RNS) The Episcopal Church will pay a $1.2 million penalty and breaka contract with Denver's Adam's Mark Hotel because the hotel chain hasbeen sued for racial discrimination.

The denomination had planned to use more than 1,000 rooms and all ofthe hotel's meeting rooms during its General Convention this July. About10,000 people are expected to attend the meeting.

"We were disturbed to learn just prior to Christmas that the UnitedStates Department of Justice had filed suit against the hotel chain infederal court in Florida alleging a broad pattern of racialdiscrimination in providing a variety of guest services," wrotePresident Bishop Frank T. Griswold and House of Deputies PresidentPamela P. Chinnis in a joint statement.

They said their subsequent discussions with hotel officials inDenver and at the chain's St. Louis headquarters did not halt theirconcerns.

"The church is obviously not in a position to assess the merit ofthe discrimination suit against the hotel chain," they wrote."Nevertheless, the allegations of the Justice Department and other(RNS) eports from local leaders citing similar problems with the Adam's Markin Denver led us to recommend ... that the church not go forward withthe planned arrangements to use any of the facilities of that hotel atthe Denver convention."

The church's Executive Council voted unanimously Monday tono longer use the hotel.

Hotel officials could not be reached Monday,but Andre van Hall, general manager of the Denver hotel, said earlier that he knew the Episcopal Church had some concerns "but we haven't been found guilty of anything."

The church already had booked delegates and meetings in four other downtown hotels, but the Adam's Mark--the largest hotel in Denver--was to be the convention headquarters.

"This is a large, complicated meeting so we will have to findanother space," said Jim Solheim, national spokesman for the NewYork-based denomination.

The Justice Department suit, filed in December, alleged thatAfrican-Americans were charged more than other guests, given lessdesirable rooms and required to wear identifying bracelets while at thechain's Daytona Beach, Fla., hotel.