The hotel is controlled by Albert Nasser
, a wealthy Jewish philanthropist with residences in Geneva and New York.
To run the day-to-day operations at the Congress, Nasser brought in Shlomo Nahmias, an Israeli-born businessman who has put up mezuzas on the hotel's doors and won public support from his Orthodox rabbi for the hotel's battle with its striking workers.
On the other side of the ledger, many Chicagoans have questioned why the union has been willing to stick with the strike, given that Nasser
does not own any other hotels.
The hotel was bought in 1987 by a consortium of investors led by Nasser
is related to the wealthy, Syrian-Jewish Safra family, and he
has run the hotel with help from other family members.
Albert Nasser is a board member of the International Sephardic Education Foundation, which aims to provide educational opportunities for young Sephardic Jews in Israel.
Andjelkovich said that Nasser
would not speak for this article because the corporation, not Nasser
, runs the Congress.
, though, described himself as a heavily involved chairman when he
was deposed as part of the hotel's bankruptcy proceedings in 1998.
said that each week he
received financial statements from Nahmias
, and he
would often respond by calling for more cost-cutting.
"Many times I took things off because I think it's not necessary, or, if he
wanted to make a certain contract, I squeezed him to bargain a little bit more," Nasser
said in the deposition. (The hotel ended the bankruptcy proceedings after it emerged that the owners had been trying to sell the hotel.)
Workers who are on strike say that after Nasser
consortium bought the hotel, the treatment of employees got worse.