July 2, 2008: We're proud of Emerson's record

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To The Editor:
In last week’s paper, Matthew Frisch attempted to find fault with the employment record of the Emerson Resort and Spa. I feel compelled to set that record straight.
Over the past 15 years we have spent many millions of dollars, developing, building, and then re-building after fire, a first-class resort. Most of the labor jobs in those building efforts were for people from Ulster, Greene and Delaware counties.
In 12 years of operation, we’ve spent at least another $20 million in payroll for staff members, again, local people who get decent salaries and are eligible for many other benefits including vacation, sick pay and personal time, holiday time and health insurance. We’ve donated nearly $1 million in cash, goods and services to local non-profit organizations for use in their fundraising efforts.
In running our operation, we buy goods and services that range from supplies and materials, tools and equipment, food and product and advertising and we buy that locally at every opportunity. We generate huge sales and bed tax revenue and pay significant property taxes to school and town. We push our guests out the door each day to visit local shops and galleries, attend concerts and plays, to ski, tube, hike, golf and otherwise enjoy what other for-profit and not-for profits have to offer.
We have won two incredible awards never before imagined by a property in our area. Having been named by Conde-Nast Johanassens as the number one inn in North America, and having earned the first Mobil 4-star ranking for any New York spa property outside of New York City, we have brought a sense of pride and accomplishment back to our town and our region.
People like Mr. Frisch love to look for blemishes. If you look hard enough, you may find some. The local people working for and running this property may not be perfect. But when we make mistakes, we correct them. I don’t believe you will find any business of our size and scope that is without blemish but I do know you will not find a better employer in our area.
For all these years we have been good corporate citizens improving the quality of life here.
We are an example of why the Belleayre Resort should be built, not why it should be stopped. We are proud of our accomplishments and look forward to continued contributions to our community.

Ron Van Warmer
General manager,
Emerson Resort & Spa,
Mount Tremper