Court filings about the alleged unprofessional behavior of an ‘activist’ investor with designs on a local hospitality firm have recently surfaced.
As previously reported by The Dallas Express, corporate raider Blackwells Capital sent a letter to publicly-held, Dallas-headquartered Braemar Hotels and Resorts. The letter contained multiple unsupported claims and urged the company’s leadership to breach its contract with its advisor, which would trigger hundreds of millions of dollars in damages at Braemar.
Blackwells Capital is run by Jason Aintabi, who filed a lawsuit against another hospitality firm several years ago in which he made a number of unsubstantiated claims after he was accused of inappropriate behavior.
At the center of the suit were allegations that a hotel management company employee “defamed” Aintabi personally.
According to the lawsuit, the hotel manager had been “improperly using hotel resources to investigate Aintabi’s personal affairs.” The plaintiff pointed to an email sent on June 8, 2014, to purportedly “high level employees” at the company that claimed an employee witnessed what appeared to be Aintabi taking a shot of alcohol from a woman’s cleavage.
Aintabi’s apparent behavior was reportedly witnessed by a Director of Regional Operations. That employee apparently considered the behavior notable enough to be reported to other “high level employees of Chesapeake.” The employee said she “saw at one point Jason (Aintabi) with his face in a young woman’s cleavage. (not his girlfriend)” and “I think he may have been doing a shot from her cleavage.”
“His back was to me and I was walking with a large tray full of empty glasses and such and I couldn’t really look away from where I was going on. I think he may have been doing a shot from her cleavage. I dropped off my tray and went back out to the patio area and watched what was going on for a while, but did not see anything else like that,” reads the email, per the lawsuit.
Plaintiff Aintabi alleged that the relaying of the alleged witness’ account “caused Aintabi to suffer great harm to his ‘personal and professional reputation.’” He denied the account.
Additionally, Aintabi charged the hotel management company with violating its contract with his firm, Jester Hospitality, on multiple fronts in a wide range of unproven allegations seemingly meant to punish the Director of Regional Operations for writing the email.
“[The hotel management company] placed an IBM executive in a room on the same floor as the guests of a fraternity event, despite knowing that such an event was taking place, thus demonstrating a severe lapse in judgment,” reads the seemingly frivolous allegation in Aintabi’s lawsuit.
Aintabi claimed the move damaged the hotel’s relationship with IBM because “the fraternity event caused numerous disturbances to the executive’s stay.” It is unclear as to why Aintabi would sue his own management company over such a minor alleged transgression — unless it’s for some type of retribution.
Ultimately, the suit was discontinued with prejudice, meaning it cannot be refiled.
Disclaimer: Braemar Hotel & Resorts’ advisor is Ashford Inc. Ashford Inc.’s chairman is Monty J. Bennett, also the publisher of The Dallas Express.