Friday, April 14, 2006

Is Hilton refusing to serve wounded troops? 
Every Friday evening, Fran O'Brien's Steakhouse, on the grounds of the Capitol Hilton in Washington D.C., hosts a complimentary steak dinner for wounded servicemen staying nearby.

According to initial reports, Hilton is refusing to extend Fran O'Brien's lease, because they're afraid of liability if one of the servicemen is further injured, and because they won't install additional wheelchair ramps.

Seems difficult to believe thus far. Well, not really, if you know what I know about lawyers and about callow, yellow-bellied business managers and execs who think that they work for lawyers rather than vice versa.

Still, based on what I've read so far, the notion that liability concerns arising from the servicemembers' disabilities are behind the decision not to renew the lease are not well sourced yet. I have an open mind on the issue.

If it pans out, however, I will never darken a Hilton door as long as I live. That includes Hampton Inn and Doubletree and all their other brands as well - and Hilton can be sure that hundreds of other readers from this blog alone will know exactly why.

Feel free to email a copy of this post to Dan Boyle at dan_a_boyle@hilton.com.

Splash, out


Heh. They're worried about liability, and the cost of additonal handicapped accessible entrances? does that mean they're not worried about being found in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?

Want to see a mid or upper-level manager go pale? casually say something like "say, isn't that an ADA violation?"
They may be exempt from ADA (historic building/facade) or they may be 'grandfathered'. In any event, this is bad business...it doesn't make sense to actively exclude a portion of your potential customer base. Your e-mails to Hilton may have a better impact if you include VP's from Hilton's 'investor relations department'. Don't scream, yell, or get abusive...just point out the potential loss of profits/earnings by such policies.

If this charge is true, Hilton should be ashamed.

BTW, has anyone heard from Hilton?
Hilton is saying it was simply a business decision, and that liability/accessability concerns were not a factor.

I'm not going all out, because I have not yet seen any proof that Hilton's decision was, in fact, based on liability/accessibility.

As far as I know for sure, it's a simple landlord-tenant dispute with some spillover. Which is why I said I have an open mind on this issue.
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