Town might personal the huge glass-winged lodge constructed subsequent to the terminal at Denver Worldwide Airport, however native officers nonetheless don’t know for positive how a lot cash its operator is making.
That’s the gist of a letter despatched Monday by Denver Auditor Tim O’Brien to Mayor Michael Hancock asking that metropolis attorneys “take motion to require the Westin to adjust to Denver legislation and the phrases of its lease.” O’Brien alleges that Westin, a lodge model owned by Marriott Worldwide, has breached its contract with DIA by failing to supply key data sought by auditors.
“If I can’t see this necessary data,” O’Brien stated in an announcement, “I’m sure the airport can be not monitoring the cash because it ought to. That’s an issue for all taxpayers who care concerning the asset they helped pay to construct.”
The 519-room lodge opened in late 2015 as a part of a $719 million undertaking that additionally included the airport’s transit heart. The auditor’s letter marks the most recent escalation of a battle for information that started greater than a 12 months in the past.
In an announcement, Hancock’s workplace stated it anticipated any metropolis contractor to uphold its phrases and cooperate with different metropolis businesses. “Mayor Hancock and Auditor O’Brien have met to debate this subject,” the assertion says, “and the mayor has directed the Metropolis Legal professional’s Workplace and (the airport) to overview his request.”
O’Brien issued an audit report highlighting Marriott’s resistance in February. It stated the lodge chain declined to supply data it considers proprietary, at the least not publicly — a stance allowed by its contract with DIA.
However that provision conflicts with town constitution, which supplies the elected auditor broader energy to publicly audit metropolis contracts.
O’Brien says it has been unimaginable to confirm Westin’s reported revenues, which reached $51.9 million in 2018. That’s necessary as a result of as soon as lodge revenue reaches a sure threshold, Westin should share a minimize with DIA to assist repay undertaking bonds.
Marriott officers signaled to a Metropolis Council committee earlier this 12 months that they would supply extra data. And an assistant metropolis legal professional stated town would start talks aimed toward amending the contract to adjust to town constitution’s open-books requirement.
O’Brien’s assertion Monday stated Marriott nonetheless hadn’t supplied “a majority of the requested information.”
However the Metropolis Legal professional’s Workplace is “nonetheless actively negotiating new phrases” to the contract with Marriott that “will deal with the auditor’s issues” and different points, stated Ryan Luby, an workplace spokesperson.
Makes an attempt to achieve Marriott for remark had been unsuccessful Monday afternoon.
Doc: Denver auditor’s letter to the mayor