Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Yosemite hotels belong to the American people, not a billionaire Trump donor

Tell Delaware North Chairman Jeremy Jacobs:
"Yosemite's Wawona Hotel and Ahwahnee Hotel were built in the 1800s and 1920s, respectively, and belong to the American people, not a private corporation. Drop your frivolous lawsuit against the National Park Service."
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When you think of Yosemite, you might imagine majestic waterfalls, ancient Sequoias and stunning cliffs. But you might not think about a greedy Trump donor suing the National Park Service (NPS) for $51 million.
That's exactly what Yosemite is facing.1 Billionaire Jeremy Jacobs, the chairman of the concessions company Delaware North that recently lost its $2 billion contract in Yosemite, is suing the NPS for tens of millions of dollars to turn over naming rights of two iconic and beloved landmarks in the park, the Wawona and Ahwahnee Hotels.
These hotels and their historic names belong to the American people and should not be held hostage by a bitter billionaire. We must speak out now and stand up for Yosemite.
For 20 years, Delaware North had a contract to run concessions, lodging and food in Yosemite but recently lost its bid to renew to a competitor. In an act of spite, Delaware North sued the government in federal court for $51.2 million for breach of contract and violations of its intellectual property pertaining to the Wawona and Ahwahnee Hotels, claiming it owns the rights to these names. The NPS has temporarily covered the names of the hotels as litigation continues.
It's absolutely absurd, but it's not surprising: Delaware North's billionaire Chairman Jeremy Jacobs – who has been called a "bully and a jerk" – and his family have a long history of greed and shady dealings.2 They strong-arm lawmakers with political donations – including over $165,000 to Donald Trump – to benefit their bottom line, secure tax breaks and grease the political wheels where their companies operate.3,4,5,6
HuffPost reports that Jacobs could profit from the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, as Immigration and Customs Enforcement opened an office in the same building as Delaware North's headquarters and hired "a former US Attorney who had just led the largest workplace immigration raid during the Obama administration."7
And some are even speculating that Jacobs could use the millions from his Yosemite lawsuit to sign a new player for the Boston Bruins, the NHL hockey team that he owns.8
Suing the NPS for millions to profit off the names of these two historic and iconic hotels is just another example of Jacobs' greedy, out-of-touch ways. We must pressure him to drop this ridiculous lawsuit and give back to the American public what is rightfully theirs.
Tell Delaware North Chairman Jeremy Jacobs: Drop your lawsuit against the National Park Service.
-Josh Nelson, CREDO Action
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  1. Megan Woolhouse and Janelle Nanos, "Iconic names at Yosemite are subject of $51 million trademark battle," The Boston Globe, Jan. 16, 2016.
  2. Sean Gentille, "Jeremy Jacobs spent $625K on horse crusade before NHL lockout," Sporting News, March 26, 2013.
  3. Neil A. Lewis, "THE 1992 CAMPAIGN: Campaign Finances; Being Governor Helps Clinton Raise Money at Home," The New York Times, April 27, 1992.
  4. Frank Phillips, "Jacobs family, owner of TD Garden and Bruins, gives $13,000 to Walsh," The Boston Globe, April 26, 2017.
  5. Matt Ufford, "Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs is awful," SB Nation, March 26, 2013.
  6. Gin Armstrong and Derek Seidman, "Immigration Protest Targets Concessions Magnate & Trump Donor Jeremy Jacobs," LittleSis, Sept. 8, 2017.
  7. Donald Cohen, "Ending DACA Means More Profit For These Corporations," HuffPost, Sept. 13, 2017.
  8. Paul Altmeyer, "Boston Bruins Owner Jeremy Jacobs Suing Yosemite," Causeway Crowd, Jan. 15, 2016.

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