FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A company contracted by Fort Worth to rent kayaks at The Nature Center and Refuge is in hot water with the city tonight for a Facebook rant many view as racist. And, the city is now casting off its ties to the company.
The owner of Fort Worth Kayak Rentals, Timo Tenery, told customers upset about the rising cost of kayak rentals that he had to raise the price to pay for city mandated insurance and fees. Tenery said via electronic messages that he was upset with people complaining about the costs and trying to negotiate prices.
The Facebook post that sparked ire was addressed to “white women and Facebook trolls,” used an ethnic slur about Jews and stated,”this is not Mexico”.
Tenery declined a request for an interview.
The city of Fort Worth is now in the process of ending its contract with the company. The Fort Worth Parks Department said in a written statement: “The City of Fort Worth is in the process of terminating our agreement with Fort Worth Kayak Rentals. The City is required to provide 30 days’ written notice of the termination. The last day they will be allowed to provide kayak rental at any city owned facilities, including the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge, is July 19. Recent unacceptable social media activity by this company did not represent the values of the City of Fort Worth and the services we provide to citizens.”
The Fort Worth Nature Center manager said the center does have kayaks and canoes people can use but those are used during specific guided tours and events. They do not have any other daily boat rentals to offer visitors. But the Nature Center is still open to anyone who wants to put the boat on the water.
“If you have your own you can come 363 days a year, we are closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and put a canoe or kayak or pretty much any boat you can pick up and put in the water by hand you’re welcome to do that,” said Nature Center Manager Robert Denkhaus.
The Nature Center and City of Fort Worth are exploring the possibility of some form of on-site boat rental but that planning is in its early stages.