Dismissed Ramada Manager Sues Partners' Lawyers

October 15, 1991|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,Staff writer

Less than three months after managers of the Annapolis Ramada declared an end to the hotel's financial troubles, a former general partnerhas leveled malpractice charges against the partnership's attorneys.

Annapolis lawyer Lester H. Shor, who was removed as managing partner in May 1990, filed suit Thursday in Anne Arundel Circuit Court, seeking more than $160 million in damages.

Shor contends that Annapolis law firm Blumenthal, Wayson, Downs and Offutt, P. A. and Edward O. Wayson, a partner in the firm, prompted their clients -- business partners running the Jennifer Road hotel -- to strip Shor of management control.

The law firm and Wayson used misleading, false and defamatory information to convince the Annapolis Mall Motel Limited Partnership that Shor mismanaged the hotel, the suit contends.

In addition to being an attorney in the firm named in the suit, Wayson was one of the limited partners in the hotel.

As a result of the attorneys' actions, Shor lost income and creditworthiness and suffered emotional distress, he says.

He is seeking$1.4 million in compensatory damage, $18 million in consequential damage and $10 million in punitive damage on each of five charges. He also is seeking $20 million for emotional distress.

For Shor, who ran the 197-room hotel from the time it opened in 1986, the trouble began in May 1990, when he took an emergency trip to Colorado to help his sick wife return to Annapolis. While he was gone and without his knowledge, his business partners demoted him to associate partner, replacing him with a corporation, Annapolis Ramada MGP Inc. He returned to find himself locked out of his Annapolis Ramada office, unable to retrieve his possessions, the suit says.

The hotel partnership filed a $24 million suit agains Shor, charging that he mismanaged the hotel. Shor countered with a $12 million slander suit against R. Michael Floyd, the partnership's asset manager, who, Shor said, made a false investigation into the hotel's finances.

That suit is still pending. The partnership's suit against Shor is scheduled for trial in December in federal district court, Shor said.

In July 1990, Annapolis Mall Motel Limited filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Shor, who disputed the partnership's right to run the hotel, challenged the move in court.

In early August this year, a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge approved a reorganization plan for the hotel, ruling that Annapolis Ramada MGP Inc. would oversee operations and that Shor had no authority to do so. The plan took effect Sept. 1.

In a statementreleased in August, Floyd said that a restructured long-term debt and settlements with creditors would eliminate a $10 million debt, making the hotel a healthy, viable business.

But Shor says he believesit will be years before the hotel comes completely out of a bankruptcy that resulted from a hostile takeover, causing him irreparable emotional and financial harm.

His suit claims the law firm and Wayson, both of whom he says personally represented him, breached legal duties and contracts and made false and misleading statements about him.It charges intentional, willful, malicious and negligent wrongdoing.

Harry Blumenthal, a partner in Blumenthal, Wayson, Downs and Offutt, says Shor has shifted his target of blame while repeating claims that a bankruptcy court judge already dismissed.

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