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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, April 4, 2001

Aston executive sells off company stock

By Andrew Gomes
Advertiser Staff Writer

Aston Hotels & Resorts president-on-leave Andre Tatibouet has quietly disposed of substantially all his stock in Aston parent ResortQuest International Inc., according to a regulatory filing by the company yesterday.

Andre Tatibouet sold the Aston chain in 1998.

Advertiser library photo • June 14, 2000

Tatibouet had been ResortQuest's largest shareholder since he sold the Aston chain to the Memphis, Tenn.-based vacation rental operator in 1998.

Yesterday's filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission showed that Tatibouet is no longer a principal stockholder or among executive officers holding stock in the company.

As recently as January 2000, Tatibouet owned a 7.2 percent stake in ResortQuest, about 1.3 million shares valued at $6 million, according to records.

Yesterday's filing showed that Par Capital Management Inc. is now the company's largest shareholder, with an 8.8 percent stake. It also listed 15 ResortQuest directors and executive officers who collectively own 16.1 percent of the company. Tatibouet was not among them.

Last May, ResortQuest sued Tatibouet in connection with Tatibouet's agreement to sell rights to the Aston name outside Hawai'i to competing hotel operator Cendant Corp. ResortQuest also named Cendant as a defendant in the suit. Tatibouet, through his attorney, says he still owns the Aston brand name and is permitted to license and franchise it internationally.

The suit has yet to be resolved. Tatibouet has remained on administrative leave as Aston president since then and is no longer a ResortQuest director.

Previous filings with the SEC over the past year show that Tatibouet began selling stock shortly after ResortQuest filed suit. In the five months following the legal proceeding, Tatibouet reported selling at least 325,000 shares valued at approximately $1.7 million. Aston officials said Tatibouet has continued to sell nearly all of his shares. Tatibouet did not return a call yesterday for comment.

In the past 10 months, the price of ResortQuest shares has increased 66 percent, rising from $5.125 on June 1 to $8.50 at yesterday's market closing.

Tatibouet acquired most of his shares in 1998, when he sold the Aston chain for $30 million plus stock to ResortQuest.

Aston operates 38 hotels in Hawai'i. Gains from those operations helped ResortQuest post a net profit of $9.6 million, or 51 cents a share, compared with 1999 profits of $4.4 million, or 24 cents a share.

Andrew Gomes can be reached by phone at 525-8065, or by e-mail at agomes@honoluluadvertiser.com.