Fultonville hotel subject of lawsuit

FULTONVILLE – Choice Hotels International is suing the Fultonville Hospitality Group and its owner for allegedly continuing to use the trademarked Econo Lodge name after the Fultonville group had been let go by the franchise.

Annie George, owner of the Fultonville Hospitality Group, after her husband, Mathai K. George’s, death in a plane crash in 2009, is being sued by Choice Hotels after she allegedly continued to use the Econo Lodge name after they were given a notice of termination in August 2011.

According to the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Utica, the termination was caused by a failure to rectify a July 29 breach of material obligations under the franchise agreement. This prohibited the Fultonville group from using anything owned or bearing the logo of Choice Hotel.

Also, George was required to pay back more than $15,000 in cash for past due franchise fees and more than $26,000 for the remaining payments for the franchise, according to the lawsuit.

Choice is seeking damages based on trademark violations and unfair competition.

George, a resident of Rexford, Schenectady County, made news in the Capital Region last year after she was charged with breaking immigration law by allegedly keeping an illegal alien as a servant in George’s mansion.

In July, U.S. District Judge Gary Sharpe dismissed the case, in which George was accused of keeping the Indian woman, identified only as V.M., beyond the time of her visa and underpaying her for cooking, cleaning and caring for six children.

After a complaint was filed anonymously, immigration agents removed the woman from her mansion in 2011.

Sharpe last year said the prosecution could bring a new indictment.

Arthur Cleveland covers Montgomery County news. He can be reached at montco@leaderherald.com