Kickbacks – under the table and under the radar

PS&Co_horizontal_Color

Authored by: Leo Munoz, CPA/CFF, CFE

In the fraud environment, kickbacks are classified as corruption schemes because they typically involve collusion between employees and vendors, where the fraudsters involved are either giving or receiving something of value to influence a business decision without the employer’s knowledge and consent.  In the public, we hear the cliché that an individual was receiving kickback payments “under the table.”  Kickback schemes often fly “under the radar” of management and can last years without detection, resulting in significant financial losses to victimized companies.

PS&Co kickbacks money pic

The classic kickback scheme involves an employee and vendor engaged in a collusive relationship for the purpose of diverting employer business to the vendor in exchange for cash payments or value-based arrangements to the employee.

Kickback schemes go undetected for a variety of reasons, including the following:

  • The employee involved is in a position of management and wields his or her influence to facilitate the scheme through the company’s normal accounting processes.
  • Some schemes involve multiple employees, which increases the opportunity to circumvent a company’s internal control procedures.
  • The company’s procurement policies allow for “sole-sourcing” or “limited number of vendor” bids at a specified dollar threshold, resulting in limited oversight.
  • The company’s procurement and payables processes lack detection-type internal control procedures to red-flag unusual activity on the back end of the process.
  • A company may lack a formal bidding policy, which results in an environment of undefined roles and responsibilities.
  • Business is diverted to vendors who are related in some form or fashion to the employee authorizing the business relationship; however, the relationship is unknown to the employer.
  • Services rendered by a vendor involved in a kickback relationship are services operationally needed by the victimized company and, therefore, do not raise questions with management.
  • Kickback cash payments or value-based arrangements (such as gifts, paid vacations, or free use of vacation homes) to the employee are typically not processed through a company’s accounting system.

Most kickback schemes are detected through tips from honest or disgruntled co-workers or vendors.  Therefore, if a company does not have a “fraud/whistleblower” hotline already in place, that would be a good start to initiate a process to detect kickback schemes.  However, while receiving a tip from a hotline helps, the tip, in most cases, comes after the scheme has been perpetrated for months or years.

In addition to having a whistleblower hotline, a company can initiate processes to detect possible red flags that may reveal signs a kickback scheme is active, such as:

  • Periodically review vendor transactions to spot a significant amount of activity with a few vendors; a year to year comparison may also reveal an unusual increase in transactions with vendors or situations where cost of materials or services is out of line.  Overbillings by vendors is a classic strategy deployed by vendors to fund their kickbacks.
  • If a company has a procurement policy that includes limited procedures for lower dollar thresholds, then place a periodic process to confirm vendors awarded work are legitimate “third party” vendors.  Simple background checks can confirm –
  1. Vendor ownership and valid Employee ID number
  2. Physical address and valid phone numbers
  3. Website presence

For limited bids with a limited number of bidders, review the vendors that were not awarded the work to determine if they are legitimate companies and not simply “shell” companies used to meet procurement policy requirements.

  • Perform a periodic database search that matches vendor addresses to employee addresses.
  • Create a robust vendor set-up process which compiles detailed vendor information and is reviewed and approved by someone either outside the procurement department or not involved in the collection of vendor data.
  • If not already part of a company’s procurement process, establish and enforce a written bid policy with detailed procedures and defined roles and responsibilities.

For companies who are intentional about addressing “bribery/kickback” risk within their organization, a formal “bribery/kickback” risk assessment can be performed with help from fraud expert consultants if needed, in order to identify areas that are susceptible to this type of fraud.

A look back at Tux ‘N Tennies 2014

silver black give back Logo_Horizontal_AlternateOn January 10, some of the city’s most dedicated Spurs fans once again laced up there tennis shoes and dusted off their formal wear for the annual Tux ‘N Tennies Gala presented by SWBC and H-E-B. The well-known fundraiser benefits Silver & Black Give Back – the nonprofit of Spurs Sports & Entertainment – and its two flagship programs: Spurs Youth Basketball League and the Team Up Challenge.

Spurs TuxnTennies DSC_0120_1Held at the AT&T Center for the second year in a row, the theme of “Spurs Night Live” transformed the attendees into a live audience and our beloved Spurs into cast members of the legendary sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live. Spurs legend Sean Elliott and sports media darling Michelle Beadle played hosts for the evening’s program with musical guest Vintage Trouble. Spurs players and coaches joined in the festivities by hosting the event and staring in recreations of crowd-favorite SNL sketches from over the years.

