CARLSBAD — Both sides of the argument in a messy dispute over the management of a luxury resort, known since 1995 as the Four Seasons Resort, Aviara, will be heard in arbitration.
The owners of the resort attempted to end a contract with Four Seasons in March and replace the management company with a new one, but quickly encountered opposition.
Judge Jeffrey Miller decided May 27 that the case will be heard by arbitrators, despite claims by the owners of the resort property that a financial emergency existed and the resort needed to be taken over immediately.
The case has now been continued until later this month.
On April 1, resort owners Broadreach Capital Partners filed a lawsuit to prohibit the continued operation of the resort by Four Seasons Resorts and Hotels. Officials with the real estate investment company could not comment on the situation under advice of their attorneys, but have said they feel new management of the resort is needed to make operations profitable.
The events leading up to that point are unclear except for claims that the owners of the resort only notified them in late March that it was terminating their contract due to their failure to run the property in a “cost-effect manner.” The Four Seasons has a contract to manage the resort until the year 2087.
According to a press release put out by the Four Seasons, the dispute is “not about financial mismanagement, but rather about the owner’s attempt to piggyback on the strong reputation of Four Seasons by taking over the successful resort and turning it over to Dolce Hotels and Resorts, a company that is owned and controlled by the owner, Broadreach Capital Partners.”
Meanwhile, it is business as usual according to Tony Pistillo, director of public relations for the resort.
Pistillo said there are no signs of the dispute at the 320-room resort, refuting reports that security guards had been posted keeping the owners from making physical changes as they attempt to replace the Torento-based Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, with the new management company Dolce Hotels and Resorts.
However, the press release also stated that the Four Seasons management, “had every reason to believe that the owners would act in an intimidating manner.” It added that March 28, the owners’ representatives had conducted a physical invasion at the resort, changing the locks of private management offices and intimidating resort employees.
Pistillo said he could not comment further on the issues, due to the proceedings; however the press release also stated the Four Season stands by its claims that the attempted “takeover” by the owners was improper.