|By Mara Lee, The Hartford Courant,
Conn.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Aug. 12, 2011--The owner of three hotels and a management company that runs one of them in Connecticut will pay a combined $50,000 and stop calling other hotels to learn their occupancy rates and what they are charging, as part of a settlement announced Thursday by Attorney General George Jepsen.
McSam Hotel Group LLC, which owns a Holiday Inn Express and Homewood Suites in downtown Hartford, and Metro Ten Hotel LLC, which owns the Holiday Inn Express, did not admit wrongdoing. Jepsen described the practice as price fixing. Sam Chang owns all three hotels through the two companies.
The calls were not made just within the ownership group, but also to competitors, the attorney general says.
The Attorney General's investigation uncovered evidence that the practice was "widespread and long-standing in the hotel and hospitality industry, both within Connecticut and nationally," but spokeswoman Susan Kinsman said she couldn't say whether more settlements would follow.
The first settlement was 16 months ago with the LaQuinta hotel chain. It agreed to stop the practice in its hotels, but it was not required to pay a civil penalty because of it cooperated with the investigation.
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