Leslie's Omnibus

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

Never think a small-time blogger can't get heard in a big way.

I just had a phone call from Matt Hart, who is President and COO of Hilton Hotels Corporation. It seems Mr. Hart got my letter, and he wanted to respond in person.

Apparently the MSM has picked up on Fran O'Brien's story, and HHC is feeling the heat.

Here's what I took away from the conversation: The Capital Hilton is managed by a contractor. The nice folks at HHC are not happy with how that management has handled inquiries into the Fran O'Brien's matter. Hilton corporate brass has stepped in.

Mr. Hart stressed to me that this is the worst kind of PR the Hilton could ask for, and they are doing everything in their power to address all of the issues raised.

One -- Hilton intends to continue the Friday night dinner tradition. Perhaps some of the bigger Milbloggers should contact Mr. Hart directly about coordinating with Hilton on this?

Two -- Mr. Hart told me that "The owners of Fran O'Brien's are not working out. The business has not been a good fit with Hilton and they are losing money. They have not paid several months' rent." He also suggested that they might using Milblogger sympathies to buy themselves more time.

Holy Smokes! I just got a fax from Marc Grossman, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs. I think I'll just quote it in its entirety:
Thank you for writing. Please allow me to address the issues and allegation contained both in your letter and your blog. Unfortunately, there's been much information; perhaps I can clarify the situation.

First, the reason the Fran O'Brien's lease is not being renewed is that the restaurant was not paying its rent, along with a myriad of other lease violations including maintenance and safety violations. This is not a recent development; it has been going on for quite some time, and we have attempted to rectify the situation, but to no avail. We have no choice but to discontinue the relationship with Fran O'Brien's.

Second, because we do in fact honor both our veterans and the tradition of these eventsx, we have offered to the group to continue hosting them... just at a different location within the hotel. We hope they accept the offer.

Your comment that "you just don't want the restaurant there" is only true insofar as they have refused to pay their rent. From a business standpoint, what other reasonable conclusion could be reached? But importantly, from a "social" standpoint, we are also being reasonable in offerin to continue having the dinners at our hotel.

One more thing that might be of interest. In your blog you intimate that Fran O'Brien's has been paying for these dinners. That's not true. Outside organizations pay for the events. Hilton has offered to not only continue being the location for the dinners, but pay for them as well.

I hope this is helpful.
Very helpful, indeed Mr. Grossman. Thank both you and Mr. Hart for your phenomenally rapid responses.

I will encourage others with questions to both share the information you've shared with me, and to contact Hilton directly if more questions arise.
_____

I'd like to note that I started this post immediately after hanging up with Mr. Hart and the fax from Mr. Grossman came in right in the middle of drafting the post.

If they'll answer questions from a secretary from Chicago, they'll answer questions from you. I'm impressed.
_____
Leslie

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

You might want to check this to get a different take on the veracity of the non-payment of rent claim.
http://www.mudvillegazette.com/archives/004454.html

Hilton is now off my list, permanently, for the despicable way they are handling this whole matter.

LW

Buzz Patterson said...

As one intimately involved, both with the owner Hal Koster, and other organizations...the "rent" line is true. But they only missed paying one month. Why? Because Hilton, in an attempt to force them out, DOUBLED it for the month!!

See the posts at Mudville for the complete story. Everything I've heard or read from Hilton has been disengenuous and in some cases downright slimey.

Buzz Patterson

BLACKFIVE said...

Thanks for doing that! It's important that we all try to get the Hilton to see what the issues are...

pst314 said...

Brands owned by Hilton (according to the Hilton website):

Conrad Hotels
Doubletree
Embassy Suites Hotels
Hampton Inn and Hampton Inns & Suites
Hilton Hotels
Hilton Garden Inn
Homewood Suites by Hilton

Anonymous said...

Lies, damm lies and what really happened.
The Hilton folks are not telling the truth.

THE NEXT TIME ANYONE HAS ANY CONTACT WITH SOMEONE FROM THE HILTON CHAIN TELLING THESE LIES ASK THEM THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:
DID THE HILTON ARBITRARILY STOP PAYING FRAN'S FOR THEIR ROOM SERVICE BEGINNING LAST AUGUST?
DID THE HILTON OWE FRAN OVER $68K BY 1/1/06 IN UNDISPUTED ROOM SERVICDE CHARGES?
DID FRAN'S SUGGEST IN JANUARY OF 06 THAT AS A SMALL BUSINESS THEY COULD NO LONGER AFFORD TO CARRY THE BILLION DOLLAR HILTON CORPORATION AND ADVISE THAT THE HILTON COULD DEDUCT THEIR $12,500 A MONTH RENT FROM THE $68K THAT WAS UNDISPUTEDLY OWED TO THEM?
DID THE HILTON THEN DOUBLE THEIR RENT TO $25K A MONTH?