Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Hotelgate lawsuit reads like a mystery novel

Aqua commenced a takeover plan. It covertly enlisted the aid of Marriott's head of security at The Waikiki EDITION, Christian Oles, to assist with the takeover. And it engaged a computer consultant to crack Marriott's passwords and access the hotel's computers once on property. The takeover was planned and executed by Aqua's senior management… (from the Complaint)

by  Larry Geller

Attorney Paul Alston would probably not admit to having fun writing a legal brief. I wouldn’t even suggest that he did,  His 55-page complaint, filed n federal court, represents countless hours of hard work, but still contains narrative material that might propel him to the best seller list if he would issue it between hard covers.

I read some legal documents to try and get beneath the shallow coverage that commercial media sometimes gives critical issues, or to try to decipher what motivates our government to spend taxpayer money. Sometimes I just can’t get to sleep at night, but by page ten of a motion to show cause I’m usually snoring away. This complaint had me at the edge of my seat clicking my mouse for more.

Knowing that real life is the basis for this legal action only adds to its appeal. The narrative describes a world alien to most of us. In a Waikiki hotel owned by outsiders and managed by outsiders, we have no roles to play in our own tourist industry other than to mop floors, make beds and wait tables. The narrative is an account of a high-level coup.

Alston’s complaint describes the shenanigans of tourist industry elite, those who reap the profits of our depressed wages and poor jobs. Scenes take place in Waikiki, Orange County, California, and elsewhere. Names are named.

It’s somewhat like reading about Watergate. Whatever Nixon was up to, he was operating in a world that was far removed from the lives of ordinary people.

So it is in this snip from the complaint. It alleges that Hotel employees were marched out and read their orders. The intrigue on the top did not involve them except as pawns in the alleged plot.

Aqua planted senior executives as fake guests of the hotel on the evening of
August 27, 2011, and waited for nightfall.

At approximately 2:30 a.m. on August 28, 2011, Aqua's management team entered the hotel, flanked by dozens of hired security guards.

The Aqua team immediately began cracking into the hotel's computers and printing Marriott's proprietary information. They also ransacked Marriott's paper files, seeking competitively sensitive information about Marriott guests and potential sales leads that they wished to exploit and convert to Aqua.

At the same time, the Aqua team assembled all of Marriott's employees present at the hotel in the hotel lobby and told them that the hotel was under new management. It was now to be called the "Modern Honolulu" and to be managed by Aqua. The Aqua security guards escorted Marriott's top managers, with the exception of Christian Oles, off of the property and told them not to return. They advised the remaining employees that they would have to sign on with Aqua or face termination.

[from the complaint]

I’ll be disappointed if Paul Alston somehow avoids appearing as a guest on the talk show circuit  Don’t wait for that, check out the complaint below.

Download unofficial copy of 1-11-Cv-00754 Marriott v Aqua Complaint (do not rely on this copy)

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