18 April, 2006

Kelleher Answers Bloggers' Questions

Capital Hilton GM Kelleher has replied to the questions that Andi collected from milbloggers and readers. I wasn't surprised to see there were several questions he either refused to answer or dodged in his "answer." They were very insightful questions, but they were also the kinds of questions no company is ever going to answer publicly (absent legal duress).

While I applaud his willingness to receive the questions, I can't say I'm impressed with his responses. In general I get the impression that he really doesn't understand what he's up against over this. Additionally, this was an opportunity to try to reach out and maybe win over those who have criticized his company. However, I didn't find anything conciliatory in his answers.

One significant piece of information we get from this is that Hilton claims they gave Fran's longer than three weeks' notice. Kelleher mentions it was conducted according to the lease contract stipulations. It's also interesting to note his answer to the ADA question: he seems to ignore the accusation that the hotel isn't ADA-compliant.

Both of the answers I've highlighted above directly contradict what those associated with Fran O'Brien's have been saying repeatedly. I'd be very interested to hear directly from the owners themselves, though. Perhaps we will soon. The fact that they aren't talking at all is hard to interpret. It could mean they are saving their ammunition for a PR/legal battle to come, but it could just as easily be that they have nothing to say. We'll see, I guess...

Overall, it was disappointing to see that there is obviously nothing that can be agreed to between these two parties. Apparently the Italian embassy has stepped in to host the Friday-night dinners for the short term, but Fran's is going to have some rocky months before they can get themselves re-established as a restaurant. What a mess.

[Background on the Fran O'Brien's story here.]