Bitter ousting: Minor fires Danielson from Landmark project

Halsey Minor (left) and Lee Danielson (right) were far chummier when they broke ground on the Landmark Hotel in March with Mayor Dave Norris.

"I am the former developer of the Landmark Hotel."

With those words Lee Danielson confirms to the Hook that he is no longer tied to the Downtown Mall luxury hotel project– at least for now.

"I am taking no legal action at this time," says Danielson, "but I am talking to my attorneys."

Danielson learned of the personnel change by letter from attorneys representing Landmark owner Halsey Minor. Danielson thinks he may have a case against Minor due to what he says was their agreement.

"He has two choices," says Danielson. "He can either fire me for quality, and I can't figure out how that would be since we were working ahead of schedule, or he can pay me what I'm owed."

For now work does continue on the Landmark. A work crew operated on the half-finished structure this afternoon.

Danielson says that while this is ultimately a question of business, it does hurt him personally that he is off the Landmark project.

"The Landmark is near and dear to my heart," says Danielson. "I thought it was going well, it was going ahead of schedule, and I just don't understand this."

The project has been embroiled in controversy since last month when Georgia-based Silverton Bank withheld some loan money for the project. Minor said this was a result of Silverton defaulting. Danielson and Silverton contended that no such default had occurred.

Minor did not immediately return the Hook's call for comment, but in a November 28 online comment, citing "many issues of poor coordination," he remarked that Danielson "will not be anywhere near the project.

"I have hired a firm that specializes in construction management of hotels to replace Lee, and they are busy cleaning up," Minor noted.

"Lee's history speaks for itself in Charlottesville and LA," continued Minor, referring apparently to post-development acrimony that attended the construction of the Charlottesville Ice Park and Regal Downtown Cinema.

"He had been trying to get someone to back him for four years on the hotel, and just as time was running out I gave him a shot," Minor wrote. "I don't think there are any Halsey Minors left for Lee in his future, I am afraid. This nasty blowup will most likely be his last. Life is too short."

Charlottesville Mayor Dave Norris says that while he has no knowledge of whether or how quickly the Landmark is set to be completed, he emphasizes that while the nine-story luxury hotel would be a "vital contributor to Downtown," but that economic life will go on Downtown with or without it.

"If it never exists," says Norris, "it's not like Downtown will die a peaceful death."

Norris says he's hopeful that the project will be completed as scheduled, but has no inside information as to how construction is proceeding and has generally stayed out of the project. Asked whether he has tried to mediate the spat between Danielson and Minor, Norris shudders at the thought.

"Absolutely not," says the mayor, "I'm no dummy."

–last updated 10:32am, December 8


Gotta put my money on Minor on this one. Sounds like the project was way off course and probably way over budget. There is only a finite amount of $$ for a construction project as any more would make repayment in doubt so long as the cash flow from the project is not enhanced by the additional improvements.

It will be interesting to see if the train is lifted back on the tracks or taken apart and carried away in pieces.

Considering the bickering between these two it's no surprise to me they've parted ways. Good luck to Minor on his project. Let's not have an eyesore on the downtown mall.

Juan, por-favor dump a pile of sand on the sidewalk and stick three shovels in it and put hard hats on the shovels so we can get our picture taken.


mr/Mrs/Miss Yikes, trust me, there is no way on God's Green Earth this hotel will not be completed. Even if the city taxpayers have to foot the bill to complete it. We have prior experience in building or completing expensive hotels. In case you don't recall, it was called the Radisson at the time. It is now known as the Omni.

Local food. Local music. Local bailouts here we come!

pretty amazing that "Yikes" can come up with such a conclusion about the project as it has never been reported in any of the papers. Seems like someone other than Minor dreamt this up and got it through the process.

From what I can see is that Minor should start a law firm.

Too many big men on campus it appears. Maybe THE U could use another hotel?

"I'm no dummy."--Can't we get through an article without a politician lying to us? Oh, and if Minor insists on keeping the cool "high tech wunderkind billionaire boy" Jackson Browne haircut, he should at least button that sports jacket to hide that beer gut. If Halsey Minor fell for Lee Majors and got married in Hawaii, would be he Halsey Minor-Majors?

Re your comment on the mayor, Dave Norris doesn't lie. Straight up, he doesn't. You and he may have differing opinions, or you may think he's a jerk or something, but the man tells the truth. I've good reason to believe that his unwavering sense of fairness, decency, and unwillingness to lie has not made him particularly popular among many of the local politicians and fat-cats. If you ever need to talk to him about something, he's 100% accessible and willing to listen, even if you disagree with him. No ego trips like we've experienced with previous mayors and councilors. Go ahead and contact him-- you'll probably be pleasantly surprised.

Agreed on all else in your post, however

Hey Now, are you really the mayor himself but not willing to reveal your name since you agreed that Minor should cover his gut??

I feel bad for Lee because I've met him and he is an awesome person with something not too many rich people like himself have these days and that's emotion. Albiet that means nothing in the business world I would still rather fly in his jet before Minor's.

Let's all hope we as taxpayers can benefit from this structure...

Definitely not the mayor! (He don't toot his own horn.) He and I have disagreed often enough, but I have a lot of professional respect for the guy. Hope my comment reflected that.

Here's something else he has that Minor doesn't-- a sense of modesty and humility.

Thanks for the insight about Danielson. Never met him, though he seems an interesting character.

The only thing that needs cleaning up is minor's mess. If there was concern for Danielson's background why go into business with him? One might ask the same question to Danielson... Why go into business with someone who has burned more bridges than a wildfire?

To Mr. Minor, get it together. Stop with the snotty attitude. Life is too short to wish you were Warren Buffet, without a shot in hell.

I don't believe Charlottesville welcomes those with lack of compassion,grace, and character, such as yourself.

Have a great day....try not to get sued.

Lee is a stand up guy...I can't imagine what happened here, but I have to weigh in and say he's honest, hard working, and has never crossed anyone.

The article actually got me thinking. But a big question bugs my mind,do you have to pick up a job just any job just because you want to learn?What about the major considerations which informs the decision to take up a job- finance, self actualisation , proficiency and probably losing oneself to forget a terrible experience. Are these considerations worth throwing to the wind just because one wants to learn. To my mind Iwould advocate for jobs that take in to considerations these basic needs epecially with a bias to a comfortable financial remuneration. Besides there is a basic principle in jobseeking which requires that one should always look for jobs in areas one is best suited. It is not a random sampling apprach but a rational decision aimed at bringing out the highest level of productivity and satisfaction in the best interest of both the employed and the employee.The above notion only works to discourage proficiency and can only be tenable where there is no intention of permanence.I do not know of the society being referred to in the article but I believe the views I represent are universal.

Dear Bryte--
Obviously your view isn't "universal" or the nice Ms. Trunk would not espoused a contrary view.