Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

As Russians Crowd Board, Americom Boss Set to Sue

The debacle over the prestigious Radisson-Slavjanskaya Hotel escalated Monday as the hotel's acting general director Umar Dzhabrailov voiced determination to put in authority officials loyal to the Russian side of the feud.

But his American rival Paul Tatum, president of Americom Business Centers and a director of the three-way joint venture that governs the hotel, insisted these appointments were illegal and threatened to sue his Russian partners, whom he believes are trying to fraudulently take over the company.

The hotel is currently managed through a more-than-uneasy partnership, consisting of Americom Business Centers, the Moscow Property Committee and the Minnesota-based Radisson Hotel Corp., which has sided with the Russian faction against Americom.

In a JV board meeting Friday, Dzhabrailov was appointed acting general director and Konstantin Tonchilov acting chief accountant of the Business Centers. They have yet to take office.

But Tatum -- who said a unanimous agreement, which would include his own signature, would be required for any board decision -- said the appointments carry no legal weight according to the joint venture's charter and founding document. "They're acting as if I don't exist," he said.

In contrast, Dzhabrailov claimed the board had every right to determine matters by majority vote, rather than by unanimous rule, because Tatum had repeatedly left board meetings and refused to vote. "Twice he ignored the decision of the majority," Dzhabrailov said, referring to previous meetings. "He just stood up and flew away."

Tatum himself is carrying out the functions of acting general director and has another candidate in mind for the post of chief accountant, who he said will start work Thursday.

He has threatened to sue not only Dzhabrailov and Moscow Property Committee head Alexander Zaitsev, but also three recently appointed members of the board, the Moscow Property Committee and the City of Moscow.

"It's getting almost to be a circus," Tatum said. "If anyone wants to continue to do business in this country they've got to do it under some set of rules and regulations. Otherwise it's mafia rule."

At Friday's meeting, board head Zaitsev also called for an investigation into the hotel's management, a move to which Tatum said he would only comply if it were undertaken by an independent, internationally recognized firm that would examine the activities of all partners in the joint venture.

The foundation of the dispute between the partners lies in Americom's failure to pay rent for its use of Radisson-Slavjanskaya offices, but Tatum says the two sides had agreed to suspend rent payments to finance renovations.