Monday, June 14, 2004
Hyatt to replace Rim, says Rosenblatt; Redevelopment Agency wants to see the books
The Press Democrat reported today (6/15, "Hyatt to take over troubled Vineyard Creek hotel") the Hyatt Corp. will replace Rim Corporation as Norm Rosenblatt's partner in the Vineyard Creek Hotel, Spa and Conference Center:
"Rosenblatt, who heads Innkeeper Associates Development Co. and owns and operates the hotel with Rim Corp. of Modesto, said he expects to announce details of an affiliation with the Chicago-based Hyatt hotel group next week. An affiliation with the hotel giant has been the subject of rumors among city and tourism officials for weeks. Hyatt would take over the Rim Corp.'s role as an investor and hotel manager, Roseblatt said.
'It would require their managing the hotel, which we are prepared to do,' Rosenblatt told Redevelopment Agency directors. 'It would require the Rim Corp. to step out. ... This is the best chance for the hotel to succeed.'"
The City Redevelopment Agency must approve the ownership change, and also Rosenblatt's request to ask the County to reassess the hotel complex, and lower the property tax burden:
"According to city documents, Vineyard Creek owners will ask Sonoma County tax collector Tom Ford to cut the property assessment value in half, to $16.5 million."
The Redevelopment Agency members weren't ready Monday to rubber stamp the request. One reason was a lack of documentation of the hotel complex's finances:
"Rosenblatt promised the panel he would provide more financial information. He said he was responsible for making the decision to not pay the property taxes. He said the four dozen investors in the ownership group called Vineyard Creek LLC have agreed to pay the back taxes when the property assessment issue is resolved.
Employees were paid, city bed taxes and sales taxes were paid and bank loan payments were kept current, he said. 'I made those decisions to keep the hotel open,' Rosenblatt said."
But Rosenblatt hasn't paid all the outstanding bills:
"In response to questions from the redevelopment directors, Rosenblatt acknowledged that hotel owners owe about $200,000 to vendors and have not paid an unspecified amount of interest on secondary loans."
Vineyard Creek's actual ownership and management remain unclear.
Rosenblatt referred to "the four dozen investors in the ownership group called Vineyard Creek LLC". The Secretary of State's records show a Vineyard Creek, L.L.C. in San Francisco with the same agent as that of Innkeeper Associates Development Company, also of San Francisco.
It appears that Rosenblatt is still in charge, representing the 48 Vineyard Creek investors and Innkeeper Associates Development. He apparently has or claims the authority to replace the Rim Corp. with the Hyatt chain as part owner and manager of Vineyard Creek.
According to the Rim Hospitality website, Rim acquired Rosenblatt's Innkeeper Associates in 1999; but Innkeeper Associates Development is a separate entity. Rim has also owned the Marriott Courtyard Santa Rosa across the street from Vineyard Creek since 1998.
City officials must know the names of the investors Rosenblatt represents. Since the public owns almost 40% of the troubled Vineyard Creek project, they ought to share that information with the public.