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(Updated/bumped from 2006-04-16 12:35:29)
A two-year tradition for wounded war vets is about to go by the wayside. A downtown DC steak house that’s catered to injured troops every Friday night is about to close, reports CBS affiliate WUSA-TV correspondent Doug Buchanan.There are many non-veterans outraged and contacting the Hilton too.
"We're not feeling very good about leaving and especially the Friday night dinner," O’Brien said.
For the past two and a-half years, the restaurant has served steaks and drinks to soldiers being treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Many of the soldiers have lost hands, feet or limbs.
Some say the sports-themed steakhouse is the first place where they've felt at home since they left the battlefield.
But restaurant managers said their lease won't be renewed when it expires at the end of the month. Hotel officials said the decision is purely financial, and has nothing to do with the dinners.
Outraged veterans are calling Hilton's New York headquarters and flooding its e-mail boxes with protests.
In a statement from Hilton hotels, a spokesperson wrote: "this is a business decision whereby Hilton Hotels is exploring several options to utilize this space."
This isn't just about the wounded Iraq and Afghanistan vets. If you haven't read the story of Vietnam veterans Jim Mayer, whose "Alive Day" celebrations were the basis for this new tradition, and Hal Koster, co-owner of Fran O'Brien's, please do so.
Now here he is at 58, gliding through the crowd at Fran O'Brien's on two below-the-knee prostheses, shaking hands, cracking jokes, collecting hugs. After nearly two hours of this, he steps behind a small lectern at the side of the room, then pretends to change his mind. "Go buy a drink and we'll start the program in 25 minutes," he says.At least for a week or two more.
But the 70 or so people gathered for Jim Mayer's 35th annual Alive Day will have none of it.
"Jim! Jim! Jim!" they chant.
From the tables along the back wall, a cluster of Mayer's newest friends -- much younger men who lost their limbs in Afghanistan and Iraq -- join in.
One of Mayer's friends is Hal Koster, co-owner of Fran O'Brien's Stadium Steakhouse. Koster, who served as a helicopter door-gunner (in the 174th Assault Helicopter Company) from 1967 to 1969 in Vietnam, told Mayer to spread the word at the ward that the recuperating soldiers were welcome at the restaurant as his guest.
Mayer started inviting wounded soldiers in the ward, but at first nobody showed up. Finally, in October, one soldier showed, then another. Then eight or 10 came. It became a regular Friday night gathering, with enough to fill one long table, then two. At the last dinner before Christmas, the group eating steaks and drinking beers filled up four tables and included nurses and therapists from Walter Reed.
"It got a life of its own," Mayer said. "It's like a weekly community."
Which is why the Hilton's response ("We don't have anything that we're definitely going to do with the space," ... Kelleher says that negotiations between the two "didn't gel"... the Hilton would like to continue to host the dinners... "the hotel is in discussions with one of the sponsors of the Friday night dinners to continue their support of the dinners") leaves much to be desired.
Seven AM Monday would be a very good time for Hilton to announce that this was all a big misunderstanding and offer a new lease. (And equip the room to make it more accessible to those with disabilities while they're at it.) Just a hunch.
Finmeccanica Contributes $75,000 to Soldiers Rehabilitation Project in Pentagon CeremonyPuts that bit about wanting to continue the dinners and "the hotel is in discussions with one of the sponsors of the Friday night dinners to continue their support" in a whole new light.
Monday March 20, 9:03 am ET
WASHINGTON, March 20 /PRNewswire/ -- At a ceremony hosted by Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England, Pier Francesco Guarguaglini, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Finmeccanica SpA, presented a check for $75,000 to the Fran O'Brien's Stadium Steakhouse in support of a program for wounded American soldiers. The Friday "steak night" has become a valued part of the soldiers' recovery from injuries sustained in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Wounded troops can eat a lot of steaks on $75,000, which is the amount the Italian company, Finmeccanica, Inc., gave Washington's Fran O'Brien's Stadium Steakhouse March 16 during a Pentagon ceremony hosted by the deputy secretary of defense.I've submitted two questions for the Hilton at Andi's:
The steaks, chops, seafood, chicken and other culinary delights $75,000 will buy is for a good cause -- wounded veterans of the global war on terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan being treated at Washington's Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Navy Medical Center, in Bethesda, Md.
Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England thanked Hal Koster and Marty O'Brien, co-owners of the famous steakhouse, for expressing their appreciation for U.S. servicemen and women by hosting the Friday Night Dinners Reunion Celebration for the past three years.
He also thanked Jim Mayer, a Department of Veterans Affairs employee and a volunteer at Walter Reed who helped start the steak night celebration for patients three years ago.
Stephen D. Bryen, president of Finmeccanica, Inc.'s USA affiliate, said Fran O'Brien's owners "demonstrated the initiative in insight when they decided to honor America's heroes by opening the restaurant to them."
"The gesture proved to be an invaluable part of the rehabilitation process for our soldiers and heroes, an important milestone on the road to recovery," he continued. "When it became clear that Hal and Marty couldn't do this on their own, others joined in."
Finmeccanica, a global aerospace and defense company, played an important role in contributing funds and raising money from colleagues in the air and space community.
"We're donating this for the troops, for the wounded soldiers," Bryen said. "I have a daughter in the Army serving in Iraq, so I know a little bit about what our soldiers are doing from her and the sacrifices they're making. We just wanted to do something to pay back a little bit of what we could to help them out and to get their lives moving again, which is what the purpose of these dinners really is."
His daughter, Maj. Gabrielle Bryen, is serving in Baqubah, Iraq, with the 4th Infantry Division.
"As long as the war keeps going and there are wounded veterans out there we're going to keep it going," O'Brien said of the Friday night dinners.
1. Though not quite in league with New Coke, this is likely to be one of the worst business decisions ever made by a major corporation. If you push through with your plan you'll certainly at least never live down the "Hanoi Hilton" nickname the vets are now starting to use. Can you imagine any segment of the American public that will support or applaud you for this? If so, who?
2. How much money does Hilton have budgeted for major media advertising this summer? By major I mean network television, USA Today, national magazines, etc. Will this be effective in stopping any negative press before it starts?
I really didn't think it could be true, but in answer to 1 there's at least one Hilton cheerleader in the comments below...
Submit your questions for Brian Kelleher, General Manager of the Capital Hilton, here.
I really don't see what all the fuss is about.
The Hilton is a private corporation that can manage its property however it pleases - so long as it is within the law.
Hotels routinely change out restaurants that aren't "working" with those that offer more promise for traffic and meet customers needs. As the grandson of a retired NYC hotel bartender, restaurants within hotels come and go.
The ADA issue, as I see it, was INFERRED by bloggers with an agenda and was never cited by Hilton or anyone else. As a tenant, the restaurant carries its own liability insurance for patron injuries. This is elementary law and something that was emphasized last summer when I prepared for the NY and NJ bar exams.
You don't have a scintilla of evidence to support claims that "ADA concerns" have anything to do with Hilton's decision. As far as I see it, this is a cut-and-dry business decision.
You are "militarizing" an issue that has nothing to do with Walter Reed, the wounded or the DoD.
Having been to DC recently, the restaurant is a bit "dated" and Hilton has the right to not renew the lease. One day a week of charity does not make up for 6 other days of low revenues.
Any other issues you raise are extraneous and irrelevant.
The Company has done more than its share of "good faith" in accomodating alternative arrangements. Others in DC have stepped forward to do the same.
One's status as a Vietnam vet or "nice guy" does not give license to prevent a rational business decision.
You guys are the right-wingers. I can't believe I need to lecture you on free market economics!Posted by IRR Soldier... at April 16, 2006 07:05 PM
That's funny - I was reading your comment assuming you were a Hilton "suit" - no one else could possibly actually support them in this - then I got to your name at the bottm and just started laughing.
By the way, I'm changing your counterrecruiter links to real recruiter links - stop trying to build your google juice.
Posted by Greyhawk at April 16, 2006 07:23 PM
But as far as the rest of it, it's a brotherhood of war thing - you wouldn't understand.Posted by Greyhawk at April 16, 2006 07:36 PM
Counterrecruiter is not my blog, just a project I happen to believe in.
How can one not support a corporations rational business decision?
In your militaristic fantasy-world, anything having to do with "the troops" gets a pass. Sorry, the restaurant (not its good charity work) is an underperformer. If it offers such a great product, someone else will offer it a lease. Veterans status or good deeds are not enough to overcome a failing business model.
How do you square your comments/actions with the free-market economic principles our economy is based on?
You should retire and get of Uncle Sam's reservation and into the real world of commercial real estate. DC is a hot market and Hilton is a premium brand. They can get a lot of prospective tenants. Who knows, most of them probably see merit in what is going on and will continue it.
Your washed up and your career's over...Posted by IRR Soldier... at April 16, 2006 07:38 PM
Brotherhood of war? Tell me, what excatly did YOU do in the war? How many men from your company, battalion or OBC class perished? For me, five KIA.
Get off your soapbox and look in the mirror. The [deleted - profanity] you spew is just that - a figment of your own imagination.Posted by IRR Soldier... at April 16, 2006 07:41 PM
Another thing about your brotherhood of war comment ...
If you really believe it, I'd better not hear a peep from you again about John Kerry, Oliver Stone, Jack Murtha, Chuck Swannack, John Batiste or anyother "brother of war" that disagrees with you.
I mean, surely if veterans status shields you from the realities of DC commercial real estate, it suspends criticism for differing political views.
You logic is flawed. You are an ideologue that betrays the oath to the Constitution you took.Posted by IRR Soldier... at April 16, 2006 07:44 PM
If "brother of war" is a method of challenging economic reality, where is your spirited defense of the hundreds of UAW veterans that got pink slips with the recently announced Ford closings in Norfolk and St. Paul. Ditto for the Delphi guys that got laid off.
See the slippery slope of your argument? You should, but I doubt it.
Your rear up in indignation when a vet's business in a primo location - the capital Hilton is failing, but are silent when thousands of vets in the UAW, with much more to lose, get laid off.
