Business News Owners of Sheraton Pasadena Owe City Nearly $700,000 in Back Taxes, Lawsuit Claims By BRIAN DAY Published on Thursday, August 20, 2020 | 1:56 pm Community News CITY NEWS SERVICE/STAFF REPORT Pasadena Will Allow Vaccinated People to Go Without Masks in Most Settings Starting on Tuesday STAFF REPORT Pasadena’s ‘626 Day’ Aims to Celebrate City, Boost Local Economy Name (required) Mail (required) (not be published) Website Photo courtesy VisitPasadena.comThe owners of the Sheraton Pasadena owe the city more than $690,000 in delinquent taxes, the city alleges in a lawsuit.Urban Commons LLC and associated companies Hospitality LLC, EHT SPH LLC, and Aimbridge Hospitality LLC are named in a complaint filed by the city in April, claiming it has not received $690,806.26 that was collected via Pasadena’s Transient Occupancy Tax over a nine-month period.“The Hotel has failed to remit (or failed to timely remit) TOT or TBID (Tourism Business Improvement District) assessments for a significant portion of time from the periods of May 2019 through February 2020,” according to the complaint.In addition to the back taxes, the city is also seeking interest, penalties, and attorney fees.The parties are scheduled to meet in Los Angeles Superior Court for a status conference on Sept. 16, said Pasadena Chief Assistant City Attorney Javan Rad.Urban Commons representatives said in a written statement that the company hoped to avoid litigation.“In the past 90 days, Urban Commons has paid over 50% of outstanding taxes to the city of Pasadena,” the statement said. “We are processing an additional ‘good faith’ payment to the city, which we hope will ensure Pasadena City Council approves a payment plan that was submitted to the city attorney on July 23rd.“If the payment plan is approved, we believe there will no longer be a cause for a lawsuit,” according to the statement.“If the payment plan is approved, we believe there will no longer be a cause for a lawsuit,” according to the statement.By city law, hotel operators are to collect TOT taxes and TBID assessments from guests, and those funds “shall be held in trust for the account of the city until payment is made to the tax administrator.”The funds are supposed to be turned over on the or before the 20th day of the month after the guests made their stays. The lawsuit alleges that Urban Commons failed to do so.“(The defendants) have misappropriated, commingled and/or misidentified a certain and presently ascertainable amount of TOT principal collected from hotel guests, which remains unpaid,” the claim states. The city of Pasadena “has made multiple demands for remittance of the TOT principal, penalties, and interest, as discussed herein.”Furthermore, the lawsuit alleges that “all or some of the monies owed under the TOT and TBID ordinances were used in the purchase, improvement and repair of the Hotel and other properties and assets owned and/or operated by one or more (defendant).”The city’s claim against the businesses also describes “half-hearted efforts to delay this action.”Urban Commons representatives promised to pay 50 percent of the amount owed in early March, then follow up with the remaining 50 percent three weeks later, according to the claim and emails provided by the city.A payment of 10 to 20 percent of the total bill was made on March 6, and a company official promised payments would continue to come over the next three weeks until the debt was paid, the claim states.“Upon information and belief, as of the date of this Complaint, (the defendants) have made no payments following the fractional payment of March 6,” according to the claim.Urban commons paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes related to its operation of the Queen Mary to the city of Long Beach two months ago after the city had threatened to take them to court, the Long Beach Post reported.And the Long Beach Business Journal reported that officials from the cities of San Mateo or San Jose have also said Urban Commons owes delinquent hotel occupancy taxes to their municipalities. 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NewsCommunityBrooklyn’s horrific death gave Sonia a different purpose to lifeBy David Raleigh – January 16, 2020 22065 Print Advertisement WATCH: “Everyone is fighting so hard to get on” – Pat Ryan on competitive camogie squads Predictions on the future of learning discussed at Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival WhatsApp Previous articleFESTIVAL: Music MindsNext articleShannon set to become top European testing ground for driverless vehicles David Raleigh Limerick’s National Camogie League double header to be streamed live Donal Ryan names Limerick Ladies Football team for League opener Billy Lee names strong Limerick side to take on Wicklow in crucial Division 3 clash Facebook RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Email Linkedin Twitter TAGSCommunitylimerickLimerick City and CountyNewssonia aylmer Sonia Aylmer, mother of Brooklyn Colbert. Photo: Cian ReinhardtLAST November, Limerick was shocked by the killing of 11-year old Brooklyn Colbert.In her first interview since her son’s death, Sonia Aylmer tells David Raleigh of her plans to honour Brooklyn by giving back to those who helped provide a pathway out of homelessness and of her hopes of helping others through the trauma of losing a child.Sonia Aylmer smiles as she recalls how she would playfully tease her son by constantly taking photographs and videos of him on her mobile phone, so she would have a lasting collage of memories recorded of him growing up into the man she knew she would be proud of.“I’m so glad I have all those photos and videos now. Brooklyn was very caring, he was like a protector, he had a great heart, he was very soft,” says Sonia.