Feds May Sue Park Over AIDS Issue
The Justice Department is laying the groundwork for a possible discrimination lawsuit against Wales West RV Resort in Silverhill, Ala., which barred an HIV-positive toddler from using its swimming pool and restrooms last summer, according to the Mobile (Ala.) Press-Register.
A federal court petition has asked to depose Dick Glover before he dies of non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. The 70-year-old Glover is the adoptive father of Caleb, the HIV-positive toddler.
The May 13 court filing indicates Dick Glover's condition has deteriorated to the point that he's making funeral arrangements. Silvia Glover, Dick's wife, said her husband was re-admitted to Providence Hospital last week, but she hopes he can be deposed today (May 19) or Tuesday.
The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division launched an investigation of Wales West in January, according to the court filing, "based on allegations that the Wales West RV Park violated title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990."
Officials with the Justice Department's public affairs office asked the Press-Register to submit questions about the case via e-mail, but the paper had not received a response as of Friday afternoon.
From her conversations with Justice Department officials, Silvia Glover said that she believes federal involvement could lead to Wales West conducting HIV education and awareness sessions with its employees. The case could also result in the establishment of new guidelines that would outline the rights of HIV-positive patients to use public facilities.
"Maybe something good will come from this," Silvia Glover said.
Wales West owner Ken Zadnichek declined comment Friday.
In July 2007, Silvia and Dick Glover and their two foster children – Caleb and a 6-month-old boy – stayed at the Wales West RV park for less than a day. The family left after the park manager informed them that the 2-year-old could not use the swimming pool, showers and other common areas without a doctor's letter assuring them that the boy posed no danger to others.
First reported by the Press-Register, the story gained national attention.
Zadnichek has said he asked for a letter from a doctor or the health department as a safeguard that the child could not infect others. Wales West gave the Glovers a full refund.
In September, Wales West was host to a "family reunion," sponsored by the Campaign to End AIDS, for people diagnosed as HIV-positive or with AIDS.
HIV can only be transmitted through exchange of bodily fluids such as blood, according to the Centers for Disease Control website, not casual contact such handshakes or kisses.
The Justice Department investigation has not concluded, according to the court filing, because officials have been unable to find the manager who spoke directly to the Glovers.
Wales West features steam and diesel locomotives – similar to ones used by the mining industry in Wales – on a railway that circles a small lake. The property also includes an RV park, an indoor pool, a large meeting room and a replica of a medieval Welsh tower.