Led Seminar to Protect Businesses’ Ability to Discriminate Against Individuals with Disabilities

ADA is like having Laws but No Police Force to Enforce Them

MESA, ARIZONA, MARICOPA, November 7, 2016 / -- Not only has the Arizona Attorney General (“AG”) failed to enforce the ADA for over 26 years, but now the AG’s office is actively and aggressively attempting to prevent from enforcing the ADA laws passed by the United States Congress and the Arizona Legislature.

AID has discovered though its undercover attendance of a 10-20-2016 seminar lead by the AG’s staff that their plan is to file in early November, for a complete dismissal of the 1,289 ADA related cases filed by AID without requiring ANY of the ADA violations to be corrected. The AG is effectively trying to give all 1,289-violating business a “Get Out of Jail Card”, a “Wink and a Nod” and a “Thumbs Up” to simply keep on discriminating against individuals with disabilities without any penalty or liability. The AG’s representative and other attorneys at the seminar exclusively discussed how to fight against ADA violation claims rather than advising attendees to simply comply with the state and federal laws. “The AG effectively held a seminar to teach business owners and attorneys how to continue to violate the ADA and prevent valid ADA plaintiffs in succeeding in court proceedings by utilizing misleading technical proceedings. The discrimination being displayed by the state is regretful and will cause a shameful legacy for those in office. ”

AID and thousands of violating businesses wonder why any business would voluntarily comply with the ADA laws if there is no police force or other governmental agency that is the least bit interested in enforcing the laws; especially if there is a government agency that supports and defends businesses that discriminate against individuals with disabilities?

To date, AID has spent over $1.7 Million to file nearly 2,000 ADA enforcement actions in the courts and over 9,000 documented ADA civil right discrimination cases with the AG’s office. No other private entity in history has caused so many businesses to become ADA compliant both through litigation and voluntary compliance finally knowing the likelihood of potential litigation; and the AG is doing his best to stop AID’s efforts.

The key to ADA compliance, especially voluntarily compliance - just like preventing speeding, theft, drunk driving and murder - is the fear of penalties, repercussions and financial expense. The AG is fighting to eliminate the fears of potential penalties, repercussions and legal expenses, with tax payer dollars, for business who are not even willing to pay $25 to put up proper signage in order to comply with the ADA. “Why would businesses become compliant when no government agency cares and individuals with disabilities are afraid to complain for fear of being told that they are banned from that store or location,” stated Alex Callan, AID’s de facto representative.

If the AG gets his way, violating the ADA in Arizona will even be less risky and penalty free. The AG is supporting a law to allow ADA violators 120 days from the time that someone experiences a civil rights violation and complains to fix their violations without any potential penalty, even though the law has been in place for over 26 years. AID knows this is a pointless and discriminatory requirement; it mailed out over 40,000 notices and found tens of thousands of businesses still didn’t take-action. “If this law is approved, it would be the same as requiring the police to visit a criminal and tell them they have 120 days to stop committing the crime or they’d risk getting in trouble. There’s no incentive to comply. Only businesses that already care about individuals with disabilities, apparently the less than 3%, would be compliant because they do it voluntarily.” Stated Mr. Callan.

“It is unsettlingly common that AID hears about individuals with disabilities being denied equal use of facilities and bathrooms and even threatened, intimidated or banned from the location when they complain about ADA violations.” stated Mr. Callan, “…it is extremely sad when we at AID hear of injuries and even deaths that have been cause by ADA violations. But this is Arizona, the Wild West, and the AG, who says publicly they can exclusively act as the “Sheriff” to enforce the ADA laws has apparently decided, on his own, that the civil rights of those with disabilities do not matter. …and, if you are willing to fight for and protect their rights then the “Sheriff” will come after you to stop you…”

AID’s altruistic intentions remain pure and highly effective… To date AID’s enforcement efforts have cost over $1.7 Million, with nearly $800,000 just in court fees. While ALL of AID’s compliance settlement agreements require timely ADA violation correction guarantees, some settlement agreements also include a negotiated cash component averaging approximately $3,900 per case to cover legal, filing, operational and further compliance actions, etc. Never $10,000 per case and far less than media sources falsely portray. The reason it is necessary for AID to receive these proceeds as part of settlement (approx. $1.2M to date) is to subsidize the costs of identifying, documenting, bringing and managing widespread ADA enforcement actions. Doing so is very costly, and AID does not use any tax funds to investigate and enforce ADA laws. AID’s altruistic efforts and results are made abundantly clear by the fact that AID always has, currently is and anticipates it continue to operate at a substantial loss reaching many hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is definitely clear that AID is NOT “enriching itself”, “lining its pockets” or “just in it for the money” because AID has not and does not expect to make a profit. As the math shows… AID’s expenses of $1,700,000 minus $1,200,000 collected settlement funds equal a current deficit of over $500,000.

AID is pleased with the growing understanding and support of its mission by not only its growing membership base, but also those who support AID’s efforts privately or secretly because of their fears of repercussions or retaliation from those without disabilities. AID is not fearful of such retaliation and will not succumb to negative pressures.

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