The Bear Growls: Westin Casuarina charges patrons’ credit cards after seminar promoter stiffs the hotel

Westin Causarina, owned by Columbia Sussex

Attendees get conference bills

Where does Columbia Sussex find the clowns who run this place? Some will recall the wonderfully ill-conceived giveaway promo they had a couple of years ago when the cage ran out of hundred dollar bills, and had to pay us in twenties by the end of the night. Others will recall going into this dump (the former Maxim), looking at the garbage games offered, and immediately leaving in disgust. I have previously stated that in my opinion, Columbia Sussex is the worst-managed casino company of them all.

From my point of view, Columbia Sussex is perhaps the worst casino operator in existence, even including Harrah’s. At least Harrah’s has a fairly generous comp system that can be profitably exploited; Columbia Sussex has mostly garbage games as well as a garbage comp system.



Now this latest idiocy:

The ownership of the Westin Casuarina is standing behind a decision to charge attendees of an October dental conference for the organizer’s unpaid bill. Convention industry veterans and conference attendees, however, are questioning the ethics and legality of that decision.

To me, this is analogous to the landlord of a movie theater trying to collect the rent from moviegoers if the theater fails to pay its rent.

This ridiculous action solidifies the stranglehold Columbia Sussex has on first place in the unenviable category of worst-managed casino company. Though it may or may not be on solid legal ground in doing this, the bad publicity, loss of well-to-do customers, loss of future convention/seminar business, and hours spent hassling with credit card company chargebacks, etc. will far exceed the $57,000 that might be recovered.

Mindless stupidity.

UPDATE 4/10/08 — Someone with common sense overruled the idiot who made the decision to charge the patrons!

Hotel plans to issue refunds — Company cites good ‘customer relations’

The owner of The Westin has reversed its decision to charge attendees of a dental conference for the conference organizer’s unpaid bills. Legal counsel for Crestview Hills, Ky.-based Columbia Sussex Corp. sent registered letters dated Tuesday to attendees of a conference held at The Westin in October announcing the hotel would refund any charges made to the attendees’ credit cards to recoup the unpaid bills.

What a joke. I suspect that an attorney advised them that keeping the money from the patrons could result in some nasty lawsuits. If the clowns at Columbia Sussex were concerned about good customer relations, they would offer something more than simply correcting their stupid actions. A generous package of comps should be offered to the victims of their reprehensible money grab. And the idiots who made and ratified the decision to try to get the money from these folks should be fired.


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