Jose Lambiet

Greystone, Mandarin Oriental still tussling over Zika convention cancellation

One of two lawsuits traded by the downtown Miami Mandarin Oriental and New York’s Greystone real estate firm over the cancellation of a major conference because of last summer’s Zika scare has been dismissed.

But, says Mandarin attorney John Josefsberg, don’t read into that dismissal a softening of the animosity between hotel officials and Greystone bosses.

The other lawsuit filed by Greystone on allegations that the Mandarin unfairly held on to a $54,634 deposit is very much on.

“No, no, the other lawsuit is still going full blast,” Josefsberg said, declining further comment.

In mid-September, Greystone cancelled a sales rep convention at the Mandarin Oriental because of a travel advisory warning tourists to stay out of defined areas of the city. The mosquito-borne virus, the public was told at the time, could affect the unborn babies of pregnant women.

Greystone drew first blood Sept. 16 when it filed a complaint in a Miami-Dade County circuit court to recoup the deposit for 304 rooms at rates between $219 and $499 a night.

Greystone claims in the paperwork it had to cancel the three-day event more than one month before it was scheduled because employees were not inclined to fly to Miami. The company deemed Zika an act of God and asked for their money back.

In their countersuit filed Sept. 22, Mandarin Oriental officials said the cancellation cost them about $100,000, including food and drinks. The hotel announced it intended to collect another $54,634, the balance of the contract, Zika or no Zika.

Greystone attorney Hector Rivera didn’t respond to an email requesting comment.