By Samuel G. Dweh/ freelance journalist in Grand Kru County
Members of the campaign team of All Liberian Party (ALP) of businessman Benoni Urey reportedly pulled a fast one the owner of the Silver Key Hotel, located in the Camp Three Community of Barclayville, Grand Kru County, on Friday, September 22, after the team spent one night there.
Silver Key Hotel is owned by Madam Doris N. Ylatun.
Mr. Urey’s campaign team members gave the hotel manager, Nicholas Nyonon, US$20 per room, instead of the US$25 per room the ALP standard bearer and the manager had agreed on before Urey and his entourage were accommodated in seven rooms in the Hotel from 11 p.m. on Thursday, September 21, to 10 a.m. Friday, September 22.
Mr. Urey slept in Room #4.
Each of the rooms costs US$35, but Mr. Urey had appealed to the hotel manager for a “10-percent discount” on each of the seven rooms for his team, “because there are no air-conditioners, TVs, sound systems in the rooms,” the hotel manager later quoted Mr. Urey saying to his employer. The ten-percent deduction drops the price per room to US$31.50—the amount the millionaire businessman-turned-politician should have paid for each room. But Mr. Urey further bargained with the manager for a final price of US$25 per room for seven rooms for the one night.
For the optimum relaxation of his VIP client, the hotel manager kept the hotel generator on up to 9 am the following day — beyond the 6 am switch-off time.
Early in the morning of the next day, September 22, while having breakfast on the hotel’s outside porch, Mr. Urey reportedly gave his personal assistant (a female) US$200 to settle the bill. But the assistant didn’t deliver the money to the hotel manager until her boss was in his private car (marked “UREY 1”), calling on campaign team members, who had yet to board their vehicles, to depart for their next location.
It was during this rush that Mr. Urey’s personal assistant and her male colleague—wearing a vest with the inscription: “UREY VIP SECURITY” on the back and breast, raced to the hotel manager and claimed that their boss only released US$20 per room, for which they delivered the US$200 and demanded US$60 as change.
Tension from the lady’s pestering, which was exacerbated by nagging from her boss, caused the hotel manager to forget to issue a receipt for the cash. After collecting her change, the lady rushed toward her vehicle.
The hotel owner, Madam Doris N. Ylatun, went into a rage when she arrived a few minutes later and learned that her business had been short-changed by their guests. By then, the ALP standard bearer and his campaign team of mobilizers, personal assistant, and private bodyguards had already left the hotel’s premises.
She then burst into a tantrum at her business manager for, in the first place, accepting any amount below the US$35 rate, which is the across-the-board price for each of the hotel’s nine rooms.
“The ALP standard bearer, Mr. Urey, knows the cost of running a hotel on gasoline, and keeping the generator burning for eleven hours—11 p.m. to 9 a.m. just because of him.”
A few minutes later proprietress Ylatun described the ALP standard bearer’s errand persons who delivered the hotel bill as “rogues,” adding that their action is a stain on the political image of their boss in the presidential race.
Urey had lodged in the Silver Key Hotel in January of this year, the hotel manager later explained.
Mr. Urey could not be reached via phone for response to the matter. However, an ALP spokesman told the Daily Observer yesterday when contacted that the situation will be investigated to ascertain the veracity of the matter and then an action can be effected to ensure that all is well.