Press Release March 16, 2012

Goodwin at 100: How Sheraton Corporation Became a Longtime Client – 1930s

The Social Security Act of 1935 raised the question of who was an employer and who was self-employed. When the question involved the big bands of the ’30s and the hotels they played in, the answer wasn’t entirely clear. Hired to look into the matter by Ernest Henderson and Robert Moore, who owned the Copley Plaza Hotel, Goodwin Procter partner Charlie Post worked out clear-cut guidelines that adjusted the financial burdens to the satisfaction of both parties.

Henderson and Moore controlled between two and three dozen corporations. “One day,” Post recounted, “while waiting to discuss a relatively minor problem, I overheard a telephone conversation in which Henderson agreed to buy a hotel in St. Louis or the like. From what I overheard, it occurred to me there was a better way to do it. I said, ‘Would you like to save $100,000 on that deal?’ I had their attention.”

This led to additional work for the Copley Plaza. Henderson and Moore became longtime clients of Goodwin Procter. At the heart of the work were the corporate acquisitions, reorganizations and liquidations the firm handled for the conglomerate that Henderson and Moore later simplified and renamed the Sheraton Corporation of America.

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