Shareholder says bad management plagues Morgans Hotel GroupBy Danny King Morgans Hotel Group's largest shareholder bashed the company's management for what the shareholder called poor cost management and decision making as well as a failure to capitalize on the rebound in travel spending. OTK Associates, which owns 14% of the boutique hotel operator, is pitching for new board of directors to be appointed at the company's annual shareholder meeting on May 15. The investor took Morgans to task for its hiring of Michael Gross as CEO in 2011, saying that Gross had never run a public company and was previously an employee of Morgans bondholder Yucaipa Cos. "OTK has observed as various management teams and board members squandered resources and failed to capitalize on the extraordinary brand value of the company," OTK said in a statement, adding that Morgans shares are down about 68% during the past five years. "Over the past several years, the board has allowed management to pursue a litany of transactions that have destroyed significant equity capital and collectively generated negative returns to stockholders." Last year, Morgans narrowed its net loss to $55.7 million from $85.4 million a year earlier, while revenue was down 8.4% to $189.9 million, reflecting the company's 2011 sale of its stake in the Mondrian Los Angeles and in three London hotels. Morgans said in a statement that OTK's participation on the company's board is proportionate to its ownership, and that the company's board will "respond appropriately in due course." Morgans didn't offer further details, other than that it will file a proxy statement "with important information" at an undisclosed date. Boutique hotelier Ian Schrager founded Morgans in 1984 with the opening of its eponymous hotel in New York. Schrager sold the company in 2005. The company also runs hotels under the Mondrian and Hudson brands. offer 'Beercation' packageThe JW Marriott Chicago has partnered with the Lagunitas Brewing Co. to offer the Lagunitas Beercation package through Dec. Stay. Love' planThe Scarlet Huntington, a 134 room hotel in San Francisco's Nob Hill neighborhood, introduced the Eat. Stay. 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Largely, I believe that a quality shoe will perform optimally in it original state, and deviations from that state beyond the manufactures suggestions will lessen to a degree the performance of the shoe, especially in regards to cordovan care. You won see me sno seal my cordovan footwear and utilize them as a field boot, not because I don think that the boots can handle it, but because I believe that there are boots that would perform superiorly in the given conditions. Realized niche. I purchased a pair of Alden cordovan boots with leather soles that I intended to use for casual wear in the city. It is well known that abrasive surfaces can spell disaster for leather soles. After several wears I knew that I wanted to do some sort of preventative maintenance, at least in the form of toe and heel taps, and possibly protective rubber sole covers, despite my opinions on the importance of utilizing a boot in the niche in which it can perform most optimally. After all, why buy a leather sole shoe if I just going to cover it with rubber? Anyone who does even cursory research on preventative shoe maintenance will quickly come across varying opinions mixed with anecdotal evidence as to the relative effectiveness of protective sole coverings, often referred to as "Topys". A common misconception, Topy is a French manufacturer of rubber soles so successful that their name has become synonymous with rubber sole protectors. Detractors of protective sole covers claim that the rubber cover will cause a variety of negative effects, most commonly relaying that applying a rubber layer over the leather sole prevents the sole from "breathing", possibly inducing rot. Hong Kong Purveyor of high end footwear Tassels via an Ebay guide recommends that rubber soles not be placed over Edward Green footwear: We do not advise the fitting of forepart rubber soles on top of the original leather sole. The interior components may become damaged thus involving a considerably more onerous repair because moisture from the foot is unable to evaporate through the sole. I cannot find a statement definitively made by Edward Green denouncing the use of rubber sole covers. So I go strictly on my experience and will until convinced otherwise. It only depends on what important to you. Nick V. experience was enough to sway me, despite my own opinions on the importance of originality, function, and manufacturer recommendations. Why Santacross?:Santacross has a rich history, maintains a great reputation, and is consistently mentioned as one of the best cobblers in Boston. However, picking a cobbler out a handful of equally well reviewed and recommended cobblers can be difficult. Rinaldi Park Square is also well reviewed and recommended by various quality shoe purveyors in Boston. What made the final decision for me amid equal positive presence was the location of Santacross. The shop is right off the Park Street Station, making getting to and from the shop very quick and easy along my commute. Shoes: Alden x J Crew Perforated Cap Toe Boot Price: $54 for Vibram rubber sole covers, metal toe taps, and plastic toe taps. All of Santacross prices are laid out in a list. I forget the breakdown, but the prices for work are available for the customer to view. While not familiar with the price of this work relative to other Boston cobblers, the price was commensurate with the materials and craftsmanship. Time: Work was completed within the stated timeline. Communication: The work was completed as agreed. John, Andrea, and a third employee whose name I do not know were all friendly and welcoming. John took time to speak to me and to recommend several options based on the work I wanted to be performed. He did not try to upsell me or attempt to convince me to have other work performed. Craftsmanship: It is very apparent that John knows what he is doing. The craftsmanship is excellent. It is apparent that John did not rush, or cut corners when working on my shoes. 1/16 of an inch of the sole was shaved off to accommodate the sole cover (ask your cobbler if they do this, or are just going to glue the sole cover on top) and the work was obviously performed excellently. The sole cover fits perfectly flush and cannot be seen unless you are looking directly at the soles. The taps are symmetric. I could not imagine another cobbler performing a better job in regards to craftsmanship. Attention to detail: When first inspecting my shoes, John touched my shoe bags and boots while having a black dusty residue on his hands. I visibly saw transfer of black fingerprints onto the shoe bags, but not my boots. Upon receiving the boots and bags, the bags were clean and no residue was found on the uppers. The uppers do not appear to be treated with anything, so the boots were probably wiped down after the work was completed or no residue was transferred to the boots. One small surface scratch was found on the heel of the left boot that I occurred while the boots were in the shop (I thoroughly inspected my boots before handing bringing them to Santacross. One small scratch is well within my acceptable threshold of damage while the service was being performed.). John is well versed in high end footwear and immediately recognized that the boots were made from cordovan.
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