Gordon Sondland keeps getting bad reviews.
The U.S. ambassador to the European Union has been caught in the crosshairs of Democrats investigating President Trump’s associates in the impeachment inquiry, as more evidence has come to light that he enabled a quid-pro-quo arrangement with Ukrainian officials. And now, as his political troubles have worsened, so too have those affecting his business.
Reviewers on Yelp are taking out their anger with Sondland by leaving one-star ratings for the hotels to which he is linked.
“If you’re looking for a hotel owned by a Trump supporter who gave the campaign a million dollars in exchange for an ambassadorship that he’s unqualified for so he can extort foreign leaders into attacking fellow Americans, look no further,” Zee L., a Yelp user from West Hollywood, California, wrote for his assessment of the Revolution Hotel in Boston. “BONUS: plush bath robes and white hoods available in each room.”
Sondland was the founder and former chairman of Provenance Hotels, which owns and manages 14 boutique hotels across the U.S.—including the Revolution. The hotels had been well-regarded up until recently, with customers raving about the ambiance, amenities, and accommodating staff. But over the past few weeks, one-star Yelp reviews disparaging him for his involvement in the Trump-Ukraine saga have appeared on most of the hotels’ Yelp pages.
Zee’s review appeared on the day U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor told Congress that Sondland notified the Ukrainian government of an alleged quid-pro-quo arrangement pushed by the Trump administration. One user from San Francisco posted reviews on four different Provenance Hotels’ Yelp pages mentioning “swampy diplomat Gordon Sondland” was a “Major Trump supporter” on Oct. 8, the day Sondland was subpoenaed by Congress after the State Department blocked his scheduled deposition.
“Booked a rez and then discovered Dossier is owned by Gordon Sondland, a MAJOR TRUMP DONOR. Cancel!” the user wrote on the page of Portland’s Dossier Hotel.
Another California user, Will K., wrote that the Sentinel Hotel in Portland, Oregon, was an “otherwise nice-enough” but noted that Provenance Hotels was “controlled” by Sondland—who he said was a “major Trump contributor and participant in the Ukraine scandal.” “Do you want to support him?” he asked.
“I used to be an infrequent customer here but I’m appalled to learn that the owner, Gordon Sondland… was heavily involved in the Trump Ukraine scandal,” Karin W. of Portland wrote on The Heathman Hotel’s Yelp page. “I won’t be patronizing this business anymore, nor the others that he owns.”
Russell Sciandra, a 72-year-old retiree who lives near Seattle, also wrote on Yelp that Hotel Lucia in Portland would no longer be getting his hard-earned money after staying there a few times because Sondland was “up to his neck in the Ukraine scandal.”
Sciandra told The Daily Beast he felt compelled to write the review to let others know that Sondland, whom he sees as a “symbol of the whole corruption,” profited off the hotels at some point.
“He takes the money, and uses it to buy things he wants,” he said. “I can only imagine what the Europeans think of this buffoon... he’s only doing it because he’s got a lot of money from his hotel business. Some of my pennies went towards buying that ambassadorship for this clown!”
The negative reviews haven’t just been registered online. Activists have also recently protested in front of Provenance’s Portland hotels and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) called for a boycott of the Sondland-connected establishments.
Sondland isn’t currently involved in the hotel business, however. He stepped down from his executive role and is no longer involved in the “day-to-day” operations after he took the ambassadorship, a Provenance Hotels spokesperson told Portland Business Journal. Still, an October screenshot from Provenance Hotels’ website said Sondland’s wife was the chairman, but the web page has since been removed.
Provenance Hotels did not respond to a request for comment.
Yelp removed some politically motivated reviews on the pages of Provenance properties, and said the platform was not a place for “rants about… political ideologies, extraordinary circumstances, or other matters that don't address the core of the consumer experience.”
Sciandra said he hoped that the company would see the Yelp reviews and maybe Sondland would “learn something” from the experience.
“He obviously gets a big thrill, and thinks he’s a big shot,” he said. “He’s way in over his head. Go back to running hotels.”
Sondland, who is slated to testify publicly before Congress on Wednesday, is reportedly one of the “three amigos” who tried to facilitate Ukrainian investigations into Vice President Joe Biden and his son. Tayor, in his testimony, said Sondland met with a top aide to the Ukrainian president and said American “security assistance money would not come until (Ukrainian) President Zelensky committed to pursue the Burisma investigation.” According to another official, Sondland told Trump that Zelensky “loved his ass” and would do “anything” he asked.
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