Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

AALS Boycott Snafu: Does Owner of Boycotted Hyatt Hotel Also Own Replacement Marriott Hotel?

MOVED TO THE FRONT WITH NEW INFORMATION:  There is some uncertainty over whether Doug Manchester, whose $125,000 contribution to the California anti-gay marriage initiative generated calls to boycott the AALS annual meeting at his Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel, also owns the replacement San Diego Marriott:

Former San Diego Dan Rodriguez Dean points out in the comments to my original post:

Doug Manchester owns BOTH the Hyatt and the Marriott.

Either the AALS did not know this (incredible) or they are not saying (outrageous).

In any event, not an auspicious episode in the annals of the AALS executive committee.

Dan Filler agrees in Run The Laugh Track! Papa Doug Owns The Marriott Too. But Mark E. Wojcik of our sister Legal Writing Prof Blog did some digging in Does Doug Manchester Still Own the San Diego Marriott? and concludes:

Some people have noticed that Doug Manchester was the developer of that property, and that his CV lists the San Diego Marriott as one of the properties on which he is a "developer or owner."

He did develop it. But does he own it?

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported in its business section on April 25, 2008 that Doug Manchester sold all of his remaining interest in the hotel, in a stock deal valued at about $93 million. He sold it to Host Hotels & Resorts, which is now the 100% owner of the property. ...

So it seems that Doug Manchester sold his interest in the hotel, but that he is still a shareholder in a company that owns units that can be converted into shares amounting to a 2% stake in Host Hotels. For me, having part of a possible 2% ownership of company that owns the hotel as one of its properties is a somewhat remote connection to the cash donation. It is certainly nothing when compared directly to the other property, which has his name on it (the Manchester Grand Hyatt).

I previously blogged (here, here, and here) the threatened boycott of next January's AALS annual meeting in San Diego because the owner of one of the two host hotels (The Manchester Grand Hyatt) had made a $125,000 contribution in support of a ballot initiative to ban gay marriage in California.  The AALS announced on Friday that it will hold all AALS events (the AALS Registration, Exhibit Hall, Section Programs, Presidential Programs, and House of Representatives meetings) at the other host hotel (the San Diego Marriott).

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» AALS Responds to Boycott: from The Volokh Conspiracy
In response to calls for a boycott of the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego because its owner gave substantial contributions to California's anti-gay-marriage ballot initiative, the Executive Committee of the AALS has released... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 19, 2008 6:04:16 AM

» The AALS boycotters and those pesky details from Ideoblog
A couple of weeks ago I asked some questions about the AALS boycott of a Hyatt hotel owned by same sex marriage opponent Douglas Manchester, including: • What if Mr. Manchester didn’t contribute money to oppose same sex marriage cause, [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 19, 2008 10:00:18 AM


He also owns the Grand Del Mar Resort and Spa.

Posted by: Hugh | Nov 15, 2008 7:57:34 AM

He also owns the Grand Del Mar Resort and Spa.

Posted by: Hugh | Nov 15, 2008 7:57:06 AM

(I sent this letter to the San Diego County Employees Retirement Board after they pulled a conference out of the Manchester Hyatt Hotel. It applies equally well to the AALS decision to do the same. )

Disappointed immensely to read in the Union Tribune about the San Diego County Employee Retirement Board's decision to pull out of a planned reservation for a conference at Doug Manchester's Hyatt Hotel.

As I understand it, board member Dave Myers lead the charge to reneg on the conference at the hotel in question because Mr Manchester is supportive of Proposition 8, which seeks to repel marriage between homosexual couples in California. I do understand some board members were allegedly pulling the conference out because of ties to union workers, although not a single board member has come forward to denounce Myers' discriminatory campaign.

There are several significant problems with the board's decision in this instance.

First, Mr Manchester is lawfully exercising his rights as a citizen of California in voting his conscience in an upcoming election. He is not on record as hating gays, or illegally discriminating against gays, or anything else that would remotely be deemed a hate crime toward gays. In other words there is nothing unseemingly about Mr Manchester that would preclude your organization from using his world class hotel.

