Letter: One bad apple won’t ruin all the good we’ve done


Letter: One bad apple won’t ruin all the good we’ve done

Marielena Scibelli
St Augustine, FL

Dear Historic City News editor:

I was the manager on duty at the Historic Ponce Hotel when Rachel Ashley Bilka was asked to leave.  Her complaint has created a fire storm on social media, so I would like to offer your readers some facts to consider before they draw the wrong conclusion about the situation.

When this guest came to check in, she was rude and uncooperative to the front desk clerk, so they called me for assistance.

FEMA requires specific documentation if you are receiving their assistance.  Every guest must submit the same paperwork and as the hotel operator, we are required to keep a copy for 3-years.

Upon asking the guest for her ID information, she got very rude.  When I checked, we found that her name was flagged.  The system also tells us if the guest is already checked in at another hotel.  Because her name was flagged, I decided we were going to cancel the reservation and we could help her find another hotel because I didn’t feel this was a good fit.

She not only called me a “fat bitch”, but went on to say I needed to “get married or laid” so I can be happy.

I cannot say why her name would be flagged, but usually they are flagged for illegal activity such as drugs, arrests, or falsifying information.  For example, she had no kids in the car, that was suspicious based on her reservation.  Anyone can google her name in Orange County, Florida, the state of Ohio, or Seminole County, Florida and see her background for themselves.

Since this event, this guest, Rachel Bilka, has sent me private messages thru facebook threatening my family and calling them names. This tells a lot about her character.

Finally, as to my concern for the situation of hurricane victims; the Historic Ponce Hotel is, and I am, aware that our neighbors need help with temporary housing.

  • I am the one who set up the FEMA account for the hotel.
  • We have housed over 75 families since the hurricane.
  • We currently have 27 families in-house and 5 more due today.
  • During recovery, I reached out to the electric utilities.
  • FPL occupied the whole hotel during the storm.
  • For the past two months, I have continued to reach out to local churches and the hotel has done challenging work for the city since the storm.

I sincerely hope this gets published, so the public will know that we appreciate all business.  Anyone can come by the hotel at any time and we will happily give them a tour so that they can make a judgement for themselves. I will not apologize for doing my job and protecting the front desk staff from someone who thinks they can bully their way around the system.

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