Spurs Tux nTennies DSC_0317_1

Home from college during his winter break, one recent Edison High School graduate was on-hand suited up in his tux and tennies to share his Team Up Challenge story with the crowd. Jeremiah Raygoza came to Tux ‘N Tennies with his mentor and his former high school science teacher for an evening they wouldn’t forget.

Jeremiah stood off to the side of the stage waiting for his cue. An Edison High School graduate, Jeremiah is now in his second semester at the University of Texas at Austin where he is majoring in biology. Jeremiah likes math and science … not public speaking.

Once called on stage and introduced, he begins his story. It’s the story of a high school club called e=mc2 that exists to help kids succeed beyond high school. The club focuses on encouraging the pursuit of math and science degrees, mentoring middle school students and visiting college campuses to make going to college seem more like reality less like a dream.

The group was selected as one of twenty Team Up Challenge semifinalists and received a $2,500 grant to keep the project going throughout the 2012-13 school year for a chance to be named a Team Up Champion and win $20,000 to fund the program for years to come. During that time, Jeremiah was thrilled to receive a Dell scholarship to attend UT-Austin.

As the school year progressed and the Champions announcement got closer, Jeremiah made a promise: if the group did not win the Team Up Challenge prize money, he would donate his scholarship to the club and the cause. In the end, everyone was a winner; e=mc2 won the $20,000 prize and Jeremiah started his college journey on the Dell scholarship.

Jeremiah got through his story leaving more than a few people in the audience teary-eyed. The evening was full of fun and full of hope and potential for the programs it supports. The Spurs family has always extended a helping hand into the community, with a heart for the city’s youth. Tux ‘N Tennies will always be a night to reflect on a history of giving and celebrate stories of success.

For more information on Silver & Black Give Back, please visit: www.sbgb.org

Security Service Federal Credit Union acquires 66 acres for potential future development

Security Services Federal Credit UnionSecurity Service Federal Credit Union (SSFCU) officials today announced they have acquired 66 acres from Santikos Real Estate Companies for potential future development. The land is bordered by IH-10 frontage road, UTEX Boulevard, and Leon Creek Greenway.

Aerial Exhibit

SSFCU was represented by Dominion Advisory Group in the acquisition. According to SSFCU President, Jim Laffoon, “As a growing enterprise we are delighted to acquire this property in such a rapidly developing part of the city. With several business units currently in leased facilities, development of a campus on this site will allow us the ability to consolidate our back office operations for many years to come.”

SSFCU selected this location for its close proximity to its Corporate Headquarters, allowing flexibility to meet future expansion needs efficiently and effectively, which may include the relocation of the Corporate Headquarters should that prove to be beneficial.

Security Service is exploring the possible sale of its La Cantera facility and is working with Dominion Advisory Group and CBRE to market the property.

To explore development options for the property, Security Service has engaged Pape Dawson Engineers, Inc. for civil engineering, while Lake Flato and RVK Architects, in a joint effort, will provide site master planning and building design. Dysart LLC will provide development management services.

About Security Service Federal Credit Union
Security Service Federal Credit Union offers competitive, affordable financial products and services designed to meet the needs of its members. Headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, Security Service is an industry-leading financial institution with $7.7 billion in assets and 70 locations in Texas, Colorado and Utah. The credit union is among the top 10 credit unions in the nation. Security Service strives to be America’s best credit union and provides the true benefits of credit union membership with financial services of the highest quality and value. Learn more at www.ssfcu.org or call 1-888-415-7878.

IBC Bank Breaks Ground in Construction of New Community Center

IBC Bank logoIBC Bank-San Antonio, City of San Antonio officials and leaders of the North, Hispanic and San Antonio Chamber of Commerce celebrated the ground breaking of the bank’s first community center in the Medical Center on Thursday, Feb. 6. Local leaders and community members gathered to witness the impactful ceremony that included several remarks made by IBC Bank-San Antonio Marketing Director Jennifer Martinez Muenchow, IBC Bank President and CEO Mike Sohn, and County Judge Nelson Wolff, and an official turning of the soil ceremony with custom-made, engraved IBC Bank shovels.

