In a bid to save the Hotel am Stadtpark from the clutches of a neo-Nazi organization represented by far-right lawyer Jürgen Rieger, the town of Delmenhorst have upped its bid for the hotel to 3 million euros ($3.8 million). The council met late of Thursday evening and agreed on the price by a majority vote. The offer, the council stated, would be its final one.
However, with the hotel still available on the Internet auction site eBay for 3.4 million euros -- the price the extremist Wilhelm Tietjen Foundation for Fertilization LTD offered in September before falling silent on the deal -- hotelier Günter Mergel seems to be holding out for a higher offer than the council is willing to meet.
The owner of the Hotel am Stadtpark told the council he would not sell at their price, stating tax reasons for wanting a higher fee.
Hotel burdened in debt
A spokesperson for the Delmenhorst council said the representatives were unimpressed with Mergel's stance but were confident of buying the hotel at their suggested price.
The hotel has been empty for the past 15 months and Mergel has been keen to cut his losses, to such an extent that he was willing to give the hotel to the neo-Nazi group as a donation in return for the Tietjen foundation taking over his considerable debts on the property.
Since initially offering 3.4 million euros for the hotel early last month, which the foundation wanted to turn into a far-right training and conference center, lawyer Rieger has gone underground and the foundation has been scratched from the British business register due to non-payment of taxes. This has effectively stopped it from legally existing.
Community effort close to saving hotel from Nazis
Mergel now has little leverage in the deal with his only real chance of getting to extra 400,000 euros he wants coming from an eBay sale, unless the neo-Nazis can reform their company and make a concrete bid.
The city and people of Delmenhorst are hoping that doesn't happen. They hope their combined offer -- made up of 1.6 million euros from the town coffers, 920,000 euros raised by the concerned townsfolk and 500,000 euros in building society loans -- will be the only offer on the table and the one Günter Mergel accepts out of desperation to sell.