Ramada sues over Manchester hotel name
Ramada Worldwide filed suit last week against the former Ramada Inn at Amoskeag Falls saying the hotel continues to use the Ramada name without permission.
Employees at the 120-room Manchester hotel on Front Street, which hosts a Hooters restaurant, now answer “Stone Services” on the phone. But the facility still has a prominent Ramada sign and the name comes up on various search engines when typing in “Ramada Inn Manchester” on various hotel search engines. (Though a user is unable to book a room through these engines.)
The hotel — formerly a Travelodge and a Holiday Inn — switched to the Ramada brand in 2000. It had been owned by HTL Corp. since 1995, but the bank foreclosed on the property in October 2005 and HTL was sold on Nov. 3 to LBM Financial LLC.
Marcello Mallegni is listed as the manager of LBM and the president of Stone Services Inc., according to documents filed with the Massachusetts secretary of state’s office.
Ramada Worldwide was not informed of the sale, despite the requirement of former and current owners to do so, according to the suit filed May 30 in New Hampshire federal district court in Manchester.
According to the suit, on Dec 19 and Feb. 24, Ramada informed the hotel it should no longer continue to operate as a Ramada, but the hotel continued to do so, despite owing $55,000 in franchise fees.
The suit also alleges there had been “criminal activity” at the inn resulting in “diminishing the value” of the trademark.
While the suit did not disclose a specific activity, it could be referring to a domestic squabble at the Hooter’s bar involving a stun gun, a handgun and arrest at the hotel’s parking lot shortly before Thanksgiving.
The suit charges trademark infringement, unfair competition and unjust enrichment and asks for at least $295,000 in damages from both the former and current owners, as well as requiring that the new owners stop using the Ramada name.
On May 9, LBM Financial and Mallegni were the target of a lawsuit by the trustee of KH Financial LLC, owned by Kirk Hundley.
KH signed an agreement to provide money for LBM to lend, allowing LBM to get 10 percent of the interest, according to the suit. The problem, according to the trustee’s filing, was that LBM hadn’t turned over money on some $1.5 million of loans owed to KH.
Calls to Mallegni were not returned by NHBR Daily’s deadline. – BOB SANDERS