Your points do not square with economic reality.Posted by IRR Soldier... at April 16, 2006 07:53 PM
Like I said, you wouldn't understand.
Do some more stuff like the first comment though. One of the characters in the Hollywood movie version of this will be a smarmy, sleazy lawyer type and that's the perfect dialog for the part.Posted by Greyhawk at April 16, 2006 08:29 PM
Great dodge! Instead of answering my questions or recognizing how untenable your argument is, you punt. Very typical of your ilk. Move the goalposts when you get called out for supporting a factually indefensible position.
Again, what did YOU do in the war? Who did you lose as a KIA that was clsoe to you?Posted by IRR Soldier... at April 16, 2006 08:37 PM
Does anyone else find it amusing that the ONLY time the Left defends a corporation is when said corporation has treated the military poorly. You see, corporations are bad but the military is really bad. And this is coming from someone who claims to be in the legal field.
IRR, your assumptions that ADA is not involved and that the restaurant has been a poor performer will be proven wrong in the next day or so. In fact, ADA is involved and Hilton's "business" decision was based on their unwillingness to make appropriate renovations.
The restaurant is also a money maker for Hilton. You said you were in DC recently and the restaurant was a bit dated. Did you actually go to the restaurant? Or is that another aspect of your pathological self-loathing? I was there last week. Seemed pretty nice to me and the steak was outstanding.
I don't know what type of law you practice, or if you indeed even practice, but you might want to consider working for Hilton. They'll be needing a decent attorney soon.
You'll find I don't tell my own story here. Such is best left for other times, and such things as death tolls will never be used for some method of points scoring in debates - this is what I meant by "you wouldn't understand".
This isn't about politics, or right or left. I don't personally know either Jim Mayer or Hal Koster, and when this story was brought to my attention it never occured to me to ask who they voted for in the last election. You may be obsessed with politics uber alles, I simply don't care. Any further comments pro or con regarding the various politicians you listed above will be deleted from this thread.Posted by Greyhawk at April 16, 2006 09:10 PM
The only explanation I can give for IRR is that she or he is spamming the comments with links to a counter-recruiting web page in hopes of building up the google ranking. I acknowledge there could really be people who are just that far gone as the comments above imply.
I've been changing all those links though - they now point to web sites for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines - and I've started linking other worthy organizations too.
Now lets all us good Bush loving Republicans get back to the business of battling the Hilton. Power to the People!
I fail to see how "good faith" works into giving last minute notice to a business, any business, that their lease will not be renewed.
Never attribute to malice what can be attributed to stupidity, but do the stupid deserve coddling? Failing to inform people in a timely manner of your decision, or failing to *make* the decision until the last minute is NOT "good faith."Posted by Julie (Synova) at April 16, 2006 09:35 PM
It's interesting how IRR Soldier's buddies being killed in war somehow becomes HIS sacrifice, HIS badge of honor. Just like Cindy Sheehan, it's all about HIM. I really don't see how that adds to this credibility.
And what is it supposed to mean touting that he's "Inactive Ready Reserve," aka civilian? Would he come back in if called? I seriously doubt it.
The phrase "brotherhood of war" applies to those who've kept faith with the troops, not broken it. It's usually not to difficult for us to figure out who's on our side and who isn't. Contrary to what one may believe, being against the war isn't necessarily the best way to endear oneself to those fighting it.
Libertarian crazies like him make the same mistake boiling everything in life down to economics as socialist crazies do boiling everything down to class struggle.
It'd be a very small sacrifice on Hilton's part to allow something other than pure economics to drive their decision on this. Corporations are very sensitive to their public image and often divert millions in resourses to nurture and manage it.
Is it really asking so much for them to give veterans (especially wounded veterans) the same consideration?Posted by Buck Sargent at April 16, 2006 09:44 PM
I'm sure I'm mistaken, but didn't IRR admonish GH for assuming the ADA claim is true,
"You don't have a scintilla of evidence to support claims that "ADA concerns" have anything to do with Hilton's decision"
But then go on to say:
"One day a week of charity does not make up for 6 other days of low revenues."
"Sorry, the restaurant (not its good charity work) is an underperformer."
Without "a scintilla of evidence" to support these statements?
I'll read again. As I said, I'm sure I'm mistaken.Posted by Andi at April 16, 2006 10:10 PM
So is there a planned rendezvous at Fran's the 21st before the conference?Posted by Curt at April 16, 2006 10:33 PM
In reading through all the material posted here on this incident, I see that your initial e-mail of "outrage" mentioned the ADA. Other than your "assurances" that this is indeed part of the story, I can find no other corroboration of this implied "fact."
Basically, you're asking everyone to simply "trust you." Sorry, this is a commercial real estate issue. The fact that Hilton has gone out of their way to offer a compromise (ie. to continue serving comp'd meals) says a lot. Under the current regime, Fran O'Brien's meals cost them nothing ... instead, they are now willing to underwrite the expense in their own in-house restaurant. Sorry, doesn't seem like the work of anti-military villains to me. Seems to me the issue revolves around an under-performing leaseholder that no longer fits with their business model. The vets have nothing to do with it. The restaurant was in trouble before we crossed the LD into Iraq.
Learn something about commercial real estate before proclaiming yourself an expert on ADA compliance. It is not the leaseholders responsibility to bring the facility up to ADA compliance ... it's Hilton's and they most likely will bring the space into compliance before a new leaseholder signs. Why would they renovate a space that will be remodeled anyway for a new tenant (e.g a national chain along the likes of Mortons or Ruth's Chris) - IAW their own build-to-suit design?
As for your comments about my defense of a corporation, I could make the same accusation against you. After all, when have you ever before criticized a corporation for executing a legal business initiative? I mean, thousands of vets are being axed by Delphi and Ford while we speak. Where does the slippery slope of vet status v. business decisions end?
Nice hunch .. too bad you're wrong. Indymedia hasn't updated that blog since 3/1/06. But, it's a nice counterweight to the propaganda spewed here ... especially your distortions of the truth re: recruiting, retention and officer accessions. So much for being a "warrior" defending free speech!
Have you read the lease? No?. Neither have I. Until you have seen what the termination clause says, you shouldn't speculate about "malice." What has the tenant actually done? There are two sides to every story and Hilton is the landlord. Contracts, especially in places like NY, MA and DC generally don't allow landlords to run "willy nilly" over tenants. The case law and regs tend to err on the side of tenants. If there's merit to an unfair eviction/termination, they will easily prevail in court or at least get a 90-120 stay as a matter of just showing up before a judge. If these things haven't happened, adjust your BS-meter because the tenants case is a loser.
Using wounded veterans to provide cover for a tenant's mal or misfeasance is the last refuge of scoundrels.
Take a step back and look at this site ... the WWII propaganda posters, Greyhawk's self-description as a "warrior defending our freedoms" etc. before questioning the objections of other veterans. This active duty field grade officer uses "the bloody shirt" and jingoistic rhetoric to make political statements every day and to dismiss those that disagree with him.
He doesn't talk about "his story", because it is the pathetic story of a REMF that will never see another promotion. Like the Wizard of Oz, the bullhorn (this blog) projects an image that doesn't jive with reaity. Pull back the screen, and the illusion is destroyed.
Before knocking the IRR and those in it, realize who you are knocking. http://polybius.blogs.com/left_of_way/ may be a good place to start. You'll find about 2 dozen IRR officers that fundamentally disagree with just about everything Greyhawk has to say. Please come over and say hi. I'm sure the YG '97, '98 and '99 Combat Arms CPTs - many of them OIF/OEF vets, would love to be accused of "not keeping the faith with the troops."
The Army wouldn't be 2,500 officers short next FY if everything were as rosy as you make them see.
Posted by IRR Soldier... at April 16, 2006 10:40 PM
Dude's supposed to be a lawyer and/or a law school graduate. Doesn't know the difference between your and you're, nor when to use a possessive "'" before the "s" on a word to indicate ownership as opposed to just plural.
But that's OK -- Kos's Kids always need another tree-hugging ACLU-nik to file anti-American lawsuits and keep the rest of us adults on our toes.Posted by NahnCee at April 16, 2006 11:10 PM
IRR wrote- Have you read the lease? No?. Neither have I. Until you have seen what the termination clause says, you shouldn't speculate about "malice."
I have to agree with IRR here even though I do strongly support the wounded troops and lso greatly admire the steak dinner program (which I have never heard about even though I live in Northern Virginia).
It seems to me that Hilton might be getting the short end of the stick in a flame war here. A landlord needs to make business decisions and I can conceive of a hundred legitimate reasons why a hotel may want to change tenants for purely business puposes.
While it may seem heartless to consider the cost of an ADA renovation, the fact is that renovations are time-consuming and expensive and the cost of such a renovation is a large capital improvement that must be factored into the total business equation like any other expense. One might easily expect a landlord facing such an expense to seek a new marketing direction as part of a larger strategy, whether in its restaurant, office or retail plans.
I think that it is almost certain that Hilton probably made this decision in consultation with accounting, legal and real estate professionals, after thorough consideration of many different business factors and I think that it is highly irresponsible to accuse the company of a nefarious anti-veteran motive without hard proof.
I own a rental house and once had to evict a lady who had two small children. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do, but it was the only responsible decision I could make for the sake of my own family. I can't afford to lease real estate against my financial interests, and I don't think that it is fair to expect Hilton to.
I haven't searched extensively, but so far I haven't seen, in the half-dozen blogs I've encountered on the subject, any evidence whatsoever that Hilton has sought to exclude wounded veterans from its hotel or that it seeks to terminate the lease because of the free dinners.
If it turns out that Hilton has done anything close to what I've seen them accused of here... Fine.. Go nuts...
