Editorial Board   

Mr. Tess

John Tess

President & CEO, Heritage Consulting Group

John Tess started Heritage in 1982 when the historic preservation field was still in its infancy. Mr. Tess was working at the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office, responsible for reviewing HTC applications. He saw that developers and architects were submitting applications where they clearly did not understand the program rules, and also did not put their projects in a favorable light.

Mr. Tess believed that, with proper guidance, applicants could secure NPS approvals quicker, achieve an overall better project and, by being efficient, be more profitable. These were the guiding principles he used to form Heritage. With the firm based in Portland, Mr. Tess quickly established a reputation as a tenacious advocate for his clients.

By the 1990s, Heritage dominated historic preservation work in Oregon and Mr. Tess actively pursued HTC work across the country. Heritage secured projects in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Miami Beach and other major metropolitan areas. Many of the projects were historic boutique hotels, only then becoming popular.

As with Portland clients, national clients appreciated Mr. Tess's tenacity, creativity and advocacy. One of the few tax credit consultants whose roots go back to the beginning, Mr. Tess is well regarded as a voice for the private developer in the continuing public debate on how to create better HTC program. It was for this perspective that he was asked by Presidential First Lady, Laura Bush, to participate in Preserve America, a national summit to review historic preservation in the United States, and to offer strategic direction moving forward in the 21st century.

In addition to frequently speaking at conferences for both public and private sectors, he also has a regular column in Novogradac's Journal of Tax Credits. Mr. Tess is a board member of Preservation Action, the National Housing and Rehabilitation Association and an active participant in the Historic Tax Credit Coalition, sitting on their Historic Preservation Committee.

Over the years, he has sat on many Governor-appointed boards, appointed by Governor Theodore Kulongoski to Oregon's Task Force on Historic Property, and was elected its Chair. He currently serves as a Governor-appointed board member of the Oregon Cultural Trust.

Mr. Tess can be contacted at 503-228-0272 or jmtess@heritage-consulting.com

Coming up in December 2020...

Hotel Law: Protecting Guest Privacy

Every business is obligated to protect their customers from identity theft but unfortunately, data breaches have become all too common. In an effort to protect a guest's right to privacy and to safeguard their personal data, the European Union passed a General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that could hold hotels legally liable for any breaches that expose a customer's sensitive personal information. Though the GDPR only pertains to EU citizens' data, any international business that mishandles their data can be legally responsible. Another legal issue of concern is the fight involving hotel "resort fees." Several states attorney generals have recently filed suit against two major hotel chains in an effort to litigate this practice. Their suit alleges that these companies are "engaged in deceptive and misleading pricing practices and their failure to disclose fees is in violation of consumer protection laws." The suit seeks to force the hotel chains to advertise the true price of their hotel rooms. There are several other legal issues that the industry is being forced to address. Sexual harassment prevention in the workplace is still top of mind for hotel employers-particularly in New York and California, which now statutorily require harassment training. Hotels and motels in California will also soon be required to train all their employees on human trafficking awareness. Immigration issues are also of major concern to hotel employers, especially in the midst of a severe labor shortage. The government is issuing fewer H2B visas for low-skilled workers, as well as J-1 visas for temporary workers. Though there is little hope for any comprehensive immigration reform, hotel lobbying groups are actively seeking legal remedies to alleviate this problem. These are just a few of the critical issues that the December issue of the Hotel Business Review will examine in the area of hotel law.