“Our continued investment in providing customers with state-of-the-art facilities to better serve their banking needs tangibly demonstrates IBC Bank’s commitment to ‘do more’ for the community,” IBC Bank-San Antonio President and CEO Mike Sohn said. “The IBC Bank community center is unique as it will allow us to continue providing superior customer service while also offering customers flexible meeting and event spaces all under the same roof.”

The 8,035 square foot community center is scheduled to open its doors to the public in the fall of 2014. The community center offers customers a variety of features to serve each customer fully including: a full-service bank to provide customers’ with quality care in banking, and a large, modern ballroom to host meetings, customer functions and community events.

“With the rapid growth of the Medical Center, we believe the IBC Bank Community Center will be an important addition to the city, providing customers with convenience in banking and event space in one of the most coveted areas of town,” Sohn said. “The location will offer unrivaled access for customers who live and work in the area, as well as provide ample space for community and customer events as needed.”

IBC Bank-San Antonio is a division of International Bancshares Corporation (NASDAQ: IBOC), an $11.6 billion multi-bank financial holding company headquartered in Laredo, Texas, with 216 facilities and more than 320 ATMs serving 88 communities in Texas and Oklahoma. IBC Bank-San Antonio has been serving the Alamo City community since 1986 and has a retail branch network of 30 locations throughout the area. More information is available at www.ibc.com. Visit us on our YouTube channel, IBCBankWeDoMore. MEMBER FDIC / INTERNATIONAL BANCSHARES CORPORATION.

February 2014 Word from the Chairman

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Annie Turner, Wells Fargo
2014 Chairman of the Board

Well the North San Antonio Chamber’s 40th Anniversary year is off to a wonderful start, and I want to thank all of our members, supporters and friends who joined us to mark the milestone at the 40th Annual Gala: Bailando España on February 1 at the JW Marriott. It was indeed a night of recognition, camaraderie and entertainment as I laid out the North Chamber’s goals to include a focus on veterans, workforce development, small business advancement, the millennial workforce and community collaboration. View the Chairman’s Vision for 2014

First, I’d like to thank our outgoing Chairman of the Board, Brad Rollins, President of Dahill, for his incredible leadership and years of support and stewardship of the North SA Chamber. Brad worked throughout 2013 to: encourage members to do business with one another; advance our leadership academy, Leadership Lab; promote social and digital marketing to elevate member visibility; and to advocate on behalf of our member businesses. View the Chairman’s Reflection on 2013

Moreover, programs like the Gala don’t just happen without our wonderful staff, volunteers and corporate support. I offer my thanks to North Chamber staff liaisons Chris Bugg and Wendy Thomas, and the entire Creative and Sales Teams for their attention to every detail. I know you’ll join me in thanking our top sponsors at Corporate Travel Planners, Dahill, eESI, Frost, Kaufman & Killen, Inc., Network Alliance, Security Service Federal Credit Union and Wells Fargo for their legacy of support.

Additionally, the Gala program included the presentation of the San Antonian Award to Security Service Chief Executive Officer, David Reynolds. Reynolds accepted the 2014 San Antonian Award, which is reserved for individuals whose business achievements, charitable and civic contributions transcend his or her industry, career and immediate community. The San Antonian honoree is the preeminent example of personal contribution of time, talent and treasure to one’s community.

Reynolds was recognized for his transformational leadership of the credit union and accomplishments including: a continued commitment to military service members; credit union expansion to include a diverse membership throughout the southwestern United States; record capital growth; and fostering a spirit of service across credit union employees in Texas, Colorado and Utah. Additionally, through Reynolds’ service on a number of industry and community boards, he has worked to improve the industry, quality of life in San Antonio and to advance higher education. I wish him well upon his retirement from the credit union in March, 2014. View the San Antonian Award Honoree video

Focus Issues & Volunteer Leadership
Furthermore, we inducted the 50-member 2014 North Chamber Executive Committee and Board of Directors, and the 24-member 2014 Lead SA Board of Directors. Directors offer financial oversight, programming strategy and monitor policy affecting your businesses, as well as financial leadership for our various events and programs. I want to recognize and thank the 2015 Chair-elect, Rob Killen of Kaufman & Killen, and all of the directors for assuming the responsibility of governance. I look forward to working with each of them.

