Marriott International said Thursday it will sue the owners of the Waikiki hotel that dropped Marriott as manager of the property on Sunday.
M Waikiki, owner of the Waikiki Edition hotel, installed a new management team over the weekend and renamed the hotel the MODERN Honolulu.
The owners claim Marriott mismanaged the hotel, leading to more than $6 million in losses so far this year.
Employees of the hotel told KITV 4 News of threats and intimidation behind the scenes, charges the hotel's owners deny.
The dispute involves the MODERN Honolulu, a 353-room hotel on the Ewa side of the Ilikai in Waikiki.
Employees are being told not to speak to the media, but three of them talked to us on the condition that we keep their identities secret.
They claim the new managers have threatened them.
"If you show up late, don't show up, you call in sick or they catch you with your cell phone. You're pretty much, they're telling us we're being terminated on the spot," said one employee.
A spokesman for the hotel's owner said no one was threatened, but employees were informed they had to follow procedures that were already in place under previous management.
Hotel employees said they are short-staffed after the management changeover.
"A lot of employees are starting to quit, looking for other jobs. The service has gone way down. We're trying to stay positive on the situation," said one employee. "Right now, we are running very short staffed and we don't know what the future holds for us. The owners, the management company don't realize that they're messing with the lives of 300 employees at that hotel."
Marriott said the hotel was more than 80 percent full last month, before the management change early Sunday morning.
Now, employees say just a few guests remain and most of them checked out.
"I really feel bad for all our employees because we've worked so hard to build that Edition brand up, and in that one night, everything was taken away from us. All that dedication," the employee said.
City liquor commission officials told KITV 4 News the hotel's liquor license was placed on "inactive status" at 9:38 a.m. Thursday, since it belonged to Marriott, the previous management.
?That means the hotel cannot sell alcohol anywhere on its property,? said Greg Nishioka, Liquor Control Administrator. There are five bars in the hotel at two pools, a nightclub, in the lobby bar and restaurant.
Employees said the hotel is giving away alcoholic drinks, something a management spokesman confirmed Thursday afternoon. Employees also said they're worried they could be fined by liquor inspectors, since all of the hotel's server cards for bartenders, wait help and others were cancelled as of Thursday morning.
"We just wanted to protect ourselves from any type of fine or penalty from the liquor commission," an employee told KITV 4 News.
The hotel's new managers petitioned the Liquor Commission at its meeting late Thursday afternoon to get a temporary liquor license, which would allow the hotel to sell liquor again, until it is granted a more permanent license, a management spokesman said.
More than 220 of the hotel?s roughly 275 staff signed an employment agreement with the new management and are continuing to work there, said Russell Pang, a management spokesman. He said the company was tracking down other employees who were on vacation or medical leave to offer them employment there as well.