Until then... How about some reflection and civility?Posted by padikiller at April 16, 2006 11:11 PM
That's all rational advice, padikiller. The thing is, the manner in which Hilton has gone about evicting Fran's has set off everybody's BS detectors--bigtime (hence the accusations regarding ADA and the meals). I firmly believe that had they handled this diferently they might have been a small eruption that would've quickly died down. Instead, they're getting a lot of bad PR and scrambling to play "catch-up" on the story because they don't appear to have been up-front in their dealings with Fran's.Posted by FbL at April 16, 2006 11:36 PM
We're well aware that the Hilton is motivated by nothing but cash, and hopefully sometime very soon they'll start to ponder how much this will cost them. Sorry if you're a stockholder, padikiller.Posted by Greyhawk at April 16, 2006 11:53 PM
Hilton is evicting the restaurant? This is news to me. Are you sure about this?
It appears to me from what I've read so far that the restaurant is not being "evicted" but that instead its lease just ran out. This happens all the time.
Again, I can't afford to let tenants use my real estate against my financial interests and I don't think that it is reasonable to expect Hilton to do so.
Even if the ADA renovation is a significant factor in Hilton's decision to seek another tenant, I do not think that it is fair or responsible to attribute an evil motive to Hilton merely for making a change in its restaurant tenancy.
For example, I once had tenant complain about lead paint in one of my houses. It would have cost me fifteen thousand dollars to remove or encapsulate the lead paint while the house was occupied. Since the tenant's lease was due to expire anyway, I simply didn't renew his lease, and let the house sit vacant while I did a lead abatement when the house was empty. I lost three months rent but saved five thousand dollars and was able to charge $150 a month higher rent after the renovation.
This was a purely business decision that I think could be quite similar to the one Hilton is making.
I think it is unfair and perhaps even bordering on libel to engage in a "Hanoi Hilton" flame campaign without any published evidence at all.
As I said before, if such evidence does appear, then open up with both barrels by all means. Until then, however, I think a cautious and well-considered investigation and discussion would better reflect on everyone here.Posted by padikiller at April 16, 2006 11:58 PM
greyhawk wrote -- We're well aware that the Hilton is motivated by nothing but cash, and hopefully sometime very soon they'll start to ponder how much this will cost them. Sorry if you're a stockholder, padikiller.
I'm not a Hilton stockholder, but I am a small business owner and I do understand the need for a business to make money. I also wholeheartedly support both wars, the administration's conduct of them, and all of the vererans who have served.
When you say that "Hilton is motivated by nothing but cash" I'm not sure what you mean.
Do you mean by saying this that you expect Hilton to give up rent in order to keep the restaurant where it is? If so, I don't think your demand is a reasonable or fair one.
Hilton isn't a charity. The directors and officers of Hilton have a fiduciary duty to maximize profits for their shareholders.
I have yet to see any proof anywhere that Hilton's decision was motivated by an anti-veteran motive. Until I see such proof, I won't accuse the company of anything.Posted by padikiller at April 17, 2006 12:12 AM
Got it Pad, you're the landlord nobody wants.
Pay very close attention: we know the Hilton's position is nothing personal, strictly business and about the bottom line.
My advice to you on your Hilton stock: sell.Posted by Old Soldier at April 17, 2006 12:14 AM
Just as a refresher, this is from an earlier Greyhawk post on this topic. It was included in the original e-mail:
"For over six months they have been asking the Hilton Management for the terms for renewal of their lease. 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. We suspect that at least part of the reason is the Friday night dinner Hal and Marty have been hosting for the last two and a half years. It may be that the Hilton folks are concerned about the increased liability of having so many severely injured and disabled soldiers in their basement each Friday (several have taken falls on the steep stairs at the entrance to Fran's (but no law suits or problems have ensued). It may be that there is very limited and problematic wheelchair access to the restaurant (although no ADA complaints have been filed). The truth is that we don't know for sure but what we do know is that this is unfair."Posted by Michael in MI at April 17, 2006 12:16 AM
Padikiller, perhaps I used the wrong word when I said, "evict." I'm not an expert in leases and real estate.
However, Fran O'Brien's has had a long relationship with Hilton and is claiming that they were repeatedly reassured that a new lease offer was being formulated for them, but they never received it. After months of Fran O'Brien's requesting an update on the matter only to receive further vague reassurances that it was in the works, Hilton cut off communication a few weeks ago and about a week after that informed them they needed to vacate the premisis by May 1 (about three weeks before the deadline). That's what I'm referring to when I say our BS detectors are going off. The BS dectors are further alarmed by Hilton's own statement that they don't have any plans for the soon-to-be-empty space (no tenant lined up). Something is just not adding up.
Yes, they have every right to make a legal business decision that is in their own best interests, but this was handly VERY poorly. Again, if they had been up front and latched onto the PR opportunities (even if they still didn't renew the lease), things would be looking very different right now.Posted by FbL at April 17, 2006 12:20 AM
I see that I was posting at the same time as Mike (didn't mean to be redundant). I also see a type. It should be, "...own best interests, but this was HANDLED..."Posted by FbL at April 17, 2006 12:23 AM
It's not their motive that's anti-veteran, it's their actions. It's not their motive that matters, it's their actions. Your attempts to characterize whats going on here as a "flame war" (by the way, update your internet jargon, oh mysterious and sudden newcomer to the blogosphere) demonstrates a remarkable lack of understanding of the scope of the situation.Posted by Old Soldier at April 17, 2006 12:24 AM
Old Soldier wrote -- Got it Pad, you're the landlord nobody wants.
Pay very close attention: we know the Hilton's position is nothing personal, strictly business and about the bottom line.
My advice to you on your Hilton stock: sell.
Firstly, I don't think I deserve the condescendion or nastiness of your reply. I'm not attacking anyone here.
But, to address your points, YES if your're the type of tenant who wants to skip five months of rent or is trying to set up a lawsuit to avoid paying rent-well then you're damned right-I'm the landlord you definitely don't want. Call me crazy. Or even a capitalist.
If you are upset because Hilton is running its business like maybe a business or something instead of a charity, then I just don't understand your point. You could make the same argument about just about every business at some point. Lots of people, veterans and civilians alike are adversely affected by business decisions every day. Why single out one particular company.
I don't think that the corporate socialism that some here seem to advocate is the solution to anything.
Finally, I do not have stock in Hilton. In fact, I make a point out of avoiding their hotels in general because I have had bad service from several of them over the years.Posted by padikiller at April 17, 2006 12:28 AM
Are you accusing Fran's of not paying their rent?
FbL wrote -- That's what I'm referring to when I say our BS detectors are going off. The BS dectors are further alarmed by Hilton's own statement that they don't have any plans for the soon-to-be-empty space (no tenant lined up).
I don't blame people for being suspicious about the circumstances. It certainly is something that should be investigated, and if it turns out to be true, then Hilton deserves everything they've got coming to them. I'm going to support the restaurant as often as I can from now on, wherever it ends up.
However, to launch a name-calling flame war against a business on the basis of a third-hand account of one side of a landlord-tenant matter is just downright irresponsible, in my opinion.Posted by padikiller at April 17, 2006 12:35 AM
Greyhawk wrote -- Are you accusing Fran's of not paying their rent?
Of course not! Whatever gave you this notion? I didn't even know about the restaurant until I happened upon this blog.
How about my question?
What did you mean when you said that "Hilton is motivated by nothing but cash"?
Do you expect Hilton to give up revenue in order to keep Fran's in place? What if Hilton can increase its revenue to a level that Fran's can't afford by leasing the space to a trendy theme restaurant?
Are you demanding that Hilton forego the revenue in order to keep Fran's in place?
"Hilton isn't a charity. The directors and officers of Hilton have a fiduciary duty to maximize profits for their shareholders."
The local supermarket is in the business of selling food, they don't chase off the Girl Scouts selling cookies out front(on supermarket property), even though it hurts their cookie sales.Posted by Soldier's Dad at April 17, 2006 12:42 AM
Soldier's Dad -- The local supermarket is in the business of selling food, they don't chase off the Girl Scouts selling cookies out front(on supermarket property), even though it hurts their cookie sales.
This is a false analogy.
Your local supermarket isn't going to replace its entire Nabisco and Keebler's product lines with more expensive Girl Scout cookies for 365 days a year, just to support the Girl Scouts as much as possible. The store might however, in a gesture of good will, make a small donation of space or other resources by letting the Girl Scouts hang out once in a while.
Kind of like Hilton claims that they hope to let the veterans stay in a new facility. Hilton isn't running a veteran's home. And they shouldn't be expected to.
If it turns out however that Hilton is actively working agaisnt veterans as a matter of policy then I'll go nuts on them.
Until then, I'm not going to to lob threats or accusations against the company and I think that it is plainly irresponsible for anyone to do so.Posted by padikiller at April 17, 2006 12:52 AM
"However, to launch a name-calling flame war against a business on the basis of a third-hand account of one side of a landlord-tenant matter is just downright irresponsible, in my opinion."
It's not one sided. Both sides have staked out their positions, and considering the caliber of the people associated with Fran's (people whom many of us are separated from by only one or two degrees), we have every reason to trust Fran's version over Hilton's. I suppose theoretically we could end up with egg on our faces, but this is not some half-assed, run-of-screaming-before-you-know the-facts blog swarm here ("blog swarm" is the appropriate label, not "flame war"). Check out the trackbacks and links on this story here at Greyhawk's and you'll see that in the major media who are now on this story and in the more-respected blogs both sides are being heard. We're just not buying Hilton's side of it.
And finally, Hilton's may be guilty of nothing worse than treating a tenant in a cold-hearted manner. And for that we will still willingly heap scorn on them. I mean, how hard could it have been to tell Fran's 3 months ago that "Business-wise it doesn't benefit us to be making any changes to the facility, so you're out of luck. However, we recognize the great thing you have here with the wounded vetarans, so we're giving you an early heads-up. We'd also like to use our contacts and vouch for you to help you find a new place." It wouldn't have cost them a thing, and while we might have complained about it, nobody would've thought them ruthless or uncaring. And Fran's could've had time to relocate nearby.Posted by FbL at April 17, 2006 01:04 AM
Michael in MI submitted an earlier post that he claims to be the basis of all of these "Hanoi Hilton" accusations
Here it is again:
"For over six months they have been asking the Hilton Management for the terms for renewal of their lease. 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. We suspect that at least part of the reason is the Friday night dinner Hal and Marty have been hosting for the last two and a half years. It may be that the Hilton folks are concerned about the increased liability of having so many severely injured and disabled soldiers in their basement each Friday (several have taken falls on the steep stairs at the entrance to Fran's (but no law suits or problems have ensued). It may be that there is very limited and problematic wheelchair access to the restaurant (although no ADA complaints have been filed). The truth is that we don't know for sure but what we do know is that this is unfair."
