U.S. REP. MALONEY WITH HOTEL, RESTAURANT & LABOR LEADERS URGES STOP TO LUXURY CRUISE SHIP PLAN FOR GOP CONVENTION

Dec 2, 2003
Press Release

NEW YORK, NY - In strong opposition to the Republican leadership's plan to stay on a Norwegian luxury liner during the Republican National Convention next summer, instead of using New York City's hotels and restaurants, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (Manhattan, Queens) joined with Joseph Spinnato, President, and Lester Deptula, Chairman, of the Hotel Association of New York City, Peter Ward, President of the New York Hotel Trades Council, and New York State Assembly Member Jonathan Bing (Manhattan) to urge Republican convention planners to reverse coarse.

The Republican National Committee has been given $20 million from the City for the convention, but the GOP decision to stay offshore would deny millions in economic activity for city hotels, restaurants and shops, as well as hotel and restaurant taxes for the City.

"We have the greatest city in the world, with the greatest accommodations in the world, the greatest food in the world and the greatest shopping in the world. Still, we're apparently just not good enough for the Republican convention planners," said Maloney. "The Republican National Committee should abandon this ship. This is a titanically bad idea that should be stopped before being put to sea."

Joseph E. Spinnato said, "This is an unexpected and unwarranted idea [the proposal to provide 2,200 accommodations aboard a Norwegian cruise ship during the Republican National Convention]. It is certainly not within the spirit of the convention, and the Committee's pledge to help drive the economic engine of New York City. It also does not conform to the negotiations conducted in good faith between the Republican National Committee and the hotels."

Peter Ward, president of the New York Hotel Trades Council, said, "Everything that every union leader did, every civic leader did, every government leader did to bring the convention here was done for one reason: to bring business into the city to stimulate jobs and raise the tax base. And for these guys to rent a boat to stay out in the river, and not pay hotel occupancy tax, is just an outrage.

, president of the New York Hotel Trades Council, said, "Everything that every union leader did, every civic leader did, every government leader did to bring the convention here was done for one reason: to bring business into the city to stimulate jobs and raise the tax base. And for these guys to rent a boat to stay out in the river, and not pay hotel occupancy tax, is just an outrage."

E. Charles Hunt, Executive Vice President for the Greater New York City Chapters of the New York State Restaurant Association, said in a statement for the event, "The restaurant and food service industry is surprised and puzzled by the idea of delegates to next summer's Republican National Convention taking their meals on a luxury cruise ship rather than in one or more of the City's unmatched selection of world class restaurants. New York has been widely and rightfully haled as the 'Restaurant Capital of the World.' At every level, our establishments are readily able to offer choices to meet the needs and expectations of any and all visitors to our city."

, Executive Vice President for the Greater New York City Chapters of the New York State Restaurant Association, said in a statement for the event, "The restaurant and food service industry is surprised and puzzled by the idea of delegates to next summer's Republican National Convention taking their meals on a luxury cruise ship rather than in one or more of the City's unmatched selection of world class restaurants. New York has been widely and rightfully haled as the 'Restaurant Capital of the World.' At every level, our establishments are readily able to offer choices to meet the needs and expectations of any and all visitors to our city."

New York's hospitality industry was one of the hardest hit by 9/11. The occupancy rates in 2001 and 2002 were 10% off from the rates in 2000. Overall, there are more than 70,000 hotel rooms in the City, and the Republican National Committee has reserved 22,000 for the convention.

In addition to today's event, New York Reps. Maloney, Charles Rangel, Gary Ackerman, Jerrold Nadler, Major Owens, Edolphus Towns, and Maurice Hinchey sent a letter to Governor Pataki today urging him to stop the Republican leaders from moving forward with the cruise ship plan.

Read Letter to Governor Pataki

Read Rep. Maloney's remarks from the press conference 

###