UPDATE (Thursday, Oct. 10 at 7:30 a.m. PT) — Oregon Democratic U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer called for a boycott Wednesday of all hotels owned and operated by Gordon Sondland, who is wrapped up in the Ukraine controversy surrounding President Donald Trump. But a spokesman for Sondland has since responded, saying that participating in a boycott would only harm Oregon hotel workers.
Sondland is the current U.S. ambassador to the European Union and is also the founder of the boutique hotel company Provenance Hotels.
The company has six hotels in Portland including Hotel Lucia, The Heathman and Sentinel.
Congressional investigators are interested in Sondland because he and another diplomat had talked to Ukranian leaders about how to respond to pressure from Trump to investigate political rival and former Vice President Joe Biden.
“Anyone who cares about America should not do any business or stay at any of Gordon Sondland’s hotels,” Blumenauer said in a news release. “Not until he fulfills his duty as a citizen to testify and turn over all relevant documents to the House of Representatives.”
But late Wednesday, Sondland’s personal attorney, Jim McDermott, fired back at Blumenauer, calling on Oregonians to ignore the long-serving Portland Democrat.
“Congressman Blumenauer’s irresponsible attempt to hurt a homegrown business that supports hundreds of jobs in our local economy is just shameful and ought to outrage all Oregonians,” McDermott said in a statement to OPB.
McDermott’s statement went on to point out that Sondland has offered to testify, but has been ordered not to by his employer, the State Department.
Ellen Carmichael, a spokesperson for Provenance Hotels, echoed that a boycott could hurt workers.
“We are saddened to have our Congressman Earl Blumenauer call for a boycott that would put the livelihoods of thousands of his own constituents in peril,” Carmichael said. “This attack on our employees is unwarranted.”
She also said although Sondland is a founder of the company, he stopped being an executive with Provenance Hotels more than a year ago, when he was appointed to public service.
“Boycotting our hotels has no impact on what is happening on the national political stage,” Carmichael said. “We’re a company that puts people first — we ask that our elected representatives do the same.”