Just read it carefully!...
FIRST of all... This is a secondhand account of just ONE side of the story. We need to bear in mind that secondhand accounts tend to lack reliability, and that there are always two sides to any dispute.
Even so, assuming this letter to be true on it face, just look at what it says!...
"About a month ago.."
"We suspect that..."
"At least part of..."
"It may be that...."
"It may be that..."
And FINALLY the there's this telling admission!
"we don't know for sure..."
I don't know what this "Hanoi Hilton" campaign is based on... But I sure do hope it isn't THIS letter.Posted by padikiller at April 17, 2006 01:05 AM
You missed one. The 3rd comment by IRR is still showing the counterrecruiter link.
Everybody likes to talk a good game when it comes to "supporting" veterans, but as soon as it may actually require them to do something, the silence is deafening.
My own landlords assured my wife and I that our year-long lease could be extended on a month to month basis thereafter to account for my being deployed to Iraq. But the minute I leave, they inform her that they've decided to reoccupy the condo we rent from them and sorry, but we've got to go. It's their property and their decision, but you know it wouldn't kill them to put it off for a few additional months until I got home to assist, now would it?
Sure, it's not the biggest deal in the world, but it's just discouraging when people tell you to your face how much they appreciate your service and then stab you in the back at the earliest convenience.
One thing's for sure, you find out who your real friends are when you're deployed.Posted by Buck Sargent at April 17, 2006 01:13 AM
FbL wrote -- Hilton's may be guilty of nothing worse than treating a tenant in a cold-hearted manner. And for that we will still willingly heap scorn on them. I mean, how hard could it have been to tell Fran's 3 months ago that "Business-wise it doesn't benefit us to be making any changes to the facility, so you're out of luck. However, we recognize the great thing you have here with the wounded vetarans, so we're giving you an early heads-up. We'd also like to use our contacts and vouch for you to help you find a new place." It wouldn't have cost them a thing, and while we might have complained about it, nobody would've thought them ruthless or uncaring. And Fran's could've had time to relocate nearby.
I think there is no doubt that Hilton could have handled the situation better, but then so could Fran's too, right? Any businessman knows that staying on after a lease is up is not a wise business practice. Commercial leases typically have five year terms and extended option periods to allow tenants ample notice to relocate.
If I ran a restaurant, there is no way on Earth that I would stay on without a lease unless I had an ironclad option on an alternative space. This seems to me to be just common sense.
Of course, I think Hilton would be the first to agree with you now that they are in the hot seat that they should have handled the situation better than they did. As I am rather familiar with the DC commercial real estate market, my guess is that Hilton was approached by a third party broker who encourage the company to string Fran's along as a holdover tenant until the new deal was finalized.
One can characterize this holdover arrangement as either an evil landlord practice or instead as a stupid tenancy depending on how one looks at it, I suppose.Posted by padikiller at April 17, 2006 01:17 AM
I have $115,000 in credit card receipts from Hilton Hotels. I spend on average 100 days per year traveling on business.
I'm a vet, my brother in law is a vet(He spends 200 days per year traveling on business). I have two cousins who are vets, my daughter is a vet, and I have a niece and a nephew who are vets.
That is just one family.
The supermarket lets the Girl Scouts stand out front because the mothers of the Girls Scouts will shop elsewhere if they don't.
Our family won't be staying at any Hilton Properties.
It's just business.
Posted by Soldier's Dad at April 17, 2006 01:21 AM
PADIKILLER - Did you read the part that I put in BOLD? It was pointing out the basis for the whole "blogswarm". Here it is again:
"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."
You mentioned in a previous comment that you knew nothing of an eviction notice. This little piece here declares they were given a notice of eviction.
It also declares that they were told for 5 months that they would be given their lease renewal papers. Then they stopped communications and then just handed them an eviction notice with no explanation.
You seemed to skip right over this part and go on to highlight the sentences after that. The reasons for the eviction are speculation, however the months leading up to the eviction are what are being called into question.
Do you agree with a landlord who promises for 5 months to give their tenant a lease renewal and then 3 weeks before the lease is up, instead of giving them the lease renewal, gives them a notice of eviction instead? With no explanation?Posted by Michael in MI at April 17, 2006 01:23 AM
Buck Sargeant -- But the minute I leave, they inform her that they've decided to reoccupy the condo we rent from them and sorry, but we've got to go. It's their property and their decision, but you know it wouldn't kill them to put it off for a few additional months until I got home to assist, now would it?
I'm sorry you had this problem, but as a landlord, I can tell you that a good paying tenant is like gold. I'd do ANYTHING I could to keep both of the tenants I have now.
That being said, there are some things I just can't do-like give away rent, for example.
Sometimes putting off decisions for a few months WILL injure a lnadlord substantially. There could be tax or other legal reasons, like probate or civil matters. There could be personal reasons like health or marital problems. And finally, there could be a finanicial reason, like maybe a long term tenant who wants the space now.Posted by padikiller at April 17, 2006 01:26 AM
Focus dude. Do you practice law? Have you ever been to Fran O'Brien's? What makes you any more an expert on real estate than me?
Padkiller: Actually, I have great sources behind my "outrage." Namely the owners of the restaurant, Walter Reed officials and one of the primary benefactors of the dinners. (Not, not Hilton). That would make it a "firsthand" account. Just saying. All I've heard from Hilton (and you) is pap. You seem to be making a lot of assumptions, what are your sources Sparky?
Obviously, as you both should know, we aren't going to try an ADA case at Mudville Gazette. Its obvious that you two DO NOT GET IT. Stick around though, Hilton may be hiring a few more clueless idiots to make their marketing decisions in the near future.
Why don't both of you come on down to Fran's this Friday night and check it out for yourselves. I'll even buy you dinner. That would make it "firsthand" as well asshats.Posted by Buzz Patterson at April 17, 2006 01:31 AM
Soldier's Dad wrote -- The supermarket lets the Girl Scouts stand out front because the mothers of the Girls Scouts will shop elsewhere if they don't.
Maybe so... And maybe the store is just trying to be a good corporate citizen...
But either way the store sure doesn't replace Keeblers cookies on its shelves with Girl Scout Cookies all year round, now does it?
It seems to me that you may be asking Hilton to do the equivalent of this by demanding that Hilton forego a substantial revenue in order to support a restaurant that supports veterans.
If so, I don't think you are being reasonable.Posted by padikiller at April 17, 2006 01:33 AM
Bad Business Considerations 101: Business decisions based on bad faith is bad business.
If Hilton's decision is based on business considerations then it's telling just how considerate Hilton is towards those recovering veterans. If Hilton did not wish to renew Fran O'Brian's lease they should have given Fran O'Brian's owners ample notice that their lease would be terminated.
Very much the same idea as Borders making business considerations not to sell a publication with Mohammed on the front is telling just how considerate Borders is towards freedom of speech. If Borders believes in selling even those banned works then they should be selling the publication.
Posted by syn at April 17, 2006 01:37 AM
Hilton operated in bad faith and their actions are proof.Posted by syn at April 17, 2006 01:41 AM
Michael in MI wrote -- PADIKILLER - Did you read the part that I put in BOLD? It was pointing out the basis for the whole "blogswarm". Here it is again:
"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."
PADIKILLER -- First of all, as I said, this is a secondhand account of one side of the issue. I do not think that it gives (as the writer admits later) the entire picture.
Even so- A tenant, especially a commercial business, who overstays a lease does so at its own risk. One could characterize this holdover tenancy as either an evil landlord tactic or as a stupid tenant decision, depending on one's point of view.
Michael in MI continues -- You mentioned in a previous comment that you knew nothing of an eviction notice. This little piece here declares they were given a notice of eviction.
PADIKILLER -- I think the landlord probably got a notice to quit and not an eviction order. Eviction orders come from a judge as a result of a suit, and that does not seem to be the case here. People frequently confuse the two.
Michael in MI -- It also declares that they were told for 5 months that they would be given their lease renewal papers. Then they stopped communications and then just handed them an eviction notice with no explanation.
PADIKILLER -- As I said, this communication is, by its own admission, an incomplete and partial secondhand account of one side of a dispute. I wouldn't bet the farm on it, and I damn sure wouldn't publically accuse a huge corporation in print of an evil motive on the basis of this letter.
Michael in MI --You seemed to skip right over this part and go on to highlight the sentences after that. The reasons for the eviction are speculation, however the months leading up to the eviction are what are being called into question.
PADIKILLER -- I included this part in my post. However, even if it is true, I don't see an evil motive. Leases are written instruments. Any business that depends on an oral rental agreement is doing so at its own peril. That being said, I'm NOT claiming that Hilton is right and Fran's is wrong. I'm just saying that there are two sides to every story.
Michael in MI -- Do you agree with a landlord who promises for 5 months to give their tenant a lease renewal and then 3 weeks before the lease is up, instead of giving them the lease renewal, gives them a notice of eviction instead? With no explanation?
PADIKILLER -- Of course not-- IF it happened that way and IF there aren't other things that happened that we don't know about.
However, even so, I don't think that it is fair to attribute to Hilton an anti-veteran motive just because they jerked a tenant around on a lease.
"If Hilton did not wish to renew Fran O'Brian's lease they should have given Fran O'Brian's owners ample notice that their lease would be terminated."
Exactly. This is what I see as the heart of the matter. Is this a common practice of landlords in business? String their tenants along as they conduct their own personal business and then, when they figure out a better way to make money (if this is what Hilton Hotels was doing for the 5 months), give an eviction notice at the last minute to their tenant (3 weeks before the expiration of the lease)?
Even putting the dinners for the veterans aside, this is just a bad way of doing business.
