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(Updated/bumped from 2006-04-14 19:45:00)
The Hilton says that after they kick Fran O'Brien's to the curb they hope the vets will still drop by:
"The Capitol Hilton elected to terminate the lease, but that had absolutely nothing to do with the Friday night dinners," Lisa Cole, regional director of communications for Hilton, told WND. "It was strictly a business decision."Just because they're evicting the people who made it happen doesn't mean they want to lose the good publicity, you see.
The restaurant's lease, which was extended for six months last year, is set to expire as of May 1.
Cole says the hotel's general manager, Brian Kellaher, has "reached out" to Walter Reed, hoping to work out a way to host the dinner at another location in the hotel.
"We're in discussion with the Walter Reed group … to see if we can't make this work for the future," the spokeswoman said.
Cole would not say specifically why the lease was terminated or what the hotel will do with the space after April.
"We don't have anything that we're definitely going to do with the space," she said.
Bastards. Paris might be the smartest member of the family.
I hope they're ready for the 170+ hungry people who will wander over from the MilBlogs Conference just up the road too.
Interesting comments and emails rolling in:
And don’t forget that it’s not just “Hilton” hotels. The Hilton “family of hotels” includes: Conrad Hotels, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hampton Hotels, Homewood Suites and Scandic Hotels.And if the Hilton thinks the attention will fade over the holiday weekend, they're in for a rude surprise.
Posted by Lisa at April 14, 2006 05:49 AM
Just thought I'd let you know that the Army Ball for the Washington metropolitan area this year will be held at one of the Hilton Hotels in DC.
Methinks the Army might want to change its venue--I certainly won't be attending with my hubby this year.
Posted by Lornkanaga at April 14, 2006 01:41 PM
Soldier's Dad: "Hanoi Hilton". Heh.
Update: Looks like Lisa Cole, the regional director of communications for Hilton quoted above, is a busy gal:
About a month after an emergency room visit found Nina Kennedy had Stage 4 colon and liver cancer, her supervisors from Hilton Grand Vacations called her with more bad news.
"They told her she was fired," West Palm Beach attorney Charles Thomas said Thursday.
Kennedy had been the manager of the Plantation Beach Club on Hutchinson Island for 2 1/2 years when she was terminated in December after working 13 years with the company.
Regional directors told her she had been fired because she violated company policy, she said. But in a lawsuit filed in Martin Circuit Court Thursday, Kennedy and Thomas said the company hid its reasons behind a much stronger motive.
"They knew that she had a potentially terminal illness, she would have been out for a while and they didn't want to deal with it," Thomas said.
Hilton spokeswoman Lisa Cole said she had not seen the lawsuit Thursday and that, as a practice, the company cannot comment on open cases.
Even More: Andi says:
Brian Kelleher, General Manager of the Capital Hilton, called me this afternoon. He and I had a good conversation and he answered all of my questions. In fact, he's going to answer your questions too.My question would require a bit of a setup:
Leave your questions for Hilton in the comment section. On Monday, I'll submit them to Brian Kelleher, and once he's answered them (hopefully without a PR filter being applied), I will post the answers. I will not submit questions that are obnoxious or have profanity in them, so keep the questions polite and on point. Direct and hard-hitting are fine, obnoxious won't fly.
Here's the story that's flying across the internet regarding Fran O'Brien's:
For over 5 months they were told not to worry they would have the renewal lease in a few weeks. About a month ago the Hilton folks stopped responding to their emails and voice messages for a status report and last week Hal and Marty received a one page eviction notice. No explanation was given.Here's your response:
Kelleher says that negotiations between the two "didn't gel".Here's O'Brien's comment:
Fran O’Brien’s landlord is forcing out the steakhouse of the same name.Your response:
“We're not feeling very good about leaving and especially the Friday night dinner,” O’Brien said.
According to Kelleher, the Hilton would like to continue to host the dinners.Sounds like a big win for you - kick out the Vietnam vet who was feeding the wounded and get the Hilton full credit for supporting the troops.
Hollywood couldn't ask for a better script for their next movie exposing corporate sleaze. Pretend you have just a few minutes to lay your cards on the table and prevent a PR catastrophe - what can you tell us that doesn't come off like more of that mealy-mouthed bullshit above?
My question probably won't meet the criteria established. Maybe later I'll be able to figure out a way to write it without using the word bullshit. (BTW, has anyone ever noticed how often I actually use the "rough language" I warn about in the masthead?)
Leave your questions in comments at Andi's. She's an awesome lady - don't follow my example.
Still more Via comments below, another part of the Hilton response:
Furthermore, the hotel is in discussions with one of the sponsors of the Friday night dinners to continue their support of the dinners.How nice, they are looking for someone else to pay for the food.
More developments - latest here. (Don't stop reading now...)
New generation, new terms
Hanoi Hilton, noun, Those who place Greed before Honor.
Thanks to Gaius over at Blue Crab Boulevard, I'm trying to do my part too. Have linked to both of you over this. This is appalling and needs to be rectified immediately.Posted by Jacques Hawtrey at April 14, 2006 10:33 PM
Nothing personal "it's just business..." What a cop out. You know, there are times when the right thing to do is lead with the heart and not the head and this was one of them.
Thanks for bringing this out into the light of day.
SJSPosted by Steeljaw Scribe at April 14, 2006 10:53 PM
Here's my email to Hilton and their response.
I read about Hilton's decision not to renew the lease of Fran O'Brien's with some dismay. I think that this is a PR disaster in the making for Hilton, as well as simply wrong. If you're listening to your lawyers.......STOP. Those guys suck the good out of everything (often with the best of intentions, I'm sure). There must be a way to work out the problems, whatever they are. Please resolve this so these people can continue to do the great things that are doing for our wounded.