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up “He loved animals as well; He thought his dog ‘Buddy’ was his brother, he loved the dog, they were always together.”She raises a smile remembering how Brooklyn and Buddy, were thick as thieves, planning their adventures together.Brooklyn was a dedicated Liverpool fan, and after hearing news of his death, the Premier League Club’s Chaplain Bill Bygroves sent Sonia a letter of “sincerest condolences, on behalf of everybody associated with Liverpool Football Club, the directors, manager, players, and staff”.“It was lovely to get, it was a surprise, I didn’t know I was getting that. It just shows the impact that Brooklyn had,” Sonia says.“Brooklyn was ill when he was a baby. He was born with a cleft palate, and so he was up and down to Temple Street Children’s Hospital for assessments, and I got a letter from them as well.“They remembered Brooklyn and his personality, and they wrote me a lovely letter about the memories they had of him, and the things he had said to them. He was a very funny child and very witty.”The letters are nice, she says. They confirm what she already knew, how Brooklyn would have “a great impact” on anyone who met him.“He had such a lovely aura about him, a lovely personality. He’d be delighted with Liverpool now they’re doing so well,” she adds.Sonia says the past ten weeks, following Brooklyn’s death, have obviously been “horrendous”.However, with the help of her friends and family members and the Novas organisation, she has been “taking baby steps”, as she tries to process and cope with such heartbreaking loss.“I just feel Brooklyn is giving me strength from somewhere,” she says.That strength shone out from Sonia’s and Brooklyn’s shared love of running.The 36-year-old has her sights set on participating in the Great Limerick Run next May, an event which the Limerick mother and son have taken part in on a number of occasions together.“The main reason is for Brooklyn, because myself and Brooklyn always took part in it. Brooklyn loved to do the Kids Limerick Run. One year he did it twice, so he got two medals that day. He loved it, he loved training.”“He also loved training with his Dad. They’d go running along the riverbanks. He was a very energetic child, and it was something he loved to do. So this is to keep his memory alive and for me to do something positive for Brooklyn,” she adds.“Himself and his Dad had a great relationship, and they used to always be training together, running together and they’d go for a swim. They were like best friends, so he is heartbroken as well.”“I’m focusing on the Run and training, and, knowing that I have to do it to make Brooklyn proud. It has been good for my mental health as well, I know he’d be very proud of me to do it.”“Brooklyn was into his sports, he played with Pike Rovers and Ballynanty FC, and he did some boxingWe used to box together in the Hub in Thomondgate, and he was better than me with the moves. We’d often partner up together as well. It was lovely.”Sonia also wants to run in order to raise awareness about the Novas charity, which helps people who have become homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless.It’s a cause close to her heart.“Myself and Brooklyn were in our home for five years and we became homeless as our landlord wanted to move back in. That was about two years ago. We were fighting to stay in our home as long as we could,” she explains.“I got in touch with Novas and they put me in the right direction, they were very good to us.”Sonia and Brooklyn ended up living in a hotel for about two months, but their “unbreakable bond” ensured they remained resilient in the face of their adversity.Thankfully, Sonia says, Brooklyn took the ordeal mostly in his stride, joking he was like the movie character “Kevin”, played by then child actor Macaulay Culkin who finds himself staying in the five-star Plaza Hotel, New York, in the 1992 adventure comedy “Home Alone 2: Lost In New York”.“Brooklyn was a very easy going child so he never complained about it. We were in the hotel for about eight weeks, and while we were there Novas helped us with our washing and provided tokens for the launderette. You spend a lot of money in a hotel as well, so they gave us vouchers to get our dinner cheaper in Our Lady of Lourdes community centre.“Novas were very helpful with ringing landlords. They were brilliant in every way, and since Brooklyn has passed, they have been a massive help to me.”Sonia singles out Julie McKenna, a senior project executive with Novas, for special praise.“Julie has been helping me, and being there for me, she got me through Christmas, she got me over it,” Sonia says.“At the time we were made homeless, we didn’t know where to turn to. I didn’t know where to go, and we didn’t have anywhere to stay. My family live in England, and so me and Brooklyn…well, Brooklyn had his dad… but in terms of stability for me and Brooklyn, I didn’t have anywhere to go.“It was a blessing that I had Novas to do that for me. That’s why I’m so passionate about giving back to them and to try to do the fundraising for them.”“I know Brooklyn would love to give back, I know he’d love that, that he’d have something to do with giving back to Novas. He wasn’t embarrassed hat he was homeless. He told his friends and his teacher at school, he was very grounded, very happy.”No matter where they lived, as long as they were a pair, Sonia and Brooklyn were “happy”.Their hopes were answered last October when they secured a home with Novas’s help, through Limerick City and County Council.The celebrations were poignantly short-lived with Brooklyn’s untimely death on November 3.Sonia Aylmer with Brooklyn ColbertSonia says: “We got the house in October but I still haven’t moved in yet. I’m finding it kind of difficult to move in and start another chapter without Brooklyn, but I’m in and out of it doing it up.