Regarding the Irrigator article on the "city to spend $550K on legal fees,” I feel this action to be both deplorable and grossly unfair, at least as it relates to Mr. Speno.
Having been the GM at the hotel during the time whereby the TOT taxes collected on behalf of the city were not forwarded, the convicted criminal in this action was American Hotels, my former employer, not Mr. Speno.
When Mr. Speno found out the corporate headquarters of American Hotels did not forward this money to the city, he took legal action against American Hotels, won a judgment against them and offered the settlement to the city in order for them to collect money due. In essence Mr. Speno did all of the legal heavy lifting for the city and all the city had to do was collect from American Hotels.
By the way the actual taxes due were less than $90,000. Now it seems the city is willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees plus punitive penalties and interest in order to collect this amount from Speno. This does not make sense. Why is it that the city won't accept Speno's reasonable offer and drop the TOT part of this case and save these legal fees, which are being funded by Patterson taxpayers?
I was proud to have been the GM at the hotel knowing people had a positive first impression of Patterson after having experienced a stay at the Villa Del Lago Inn. The hotel has collected over $1,000,000 in taxes for the city since it opened in May 2000. Is less than $90,000 worth litigating over when the real criminal has been identified and convicted?
Historically it seems the city is willing to litigate first and negotiate later? Seems a bit of common sense is in order here! STOP WASTING TAXPAYER MONEY!