Hilton Hotels should be avoided simply for being lousy landlords. The fact that they are treating a tenant which supports military veterans this way just makes it an even worse situation.Posted by Michael in MI at April 17, 2006 01:47 AM
Question for Michael In MI
Michael, how do you make part of your comments bold?
ThanksPosted by padikiller at April 17, 2006 01:51 AM
PADIKILLER - You keep referring to a situation in which a tenant "overstays their lease". I'm not sure how this applies to this situation? As far as I understand it, Fran O'Brien's was told by Hilton Hotels they would be given a lease renewal for 5 months ... but they never received it. Instead, they have been given an eviction notice, 3 weeks prior to the end of their current lease.
So, Fran O'Brien's is currently not "overstaying their lease". So what is your point in bringing this up?
If Fran O'Brien were to continue business or not move their restaurant out after May 1st, THEN they would be overstaying their lease, since it would have expired by then.
However, the current situation, as far as we know (and Hilton Hotels has not disputed anything Fran O'Brien's has said, they have simply said they were terminating the lease for "business reasons"), is that a landlord promised a lease renewal to their long-time tenant for 5 months, and then sprung an eviction notice on them at the last minute. If none of this is disputable, this is bad business. Period. Regardless of who is the tenant.
Also, from the facts known, the Hilton Hotels does not have a new tenant lined up to take the place of Fran O'Brien's. So unless they came out and stated that Fran O'Brien's was a big money loser for them financially for the past year and they could not keep them as a tenant for financial reasons, this remains just a landlord being a jerk to their tenant. The fact that the tenant is a big supporter of military veterans makes this an even bigger fiasco for them and a PR nightmare they should have forseen.
Bottom line, had Hilton Hotels given more notice of their intention to not renew Fran O'Brien's lease, they would not be in this situation. Hilton Hotels brought this on themselves for being bad landlords.Posted by Michael in MI at April 17, 2006 01:57 AM
Michael in MI wrote -- Hilton Hotels should be avoided simply for being lousy landlords. The fact that they are treating a tenant which supports military veterans this way just makes it an even worse situation.
If the facts support the treatment that the letter claims Fran's got, I wholeheartedly agree with you.
As I have said, I personally boycott Hilton (and all of its "Starwood" and "Hampton Inn" brands) simply because I have received lousy service on several occasions.
However, I don't think that it is fair to attribute an anti-veteran motive to the company without basis.Posted by padikiller at April 17, 2006 01:57 AM
Padikiller - I've tried to use the actual symbols, but the html gets lost when I go to post. So I'll try to just describe it here. If you type (the "less than" symbol) then (the letter b) then (put your text you want bolded) after that, then type ("less than" symbol) then (backslash) then (the letter b) then ("greater than" symbol) you should have your text bolded.Posted by Michael in MI at April 17, 2006 02:03 AM
Michael In M_ -- As far as I understand it, Fran O'Brien's was told by Hilton Hotels they would be given a lease renewal for 5 months ... but they never received it. Instead, they have been given an eviction notice, 3 weeks prior to the end of their current lease.
PADIKILLER -- The way I read it, the lease expired and then Hilton may have strung Fran's along for five months. There are only way to force Fran's to move is by eviction (court order) or notice to quit. Either way, the lease would have to be expired.Posted by padikiller at April 17, 2006 02:06 AM
"However, I don't think that it is fair to attribute an anti-veteran motive to the company without basis."
I agree on this sentiment. I think that in light of no other explanation, people are just assuming that it must be an anti-military bias. It would not surprise me if this was the reason, however I have not read anything that supports this.
What I have read though (if the facts prove out as they stand now) suggests that Hilton Hotels has been a lousy landlord to Fran O'Brien's.
Had they pulled this on just any old ordinary restaurante, they probably would have gotten away with being jerks. However, doing this to a restaurante that has shown such support for so long to the military veterans has drawn the ire of the military. And rightfully so.
If it proves out that Hilton Hotels are simply jerks and not anti-military jerks, I expect the milblog community to correct that assumption and simply point out that Hilton Hotels are just plain old jerks, but not anti-military jerks.
However, if it is proven out that their decision was because of an anti-military bias, I am looking forward to the frying Hilton Hotels will get!Posted by Michael in MI at April 17, 2006 02:10 AM
It just html huh?
This is REALLY silly cool!
I tried to use the strikethrough and the underline codes, but they didn't work.Posted by padikiller at April 17, 2006 02:10 AM
From this update by Greyhawk: http://www.mudvillegazette.com/archives/004401.html
The Hilton Responds:
"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."
The restaurant's lease, which was extended for six months last year, is set to expire as of May 1.
I read that as the restaurant not having overstayed their lease, but currently operating under a lease, which is set to expire on May 1st.
Unfortunately I've never, nor at my age will ever, enjoy the honored priviledge of serving in in the US Armed Forces but I have worked NYC real-estate over a decade. In my business Hilton conducted business in bad faith.
As an citizen who has visited our recovering soldiers at Walter Reed over the years the idea that our soldiers are involved makes Hilton all the more repulsive. Amid all the negative anti-military theatrics exhibited over the years those Friday night dinners represented to me the one constant humble gift of gratitude shown towards those who have sacrificed themselves on our behalf. It was always knowing every Friday night our recovering soldiers were enjoying the fruits of life in the company of good friend which has kept me close to the soul of the American spirit; a spirit which operates in good faith.
Posted by syn at April 17, 2006 02:16 AM
I guess I'm only speaking for myself, but I'm not sure we're calling them "anti-veteran" so much as just "utterly uncaring," and maybe even "heartless."
Also, I'm not sure you're familiar with how important these dinners at Fran's are to the wounded soldiers. For many of them it is their first excursion outside the hospital walls (the last time they were outside a hospital was when they were in Iraq/Afghanistan). Many/most of the attendees are amputees or otherwise disfigured/handicapped and thus very anxious about going out in public. Knowing that the owners of Fran's support them and understand "where they're coming from" is a source of comfort and confidence. They are able to gather in an environment that is safe and supportive as they begin to reclaim "normal" lives.
This isn't just a free dinner. It's become an important part of recovery. There are stories of patients who refused to leave their rooms willingly except to go to Fran's on Friday nights. One article I read described Fran O'Brien's as being a "cultural touchstone for this generation of wounded veterans." Others talk about it being "the first time I felt normal." A news report I recently saw included a soldier who said matter-of-factly that his hands didn't work too well and "the guy sitting across from me doesn't have any legs. But that's okay 'cause I get his food [from the buffet] for him, and he cuts my steak."
It's about a whole lot more than a free meal for vets. And the fact that Hilton is so obviously insensitive to that is part of what is so enraging.Posted by FbL at April 17, 2006 02:18 AM
Michael in MI wrote -- from the facts known, the Hilton Hotels does not have a new tenant lined up to take the place of Fran O'Brien's
PADIKILLER -- I wouldn't read anything into that. Most deals with chains are kept quiet. I once owned a builing that had an outlet of small indepndent chain of pharmacies as a tenant. A big huge pharmacy chain that you probably have heard of bought the chain but closed that particular store. They paid me rent on an empty store for four years. They never once came to the place and they wouldn't let me sublet it!
The ONLY condition to their assignment of the lease was a non-disclosure agreement. They didn't want anyone knowing that they leased the space.Posted by padikiller at April 17, 2006 02:18 AM
Michael in MI wrote -- I read that as the restaurant not having overstayed their lease, but currently operating under a lease, which is set to expire on May 1st.
PADIKILLER -- Obviously some wires are crossed somewhere.
The letter from the friends of Fran's says that they got an "eviction notice" but Hilton claims that Fran's still has a valid lease. They can't both be true.
I suspect that Fran's did not get either an eviciton notice OR a notice to quit, but instead merely a letter of non-renewal from Hilton telling them that the lease would not be renewed.
This type of confusion in the limited facts available here would seem to bolster my argument for consideration, investigation and deliberation in this matter.Posted by padikiller at April 17, 2006 02:26 AM
Padikiller - That's interesting to know. Thanks for that inside info.
Even excluding that part of it, I still stand by my assessment that the Hilton Hotels did business in bad faith (as someone said in a recent comment) with Fran O'Brien's. That alone deserves scorn. The fact that their tenant is a restaurant that has held these steak dinners for veterans just makes the bad faith business decision stand out even more.
If they have legitimate financial reasons for not renewing the lease, I would accept them. However, I would still not condone the way they treated their tenant in stringing them along for 5 months and then handing them an eviction notice 3 weeks prior to the end of the current lease. They are a long standing, large, well-known business. There is no excuse for the way they handled things. As such, they will incur the wrath of their customers as well as their former customers and customers they may have had, but now will not.Posted by Michael in MI at April 17, 2006 02:26 AM
Michael in MI -- However, I would still not condone the way they treated their tenant in stringing them along for 5 months and then handing them an eviction notice 3 weeks prior to the end of the current lease.
PADIKILLER -- IF, IF, IF these are the facts, then I'd agree with you in a minute.
However, all we have here (that I've seen) is a secondhand account loaded with indecisive language from a writer who actually admits in the letter that he or she doesn't know the whole story AND...
We also know for a fact that at least one of the statements in the letter doesn't jibe with Hilton's account of the events.
I'll tell you one thing... It would a snowy day in the Hot Place before I would accuse any huge corporation of any specific bad conduct or evil motive on the basis of anything I've seen here so far.
Suspect? Perhaps privately....
Accuse? NO FREAKING WAY!
A lawyer could have a field day with this, in my opinion.Posted by padikiller at April 17, 2006 02:37 AM
I just really needed to say that IRR is a moron and a complete idiot. IRR is a woosy and a fag.
My apologies to homosexuals.
Come and get some of me, IRR. You leave this fine soldier alone.
Piece of shit moron.
Please forgive my french, Grayhawk.Posted by Charles at April 17, 2006 02:37 AM
Let me explain this in VERY simplistic terms.
My particular family tree, has sent it's son's and daughter's to every conflict in American history since 1776.
Sometimes we got our contribution back whole, sometimes the contribution came back maimed, sometimes the contribution came back in a flag draped coffin.
