The Zika virus may have been wiped out of Miami, but the financial hurt remains.
Illustrating how this summer’s travel advisories cost tourism-driven businesses cold, hard cash, the swank downtown Miami Mandarin Oriental Hotel and the large New York real estate investment firm Greystone are suing one another.
At the heart of the controversy is the cancellation of Greystone’s mid-September sales rep convention at the Mandarin Oriental as fear grew that the mosquito-borne virus could cause damage to the unborn babies of pregnant women.
In court, Greystone drew first blood Sept. 16 when it filed a complaint in a Miami-Dade County circuit court stating that the luxury hotel wrongly intends to keep a $54,634 deposit for 304 rooms, at rates between $219 and $499 a night.
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Greystone claims it was just looking out for its employees when it canceled the three-day event more than one month before it was scheduled, and deemed it an act of God.
In their lawsuit filed Sept. 22, meanwhile, Mandarin Oriental officials say the cancellation cost them about $100,000, including food and drinks.
In addition to the deposit, the hotel also intends to collect another $54,634, the balance of the contract.
The way the Mandarin Oriental sees it, Greystone breached its contract, Zika or no Zika.
The hotel’s lawsuit doesn’t mention the virus or the fact health officials were asking tourists to stay out of certain areas of the city just north of the downtown business center.
Neither Greystone’s nor the hotel’s lawyers returned calls and emails asking them to comment.