We have received reliable information to the effect that, as of May 5, BD Hotels will no longer be managing the Chelsea Hotel. They have reportedly been fired by minority shareholder Marlene Krauss, Harvard MBA, who, together with lobby layabout David Elder, controls the Chelsea’s Board of Directors. (Alternately, it’s possible that the courts may stall the transition: though Marlene has already sent BD a termination notice, they are contesting it.) (Photo of the hoteliers during happier days. As usual, David Bernstein is missing.)
Sub-Prime Crisis Derails BD’s Plans
To the best of our knowledge, here’s what happened: BD, with the connivance of the minority shareholders, had planned all along to buy the Chelsea Hotel. To accomplish this they needed a smoking gun to pressure the Bard Family into selling the building. But apparently Stanley ran a pretty tight ship: teams of accountants working 24-hours-a-day could find no such smoking gun. So the Bards have no reason to sell. And now, due to the sub-prime crisis, BD Hotels—which we hear had a chunk of its assets financed by Bear Stearns — has no money to buy the building anyway. So the “two guys with cell phones,” Richard Born and Ira Drukier (who own BD), have been forced to retrench in order to focus on their leveraged properties, and now will have their hands full simply managing the buildings they own. They can’t afford to buy any new buildings at this point.
Over the course of BD’s tenure, plumber’s daughter turned corporate raider Marlene Krauss has reputedly had several general complaints:
1. No one from BD does any work (this is directed specifically at Director of Operations Glennon Travis, who sits in his office all day and rarely takes an active role in hotel operations, or in addressing guest’s and resident’s concerns)
2. The supposed general manager, David Bernstein, is rarely on the premises
3. BD is not fixing up the hotel. In particular, BD is not renovating rooms, as promised, but merely warehousing them
4. The hotel is reportedly losing money (or at least not making as much as it did under Stanley Bard), due to the slashing of room rates, and also, in part, to residents withholding rent
Besides these general complaints, in the past week Marlene has had to come to the hotel repeatedly to micromanage the repair of a resident’s apartment. That, together with a few other things that we’ll discuss in a future article, appears to represent the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Fife to Head Chelsea
If our sources are as reliable as we believe them to be, good riddance to bad rubbish. The ass-clowns of BD have truly been the Marx Brothers of hotel management, and we’ve all had a good laugh, but now it’s time to move on. Which brings us to the next question: who will Marlene hire to manage the hotel now? She promised the rest of the shareholders that they would make more money with Stanley out of the picture, but instead they are losing money. She’d better make the right choice this time.
We can’t read Marlene’s mind, but the rumor—nearly unbelievable, and we hope it’s not true—is that she intends to appoint David Elder as manager of the hotel! So here’s the story: we are going from this (supposedly) elite hotel firm that was going to transform the Chelsea into an exclusive boutique hotel, to a complete nincompoop and moral midget with absolutely no experience doing anything, much less managing a large Manhattan hotel. (Elder’s “job” at the Chelsea seems to consist of hanging out in the lobby, occasionally attempting to coax members of our community into spying for him. For the past few years he has been engaged in a court battle with his stepfather, noted Author Piri Thomas, attempting to deny the elderly man his dividends from the Chelsea Hotel.) If BD wasn’t qualified, then how is this lunkhead—who apparently is being manipulated by Marlene and various lawyers-- going to do the job?
Obviously, Marlene thinks she can continue to control Elder, but we’re not so sure; we think she may be creating a monster. If Elder is manager, will he be the one reporting the profits? Taking into consideration what he’s doing to Piri Thomas, what makes Marlene so sure she can expect to collect her dividends?
Haven’t the residents of this hotel been through enough? Please, don’t torture us like this, Marlene. This is going to be like the episode of The Andy Griffith Show where Barney Fife gets to be Sheriff for the day. Only, I fear, without the laughs. "Nip it in the bud!" -- Ed Hamilton