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Denny's Restaurants Settle Bias Suits for $54 Million : Civil rights: Blacks complained of discrimination at the chain. Case marks new push for Justice Department.

May 25, 1994|JEFF LEEDS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Richardson, who owns the National Football League's new Carolina Panthers franchise, said he was concerned last summer that the allegations of racial bias would hamper his bid for a team. But he said he was even more worried about damage to his personal reputation and that of the company, which suffered another blow Monday when two gunmen burst into an Indianapolis Denny's, seized hostages and killed one.

Last year, Flagstar entered a "fair share" agreement with the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People and agreed to expand minority ownership of its franchises.

Although the company has no black-owned franchises, a Flagstar spokesman said that 28 potential owners are under consideration.

In 1993, Denny's hired a civil rights monitor who works out of the company's regional office in Irvine, Calif.

Joseph P. Russell, most recently a consultant in San Diego, was hired as part of a consent decree signed with the U.S. Justice Department in which the chain agreed to monitor business practices to ensure that discrimination does not occur.

Times staff writer Greg Johnson in Orange County contributed to this story.

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