April 14, 2004

Las Vegas' 3,002-room Bellagio has been experiencing a power outage since Sunday. The cause of the outage was not known, according to Alan Feldman, senior vice president of public affairs for the resort's parent company, MGM Mirage. About 2,000 guest rooms were occupied at the time of the blackout, prompting MGM Mirage to place affected guests at its other Las Vegas properties. Hotel officials yesterday expected power to be restored by mid-week.

American Airlines announced that one of its vendors released 1.2 million passenger records last summer at the request of the Transportation Security Administration. The carrier said it had authorized the vendor, Airline Automation Inc., to give the data directly to the TSA; however, AAI instead shared the data with four companies pursuing government security contracts. AAI, which insisted its actions were authorized, said each of the four companies had signed nondisclosure agreements and either returned or destroyed the data. In a related story, law firm Cauley Geller Bowman & Rudman LLP on Monday filed a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, alleging the actions of American Airlines and AAI violated federal privacy laws.

After a heated campaign, voters in Troy, Mich., last week soundly rejected a ballot proposal to transfer seven acres of city-owned land for development of a hotel and conference center. Proposal 6, defeated by a vote of 9,941 to 2,520, had been backed by the Troy Chamber of Commerce and other pro-business groups. A feasibility study commissioned by the Detroit Convention & Visitors Bureau had projected that a 200,000-square-foot conference center and hotel could generate 2,800 jobs and $160 million annually for the city. However, most of Troy's mayoral candidates, joined by local citizen groups such as Troy Citizens United Against Parkland Giveaways, came out against the project, citing concerns over the planned $72.6 million development's economic and environmental impact. The land in question will instead be maintained as a park.

On Monday, the Albany (N.Y.) County Legislature approved a measure to create an Albany Convention Center Authority that can borrow up to $225 million to build a hotel and convention center within one mile of the Capitol. The legislature also approved an increased hotel occupancy tax, from 3 to 6 percent, to pay for the construction. The Albany legislature passed the measure last Thursday. Now the bills must be passed at the state level, which, according to state assemblyman John J. McEneny (D-district 104), is likely to occur before June. The proposed convention center will be 250,000 to 300,000 square feet and will include a 400-room hotel. Its opening will be 2007 at the earliest, said Lori Harris, commissioner of development and planning in Albany.

A temporary expansion of the San Jose Convention Center is expected to be completed by January 2005. According to the San Jose Convention and Visitors Bureau, the stand-alone facility, adjacent to the existing center, will offer about 100,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space and will cost more than $5 million. The facility is expected to last up to five years at its current site, at which point it might be relocated nearby to make room for a permanent structure.