ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Hotel managers are frustrated that Albany lost its bid to host the Jehovah Witness annual convention. For years, Albany hosted the event and competed to get it back this year, but lost out to Tifton.
Monday morning, angry hotel managers took their frustrations to the city manager. The Jehovah's Witnesses convention would bring in several hundred people for a couple of days and fill all of hotel rooms in Albany.
Hotel managers are still unsure about why the Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses chose to hold their convention in Tifton instead of Albany.
"They complained, he complained to me that there were issues with price gouging. That someone would quote a certain price and when the conference came around it would be higher. He also said that there were issues with over booking," said Albany City Manager, Alfred Lott.
City Manger Alfred Lott told hotel managers that better communication will be used in future negotiations. "A local person does some of the coordination, and it is eventually handed off to a regional coordinator. And that hand off didn't happen until late July when it was too late for the event," said Lott.
Lott ensured that proper business practices were used during this year's negotiations, but managers question Civic Center Director John Mazzolla's role. "We've been told that Mr. Mazzolla has dropped the ball and dragged his feet," said Sales and Marketing Manager for Comfort Suites and Sleep Inn, Jaye Lomax.
"Evidence shows that on February 28th, Mr. Mazzolla presented a proposal to them which was the exact same proposal that they had gotten the last time," said Lott.
Now they want Alfred Lott to better regulate how business with the Civic Center is being done to make sure more opportunities are not lost. "It's my intent just as bringing the Wildcats and retaining them to bring as many people in town as I can," said Lott.
"Mr. Lott said that he will get involved and that he wants business just as much as we do so and I hope he does," said Lomax. City Manager Alfred Lott is already in negotiations to bring the convention back to Albany next year. Lott sent a proposal last week and expects to get a response in the next few weeks.