Dear Peter: Take a break, give your manager one

This Just In. . .

October 31, 1997|By DAN RODRICKS

I hope the Orioles have an Employee Assistance Program. They're going to need some individual counseling, maybe group therapy sessions. I'd like to prescribe some bold mediation. The owner and the manager should get in a room and talk this out immediately. We could bring in the hug doctor, Leo Buscaglia, or Dr. Laura, the one on WCBM who's always giving people hard emotional slaps to snap them out of destructive behavior.

Maybe the owner and the manager should drive out to Ron Shapiro's farm and have some milk and cookies, like the police commissioner and the angry colonel did in April. That worked beautifully.

Or maybe Martha Stewart -- she's available for a fee -- could have the owner and the manager make some cookies together. Or she could give them hedge clippers and lead them in a topiary session -- noncompetitive, of course.

Here's an idea: The Orioles hire Robert Bly, author of "Iron John," to take the owner and the manager out to center field and have them smear Crisco all over their chests, beat drums and do some serious male bonding.

Let me add this: "You reach a point, a peninsula really, where the sea roars in from three sides at once. Eight hours of night and you back off."

That's from a work by the poet Richard Allen. That's actually my advice today -- I was kidding before about the topiary -- and it goes to Peter Angelos. He should leave Davey Johnson alone now. In fact, he should pull out of the Orioles loop for a while. He doesn't have to be there, involving himself in the petty details every day. Angelos has more important things to do -- and several millions more to make from asbestos and tobacco class actions -- than to be trumping up ways to get rid of a good manager he doesn't like for some silly reason.

Really, boss. Time to take a little break from this, maybe take up a hobby. Call me if you want to build some birdhouses. Call me if you want to go fishing.

Wimping out on Wyndham

Looks like the Baltimore City Council is getting ready to wimp out on Big John Paterakis' Inner Harbor East hotel deal. This might be a stupid idea -- $50 million toward a huge convention hotel a mile away from the Convention Center -- but don't look to the City Council to stand in the way. They don't necessarily stop stupid. Stupid is as stupid does. This is the Forrest Gump of city councils.

Yesterday in this newspaper we heard from Nicky D'Adamo, 1st District councilman and Paterakis lackey: "It's not even a big issue in community meetings, hardly a ripple."

The man has keen senses, wouldn't you agree? He picked right up on the idea that a waterfront hotel near Little Italy isn't a bread-and-butter issue in Highlandtown. It's not a methadone clinic, after all, it's a hotel. It's not an issue that will fill the bingo halls with a lot of angry citizens.

But it's a citywide issue. All over town, I hear people saying -- with a measurable degree of defeat now -- how wrongheaded Inner Harbor East is as the site of prime accommodations for conventioneers.

So maybe Nicky and his brothers and sisters in the council could pull their heads out of the potholes and ask the people of this city a simple (albeit wordy) question: "Should we back an illogical, politically smelly investment of $50 million in a huge hotel that convention industry experts say is too far from the publicly financed, multimillion-dollar Convention Center?" To that, they would get a clear answer.

But don't look for that to happen. Instead, listen for the sound of about 18 grown men and women wimping out.

Gambling question lingers

Oh, and by the way ... Paterakis' partner in the Wyndham Hotel, Patriot American Hospitality Inc., recently agreed to buy the hotel assets of Carnival Hotels & Casinos and to acquire WHG Resorts and Casinos in multimillion-dollar deals that appear to put the company knee-deep in one-armed bandits.

The Wall Street Journal reported the Patriot American acquisitions this month. So did the East Baltimore Guide. Its editor, Jackie Watts, also reports that citizens attending a meeting of the Southeast Baltimore Community Organization early this month were assured by a spokesman for Paterakis that Patriot American had no intention of getting involved in gambling.

WHG owns an interest in three leading hotel casinos in Puerto Rico, constituting nearly 40,000 square feet in gambling floor space, 120 gaming tables and 940 slot machines. Carnival Hotels & Casinos' gambling division runs a riverboat in Louisiana, two Caribbean casinos, a casino in Peru and casino operations aboard Carnival cruise ships.

Contacted about this by the East Baltimore Guide, Paterakis said he knew nothing of Patriot American's acquisitions until he read about them in the Journal. "I'm a baker," he told the Guide. "I have 17 bakeries. I was a happy baker until I got stuck with this piece of property [William Donald] Schaefer talked me into."

Sounds like the crusade to raise this hotel is taking its toll. Big John must be weary of answering the question the recent news about Patriot American again raises: Will the Wyndham be turned into a casino hotel?

"We have an agreement signed with the city," he told the Guide. "We cannot at any time convert the hotel to a casino."

Dallas-based Patriot is the nation's second-largest hotel real estate investment trust. In mid-April, it announced plans to buy Wyndham. It would fully own the Inner Harbor East hotel six months after its planned opening in 2000.

Pub Date: 10/31/97

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