Dunn responds to protest filed over Evansville's downtown hotel

(Source: HCW)
(Source: HCW)

The head of the Dunn Hospitality Group is speaking out about a protest filed with Hilton Hotels over Evansville's downtown convention hotel; a hotel which is supposed to be a Doubletree by Hilton.

14News first reported on Monday night that Dunn Hospitality is behind the protest.

During an interview with WIKY Radio Tuesday morning, John Dunn, the Chairman and CEO of Dunn Hospitality Group, denied that a formal complaint had been filed with Hilton Hotels.

"My understanding is that they are on the air now confirming that we've done it when in fact we've not done anything," said Dunn. "Let me put it this way, myself or no one within Dunn Hospitality group has filed anything with Hilton."

Reporter,"So you're saying the Mayor's Office got it wrong?"  Dunn responded, "Dead wrong."

But moments after that interview, Dunn contacted WIKY Radio to say he got it wrong, "I just found out that our CFO, Bob Jobs, filed a letter with Hilton on Friday."

Dunn went on to say he was out of town at the time and did not authorize his staff to file a complaint.

"I am the CEO, the buck stops with me.  I accept all of the responsibility for that letter to have been sent whether I approved it or not," said Dunn.

Reporter, "If the buck stops with you, why would someone do that without your knowledge?" To which Dunn responded, "I guess you'd have to ask him that."

"If Mr. Dunn was surprised that his organization filed the request with Hilton maybe he could stop the process and pull it and let the process move forward," said Mayor Lloyd Winnecke.

Even though Dunn admits he was unaware the protest was being filed, it appears he's not against it either.

He says he fears if another Hilton hotel is built in Evansville, business at his Hilton Hotel could take a hit especially with guests who are brand loyal.

Dunn has not returned our calls about withdrawing that protest.

Reporter, "Do you want to issue any apologies to the Mayor's Office or 14 News?"

Dunn, "Well, I just did."

Reporter, "I don't think that was an apology."

Dunn, "Well, I'm apologizing, ok? I make that very clear that I did not misspeak."

Reporter, "You did misspeak! You did misspeak!"

Dunn, "Maam, the interview is through."

Mayor Winnecke says this protest will delay the hotel project 60 to 80 days while Hilton conducts a market analysis.

Winnecke says he expects Hilton to approve the request for a franchise agreement.

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