Miami Beach Hotel Owner Can Remove Marriott, Court Rules

Marriott International Inc., the largest publicly traded U.S. hotel chain, can be removed as manager of the Eden Roc Renaissance Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida, a New York court ruled.

The owners of the 57-year-old Eden Roc sued Bethesda, Maryland-based Marriott in April, saying the company mismanaged the property after they invested more than $300 million in the hotel, including a $240 million renovation. Marriott sued the owners in the same court six months later, accusing them of attempting a hostile takeover.

New York State Supreme Court Justice Melvin L. Schweitzer granted Marriott a temporary order in November to halt the takeover and urged the two sides to resolve the case. An appeals court in Manhattan in March reversed Schweitzer’s ruling, saying an agreement between the two parties is a “classic personal services contract which may not be enforced by injunction.”

In an order dated May 21, the judge declared the hotel’s owners have the authority to “remove and eject” Marriott as manager “forthwith or on whatever other timetable it chooses for the orderly transition of business to a new manager.”

Schweitzer said the decision that the ruling doesn’t affect existing claims and lawsuits that the two sides have filed against each other.

Marriott didn’t immediately return an e-mail seeking comment on the ruling.

The 21-floor, 631-room art deco hotel opened in 1956 and has hosted celebrities including Elizabeth Taylor, Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, according to its website. The hotel, which was featured in several episodes of the 1950s television show “I Love Lucy,” was designed by architect Morris Lapidus, who also designed the neighboring Fontainebleau.

The cases are Marriott International Inc. v. Eden Roc LLLP, 653590/2012, and Eden Roc v. Marriott, 651027/2012, New York State Supreme Court, New York County (Manhattan).

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