I grew up in South Orange and Morristown, New Jersey. I went to private school in Milford, Conn. I was asked to not return because of …. But, they didn’t throw me out.
I went to Fairleigh Dickson University in Florham Park, New Jersey and graduated with a BS in Business Management.
My family owned a Howard Johnson’s Motor Lodge in Whippany, New Jersey. So I started my business career as the front desk clerk. I was such a cocky kid that one day I walked into a full service boutique hotel a few miles away and told them “We want to buy this place”. Six months later, we made a deal to purchase the facility. (Little did we know that the place wasn’t making any money!)
I ended up managing the boutique hotel and had a blast developing new business. The very first show I produced was with Don Rickles. We held it on a Tuesday night because Tuesdays were slow in the hotel business. For expenditures of $10,000 or more, I had to get the board’s approval. But, I didn’t. I just hired Rickles to do his thing. The board called me in. I told them I would foot the whole bill myself and take all the profit. They okay’d the expenditure and the show went on. We weren’t selling enough tickets at $29 and $35, so I took out some print ads and advertised $20 tickets. After that I sold out the $35 tickets. I also produced show for Jerry Vale, Sammy Davis Jr and the like.
I learned, when doing company parties, to find out what salad dressing the person booking the party liked. Then, during the event, I would always serve the person booking the party their favorite salad dressing. (My point: I took the time to listen to the person booking the party and gave only them their favorite salad dressing.) During the company party when the person that booked the party was talking with the President or CEO of the company I would go over to them while they were speaking, and complement the booking person to the CEO. We got lots of repeat holiday party business to say the less.
The largest event I produced was with President Richard Nixon’s arrival at the hotel. The Secret Service checked into the hotel a week earlier. Boy, those Secret Service boys can drink, all the way up to 24 hours before the President arrived. Then, they were all business. I spent time alone with President Nixon in my office. I remember thinking, “Here I am… alone… with the most powerful person on the planet.”
We hosted a permanent party for Allstate Insurance. They held their sales and claims training at the hotel for 6 New England states, plus New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. AT&T also held their long lines training at my hotel.
The front of the hotel was a traffic circle. During the holidays we would close it off and have a holiday village, complete with Santa Claus. In order for the kids to sit on Santa’s lap, they would have to bring a gift for the needy children in town. We regularly filled 3 bedrooms with all the gifts that the children would bring. On Christmas Eve we would distribute those gifts.
We had booked a fashion show to be held at the hotel. We were contracted to do public relations for the show and were just about ready to send out the invitations. Then, the post office went on strike. So, I had to get really creative. I booked a photographer, and my assistant and I went to a horse farm. I instructed my assistant sit on a horse, with envelopes stuck all over its saddle, and her arms full of envelopes. I also had envelopes sticking out of my jacket pockets and took lead of the horse. The pictures went into the paper. The photo shoot was picked up by the news in New York. Needless to say, the fashion show was a huge success!
I learned a lot about people in my time in the hotel business. One of my favorite lessons was when a gentleman came into the hotel to ask about hosting a company party there. I didn’t think much of him because he wore blue jeans. (During the 1970s business never was conducted in jeans). He booked his company party with us for 1,000 people at $25 a head, $23 for the hotel and $2 going to him as a finder’s fee. From that I learned to never judge a book by its cover.
I was Vice-President of the company division and was responsible for the operation of the Hotel as well as 4 Motor Lodges, 2 in New Jersey and 2 in Florida.
At one time in the 1970s, I owned a Night Club on 5th Ave in New York City. It had a gourmet restaurant on the bottom floor and a disco up stairs. I loved the life and culture of New York. That was a very wild time in my life. I was fortunate to have lived through it.
I moved To Southern California and purchased a Burger King in Vista, Ca. and Poway, Ca. One time we had a promotion for 25 cent hamburgers. We were making $1,000 an hour. Meaning we were making 4000 hamburgers an hour! People would come in and order 40-50 hamburgers at a time. It was a blast.
As you can see I don’t like to sit still very long. After a short retirement, I purchased a La Jolla residential cleaning business. We cleaned 42 – 45 homes a day and made $8,000 a week in cleaning revenue. I don’t clean homes any more.
I’ve been sober since January 4, 1989. I was a resident and graduate of McDonald’s Drug Treatment Center.
Presently I live in Solana Beach, Ca. with my roommate of 7+ years.
Travel both Domestic, Asia and Europe
Ride my motorcycle
Live at the beach
Places I have lived:
New York City, NY
Cape Cod, MA
Solana Beach, CA