For the Hilton Corporation, with billions in assets and billions in profits, to even discuss a business decision that in any way negatively affects soldier's that came back MAIMED, even in a small way, is beyond immoral.
Posted by Soldier's Dad at April 17, 2006 02:49 AM
I'm an American, when it comes to Soldier's who have been maimed in battle, the only question to be asked is "How can I help"
Agreed, Padikiller. Debate and ask questions of Hilton Hotels as the milblogs are doing in order to get to the facts of the matter is the way to go. I can understand tempers getting heated up, especially considering the bias that the military has had to put up with in many areas across the country, most specifically in the media. However, I agree, the accusations should be kept in check until the facts are confirmed.
(Also, I did not intend to state again that they were given a notice of eviction. You noted that a landlord does not give an eviction notice when the tenant is under a current lease. I meant to say they were given a notice of non-renewal of the lease at the last minute)Posted by Michael in MI at April 17, 2006 02:50 AM
Soldier's Dad -- For the Hilton Corporation, with billions in assets and billions in profits, to even discuss a business decision that in any way negatively affects soldier's that came back MAIMED, even in a small way, is beyond immoral.
PADIKILLER- I think you are jumping to conclusions. From what I've seen, Hilton is not trying to to stop the dinners or hurt veterans-they have said that they hope to CONTINUE the program with a new tenant.
Hilton just wants to change restaurants in order to boost the bottom line (or so the company claims).
Who am I or you or anyone else to decide which restaurants Hilton wants to have in is hotels?
I had an orthopedist in a building I once owned in the 80's who treated disabled people including many Vietnam and Korean War veterans. I sold the building to a developer who tore the building down to build a parking garage.
Nothing personal-just business. I wasn't out to get veterans or anyone else, I just wanted to make the most money from my property. What the HECK is wrong with this? It seems like EXACTLY the same thing as with Hilton and Fran's (only I did give the doctor three months notice).
The orthopedist moved to a new office and everything worked out fine.
What's to stop Fran's from doing the same thing? Fran's can stay in business by simply moving to a new location (as long as their business practices are good) and the veterans Fran's graciously supports can still enjoy the benefit of the restaurant's generosity.
What's the problem here?
Some of the people here seem to be making the rather socialist/communist argument that Hilton has some sort of a moral obligation as a commercial landlord to donate substantial real estate revenue to other people's charitable causes.
This is an unreasonable, and frankly anti-American argument, in my opinion.Posted by padikiller at April 17, 2006 03:14 AM
"I had an orthopedist in a building I once owned in the 80's who treated disabled people including many Vietnam and Korean War veterans. I sold the building to a developer who tore the building down to build a parking garage"
Posted by Soldier's Dad at April 17, 2006 03:41 AM
And you should be taken out and shot....just business.
Small words so you can understand... What is keeping Fran's from moving to a new and better place, is a lack of time. The restraunt *should* have had six months to locate a new place. That's where bad faith comes in. Six months to find a new location, negotiate a new lease with a new landlord, obtain bank loans, promote the move so people can find them, and on and on.
No amount of "but they didn't actually break any *laws*" excuses Hilton for their shameful behavior.Posted by Julie (Synova) at April 17, 2006 03:53 AM
let me be clear.
230 Years of Sacrifice wasn't so that immoral business people could prey on the least among us, or prey on the nations heros.
Congress voted for war, it is our system, yes, yes, various congressman are claiming they were fooled by "George Moron Bush".
Sorry, if you voted for a Senator or Congressman fooled by George Moron Bush, you have to examine your ability to judge.
The purpose of congress, as layed out in the Constitution, is to keep the executive from involving the nation in "unnecessary war".
The founders were clear on this point. Glorious leaders like war, it is Congress's responsibilty to make judgements, and stop the Glorious Leader if the justification was insufficient. The founders weren't fools.
Once congress decides, it is incumbant on all Citizens to support the cause.
The nation is in a state of war, confiscating the Hilton property is well within the constitutional right of the Government.
Congress voted. End of Discussion.
If you voted for a representave FOOLED by George Moron Bush, you really need to re-examine your decision making abilty.Posted by Soldier's Dad at April 17, 2006 04:03 AM
I have no comments to make on real estate leasing, ADA, lawyers, or who served in which war. I would like to comment that if any of the incensed individuals want to do something constructive, why not rent out a private room in a nearby restaurant once a week for the vets? Why are you relying on "Fran O'Brien's"?Posted by Elizabeth at April 17, 2006 04:28 AM
Why don't you try reading the posts BEFORE you ramble on.. You'll save yourself a lot of typing..
1. I support BOTH wars...
2. I support President Bush's decision to go to war and the conduct of his administration regarding the war (I have problems with some of his other policies -like immigration)
3. I support and am thankful for the sacrifices of our veterans...
4. I support Fran O'Brien's and will support the steak dinner program now that I've learned about it here......
I don't see how Hilton's decision to find a different restaurant can be interpreted, on the basis of the secondhand information posted here, as an attack on veterans.
Hilton has offered to host the veterans at another location in the same builing for Pete's sake!...
Why don't you stop putting words into my mouth and instead deal with the point?Posted by padikiller at April 17, 2006 04:34 AM
Soldier's Dad - And you should be taken out and shot....just business.
PADIKILLER -- This is just silly...
By your reasoning, every landowner in America would be prohibited from ever selling his property if it is used in anyway by a disabled veteran.
Use some sense.Posted by padikiller at April 17, 2006 04:36 AM
Elizabeth - From what I can tell, the milbloggers are doing something constructive in sticking up for Fran O'Brien's in the face of a possibly lousy and callous landlord.
The first step in this effort is to find out if there is a way to get Fran O'Brien's lease renewed. If there is a good reason for Hilton Hotels to deny the renewal of the lease, I am sure the milbloggers will rally together to help Fran O'Brien's find a new place at which to have their restaurant services as well as host the Friday night dinners.
However, before that effort is undertaken, it is imperative to find out if there is truth to the matter of Hilton Hotels stringing Fran O'Brien's along for 5 months before finally telling them 3 weeks before the lease is up that it will not be renewed and they need to get out and find a new place to have their restaurant.Posted by Michael in MI at April 17, 2006 04:40 AM
Something that I find humorous in this whole fiasco is the offer of Hilton Hotels to host the Friday night dinners for the troops even after they refuse to renew the lease for Fran O'Brien's. As if the soldiers were going there because of Hilton Hotels and not because of the atmosphere and hospitality of Fran O'Brien's.
Personally, if it ends up that Fran O'Brien's has to move to a location which is more difficult to get to, I would still find a way to drive everyone to the new location rather than go to the Hilton Hotel's new room they are offering. The reason the soldier's like the Friday night dinners so much, I would assume, is because of the people and the atmosphere, not because of the location.
What Hilton's Hotels apparently does not realize is that wherever Fran O'Brien's goes, so goes the Friday night dinners.Posted by Michael in MI at April 17, 2006 04:46 AM
Julie wrote -- Small words so you can understand...
PADIKILLER -- Now that's a nice way to say hi!... Why not forego the nastiness, OK?
Julie continues -- What is keeping Fran's from moving to a new and better place, is a lack of time. The restraunt *should* have had six months to locate a new place. That's where bad faith comes in. Six months to find a new location, negotiate a new lease with a new landlord, obtain bank loans, promote the move so people can find them, and on and on.
PADIKILLER -- Do you know this to be true for a FACT? Or are you basing this statement on the secondhand account posted here?
julie -- No amount of "but they didn't actually break any *laws*" excuses Hilton for their shameful behavior.
PADIKILLER -- Unless you have specific knowledge of the facts, I think you are being unreasonable in accusing anyone of "shameful" behavior. The only thing I've seen posted here is a secondhand account of ONE side of the story written by someone who admits to a lack of knowledge of the facts.
Unless you have something other than this letter to go on, I'd be real careful tossing around accusations.
A lot of people here keep saying that Fran's didn't have notice to vacate... But guess what.. A lease IS notice! It has a termination date right on it.
I just don't see the big deal. Restaurants move all the time. If the management of Fran's really sat around and let the lease expire on the basis of an oral commitment, then it sounds like they might be better of giving up the business anyway. However, I don't think this is likely. I bet there is another side to the story. And I don't think people should make accustions without the facts.
Padikiller - One thing to keep in mind is that a representative from Hilton Hotels has offered to answer all questions regarding this issue. This is supposed to take place tomorrow (when I think Andi's World will pass on the questions to the rep). So the facts of the matter should be known hopefully sometime this week and then things should be more clear and we can stop squabbling over not knowing all the facts.Posted by Michael in MI at April 17, 2006 04:51 AM
What is the beef with Hilton, exactly?
Is that somebody has some evidence somewhere to show that Hilton wants to screw over disabled veterans? If so, let's see it.
I'll be the first one on the picket line!
Or is the beef instead that one particular Hilton outlet has not been a very good landlord to one particular restaurant that coincidentally has done a very nice thing for disabled veterans?
If THIS is the beef, count me out of the witch hunt...
Landlord-tenant disputes are seldom simple and rarely center on a single issue. Most importantly, you'll never get a fair picture of a dispute in by looking at the matter from just one side.
I support our veterans wholeheartedly. But I'm not about to defame a company regarding its business dealings with another company who happens to do nice things on the side for others.Posted by padikiller at April 17, 2006 05:01 AM
Well, upon re-reading the latest at Andi's World, it sounds like there is no chance for Fran O'Brien's to have their lease renewed (barring a miracle, as Andi says).
So, the steps the milblogging community is doing now is to make sure the dinners continue and to help Fran and Marty (owners of Fran O'Brien's) to find a new place.
From Andi's commentary, it sounds like the Capital Hilton is wholly prepared to make all the necessary accomodations for the Friday night dinners.
Basically, it sounds like this comes down to bad feelings over being loyal to the people at Fran O'Briens and upset that their lease is not being renewed by Hilton Hotels (understandable).
However, it does sound like the Capital Hilton is prepared to keep the dinners going as they were previously.
