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Potential Buyers of Radisson Hotel LAX Should Be Aware
of Hotel’s Troubled Recent History, Says Letter Issued
by UNITE HERE

LOS ANGELES - July 19, 2007 - Today, UNITE HERE Local 11 released a letter of interest to prospective buyers of the Radisson Hotel LAX, which is being sold by Pacifica Companies. Local 11 has been assisting the hotel’s non-managerial employees for over 6 years. 
The letter details regulatory and legal issues related to the Radisson Hotel LAX and Pacifica, since the company bought the property in October 2000. The letter urges prospective buyers to conduct thorough due diligence to uncover any possible liabilities associated with the hotel. 

“If years of public records are to be believed, Pacifica has a long history of broken promises to labor and environmental authorities, and its owner Ashok Israni has built a reputation for regulatory recalcitrance” according to a September 2006 article in the Chula Vista Star-News. 

Health and safety related problems at the Radisson Hotel LAX include: 

  • A March 6th, 2001 Notice Of Violation issued by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) for improper handling of Regulated Asbestos Containing Materials (RACM) and a May 6th, 2002 SCAQMD notification for not performing a survey before disturbing suspected RACM. 
  • A Feb. 1st, 2006 meeting in which General Manager Carlton Werner told front desk employees that “we have a bed bug problem” and that the hotel could not completely remove them. He told employees to refrain from using the term “bed bug” when dealing with guest complaints and not to compensate guests who report encountering bed bugs. 
  • A Sept. 30th, 2003 closure of the hotel’s Top of the Radisson restaurant by the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services due to “rodent infestation / harborage.” 
The letter also documents an ongoing labor dispute that has persisted for more than 6 years, and has resulted in picketlines and demonstrations outside the hotel. Local 11 alleges that Pacifica has run an anti-union campaign that has included intimidation, harassment and terminations and other forms of discipline against known union supporters. 

On April 23rd, 2007 an arbitrator ordered the reinstatement of a worker fired “specifically, because he supported the Union and he attempted to get his fellow workers to support the Union, as well.” The Arbitrator’s ruling described a widespread anti-union campaign waged by Radisson management, stating that “management did its best to make clear to the employees that it did not want the Union to be present at the Hotel, and encouraged the employees in every way that it could not to support the Union.” 

The Union has also requested arbitration for another 11 known union supporters who it believes were terminated for supporting the union. Under the City of Los Angeles Worker Retention Ordinance, any future buyer would be required to reinstate the 11 employees if an arbitrator determines that they were wrongfully terminated, and possibly liable for backpay that accrues after the sale. 

Pacifica, in addition to problems at the Radisson Hotel LAX, has had numerous health and safety violations in other California cities, including San Diego, Chula Vista, Santa Ana, Del Mar, Escondido, Oceanside, and Sunnyvale. These include 8 more asbestos-related violations. For example, two San Diego County departments sued Pacifica on June 8th, 2005 for repeatedly removing large quantities of asbestos-containing material without following proper procedure. A January 10th, 2006 judgement ordered Pacifica to pay $202,257.50 in “civil penalties and costs.” 

Pacifica has also been sued several times for alleged job discrimination. An age and religious discrimination lawsuit is set for a jury trial this November. 

“The adage ’buyer beware’ is always good advice, but especially for prospective buyers of the Radisson Hotel LAX, given the recent history of the property and its current owner,” according to Andy Lee of UNITE HERE Local 11. “Due to our ongoing contact with the Radisson LAX employees, UNITE HERE Local 11 has access to unique information regarding the hotel that Pacifica and the sale broker might not disclose. We urge any interested buyers to contact us as part of their due diligence efforts.” 

Copies of the letter can be obtained by contacting UNITE HERE researcher Andy Lee at (213) 400-4283 or andylee2@aol.com. 
UNITE HERE Local 11 represents over 10,000 hotel, food service, laundry, airport and stadium workers in the Los Angeles area. 

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Contact:

UNITE HERE
Andy Lee, 213-400-4283
andylee2@aol.com 
 

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