Let's do lunch

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I found it odd that ex-Starwood Hotels Chairman Barry Sternlicht chose the Wall Street Journal to voice his objections to this week's blockbuster sale by Starwood of 38 hotels to Host Marriott. Sternlicht, who's reportedly Starwood's largest individual shareholder, whined to the Journal that the company could have gotten more than the $4.1 billion it received from Host for the portfolio of primo properties. He also took a cheap shot at Starwood CEO Steve Heyer (who Barry hand-picked for the job before he left the company), calling him "an absentee CEO who doesn't know the real estate markets." Sounds like bad blood to me.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I assume Barry would have been privy to the sale before it was made and could have raised his objections at that time. I've long had this notion that just three or four guys (Sternlicht included) do all of the real estate buying and selling in the hotel industry. My guess is they get together for lunch a couple of times a month at a fancy club in New York to make their Monopoly moves.

Barry must have missed the last luncheon, but I bet he's at every one in the future.—Ed Watkins, Editor

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