The only thing that seems to be still up in the air is whether or not Fran O'Brien's got a "raw deal" in not having their lease renewed and only been given 3 weeks notice about it. These things need to be cleared up before a decision can be made to continue using the Capital Hilton for the dinners. I know I wouldn't want to continue giving Capital Hilton my business if I found out they screwed over my friends.
However, if nothing was done in bad faith, I see no reason not to continue the dinners at the Hilton and then work hard to find a new place for Fran O'Brien's.Posted by Michael in MI at April 17, 2006 05:02 AM
Michael in MI -- One thing to keep in mind is that a representative from Hilton Hotels has offered to answer all questions regarding this issue
PADIKILLER -- Well, I'm sure that Hilton's side of the story won't give the complete picture either, but perhaps with both sides people will better be able to form educated opinions.
I'm not saying that Hilton is blameless here... I'm just saying that I wouldn't in a million years accuse the company of any misconduct on the basis of anything I've seen. I's need a WHOLE lot more evidence before I'd even think about such an accusation.
I hope cooler heads prevail. Some of the people here have been downright nasty about this mess. This kind of rhetoric is not helpful, in my opinion.Posted by padikiller at April 17, 2006 05:09 AM
But Michael... padikiller has explained this again and again. So long as Hilton hasn't pulled something that they can be charged with, like breaking a lease, they are just wonderful folks.
Only no one has tried to say that they've done anything illegal, only that they seem to have acted like complete jerks.
But some people are like that. Legality defines right or wrong for them. If they can play the system, they do. If the letter of the law is met, then it's all good. If they can screw you legally they do so without batting an eye.Posted by Julie (Synova) at April 17, 2006 06:46 AM
Bad Business Considerations: Seems to me that the Hilton is making the same business decisions that the NY Times and the LA Times have been making these past four years. They are pandering to the politics of people such as padi and IRR and trusting that there will be a majority of people with those (anti-American) beliefs who will support their business decision.
Well, there is no law that says we HAVE to subscribe to the NY Times, nor that we HAVE to watch Dan Rather's 6:00 news ... nor that we HAVE to stay at a Hilton Hotel.
So good luck with that business decision, Mr. Hilton. Here's hoping when the flame-out is complete, Paris has enough to buy her next season's wardrobe.Posted by NahnCee at April 17, 2006 07:05 AM
Stop responding to the Hilton apologists. They are taking up bandwidth.
Do not respond to any apologist who comments on this post.
Concentrate on finding ways to protest Hiltion's action.Posted by davod at April 17, 2006 12:27 PM
Ditto what Charles said on IRR.
I don't understand your tactics (or Kevin's for that matter). You attempt to gain support for your position by spouting off about your service, then resort to name calling for those who disagree with you. You opening post was disrespectful as well as lame.
Given your views, I can't understand why you would consider continuing in the IRR. What happens when another war comes along that you don't like? What happens when you get called?
No one wants to hear soldiers bitch. More importantly, soldiers don't want whiney bitches to lead them.
At least Kevin had the balls to quit. Why not STFU and Charlie Mike, or resign your commission and say whatever you want to?Posted by LJD at April 17, 2006 01:06 PM
Julie wrote -- padikiller has explained this again and again. So long as Hilton hasn't pulled something that they can be charged with, like breaking a lease, they are just wonderful folks.
PADIKILLER - I have never said anything of the sort. Your obvious, and frankly in my opinion sick, need to hurl lies and insults proves my point precisely- namely that many people here are more interested in joining a witch hunt than helping anyone.
If you read my posts you will find that I have never claimed that Hilton's people are "wonderful folks". In FACT you will find that I have stated here that I personally do not like Hilton hotels for other reasons.
However, for all the ranting and raving here, I find NOTHING that justifies a "Hanoi Hilton" or "Perish Hilton" smear campaign. PERIOD. There is not one iota of evidence that Hilton has an anti-veteran policy. At least not in anything I've seen. If evidence turns up to support such a nasty allegation, then fine.
So what "evidence" is there to consider?
There is ONE secondhand account of ONE side of ONE story by ONE friend of ONE of Hilton's tenants that ONE outlet of the company's hotels did not treat that ONE tenant well in ONE lease negotiation.
Now this single account by itself should prevent any reasonable person from jumping to conclusions about the general policies of a huge company. But, even if you believe everything the writer stated, WHAT does the writer of this account admit?...
That the account is incomplete and MOST IMPORTANTLY that the owners of Fran's DON'T KNOW why Hilton didn't renew the lease!.... THAT'S WHAT!
On the basis of THIS account, a whole bunch of people are ready to smear a huge corporation and some of its specific employees, accusing it and them publicly of commiting specific bad acts and of holding evil, anti-American motives.
Well, not me...
Julie, you can believe whatever you want to believe, but you shouldn't post lies about other people here in order to make your point. Please don't do so regarding my comments again.Posted by padikiller at April 17, 2006 02:50 PM
It doesn't *matter* why they didn't renew the lease, pad. Duh!
This is what you don't get and I don't think I've "lied" about you at all because everything you've said comes down to "they made a business decision and unless they've done something *wrong* you all shouldn't complain."
Why the heck shouldn't we complain? I don't care *why* they didn't renew the lease, I only care that they pissed around for months instead of being up front. I don't begrudge anyone a business decision *but* even if (hypothetically) Fran's is the biggest revenue suck to the entire chain it doesn't excuse Hilton because if that was *true* they could have said so and been clear about that 5 months ago.
Some spineless A-hole left it until now. Why are you defending the spineless A-hole?Posted by Julie (Synova) at April 17, 2006 05:09 PM
Greyhawk here -
Sorry, I've been away, and obviously a few points need clarified here.
Padikiller, my comment far above was regarding corporate loyalty to the bottom line - their duty to profit for the sake of the stockholder, good of the company, etc. I certainly don't condemn that. And I think this move will have an overall negative impact on that bottom line - think of me as a good Samaritan in that regard. (I've been cc'd on a lot of emails people have sent to the Hilton lately...)
Speaking of email, you note that this began with an email - indeed it did. You note that said email was one side of the story - indeed it is. But you also pretend that the story hasn't progressed since - when indeed it has.
The mainstream media has this story now too. The Hilton has responded. Several posts subsequent to last week's email here have made that very clear - including this one. Pretending none of those subsequent events has happened is a bit deceptive on your part.
But again, the Hilton's response: They have no plans for the space, the negotiations "didn't gel", etc, etc. Tell me any aspect to Hilton's response that hasn't been linked and publicized here I will gladly link it too. Further, I've encouraged others to take advantage of the opportunity to ask their questions of Hilton's management at Andi's. (And advised them to do so in accordance with her guidelines.) This entire episode haas been about seeking the facts - go back and read the pertinent entries here - including the one above - and you'll see that's the case.
Financial issues - you've hinted repeatedly that Fran's is somehow losing money for the Hilton, or not meeting their obligations, by offering for comparison your own experience with tossing non-paying renters out. But again, read the post above and you'll discover at least one organization that just donated 75k to the effort in late March, and I know of other "silent sponsors" too. I suspect Fran's is not hurting for cash.
Dinners for the wounded: it's not about simply feeding heroes. I'm sure the Hilton would welcome the troops to another resaurant in their building - who wouldn't? But Fran's is a unique situation - if you take a few minutes to read the various posts I've excerpted and linked above you'll clearly see why.
Anyhow, the story has progressed far beyond what you've brought up here - and behind the scenes it's even farther along.
Again, Hilton's duty is to profit for the sake of the stockholder, good of the company, etc. I think this move will have an overall (and perhaps unexpected) negative impact on that bottom line.
But it's not too late for them to be heroes too.
Greyhawk wrote -- But you [padikiller] also pretend that the story hasn't progressed since - when indeed it has.
PADIKILLER -- I have not "pretended" any such thing. I haven't seen one IOTA of evidence that Hilton was motivated by anti-veteran policy. Like I've always said, if such evidence turns up, I'd be the FIRST one to raise Heck over it.
Greyhawk continued -- But again, the Hilton's response: They have no plans for the space, the negotiations "didn't gel", etc, etc.
PADIKILLER -- I don't see how anyone could use either of these statements to justify a "Hanoi Hilton" smear campaign. Lease negotiations are complex issues and Hilton has no duty to publish its business plans here. I've has LOTS of business dealings that didn't "gel" in my life. It happens.
It sure does take a HUGE leap of the imagination to decide that Hilton has it out for veterans from anything I've seen published here.
Greyhawk continues -- I'm sure the Hilton would welcome the troops to another resaurant in their building - who wouldn't? But Fran's is a unique situation - if you take a few minutes to read the various posts I've excerpted and linked above you'll clearly see why.
PADIKILLER -- WHOA there!... Back up a minute!...
This comment of yours is especially troubling to me.
WHAT exactly is the focus of this blog attack on Hilton?
Is to support the continuance of a program for disabled veterans?
Or is it instead designed to interfere in a lease negotiation between two businesses because people here "like" one business more than the other?
Fran's unquestionably does great things for veterans. But this does NOT mean that they are necessarily a great tenant - only Hilton has the right to decide that.
If you want to support Fran's, fine! But be honest about it. Even Fran's doesn't know why Hilton didn't renew the lease. I hardly think it's fair to accuse Hilton of a nefarious motive, or to imply that the company discriminates against wounded veterans.
When you say "Fran's is a unique situation", I take you to mean that the Fran's needs to continue the adminstration of the steak dinner program in order to run it effectively, and that any other restaurant will be unable to continue the program. This claim may or may not be completely true, but I am willing to assume for the sake of argument, since you are more familiar with the program than I am, that it is true.
Why can't Fran's simply continue the program at their new location? From what I've read, the current location is horrible anyway (according to letter posted here- several veterans have suffered falls in the current location). If anything Fran's could BETTER administer the program in a new location, couldn't it?
Greyhawk -- This entire episode haas been about seeking the facts - go back and read the pertinent entries here - including the one above - and you'll see that's the case.
