New York's Plaza Hotel poised to get controversial owner

New York's famed Plaza Hotel could soon have a new and controversial owner.

According to published reports, the Sultan of Brunei plans to buy the iconic property.

As reported on "CBS This Morning" earlier this summer, some of Hollywood's biggest names called for a boycott of the Beverly Hills Hotel, which is also owned by the sultan.

There is a new push to keep the sultan from checking in, reports CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy.

The Plaza Hotel on the southern edge of Central Park has played host to rich, famous and even royal guests for more than a century. Even the "Fab 4" found it a fabulous place to stay.

It's the setting for classic movies such as "The Way We Were," "Scent of a Woman," and "Home Alone 2," which featured a cameo by Donald Trump, who once owned the landmark he called the "Mona Lisa of hotels."

But now the Plaza's history could be trumped by its future owner, the Sultan of Brunei.

"We have an obligation to do everything we can to ensure that one of the world's most iconic hotels doesn't end up as another jewel in the sultan's crown," said Jason Rahlan, communications director at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC.)

Organizations such as the HRC are fighting the sale because three months ago, the sultan implemented strict Muslim Sharia law in his oil-rich nation on the island of Borneo. It punishes theft, adultery and same-sex relationships with amputations, flogging and stoning.

"We urge all New Yorkers to have one simple and straightforward message to the sultan and that is to take your business elsewhere," Rahlan said.

In May, former "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno helped lead a celebrity boycott of the sultan's Beverly Hills Hotel.

"We hope to draw attention to this and people go, 'OK, I won't hold my event there until they change this,'" Leno said.

The property lost $2 million and 20 events in just one month. The Beverly Hills City Council also passed a resolution condemning the government of Brunei. At the time, the Dorchester Collection tried to distance the hotels from their controversial owner.

CEO Christopher Cowdray told CBS News he does not "have any opinion whatsoever" on the laws being implemented in Brunei, adding that he was "not prepared" to comment on whether they were wrong or not.

The sultan is reportedly offering $2 billion for the Plaza, as well as the Dream Hotel in Manhattan and another hotel in London.

The seller is an Indian business tycoon who is currently serving time in an overseas jail for not paying his investors. He needs money to pay off his debts, and has set up an office inside his cell to negotiate with the top bidders.

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