Also, the North Chamber is proud to have the service of more than 20 event chairs and hundreds of volunteers who work on a number of event planning committees. You can learn more about each of our Focus Issue and Volunteers Leaders on the North SA Chamber website and how you can get involved on a committee that meets your interest area. Participation Opportunities

Be a part of it.
Over the last 40 years, the North SA Chamber has endeavored to keep San Antonio and Bexar County strong by advocating for business and education, recognizing deserving leaders, providing professional development and delivering opportunities to make results-oriented business-to-business connections.

I invite each of you to be a part of our 40-year legacy and join us in our efforts. We need your involvement more than ever. Thank you to our board, volunteers and members for all you do, and I look forward to working with you. View the 40th Annual Gala photo gallery

Crimson Real Estate Fund and USAA Real Estate Company announce sale of Austin assets

crimson

usaa logoManaging Partner, Crimson Real Estate Fund, L.P. (CREF), and its co-investment partners, Admiral Capital Group and USAA Real Estate Company were successful in selling the Aspen Lake, Tower of the Hills and Tower Point office buildings which totaled approx. 380,000 square feet.

These assets, which were located in Northwest Austin, TX, were purchased on behalf of CREF  in 2011. The buyer was Fortis Property Group of New York. The seller was represented by Andrew Levy and Todd Savage of HFF.

Crimson Real Estate Fund, a real estate opportunity fund, is managed by Crimson Real Estate Advisors, L.P., based in Houston.  USAA Real Estate Company is the largest single investor in CREF and also co-invests alongside CREF, which serves as the sponsor/operating partner. CREF, in addition to funding BTS office and multifamily developments around the country, acquires and repositions real estate opportunities in key growth markets across the United States.

Admiral Capital Group has partnered with USAA Real Estate Company to pursue commercial real estate opportunities nationally.

About Crimson Real Estate Advisors, LP
Crimson and its affiliates have acquired and developed assets valued in excess of $3 billion over the past 30 years. For more information, visit www.crimsonrealestateadvisors.com.

About USAA Real Estate Company
USAA Real Estate Company, with approximately $12 billion in assets under management, provides co-investment, acquisition, build-to-suit and development services for corporate and institutional investors.  The USAA portfolio consists of office, industrial, retail and hotel properties as well as investments in real estate operating companies. USAA Real Estate Company is a subsidiary of USAA, a leading financial services company, serving military families since 1922. For more information, visit www.usrealco.com.

About Admiral Capital Real Estate Fund
The Admiral Capital Real Estate Fund is a newly launched partnership between USAA Real Estate Company and Admiral Capital Group formed by NBA Hall of Famer, philanthropist and 1987 U.S. Naval Academy graduate David Robinson and Managing Partner, Dan Bassichis.  The Fund targets real estate assets including office properties, retail shopping centers, multi-family properties, hotels and mixed-used properties. The Fund seeks value add opportunities in major domestic markets with a target transaction size of $25 million to $100 million. In addition to pursuing traditional opportunities, the Fund’s sponsors also seek to support community initiatives in cities where the Fund invests that embrace Robinson’s mission to improve education in lower income communities.

Joeris General Contractors receives top safety award

PrintJoeris General Contractors was recently awarded the prestigious Gold Step Award from the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) for its safety performance on the main campus’s North Paseo Project.  This is the second Gold Step Award presented to Joeris for no lost-time injuries on a UTSA construction project.   Joeris is the only general contractor to have achieved Gold Step status with UTSA.

Joeris award pic

“Safety on the job site both for our workers and all sub contractors is of upmost importance to us,” said Adolph Fierros, Safety Director for Joeris.  “We take great pride in our safety program and are honored to have achieved UTSA’s highest safety award for the second time.”

Fierros says safety is a key part of the Joeris culture, and the strength of the company’s safety program comes from not only the training involved, but the commitment from all levels of Joeris management.

“We train our people, educate our people so that they are up to speed on all of the OSHA requirements as well as the requirements we insist upon internally.  We hold comprehensive pre-construction meetings with all of our subs highlighting what Joeris’s expectations are.  Anytime there is a crane on site, our on site team requires the crane operators to go through a detailed check list – no work can be done until the check list is filled out and verified.”

Joeris UTSA pic

Fierros says Joeris has also adopted a policy mandating that all workers wear safety vests, hard hats and safety glasses 100% of the time.

