Despite contracts, Republican National Convention officials tell hotels they want cheaper rooms, higher fees

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A crowd of hotel managers gathered in the ballroom of the Wyndam Tampa Westshore on Wednesday expecting a routine update on plans for the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa.

Instead, a new convention contractor delivered a shock: Hotels are expected to throw out year-old room contracts with the convention’s Republican organizers and sign new agreements with lower room rates.

“There were a couple hundred folks in the room slightly gasping,” said Ron Alicandro, general manager of the Westin Tampa Bay. “We’ve all got signed contracts. None of us can understand it.” Pinellas hoteliers got the same message at a meeting Thursday in St. Petersburg.

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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.