Skip to comments.New York Palace Hotel Boss Niklaus Leuenberger Gets the Door After Ash Wednesday Slur
Posted on 03/25/2009 9:56:08 AM PDT by nickcarraway
The manager of one of the city's most luxurious hotels was given the boot after ordering a Catholic employee to clean up his forehead on Ash Wednesday.
"Wipe that f-----g s--t off your face," managing director Niklaus Leuenberger told a bell captain at the New York Palace Hotel on Feb. 25, sources said.
The unholy ultimatum ended up costing Leuenberger his job at the Palace, a swanky 55-story tower on Madison Ave. across the street from St. Patrick's Cathedral.
"As of Monday, March 23, Leuenberger is no longer employed by the New York Palace," hotel spokeswoman Teresa Delaney told the Daily News Tuesday.
The incident was deemed so severe, Christopher Cowdray, head of the London-based Dorchester Collection, which owns the Palace, flew here to hand Leuenberger the pink slip.
"We take the well-being of our employees extremely seriously and that is why our CEO, Mr. Cowdray, went to New York in person to deal with this matter," the company said.
The object of the manager's insult, bell captain Mike Murray, said the cross of dark ashes was liberally applied to his forehead at his Long Island church.
"My priest did a real number on me," he said with a chuckle.
Catholics receive the ashes as a reminder of their own mortality on Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent, a 40-day period of penance that ends on Easter.
"The [general manager] wanted it off, and he knows he was wrong," added the observant Irish Catholic employee. "I've never been approached on a religious issue [before]."
The 893-room five-star hotel, where a posh suite with city views fetches well over $1,000 a night, combines Renaissance-style architecture with modern design and amenities.
The hotel leases its land from the Catholic Church.
It was the place where Leona Helmsley earned the title "Queen of Mean" in the 1980s when the hotel was called the Helmsley Palace.
Leuenberger was tapped as director in May 2007 after many years at the Peninsula Hotel.
When his appointment was announced, he was touted as "a 35-year veteran of the luxury hospitality industry" who was inducted into the "Hotelier's Hall of Achievement" by Leaders Magazine in 2005.
Reached at his Warren, N.J., home, Leuenberger declined to comment, saying, "I don't know what it's about."
Murray said he does not plan to sue.
"I've been working here for 25 years and I wouldn't want to endanger that," he said.
just another evil liberal I bet.
Wonder what religion he is........he sounds awfully anti-Catholic.
What a moron. Glad to see he got canned.
Mr. Cowdray did the right thing.
We need to start putting quotation marks around “liberal” — they’re anything but.
How refreshing! He sounds like a good guy.
Surprisingly enough, the employee is NOT suing? I’m not sue-happy, but this is one of those occasions where it might actually have been warranted.
I noticed anchors of both media and sports with ashes on their foreheads this year.I don’t remember seeing this before.
This is obviously a made up story because as we all know ONLY CHRISTIANS are intolerant.
Search is our friend .....
The guy is a jerk and deserved to be fired. Didn’t he get the message that tolerance is the order of the day and it applies to all religions?
This a-hole got what he deserved. Was it malice or ignorance? I'm always surprised when people who should know better don't.
I did do a search, but didn’t see anything.
They might have been moving it over to religion at the time - when I saw it it was on the news side.
Didn't work, this time, to his dismay. Anger and bigotry replaced critical thinking, and won him a spot on the unemployment line.
That THAT is a company that takes public relations VERY seriously. Good for them.
Probably a member of the "open-minded, tolerant party"...
Most important piece of information in the original post.
“The hotel leases its land from the Catholic Church. “
WOW! Kudos to the Brit hotel! The boss flew from England just to hand this guy his pink slip! Awesome. Great job by the boss!
I am starting to have more faith in the UK after they chased muslim troublemaker down the street recently when they were heckling returning British soldiers. meanwhile America who elects muslims to lead, er make that destroy, the country.
“Wonder what religion he is........he sounds awfully anti-Catholic”
I bet he is a Roamin’ Catholic
Like I said, MIGHT. If this incident caused him harm in that his evaluations or future promotion within the company suffers, then he definitely can show cause for damages.
The guy must be an idiot. Or maybe he has been in China too long.
Yeah, a guy who likes his job. Probably does it well, too.