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Venice Inn under new management

March 12, 1999|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

A new management company is running the Venice Inn in Hagerstown, and the man who purchased the hotel and restaurant for $8.5 million last spring is no longer affiliated with the business, said David Glass, the hotel's interim general manager.

The Vidoni family, which founded the restaurant about 50 years ago and later built the hotel next to it, also is no longer affiliated with the business, Glass said.

Last April, Illinois businessman Brian Nielson bought the hotel and restaurant on the corner of Dual Highway and Cleveland Avenue from the Vidoni family.

Richard Vidoni, who was the president of the business, was expected to stay on with the company for several months to ease the transition.

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Glass said he did not know when Vidoni stopped working at the hotel, or why Nielson left the operation.

Glass said that on Wednesday he arrived in Hagerstown to take over the business for the West Chester, Pa.-based company Lodging Unlimited Inc., a management company that operates seven other hotels in the United States.

The hotel and restaurant are now owned by a group of investors, he said.

Glass refused to name the investors and said he did not know how they acquired the business.

There was no record of a sale of the property among Washington County land records on Friday, but the recording of such transactions are not always immediate.

Glass said no matter how Nielson left the business it was probably an amicable separation.

"All the files were here and (Brian Nielson) has been very helpful," Glass said. "If this had been some sort of hostile takeover all the files would have been gone and we wouldn't know what's going on."

Richard Vidoni was unable to be reached for comment because his telephone number is unlisted.

Nielson could not be reached for comment because a local telephone number was not available and his Illinois address was not known.

None of the 50 to 60 employees will lose their jobs as a result of the management changes, Glass said.

During the next two weeks between 10 and 20 people will be added to the hotel and restaurant staff, Glass said.

A more permanent general manager will be named in about two weeks, he said.

There are plans to renovate the interior of the 222-room hotel and revise the menu in the restaurant, Glass said.

"There's going to be big changes coming in the next six months," Glass said.

The hotel and restaurant began as the dream of an Italian immigrant, the late Ettore Avellino Vidoni, who left his native Italy for the United States in 1923.

After working in a quarry, a produce business and as a truck driver, Ettore Vidoni opened a restaurant in his two-story brick house on the corner of Cleveland Avenue and Dual Highway.

Over the years, the family added motel rooms and later built a hotel.

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