Thanks for your consideration.
Your e-mail has been forwarded to me, Brian Kelleher, General Manager, of The Capital Hilton.
Thank you for your expression of concern regarding the Fran O’Brien’s restaurant. I appreciate your interest and would like to take this opportunity to respond to you personally.
For strictly business reasons related solely to the inability to reach a new lease agreement, the Capital Hilton has elected to terminate the lease with the operator of Fran O’Brien’s restaurant at the hotel. This decision was not at all related to the Friday night dinners for disabled veterans but rather a result of lease negotiations that failed. The hotel has offered to host and sponsor the May 5, 2006 dinner and expressed interest in working closely with Walter Reed so that the Friday night tradition can continue. Furthermore, the hotel is in discussions with one of the sponsors of the Friday night dinners to continue their support of the dinners.
The Capital Hilton prides itself on its involvement and support of many community organizations and events and has provided complimentary or discounted rooms to families with veterans in the hospital, donated facilities to military organizations and most recently hosted a meeting for 300 people.
General Manager, Capital Hilton
"Furthermore, the hotel is in discussions with one of the sponsors of the Friday night dinners to continue their support of the dinners."
Translation: We'll toss the Vietnam vet, take over hosting the dinners, take the credit, and get someone else to pay for it!
This keeps getting better and better...
There is a point that some are missing. Routines and familiarity, are threads that hold us to sanity and hope. It's not about the free steak. It's about cutting one more thread, when way too much cutting has been done already.Posted by Soldier's Dad at April 15, 2006 03:38 AM
I wonder if the "other" hotel chain, which is DC HQ'd BTW (Marriott), would not be interested in some good publicty. The chain is family run, has a set of family values (Mormon) and is patriotic, unlike the Hilton's. I don't think there is a Paris lurking in the Marriott family closet.
They also understand the disabled.
PHILADELPHIA, PA - September 17, 2002 – Whether she's coordinating logistics for ships along the Eastern seaboard or motivating residents in retirement communities, Kelley Arredondo sees possibilities, not problems. This ability is why Arredondo, a long-time Marriott employee and a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Naval Reserve, has been selected to head The Marriott Foundation for People with Disabilities "Bridges…from school to work" program in Philadelphia.
The "Bridges…from school to work" is the city's leading organization for matching high school seniors with disabilities to entry-level positions. Since 1999, it has helped more than 200 young people find employment with 140 local employers.
Posted by The Drill SGT at April 15, 2006 03:50 AM
Based on my conversations last week at Fran O'Briens with Hal and a close friend of his this (posted earlier) take is Hal's position.
"For over 5 months they were told not to worry they would have the renewal lease in a few weeks. About a month ago the Hilton folks stopped responding to their emails and voice messages for a status report and last week Hal and Marty received a one page eviction notice. No explanation was given."
Hilton never negotiated in good faith. There weren't any talks that "didn't gel." Its corporate BS. Hal believes its the liability issue. Too many guys and gals in wheelchairs in a basement restaurant. Rather than step up to renovating an entrance for the troops, Hilton decided it was easier to just shut them down.
I have stayed at hiltons in the past. Never again regardless of the outcome here. That will include their other properties. Despicable is a word I rarely use, but it seems appropriate in this case. Business as usual. Bums.Posted by Bob67 at April 15, 2006 04:51 PM
I also will give caution as to where I'll be staying as my wife and I travel.It will be a pleasure to know that my money will never see a Hilton hand.
The moonbats in San Fran are another group that has seen the last of my chubby 6!! All of these people need to realize we're finally at the age that we can spend a few hard earned dollar....... go ahead.....piss in our mess kits !!
Thanks,Troops for all you do !!!!!
I know Hal and Marty pretty well. My husband and I work near Fran's and it's our regular Friday night place to go for a drink and good meal to let the traffic die down before heading home. And my husband has lunch there a few times a week too.
So, I also know that they've been trying to get the lease agreement worked out. In addition, I know for a fact that they've tried to get the Hilton to make their restaurant ADA compliant by putting in an elevator or even a ramp. One of the issues the Hilton cited was that it was difficult and dangerous for the vets to get down the long, steep stairway to Fran's.
But if they were concerned about that, they could've done what Hal and Marty asked. And I know they asked for it because my husband and I have heard it from both Marty and Hal for months.
Also, I've seen Twigs, the Hilton's restaurant. It's a freakin' fern bar. Unlike Fran's, it's all hanging plants, light delicate furniture and basically a place to go for overpriced and tiny serving sizes of quiche and white wine. And I'm not sure they even have a private room to accomodate the gatherings as Fran's does. So, you'd have a bunch of wounded guys and gals possibly being gawked at by other customers while they were trying to let their hair down. No thank you.
This was not a sincere offer.
Posted by Anonymous Is A Woman at April 22, 2006 08:11 PM
You may be surprised to learn this is an issue that resonates across the political spectrum.
Here is some info for people interested in punishing Hilton. It is time to launch Operation Perish Hilton.
Here are some highlights: Boycott the following hotel chains:
Hampton Inn & Suites
Hilton Garden Inn
Another way to show support is for people who do travel to pick up the stationary from their hotel room and write a letter to Hilton corporate headquarters, the local newspapers, TV and radio stations saying:
"I'm sending you this note from [non Hilton property] to let you know I think the way Hilton Hotel Corp. is treating the people and patrons at Fran O'Brien's Steak House in Washington DC is wrong. I chose to stay at [non Hilton property] because I support our troops. I simply can't get a good night's sleep at a Hilton property as long as they turn their back on severely wounded soldiers."Posted by 8ackgr0und N015e at April 22, 2006 08:24 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(12) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)