A concierge company that helped secure a $380,000-a-month room for a Bahraini princess at the upscale Mark Hotel on the Upper East Side is claiming that the hotel did not pay its full commission due to an email scam, according to a new lawsuit.
Elevate Concierge, which is run by Suzie Sims of Washington, D.C., claims that it arranged a long-term stay at the hotel for Princess Noor Al Khalifa from November 2015 to June 2016, and that the hotel agreed to pay the company a 10 percent commission fee for each month she rented the room. Elevate’s lawsuit claims that fee totals a bit more than $304,000. By LLNYC’s calculations, if the princess stayed in the room for the full eight months, that would mean she was paying about $380,000 per month in rent.
According to the suit, the Mark paid Elevate $98,708.50 for its service, and then stopped paying the rest — an amount of $205,893.10. When Elevate complained, the hotel claimed it had paid the remaining amount, and showed email correspondence with what Elevate calls a “spoofed email account.”
That account directed the hotel to send the money to accounts in the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong, rather than the Bank of America account that Elevate had been using. Elevate claims the Mark “never confirmed with Elevate the highly-suspicious changed payment instructions.”
A spokesperson for the Mark confirmed that they had been paying a fraudulent account. In a statement, the spokesperson said: “We recently became aware that we were the victim of an email spoofing attack by an individual pretending to be associated with Elevate. The spoofing email involved erroneous wire transfer instructions with which the hotel complied before learning that the request was fraudulent. Our lawyers are in the process of investigating the incident and the investigation is ongoing.”
The suit also claims that the Mark Hotel did not provide Princess Noor with her tax refund in a timely manner, and blamed Elevate for the delay. This “tarnished Elevate’s reputation” and caused Princess Noor to fire Elevate. The suit claims that she now stays in the hotel without using Elevate.
Elevate is seeking monetary damages of an as-yet-unspecified amount.
Neither Elevate nor Princess Noor Al Khalifa immediately responded to requests for comment.