“Last week I took a step forward by going back to work, so maybe in the next few weeks, I’ll take another step forward by moving into the house.”“Brooklyn was in the house and he picked out his bedroom so I will still do up the room up for him and there will still be a part of him in the house.”Sonia’s work as a mentor with Limerick Sports Partnership, helping others move on from trauma and their own individual experiences through exercise, has also helped her own mental health.She continues to battle the “bad days” and greets the good days with a positive smile.Sonia says her “whole world crashed” when she was told Brooklyn had died.“Brooklyn was more than my son, he was my best friend, he was like the other part of me, we were inseparable. It was like my whole world ended.”“I have a good circle of friends and they’re getting me through it, and my uncle who reared me with my nana has been a massive support too.”Prayer has also sustained her faith that Brooklyn’s spirit remains close to her.“I go to the church most days and I talk to Brooklyn and I light a candle. Me and Brooklyn used to light candles in the church, it was a thing that we did. I have his picture in the Augustinians Church, so I go in there and I light a candle and I have a chat with him.”“It only came to me the other day that the Great Limerick Run finishing line is just after we pass that church, so it’ll be nice. It will mean something to have it finished outside the church, where his picture is, it’ll be nice, it’ll be special.”“I feel him with me, I still do. We had so much of a bond. The bond we had can’t just be gone, it can’t just be broken. I believe we still have that bond, and I think he is guiding me stronger than ever.BROOKLYN Colbert wasn’t the only child to benefit from the work of Novas over the last two years with 2018 ranking as the worst year on record for the number of children helped by the Limerick charity.Novas senior project executive Julie McKenna said it was the first time they worked with over a thousand children in Limerick, Tipperary, Dublin, Cork and Kerry.“In Limerick, alone we supported 592 children and these were children who were homeless or at risk of being homeless.”“We really are up against it and we are really humbled that Sonia would consider to give back to Novas despite everything that she is experiencing at the moment, and that she wants Brooklyn’s memory to live on through giving back to Novas.”“We are very thankful for that, and very thankful for everybody that is supporting her, and gathering momentum, and getting involved in the race as well including Limerick Sports Partnership and her friends.”Paying tribute to Sonia and Brooklyn’s courage, she addds: “We are so thankful and very privileged to know Sonia, and to have known Brooklyn and worked with him. He was a kid with a spark about him and he left an impact and a memory wherever he went. So, it’s lovely to be involved in this and keeping his memory alive.”“We will continue to support Sonia, I know her a long time, and I would have went to Sonia on the night Brooklyn passed away, and we would touch in and out with one another, and that will continue as long as she needs it.I’m proud to be part of an organisation that does that, it’s the least we can do,” Ms McKenna added. Limerick Ladies National Football League opener to be streamed live
“After the GDPR, we have a regulation on e-privacy… Are you sure you are ready?” Is the name of the workshop that opened the second and final day of the 2nd edition of the HOW Festival, which took place on Wednesday on the island of Sv. Nikola at Valamar Isabella Island Resort. Marija Zrno, a lawyer from the Zagreb company Bardek, Lisac, Mušec, Skoko with CMS presented the regulation on e-privacy, which should be adopted at the end of this or the beginning of next year and which will be directly applied in all EU countries. While the GDPR provides for the protection of personal data of individuals, the regulation will bring security of communication in the e-world, ie through mobile phones, websites and social networks. “Unfortunately, the adoption of this regulation is delayed, it was planned to be adopted in May this year, so business systems could be harmonized in parallel. But a regulation that will primarily mean greater protection for legal entities is not as comprehensive as the GDPR and will not have as much time to comply. All this will affect direct marketing, ie mostly newsletters and communication via social networks and websites”, Said Zrno. She explained that our existing law provided that the submission of newsletters required the consent of end users. The new regulation will have the same principle, but a broader definition, which means promotion on websites and social networks. Consent from legal entities will also be sought. She also mentioned cookies, which the regulation will also regulate. Users will decide for themselves on their computer which cookies they want. She concluded that it would be good for companies to inquire now about what the new regulation will bring, for which there is a lot of information on the Internet. If a company is already compliant with the GDPR, this does not automatically mean that it is also compliant with the ePrivacy Regulation.The most attention of the participants of this conference was attracted by the panel discussion on employee engagement and retention led by the moderator Mirjana Pajas, project director in Profil grupa, and her experiences were shared by Jelena Šuleić, general manager