Lutsen Lodge owner speaks out after negative attention on social media

Almost a week after the fire that burned down Lutsen Resort Lodge, the owner is speaking out following a mass of negative attention toward the resort on social media. 

This comes after investigators walked back comments about calling the fire a crime scene. Officially, the fire is under investigation and authorities are asking the public to stay out of the area. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) says it is still too early to determine how the fire started. The confusion started after the Cook County Sheriff's Office sent a press release calling the area an "official crime scene". DPS has since said that communication was not clear. 

In a long statement made by Lutsen Lodge owner Bryce Campbell on Facebook, he responds to topics that have surfaced from failed fire inspections, bankruptcy, lawsuits and unpaid taxes. The owner asked the public to "Stop," adding "The damage that has been done is going beyond a building."

The Lutsen Lodge has limited who can comment on this post. 

Lutsen Lodge owner's full Facebook statement:

A statement from Bryce Campbell:

"STOP. Shame on so many of you. The damage that has been done is going beyond a building. This tragedy should only be about the loss of such an important icon and the people affected by it including so much of our team. Instead the site has become a spectacle in the likes of a roadside attraction for photos and the tragic loss has become a source of enjoyment for gossipers and headlines to sell news subscriptions.

"I don’t think any of you know what it’s like to be in hurt and pain with a loss like this to begin with, but then to have it become so much more, it’s almost impossible to describe the feeling. Myself aside, going after our hardworking management team, posts discrediting the amazing work some of them have done just because you can’t handle change; that’s just sad. So many of us were proud of what we had been accomplishing. You might not have liked that we changed to fine dining, you may not have liked that we were positioning to a boutique luxury property, but that doesn’t give you the right to troll on social media the way you have been, that doesn’t give you the right to go after the reputation of not just myself but our very talented management team that was working so hard to achieve this vision.

"What was lost this week was so much more than just a building. We lost our identity. I’ve told so many that one of the saddest things to this beyond the obvious is that I’ll never get that bronze ‘Historic Hotels of America’ plaque I’ve longed for to have proudly displayed next to the entry door. My love for Lutsen is the same as many who value history. It’s always been a joke amongst our organization how it’s my favorite, but of course it is. Those who frequented the Lodge know that there is simply a feeling when you pull up, when you walk up those steps and open the door to the lobby and are greeted by an old warmth.

"I ask all of you contributing to the unnecessary negativity to stop. We will be re-building this lodge as close as possible to the original, we will be doing everything we can to make sure that the re-build is done in a way that makes the building seem as though it’s always been there. We are doing everything we can to hang onto the existing fireplace stone to re-use for the re-build knowing that was the buildings heart. The last thing we want is for the greatness and 140 year history of Lutsen to be tarnished. We want to proudly re-build tied to that history, let’s not forget that.

"We’re not going anywhere and our immense appreciation for Edwin Lundie will ensure that if anyone is going to make sure the lodge is rebuilt with honor, it’s us. Greatness will be restored beginning with the original stones so that fond fireplace is still our heart and our history will remain as Minnesota’s first and oldest resort.

"'A house with no fireplace is a house without a heart' - Gladys Taber

"Fact Statement

"The following is facts that we believe need to be stated based on the recent mis spread of information on various media platforms:

  • Zero guests. This is not ‘suspicious.' This winter has been extremely slow without the snow. We likely have had a dozen zero occupancy days this winter. It’s not the norm for most winters, but a norm for this winter unfortunately.
  • The apparent ‘Failed Fire Inspection.' Every property receives a fire inspection. On it ‘violations’ might sound extreme, but it’s no different than a Health Inspection either. The inspections are done to find issues that need resolved so the property can do just that, resolve them to ensure it’s safe for everyone. Which is what we do with every inspection. What made this different was the documentation for the panel inspection, what isn’t noted is that it was also because we just put in a brand new fire alarm panel. That’s right folks, you can’t have an annual inspection on something that isn’t even annual in age yet. The piece about the sprinkler system, once again, an important part of this was the fact that we were tying in the all new portion of the system leading to the third floor. The system was not only functioning, we actually were making it better.
  • The ‘apparent’ lawsuits from cabin owners. Fact, we have not been served any lawsuits from any of these individuals. Not to say that they don’t intend to or that they most likely are now, but I can tell you even as of today I have not been served any claims. I’m disappointed in some of the owners actions for the sake of a story, but I understand they are concerned about receiving their final payments after we ended the contract with them. I’m dismayed at a few, but also know that some of the other owners are great people and I hope they trust us to still do the final reconciliation they are owed when we can after this.
  • Regarding unpaid sales tax, our sales tax is in fact paid to date.
  • Regarding property taxes. Out of all our parcels, two small parcels seem to get missed from the escrow payment every year. This is pretty minor, the main portion was in fact paid, and not only that we were anticipating a refund from overpayment of $53,000.
  • No we were not filing for bankruptcy. I’ve never engaged with a bankruptcy lawyer in my 22 years of business, that’s not how I work. A slow winter doesn’t equate to bankruptcy, you just focus on the busy summer ahead."