PADIKILLER -- I don't think this a fair statement. Look at the headline of this post, after all. An article entitled "Hanoi Hilton" is NOT simply about "seeking the facts". It seems more to be about smearing a company BEFORE the facts are in.
Posted by padikiller at April 17, 2006 08:16 PM
At the risk of being repetitive, Hilton did a bad thing by giving 3 weeks notice for non-renewal of the lease. It wasn't Hilton who decided to treat these wounded warriors to a Friday night steak dinner - it was the owners and operators of Fran's. One of which is a fellow wounded warrior from the Vietnam era. Are there other restaurants in this Hilton? Fran's, even if they secure a new location, won't be back in business any time soon. If Hilton truly cared about continuing these dinners, they would have given Fran's plenty of notice to relocate with minimum disruption to the Friday night dinners. Regardless of how this turns out, I'll likely never patronize a Hilton property ever again.Posted by Lisa at April 17, 2006 08:56 PM
I didn't invent the Hanoi Hilton term - but the way it fits this story makes it inevitable that it will catch on. I know they're reading, so I think they should know that, it fits my purpose (which is not whatever you're on about): I think this move will have an overall (and perhaps unexpected) negative impact on that bottom line. It's something that any corporation - public or private - needs to take into account. Will they go under? Certainly not. Will it "hurt"? Perhaps. Will they lose money on the deal? I'd bet yes.
This isn't going as they planned. They need to pull their heads away from the preliminary figures and start thinking about a new strategy. The first try - attempting to "host the dinners" (while contacting the big-money sponsors) is a bit transparent, and actually makes them look worse.
You keep insisting that Hilton has a right to boot Frans out because it somehow has been calculated to make financial sense. Without ignoring certain new indicators, that is no longer true.
But I have failed to express a few points.
If your landlord wants to evict you, and the neighborhood rises up and convinces him otherwise, you are left in an akward position. Clearly the guys at Fran's know they aren't wanted.
So - suppose the Hilton offers to extend the lease, the Fran's crew finds other accomodations, completes necessary construction/remodeling, then moves with as brief an interruption as possible. Everyone wins!
Posted by Greyhawk at April 17, 2006 09:15 PM
Lisa wrote -- At the risk of being repetitive, Hilton did a bad thing by giving 3 weeks notice for non-renewal of the lease.
PADIKILLER - First of all... You know this for a FACT?
All I have seen here is a secondhand claim of this treatment-and the writer of that claim actually admitted that he or she didn't have a particularly good grasp of the facts. It seems horribly irresponsible to claim this as a FACT based on such a sparse statement by a non-party to the dispute. Do you have other information?
More importantly, even if the statement is true.. SO WHAT?
WHAT exactly is the goal of this smear campaign?
Is it to help disabled veterans fight an evil corporation who is out to get them? Or is it to help a business get a lease from its landlord?
If someone is dogging our disabled veterans here, then I'm all over it like white on rice. That claim is what brought me here ready to lend my name to the cause.
However, once I got here, I found out not only that there just isn't any evidence that Hilton is trying to dog our veterans, but also that most of Hilton's accusers here seem more interested in supporting Fran's restaurant in a lease negotiation, than in making sure that the steak dinner program continues.
If the goal here is to help one BUSINESS in its BUSINESS negotiations with another BUSINESS... Then WHAT is with all this "Perish Hilton" and "Hanoi Hilton" slime? Why on Earth would rational people who wish to support Fran's in a business cause make such filthy accusations against Hilton without a shred of proof?
I've seen names and telephone numbers published, veiled (and not so veiled) threats of harassment and boycotts, and a lot of accusations that appear to me to be actually defamatory. All this because a landlord is accused in a secondhand account of a FRIEND of a tenant of MAYBE engaging in unfair dealing?
Unless there are some hard facts somewhere to support the smears I've seen, some people here are going WAY out on a limb in their accusations.
I will repeat it again... To my knowledge, there has not been on SHRED of evidence published so far (at least not that's been presented here anyway) that indicates that Hilton had an anti-veteran motive in this matter. If such evidence appears, the I'll be the FIRST one on the offensive. Otherwise, how about some civility here?Posted by padikiller at April 17, 2006 09:26 PM
Is ignoring you civil enough?Posted by NahnCee at April 17, 2006 10:35 PM
NahnCee -- Is ignoring you civil enough?
PADIKILLER -- OUCH!...
Et tu, Nahncee?....
Well, since my plea for civility was the last sentence of my comment, at least I know that you aren't ignoring me!
I honestly don't understand all the nastiness here. I'm not attacking anybody.
I'm just saying that before one accuses a huge corporation of some evil anti-American motive, that perhaps one ought to have some sort of proof... Some facts?... At least maybe a single shred of evidence?...
Call me unreasonable, I suppose...Posted by padikiller at April 17, 2006 10:45 PM
Actually, you're quite welcome here. I'd advise you to remember that while some folks make themselves very clear you can't always determine someone's tone by their writing -the peril of email and all other such rapid communication.
But your comments (and the responses to them) have illustrated to me exactly where I've failed to make myself clear. Another illustration of my point in my first paragraph - I knew exactly what I meant but obviously you inferred a different meaning - others have too.
This issue touches off a lot of passionate response - the fact that there are passionate defenders of America's wounded defenders doesn't disturb me, I hope it doesn't bother you.
For what it's worth, I've been a landlord myself, (long-distance even, a mistake I'll not make again) and had great tennants and tennants from hell. What a joy it was to discover the simple leak not reported to me for months had destroyed a large swath of a bathroom wall! (And that was just the start.)Posted by Greyhawk at April 18, 2006 12:33 AM
Greyhawk -- the fact that there are passionate defenders of America's wounded defenders doesn't disturb me, I hope it doesn't bother you.
PADIKLILLER -- I consider myself to be such a defender. This is how I found the blog-I was outraged by the story.
However, any defense (if indeed it turns out that veterans end up on the short end of the stick here) should be reasonable and civil in my opinion.
Given the circumstances, I do think Hilton should properly face questions from the public and media about the company's decision not to renew Fran's lease.
But from what I've seen so far, I do not think the facts (or even the suspicions) warrant any accusations against the company.
Of course, if it turns out that Hilton DID try to act against veterans (I can't imagine a company having such a policy, though) then I'd be the FIRST one to protest.Posted by padikiller at April 18, 2006 01:22 AM
If you're new here I need to explain one thing - I'm an Iraq war vet, still active duty (21+ years). Not trying to impress you or claim high ground, just telling you where I'm coming from.
The idea that the Hilton would have some corporate policy to screw the wounded troops is absurd - but their actions are screwing them indeed. Somewhere an accountant made a decision, a lawyer reviewed it, and an executive rubber stamped it - the machine in motion. Now that this has been brought to their attention, they have an opportunity to make it right - in other words, to make that decision again with full realization of the consequences it has on the troops. Once they've done so we can (hopefully) cheer them, or else begin a closer examination of the nature of the beast.
An army of very passionate Davids awaits that decision.Posted by Greyhawk at April 18, 2006 02:03 AM
Sometimes I feel like people are just talking to a brick wall.... It is just me? I don't know the people that run Fran's and I've never met any of the people who are blogging about this situation. However, I have come to respect people like Greyhawk, Blackfive, CJ of A Soldier's Perspective, etc. who have brought the situation with Fran's to our attention. Because I judge these people to be goodpeople and good judges of character, I respect their opinions. I tend to believe, based on these opinions, that the owners of Fran's did not just sit around on their asses until the last minute in regard to this lease issue. Hilton may not have broken any laws, but based on my opinions of the people making statements, I think they acted in bad faith in these lease negotiations. If Hilton wants to not renew a lease, but give a business ample time to make other arrangements. I can't imagine it is easy to find suitable space for an upscale steakhouse in DC. The end result of this is that, intentionally or unintentionally, the Hilton has made a decision that will result in these wounded heroes not having their weekly steak dinner in an environment full of people that understand what they have been and continue to go through in recovering from devastating physical injuries. Moving the dinners to the other restaurant won't be the same to those wounded heroes - I don't think it is so much about the food, but the caring atmosphere that I doubt few will be able to duplicate.....Posted by Lisa at April 18, 2006 08:49 PM
Now HERE is great basis from Lisa for accusing a corporation of anti-American sentiment!... (sorry for the sarcasm-I'm a little tired this afternoon-bad day dealing with hardheads)
"I don't know the people that run Fran's and I've never met any of the people who are blogging about this situation... ...Because I judge these people to be good people and good judges of character, I respect their opinions"
NOTE- So what do we have here so far? Nothing but an admitted ignorance of the parties and an acknowledgment of opinion based on this ignorance.
"I tend to believe, based on these opinions, that the owners of Fran's did not just sit around on their asses until the last minute in regard to this lease issue"
NOTE - OK, so now we have a "belief" based SOLELY on opinion-What could form a better basis for a nasty allegation, right? (Once again, I can't resist the sarcasm here-sorry...)
"Hilton may not have broken any laws, but based on my opinions of the people making statements, I think they acted in bad faith in these lease negotiations."
NOTE -- OK, so now we have an ACCUSATION, based on a BELIEF, founded on OPINIONS, which are in turn founded on an admitted IGNORANCE of the parties and facts...
Well, I'll tell you this Lisa... There is NO way in Hades that I would accuse anyone of acting in "bad faith" on the basis of your admitted lack of knowledge of the facts here.
"Opinions".. "Beliefs" and "Likelihoods" do NOT form the basis of an accusation.
I think you are being unreasonable and inconsiderate in doing so.
Nothing personal!.....Posted by padikiller at April 18, 2006 10:13 PM
I guess we'll just have to wait until Andi gets the answers to the questions from the likes of Greyhawk, Blackfive, etc. after this Friday night. Until then, I'll save my breath.....Posted by Lisa at April 19, 2006 04:42 AM
How hard would it have been to give Fran's ample time to find another suitable spot? I am holding most of my judgement until I have more info, but it does seem strange (if it is true) that they didn't give them more time. I hope the facts come out soon.Posted by Laura at April 20, 2006 05:05 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(100) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)