UPDATE: Carver County Ends Contract With Scream Town Over Facebook Post, Issues Stop Work Order

October 12, 2018 12:31 PM

Above video originally aired on Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Officials in Carver County Thursday issued a stop work order for Scream Town after announcing the county's sheriff's department had terminated its contract with the popular Chaska Halloween attraction.

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According to a release, Scream Town had contracted with the sheriff's office for grounds patrol, general security, traffic control, crowd control and law enforcement.

RELATED: Scream Town Owner Apologizes for Inflammatory Facebook Post

With no contract in place, the county said the operation is in "substantial violation" of the conditional use permit issued to SSP Holdings, LP - the property that hosts Scream Town for six weeks annually. So the county has issued "an immediate stop work order for the Scream Town operation on the SSP Holdings' property."

Matt Dunn, the owner of Scream Town, apologized earlier this week for a Facebook post that included language specifically targeting Somalis.

He acknowledged writing the post early Tuesday morning on a private Facebook group called "Scream Town Actors," announcing a no-tolerance policy there.

A portion of the post reads:

"Note that we are having a zero tolerance policy with Somalis. (Other guests, you make your best judgement call) But absolutely zero tolerance with Somalis. Your diligence in this matter is crucial. Call me directly if you feel that is the fastest way of communication. 612-xxx-xxxx. If they violate ANY of the following, they need to be followed, reported, and stayed with until Scream Town staff/security arrives."

The post continues, saying:

"WARNING - Scream Town is a no tolerance event. You will be removed without a refund for pushing, cutting in line, running, foul language, disorderly conduct, intoxication, drug use, touching actors, kicking walls, vandalism, touching props, entering the wrong waiting line, false tickets, improper hand stamps, attempting to use a ticket twice, and threats. Scream Town reserves the right to refuse service to anyone."

After customers became aware of the post, screenshots were circulated on social media. KSTP reached out to Dunn for comment.

"It was a poorly written memo to say the least," Dunn said. "Certainly came off wrong, apologize if we offended what seemed like a large group of folks. This memo was regarding a small number of people."

Dunn said the post itself arose from a small group of kids who were causing trouble at Scream Town, and his desire to keep the place safe for everyone.  

An apology was posted to the Scream Town Facebook page later in the day, saying "Scream Town welcomes ALL people to our event. We love our guests and we love our fans. Safety and security for our actors and guests is our top priority. We apologize for any posts that seemed to generalize. That was not our intent. All are welcome and we thank you for your business."

However, the release Thursday said the post violated the terms of the contract with the county, part of which reads: "….the Parties agree to the following: no person shall, on the grounds of race, color, religion, age, sex, disability, marital status, public assistance status, criminal record, creed or national origin be excluded from full employment rights in, participation in, be denied the benefits of or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any and all applicable Federal and State laws against discrimination."

"We hold equal treatment of all people among our highest principles," Carver County Administrator David Hemze said in a statement in the release.

"Mr. Dunn's comments discriminated against one group based on their national origin. There is no ambiguity to Mr. Dunn's comments. Mr. Dunn encouraged his employees to racially profile a targeted group and his comments are completely unacceptable. They do not comply with County policy, and they breached our contract with him."

The Associated Press reported Dunn said he was shocked the county issued "stop work" orders on the site, and that he's reviewing his legal options. He said he believes the county acted illegally.

Later Thursday, Scream Town posted to its Facebook page a video of Dunn meeting with CAIR-Minnesota Executive Director Jaylani Hussein, who accepted his apology.

"Thank you so much Jaylani Hussein for meeting with me today and accepting my apology," the post that accompanied the video read. "I appreciate our shared commitment to work as one, and bring the community together now and in the future."
 

Credits

Frank Rajkowski

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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