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Homeless Man Wins Bathroom Access Battle Against Luxury Hotel

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) -- A homeless man in San Jose has won a David-versus-Goliath battle over access to the bathrooms at the city's preeminent luxury hotel.

Pascual Mendivil said he was turned away a couple of times in the past year when he tried to use the first floor restrooms inside the Fairmont Hotel in downtown San Jose.

"I mentioned there was an agreement between the Fairmont and the city of San Jose. They said they'd never heard of it," Mendivil told the Mercury News in a recent interview.

Mendivil later headed over to the City Attorney's Office to inquire about the details of the deal, which he seemed to remember guaranteed the public access to the Fairmont's bathrooms.

"He asked my staff if there was a document that required the Fairmont to provide access and we gave him the document," said city attorney Rick Doyle.

Doyle said the Fairmont was originally built with a substantial public investment for the city's Redevelopment Agency -- roughly $28 million. In exchange, the Fairmont agreed to give the public access to its bar, bathroom and restaurants on the first floor.

"This is the price you pay for public dollars in a major project. Some $28 million went into it and in exchange, the public has the right to use the restroom," Doyle said.

The agreement lasts for 75 years until 2071.

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