Since some of the board is making decisions based on this personal issue, I hope they are not doing exactly what they wish to preach against- discriminating. It would be highly hypocritical (politicians who are hypocritical?) of the board to discriminate against Manchester while using other conference vendors that are against gay marriage. I am sure Myers is vetting all the food vendors at the conference: the security company, the shuttle bus drivers, the parking attendants, the audio-visual helpers, the flower arrangement people, and the hotel staff at the new location to make sure they are all in step with Myer's personal opinions on gay marriage since those are the correct ones, according to the board.

If you are going to analyze the personal beliefs of one person in the board's dealings, then you need to apply the same principle to all persons. By the way, does anyone know the political leanings of the landlord who owns the space where the board holds its meetings? Let's get Myers right on this.

Second, when you made this decision as a board you chose to ignore your members whose opinions may be in agreement with Mr Manchester. You have picked a side on an issue that has nothing to do with your board duties. Why? Where does it say in your mandate that your board should be making decisions based on personal stances on gay marriage? Hopefully now you all realize that by choosing a side on this issue you are sticking your nose in other people's business that has nothing to do with your task as board members. What's next on your board's new business docket- deciding who is in the "right " church, or maybe just work with free-choice abortion advocates, or only citizens who vote for Obama ?

Board members, you are not a gay organization that is against those who have differing moral and political opinions from themselves. I would get it if the Rainbow Coalition backed out of a conference at Manchester's hotel. You have no direct connection to these groups and the board has no inherent goal that would drive you in the direction of being supportive of gay marriage. Your decision in this case to choose a side is a huge mistake.

It obvious in this situation that Myers has forced his personal views to warp the board's outlook into making a politically cowardly move that has nothing to do with the tasks of managing a retirement board or picking a conference location.

I will tell you that some of my best friends are gay, and I will be attending a gay marriage this month. Personally I want everyone to have a happy and fulfilled life- gay, straight, sexually confused, asexual monks, everyone. As a conservative person I still understand tolerance. In this case, people like Myers who have no tolerance of other people's moral opinions on homosexual marriage are the real bigots. The retirement board must not let themselves be dragged down by those with an agenda unrelated to board duties.

I hear Manchester will refund a $35k conference deposit even though the board has no right to it. If I were him, I would have used it for a contribution to Prop 8.

-Peter Trouserdale

Posted by: Peter Trousdale | Aug 25, 2008 11:37:35 AM

MANCHESTER DOES NOT OWN THE MARRIOT! he sold off his stake a while ago

Posted by: interested party | Aug 19, 2008 3:40:17 PM

So, if the Marriott only has a little bit of Spam in it, it's OK, as opposed to the Hyatt, which has some Spam in it? Got it.

Posted by: Nemo Dat | Aug 19, 2008 11:35:53 AM

The boycotters are vile narrow minded bigots, and stand for the exact opposite of everything Academic freedom claims to be about.

They should be stripped of their tenure.
If they don't support free speech, their institutions shouldn't support them.

Posted by: EvilDave | Aug 19, 2008 10:26:58 AM

I would suggest that each and every law professor that actually believes that the first amendment means what it says should boycott the convention entirely. However, I also gather that AALS might not notice.

Posted by: Barry Rose | Aug 18, 2008 3:46:42 PM

As I have posted elsewhere (sorry about the repetition), Doug Manchester owns BOTH the Hyatt and the Marriott.

Either the AALS did not know this (incredible) or they are not saying (outrageous).

In any event, not an auspicious episode in the annals of the AALS executive committee.


Posted by: dan rodriguez | Aug 18, 2008 2:35:04 PM

I will only quote Glenn who said it best about this stupid decision.

"So remember -- if you want lawprofs' business, don't utter a politically incorrect opinion. But don't engage in similar boycotts of "progressive" speakers. That would be McCarthyism"

Posted by: Tigger | Aug 18, 2008 1:44:34 PM

There was a time when no self-respecting California union would agree to meet in a Marriott Hotel because of Marriott's firm union-avoidance position. Has that changed or are the AALS facists not yet aware of what once was?

Posted by: TexEd | Aug 18, 2008 1:41:14 PM

All this from a crowd that regularly asserts conservatives are "mind-numbed robots."

If the boycotters want to meet a real "mind-numbed robot," they need only stand in front of the nearest mirror.

Posted by: MarkJ | Aug 18, 2008 11:34:14 AM