CLEVELAND-The Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union is demanding that Boykin Lodging Co., based here, consider a sale or liquidation of the company and revise it’s plans to boost stockholder value.

Paul O’Neil, chief financial officer and treasurer of Boykin, says the company could not comment on the union’s grievances because HERE is locked in negotiations with one of the Boykin’s tenants.”It’s not appropriate for me to comment on their tactics,” O’Neil says.He did say that the company did not require shareholder approval to adopt the poison pill.

The union bought Boykin shares at $24 in 1998, when the hotel real estate investment trust went public, says union spokesman Andy Lee. As of Oct. 30, the stock price was hovering around $9 per share, with the company cutting the dividend in the last few months by 22%.”Many of the holders don’t feel happy about the stock price,” Lee says. “When compared with the average hospitality REIT, Boykin’s share price is significantly worse.”

The union’s feelings were vented in a letter to Albert Adams, an attorney with the law offices of Baker and Hostetler of Cleveland.In the letter, the union complains about the stock problems, poor debt management and acquisition practices, including Boykin’s acquisition of DoubleTree hotels. The union says Boykin has not taken advantage of a two-year joint venture with AEW Capital. Outrage was also expressed by HERE that an anti-takeover defense, commonly known as a “poison pill,” was approved without a vote by shareholders.

“It’s best just to sell off the assets whole or piece by piece,” Lee saiys. HERE recommends the formation of a special committee of independent directors to consider strategic options, the redemption of the poison pill, the adoption of a requirement that at least two-thirds of Boykin’s directors be independent and the separation of the position of chairman and chief executive officer.

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