of group A hotels from Serbia, Tea Cergna, director of education and development in Poreč’s Valamar Riviera and Gordana Kolenko, director of BHV Consulting. Lack of manpower in the hotel industry is a problem facing the entire region.It was pointed out that Serbia is “fighting” with the problem of labor outflows mostly to Slovenia and Croatia, because it has the lowest average salaries in our area, while Croatian companies are facing the departure of people to Germany and Ireland. With the general conclusion that quotas are expected to increase for the import of foreign labor, not only from nearby countries, but also from around the world (as Dubai, for example, has solved the problem), the importance of political will to reduce state payroll taxes has been stressed. But it’s a fight with windmills, it was noted on the panel. Cergna stated that Valamar tried to get higher quotas for labor from abroad, but the number of unemployed in Croatia also appears as a problem, which is why the state refuses to do so. They then asked for a list of the unemployed from all the counties they could hire, there were several hundred of them, of whom they eventually managed to hire only 17. Cergna noted that they called just about everyone from that list, but people were mostly not interested. The importance of education and cooperation with schools as a way to find and retain employees was mentioned. Šuleić stated that they achieved the best results with their employees when they were able to have their teeth repaired by contracted dentists, and a five-day stay with families in all their facilities – hotels, swimming pools, water parks and restaurants in the period from August 20 to September 10. . “People need to be dealt with constantly, they want to be taken care of. “, pointed out Šuleić. But she admitted that after three years, as long as it takes them to prepare one middle-level manager, they mostly lose that person because they go to another job. At the same time, the salary in Serbia is always a problem. For example, how much better it is for women there to go to work in the summer in Croatia is shown by the fact that they will earn 300 euros a month at home as maids, while Valamar will give them 700 euros, plus free accommodation and food. Then they return home and, for example, go to work in the mountains in Slovenia in the winter. Cergna, on the other hand, said that the salary is one of the key factors for retaining employees, so this year Valamar offered HRK 5.000 net as the minimum income for everyone. Also, the largest Croatian hotel company has an elaborate system of communication with employees who inform about everything, but also ask what they want in their career, then 18 programs of rewards and incentives, education, mentoring and scholarships. Valamar’s plan is to open its own university in the fall of next year, Tea Cergna announced.”How a hotel bar can be a part of the experience and the importance of education and development of bar staff” is the title of the panel discussion where opinions and experiences were presented by Andrea Klemenčić, F&B consultant at Dubrovnik’s One Suite Hotel, Filip Verbanac, strong alcohol development manager for Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina at Coca-Cola HBC, and, as panel moderator, Vedran Gulin, a consultant from Bar Three. Everyone stressed the importance of staff education, without which at least he will not be successful. Important elements in the bar are the offer and service, with which they will stand out from the competition. In Croatia, they singled out only 30 bars that stand out from the average. The bar is a mirror of the hotel, they pointed out. Its good position in the hotel, and excellent offer and quality, allow it to be open to the local population. Therefore, Klemenčić emphasized that local people come to the bar of that hotel, so it works best in winter. They focused on local products and groceries, and what they all have in common is that it has to be of extra quality. The staff is well educated, the standard of what they have to offer is known exactly (if the coffee is not a cannon it doesn’t go out of the bar) and they are constantly monitored and corrected in their work. Of course, a system of rewards and incentives has been organized in order to motivate and keep them, which depends on the reviews of guests, ratings of superiors and the realized traffic. Verbanac emphasized that his company now has five people for the education of employees in the field, and they are planning their program of education and training of people. Over the next ten years, Coca-Cola will focus on people who want to do business in the F&B sector and are willing to learn.Moderator Berislav Herceg, director of the Zagreb company DivisIT, which develops software solutions, Dragan Bodiroga, director of the Service Center from Dubrovnik, Tamara Čimbur, director and owner of the Zagreb restaurant Baltazar, and Vladimir Marinković spoke about the need to introduce modern procurement in the hotel business. general manager of Belgrade’s Saint Ten Hotel.The emphasis of the workshop was on automated data entry and exchange between customer and supplier, which speeds up the procurement process and brings savings. Manual data entry, which it still has, is a waste of time, and errors are common that make it impossible to control the state of the warehouse. It was noted that data entry automation must be inexpensive and easily applicable in all systems, whether they are small or large hotels, because not all are the same and not all have the same number of suppliers. One of the solutions, as a new standard in business, are personalized vendor web shops that will adapt to both large and small systems.