“We are successful because of our full commitment to safety on every job. And our safety culture helps the overall construction industry. If there are subs that need help, they follow our requirements and our lead and they end up bettering themselves.”

What’s new for 2014
In addition to working on the completion of the UTSA North Paseo Building, Joeris continues to work on a number of other major projects here in San Antonio including the North Central Baptist vertical expansion project which is nearing completion.

Joeris is also the General Contractor for the new NISD Bonnie Ellison Elementary School (Oak Drive off I-10 West) and NEISD David Lee “Tex” Hill Middle School (Bulverde Road); and for the major renovation projects at Reagan High School and Eisenhower Middle School.

Joeris on the Move
One 2014 project that is near and dear to the Joeris team is the construction of a new headquarters which will provide more than double the office space of its current building. Construction on the new 40,000 square foot Joeris headquarters in the Arion Business Park (U.S. Hwy. 281N near Bitters Rd.) is now underway.  The company expects to move into its new space by mid November.

For more information on Joeris, an award-winning, employee owned business, visit www.joeris.com

BBVA Compass appoints fifth member to its San Antonio advisory board

Logo BBVA Compass.Fh11Automotive manufacturing business executive Jason Reyes has joined BBVA Compass’ San Antonio advisory board.

2014-01-21 BBVA PORTRAITSReyes is the vice president of San Antonio-based Reyes Automotive Group and Reyes Amtex Automotive, both of which manufacture automotive parts. The two companies employ more than 300 people and ship more than 25,000 parts daily to automobile manufacturers, according to Reyes.

Reyes earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California. He is a member of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the San Antonio Manufacturing Association and the Bluegrass Automotive Manufacturers Association, as well as local and national charity groups.

“We are proud to have Jason join our board because he is contributing to the continued success of San Antonio’s manufacturing sector,” said BBVA Compass San Antonio City President Andrea Smith. “Jason is innovative and brings his expertise on the latest manufacturing techniques to the market.”

Reyes joins other distinguished community leaders on the board, including: Clark Boddy, a real estate advisor; James Pfirrmann of BlueBonnet Capital Mortgage and Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Bradfield Properties; Jonathan Starr of Rosenthal Pauerstein Sandoloski Agather LLP; and Jack Stein of Hanke, Green & Stein.

CPS Energy demand response effort featured in New York Times as model for conservation

cps energy logoBy Tracy Idell Hamilton

As deep winter freezes (and future sweltering summer days) continue to strain Texas’ electrical grid, debate over how to increase capacity has become more urgent.

While some say payments to ensure additional reserves will create enough incentive for them to build new power plants to meet demand on those coldest and hottest of days, others argue that capacity concerns are overblown, and costs will be passed on to consumers.

But there’s another option, as the Texas Tribune’s Jim Malewitz wrote in the New York Times last week:

As utility companies and big energy users like manufacturers spar in Austin over how best to encourage the building of new power plants, another important question is getting less public attention: How can Texas curb its energy use?

One answer, Malewitz wrote, could be what’s known as demand response, or asking certain customers to voluntarily reduce consumption at critical times, generally in exchange for free energy-managing equipment, bill credits or rebates. He quotes CPS Energy CEO Doyle Beneby, who said demand response “probably deserves more “focus and attention.”

Beneby has become something of a demand response evangelist. Under his leadership, CPS Energy has greatly expanded demand response programs in recent years, adding functionality to the residential program while broadening the already successful commercial program to include schools and other civic institutions. CPS Energy also launched a pilot allowing the utility to dial back a company’s energy use to an agreed on amount, rather than having the participating company do it manually.

Last fall, six local schools earned more than $330,000 in rebates through demand response: Watch Video

He has talked about the success of those programs at various industry conferences around the country; last year he was invited to speak on the subject at an event hosted by the White House Council on Environmental Quality which brought together leaders from government, the private sector, non-profits and academia to discuss best practices for reducing peak demand.

On Tuesday, Beneby will deliver a keynote at DistribuTECH, a major utility technology conference being held in San Antonio this year, where he’ll touch on demand response as part of CPS Energy’s New Energy Economy initiative.

But perhaps most important for Texas, Beneby has pushed CPS Energy to work with the state’s grid operator and others to create rules that would allow utilities to bid demand response into the wholesale market, much as they do now with natural gas, coal or wind.

