Lawsuit Claims Starwood’s W Hotels Are Havens For Prostitution

A New Jersey couple has accused the W Hotel chain of functioning as a safe haven for prostitutes to ply their wares from the lobby, alleging in a personal-injury lawsuit that that atmosphere is responsible for an attack on the woman in June 2013.

In a request for a change of venue in the lawsuit that was filed against Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. last year, which owns W Hotels, the woman claims she was attacked in the lobby of the South Beach W Hotel in Miami Beach by a gang of drunken prostitutes. She claims they thought she was a competing lady of the night, the suit says, according to Philly.com.

She says she was attacked from behind and pushed into a stone wall, as well as shoved onto the lobby’s marble floor. The lawsuit names up to 10 Jane Does as defendants, and is seeking $75,000.

It’s not just at this particular W Hotel, the change of venue request (which was subsequently denied) filing claims: the couple says they hired undercover agents to act as guests at hotels across the country.

“These agents engaged Starwood and W Hotels employees who openly, and without hesitation, procured the services of prostitutes for the agents,” the filing said. “When asked about getting caught and being prosecuted by law enforcement, the employees reassured the agents there was no risk of discovery.

“Starwood and W Hotel employees enticed the agents by sending them provocative pictures of prostitutes able to service them at W Hotels… . At one such W Hotel, a prostitute used the concierge desk to charge her cellphones and store her purse.”

The night of the attack, the couple also claims that when they demanded hotel staff take the attackers into custody, employees instead got them into nearby cabs and away from the location before police arrived.

While Starwood didn’t comment on those allegations, the company’s lawyer previously filed a successful motion to keep certain things sealed like the hotel’s surveillance footage and personnel records. He argued that “this material must be sealed as it pertains to plaintiffs’ serious but unfounded allegations as to wrongdoing on the part of my clients. If not sealed, my clients would face serious injury and prejudice in that the plaintiffs’ allegations will harm my clients’ reputations.”

Those sealed materials speak for themselves, the couple’s lawyer argues.

“It’s a safe bet to say that the judge doesn’t want us talking about what’s in the sealed documents, or why the judge sealed them,”  he said.

Is hotel chain a hooker haven? [Philly.com]