Employees at the fancy Omphoy Ocean Resort in Palm Beach say they live in fear of being fired at the whim of owner Jeff Greene, a billionaire whom they say is running their work-place into the ground!
In extensive interviews highlighted with cellphone photos (click here) and internal memos, the picture that current and ex-resort workers paint of Greene’s presence at the Palm Beach boutique resort he bought in foreclosure is far from being flattering.
They describe wild tirades stuffed with F-bombs that the 56-year-old Greene unloads on cleaning ladies, valets, kitchen staff and high-ranking managers, and spur-of-the-moment decisions changing the character of the four-diamond beach resort.
And those who question his actions, as former Human Resources Manager Sunshine Cain did last month when two housekeepers came to her in tears after Greene’s wrath rained down on them, are often fired. Cain was spotted cleaning her desk a week ago and hasn’t been seen since.
Word of the dismissal comes on a week when famed Miami chef Michelle Bernstein, who runs the resort’s chi-chi restaurant, announced she’s severing her ties with the resort. The eatery’s Lindsay Autry, who’s currently starring on Bravo’s Top Chef, unexpectedly quit. And the spa, Exhale, is slated to shut down next month.
“Some staff members are simply terrified,” explained one former employee. Those who spoke with Gossip Extra fear retaliation and asked not to be named. “I’ve been at the receiving end of abuse. (Greene) cussed me out, told me I wasn’t a team player and to f…..g go work for a union. I’m working on a hostile work environment complaint.”
Calls for comment left for Greene at the resort, where he lives while his home is being remodelled, and with General Manager Henry Ball weren’t returned. Greene didn’t respond to an email asking for an interview.
Miami lawyer Stuart Grossman, however, responded on Greene’s behalf and accused “a former disgruntled employee” with a “vendetta” of spreading “fairy tales.”
“It was necessary to replace a few ineffective and unproductive employees . . . ,” Grossman’s email to Gossip Extra reads. “The hotel’s sales are up 30 percent over last year, and the hotel has never operated more efficiently.”
On the laundry list of complaints against Greene:
– Since Greene, his wife, two children and two nannies moved into six suites in December, some spaces reserved for routine business and the guests’ comfort have been claimed by Greene. He reporteldy had a storage room emptied of its banquet equipment to build a playroom with a photo booth, juke box and movie theater. Greene also has contractors build a playground for the children in a small medidation garden outside the windows of the Zen-like spa.
– Greene has various resort employees, including valets and cleaning personnel, work at his house. HR head Cain was told to fire two women who returned from Greene’s house in tears after he allegedly called them “useless.” He reportedly didn’t like the perfume that one was wearing and told her she “smells like a whore.” Cain complained about Greene’s behavior to his wife, Mei, and got canned. She declined comment.
– Greene ordered to have department heads whose staff put in for overtime not approved by Greene pay for the OT out of their salaries
– Guests and health instructors have complained about yoga classes being disrupted by Greene’s children noisily running through the spa
– Greene, No. 200 on the Forbes 400 richest Americans and a former Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, slashed the resort’s health benefits
“Many employees are embarrassed with what’s going on,” one of the sources said. “Jeff Greene made a quick buck but that didn’t buy him class. He should recognize he can’t run a hotel and let the pros do it.”