CPS Energy reduced demand by 47 megawatts during the polar vortex freeze earlier this month–enough to power 19,975 homes under normal conditions or 8,366 under highest demand.  (NOTE:  The New York Times incorrectly noted in an early version of the story that CPS Energy reduced demand by roughly 77 megawatts during this time, but it was actually 47). That reduction helped the state’s grid operator keep the lights on after two large power plants went dark, leading to the specter of a repeat of the Feb. 2011 rolling blackouts.

Of the total, CPS Energy saved 22 MW through its free Home Manager program, which allows residential customers to control air conditioners, electric water heaters and pool pumps via computer, smart phone or tablet. It also allows CPS Energy to dial those back, usually for a few minutes per hour several times a year when demand is highest.

“You don’t really notice,” customer Adam Leija, told Malewitz. He said he’s seen his energy bills shrink since he started using Home Manager. “It helps us become more energy conscious.”

CPS Energy’s latest effort is piloting an automated demand response program, which allows utility operators to reduce demand remotely and almost instantly, while still offering an option for companies to opt out if necessary. Rackspace is one of the largest companies enrolled in the pilot.

More fully utilizing demand response could mean decreasing energy use by up to 15 percent during critical periods of peak demand, according to a 2012 report by the Brattle Group. That would be enough, experts say, to give the state more breathing room as it decides how to create more capacity.

But obstacles remain to more fully deploying demand response, writes Malewitz:
“… the state’s grid operator does not allow most utilities to participate in the wholesale energy market.
“We need to find a way to bid it into the market,” Colin Meehan, the director of regulatory and market strategy at Comverge, an energy management firm.

CPS Energy is working hard to do just that.

“We’ve been working through the stakeholder process at ERCOT to get rules in place that build a path to the increased utilization of demand response into the market,” said Paul Barham, senior director of energy market operations for CPS Energy.

“We have plans for getting some things in place this summer that would effectively do that.”

RELATED STORIES:

Demand Response: a valuable conservation tool that pays

CPS Energy rewards schools for conserving enough energy to power 17,000 homes

Rackspace collaborates with CPS Energy to save money, energy and emissions

Have a whale of a good time in Omni San Antonio’s new Aquatica Suite

Omni logo imageThe Omni San Antonio Hotel at the Colonnade has long been a favorite destination for families traveling to the Alamo City and a new “attraction” there is sure to create even more excitement for kids.

This March, the Omni Colonnade will unveil its new kids’ fantasy suite, Aquatica. Created through a partnership with SeaWorld San Antonio and the Art Institute of San Antonio – this one of a kind suite transports children into an imaginary oceanic world complete with a coral reef and fascinating sea life, as well as all of the comforts of the “modern world” including double flat screen TV’s, video consoles, and Sting Ray bean bag chairs.

“You really have to see this suite to believe it,” said Delfin Ortiz, the General Manager of the Omni San Antonio Hotel at the Colonnade and the visionary behind the project. “Our goal in designing this unique suite was simple: from the minute our young guests literally slide into the room we want them to be mesmerized and inspired by their surroundings.”

Omni Aquatica Suite

Dwight Driskill with Sea World San Antonio gives his vote of approval as construction continues on the new Omni Colonnade Aquatica Suite.

The fantasy suite, designed by Art Institute interior design student Katelyn Goudge, includes a brilliant aqua-blue “ocean floor,” bubble chairs designed to create the illusion of a beneath-the-ocean hang out, a floor-to-ceiling 3D coral wall; and a built-in salt water aquarium featuring life fish, coral reefs, seaweed and plenty of bubbles.

To give kids plenty of room to enjoy their ocean paradise, a pair of specially designed Murphy beds unfold from the wall. A treasure chest filled with books and costumes provides plenty of opportunity for children’s imaginations to run wild.

For the adults, there’s an adjoining bedroom and separate bathroom. Checking on the kids is easy even when the door between the two rooms is closed thanks to a creative porthole in the door.

The Aquatica Suite will be finished by March 1, coinciding with Sea World’s 50th anniversary. The Aquatica Suite along with the hotel’s other fantasy suite, is setting a new creative standard for kid-centric hotel suites, and is the talk of the industry across the U.S.

For more information about fantasy suites at the Omni San Antonio Hotel at the Colonnade as well as other accommodations and services, please visit www.omnihotels.com/sanantonio