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Novotel Hotel Hell: Security Beats Up On Gambling Exec’s Son

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Jan/31/2009
Novotel Hotel

Those staying at the posh Novotel London West Hotel continued questioning Saturday how security of the chain establishment could bet permitted to allegedly assault the son of an online gambling executive.

Eyewitness claims flooding into Gambling911.com late Friday night and early Saturday talked of how Steven Korfman was taken into an elevator by hotel security goons and repeatedly "elbowed" and "kneed".  Korfman and his dad, Michael, were paying guests of the hotel.

Casino Affiliate Programs (CAP) hosted an event in the Novotel Hotel.  Michael Korfman, who runs the competing Gambling Portal Webmasters Affiliation (GPWA), appeared at the show after CAP organizers reportedly banned him and several associates.  The two organizations have been involved in a high profile feud over the past few weeks over allegations that some CAP organizers ran a "rogue" online poker room (CardSpike.com), slow paying affiliates for at least two months.   It was unclear as to why GPWA associates decided to attend the function.

"Most people in this industry have friends on all sides of the equations and they probably booked their flights and hotels well before any of the Cardspike allegations happened," speculated one member of the GPWA posting forum Saturday morning.  "They attended ICEi (another global gaming conference held this past week) and I wouldn't expect them to have to change their hotel venues because they were banned from attending the cap conference fairly last minute."

"The events of yesterday evening were pretty upsetting to me personally," Michael Corfman said in an issued statement on his forum.  Corfman claims that Alex Pratt, who works on behalf of iGaming Business and helped to organize the London event, was also pretty clearly upset about what transpired Friday evening. "I've known Alex for a long time, and have a great deal of respect for him, as I believe all in the industry who know him well do also.

"I came down from a suite in the hotel when J.Todd called me about Steven (Korfman's son) to try to find out what had happened to him and where he was because all I knew from the phone call I received was that Steven had been forcefully taken away in the elevator from the hotel lobby.

"So I took the elevator from the lobby level to street level, and found Steven outside the hotel. Steven was pretty shaken, but seemed to be doing as well as could be expected under the circumstances. Steven did not want to go back into the hotel at the time since he has been told the police would be called and he would be arrested if he came into the hotel again, but neither did he want to have to stay outside for long.

 

"I went back inside and spoke with the three security guards that were inside the door to prevent Steven from coming inside. I explained that I did not believe they had a right to remove him from the hotel, and asked who they were. One said that he worked for the hotel and the other two security guards said they were hired by the event organizer.

 

"I was told the order to remove Steven was given by the event organizer, and that I would need to talk with them. I agreed to be escorted to the event organizers office so I could discuss the matter with them. After a short delay I spoke with a woman who worked with Alex as part of the event organization team. She apologized for what had happened, and said that Steven should not have been removed from the building, and that he would be allowed to return inside.

"Later I learned that the order to have Steven removed was given by Lou. I also learned that Lou (Fabiano - another CAP organizer who claims to have resigned this past week) was asked to leave the hotel by the other parties involved in organizing the event, that the hotel security staff were told that they were not to accept such order from Lou in the future, and that any future orders of that sort needed to be given by Alex.

"When I went back outside to let Steven know he could come back into the hotel, I found him listening to an angry Lou who was waiting to leave in a taxi with his wife. While I was there Lou made a number of comments that were threatening to both Steven and I, and also that were threatening to J.Todd, and asked that we bring J.Todd outside. When Steven asked Lou if he really meant the threats that were being made, he confirmed that was the case and said we could publish it.

 

"Shortly after I had gone back outside to see Steven, Alex and Warren also came outside. I learned that they had sent Lou outside to take a cab because they wanted him to leave the conference hotel. They made sure Lou got in the cab and we went inside. The four of us agreed to talk about the situation and to try to put things in a better place.

 

"The four of us meet for a good hour, and we all were in agreement that it was not good for anyone for this sort of discord to exist.

 

"Warren talked about wanting to work together as partners, and that an apology on our part would be a first step in making that happen. Personally, I had a hard time wrapping my head around the concept that we owe him an apology and he does not owe us one, but the conversation was in general a positive one with neither of us wanting public confrontations."

Anger was now being directed at the hotel and its parent company Accor, which many bystanders (some of whom snapped photos of the incident on their cell phones) suggested Korfman should sue.

Novotel is a French hotel chain.  Accor operates 4,000 hotels worldwide in nearly 100 different countries.

Many guests and attendees of the CAP event talked of being terrified about leaving their rooms.  Some were considering transferring to another hotel.

Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher        

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