A days after its entrance was sealed with red wax, the Saint Georges Hotel has reopened its doors, once again standing its ground in the face of the authorities.
The famous, nearly 100-year-old resort hotel was closed on Wednesday by the order of Attorney-General Judge Ghassan Khoury on the grounds of unpaid fines, amounting to 2.5 billion Lebanese pounds, dating back over 20 years.
However, the legal complication that led to this development was quickly resolved and a police officer was filmed removing the red wax and the closure notice off of the hotel’s entrance on Thursday.
The said fines, controversially issued in 1999 over illegal maritime property grounds, have been repeatedly disputed by the hotel’s owner, Fadi Khoury, who has refused to pay them.
After a couple of decades of being stuck in the judiciary, the file was abruptly invoked again this week, around two months after the Lebanese authorities directed their attention to the old problem of maritime property violations.
“The matter relates to two fines that were issued against the pool unjustly more than 20 years ago, and the objection to them remains pending before the State’s Shura Council, which issues its decisions only in favor of Solidere,” Fadi Khoury said Wednesday, in response to the closure.
Lebanese social media users rejoiced over the reopening of Saint Georges Hotel and for a good reason.
The hotel is known for its cultural and historical significance, and for its owner’s long, rebellious quarrel with Solidere and Lebanese authorities over the arbitrary measures against the age-old resort.