A threat made on the steps of City Hall 74 days ago came quietly truein the clerk’s office of the U.S. District Court on Thursday as four white-ownedbusinesses sued the city of Atlanta.

The plaintiffs, represented by the Southeastern Legal Foundation and outsideattorneys, claim a city program steering up to 34 percent of public contractsto minority- and female-owned businesses violates the plaintiffs’ constitutionalrights to equal protection of the laws. Lee General Contractors v. Atlanta,No. 1:99-cv-2194 (N.D.Ga., filed Aug. 26, 1999).

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