ROCKVILLE, Md. – Marriott International Inc. won’t deny persistent rumors circulating in the Montgomery County Police Department that Chief Charles A. Moose recently was paid a substantial out-of-court settlement from the hotel chain after lodging a race-bias complaint.

Police and county sources tell WorldNetDaily that Moose, who is black, allegedly complained when security at a Marriott resort in Hawaii asked to see his hotel key. He and his wife, Sandy, a self-proclaimed civil-rights lawyer, vacationed there during the Christmas holidays.

Chief Charles A. Moose

“It is routine for security to check people in hotel complexes in Hawaii by asking to see their room keys,” said a police source. “When Moose and his wife were challenged according to practice, they claimed it was an act of discrimination.”

Moose was said to be shocked that security didn’t recognize him as the face of the Beltway sniper investigation, which made national news just a couple of months earlier, according to another police source.

“Hotel security asked to see his key, as is standard practice, and his reply was, ‘Don’t you know who I am? I’m Chief Moose!'” he said.

Two sources say Moose settled out of court for $200,000, but a third source said the figure is “exaggerated.”

Marriott, which is headquartered in Bethesda, Md., and enjoys tax breaks from Montgomery County, refused to talk about the matter. General counsel Joseph Ryan referred calls to Thomas Marder, vice president of corporate relations.

“That’s not something I can provide any information on,” Marder said. “I just cannot provide any information, I just cannot.”

Asked why, he replied, “There’s just no information that I am able to provide about that as a representative of the company.”

An industry securities analyst who follows Marriott explained that the company is bound by a confidentiality agreement.

Moose and his wife did not return phone calls. The chief’s assistant, Rose Gardner, says the matter is private.

“That’s private information,” she said. “The chief was on vacation, and it had nothing to do with the police department.”

Sandy Herman-Moose has compared her husband to Martin Luther King in battling the county ethics commission over his sniper book deal. She said he just wants “a fully white group to give him the permission to make some money.” Moose has begun selling his book on in defiance of county law.

Moose was hired by Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan, a Democrat, after the Clinton administration launched an investigation of the county for racial profiling. Duncan, who has backed Moose in his ethics fight and remains his biggest booster, has helped Marriott secure millions of dollars in business tax breaks and other inducements.

The Marriott analyst says checking room keys is a standard operating procedure of hotel security, especially at resorts with private beaches.

“If I went with my teen-agers and they were in their chairs on the beach, they’d get questioned, too, because what they’re trying to stop are locals who use the pool and beach club service,” he said.

He added: “It’s not uncommon for hotels to get hit with frivolous discrimination charges.”

Asked why Marriott would settle, he said it wanted to avoid negative publicity.

“If it’s a regular police officer in Rockville filing a suit, it’s one thing. But if it’s somebody of such notoriety, it’s another,” he said. “Here’s a guy who was on the national news on a daily basis for a month. They don’t want that kind of publicity” from litigation.

“It’s not that they’re trying to push things under the rug. If there is discrimination, they want to deal with it,” added the analyst, who did not want to be identified. “But they want to deal with it quietly, because they don’t want 100 copycat suits.”

Previous stories:

Moose complains Atlanta chief makes more money

Antique-less Mrs. Moose begs for book deal

Moose book deal hurting police morale: union boss

Mooses set up biz 4 weeks after killing spree

Moose’s officers compare chief to Rev. Al Sharpton

Police union probes Moose

Police tried to make eyewitness doubt initial ID

Pizza guy ID’s snipers on Day 1, yet cops ignore info

Secret sniper stake-out puts lie to Moose claim

Cops: Chief Moose withheld look-out on sniper suspects

Moose denies blocking police pay raise

Beltway sniper likely foreign

Related column:

Race-conscious chief may have cost lives

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.