Real Estate

LuxUrban Hotels Boots CEO After 3 Months Amid $41M Loss, 96% Stock Plunge

LuxUrban Hotels fires CEO after 3 months amid $41M loss and 96% stock drop.

By Doug Elli

6/11, 19:50 EDT
LuxUrban Hotels Inc.
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Key Takeaway

  • LuxUrban Hotels terminated CEO Shanoop Kothari after three months, replacing him with industry veteran Robert Arigo.
  • The hotel chain has faced significant challenges, including a $1.2 million fine and a $41 million quarterly loss.
  • LuxUrban's stock price has plummeted 96% this year, currently trading at 23 cents per share.

Leadership Shakeup at LuxUrban Hotels

In a dramatic turn of events, LuxUrban Hotels, a Miami-based hotel chain, has terminated its newly appointed CEO, Shanoop Kothari, just three months into his tenure. Kothari, who took over from founder Brian Ferdinand in March, has been replaced by Robert Arigo, an industry veteran who joined LuxUrban from M&R Hotel Management as chief operating officer. This leadership change comes amid a tumultuous period for LuxUrban, which has been grappling with financial instability and legal challenges since the start of the year.

Financial Troubles and Legal Woes

LuxUrban's troubles began to surface in January when short seller Bleecker Street Capital published a damning analysis, predicting financial turmoil and highlighting ongoing lawsuits against the company. This report triggered a sharp decline in LuxUrban's stock price, which has plummeted by 96 percent since the beginning of the year, now trading at just 23 cents a share. The situation worsened in February when the company was fined $1.2 million by New York City for allegedly operating 70 illegal short-term rentals. By March, LuxUrban reported a staggering $41 million quarterly loss and initiated an internal audit to address its financial woes.

Formation of a Special Committee

In an effort to salvage shareholder value, LuxUrban announced the formation of a special committee on June 3. This committee is tasked with exploring strategic alternatives to stabilize the company and restore investor confidence. However, the challenges continue to mount, as evidenced by a recent lawsuit from a subsidiary of Apple Hospitality REIT. The lawsuit accuses LuxUrban of squatting at Hotel 57 in Midtown East and claims the company owes $1.8 million in unpaid rent.

Broader Implications for the Hospitality Sector

The turmoil at LuxUrban Hotels is reflective of broader challenges within the hospitality sector, particularly for companies that rely heavily on leasing rather than owning properties. The financial instability and legal issues faced by LuxUrban underscore the risks associated with this business model. Additionally, the impact of short sellers, who can significantly influence market perceptions and stock prices through negative reports, cannot be underestimated. LuxUrban's experience serves as a cautionary tale for other hospitality firms navigating similar operational and financial landscapes.