Home Hotel guest Concerns over the assembly of the Red Carpet Inn after the death of the manager

Concerns over the assembly of the Red Carpet Inn after the death of the manager

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A worn sign, RV and pickup truck with an open window and a flat tire welcome guests to the Red Carpet Inn and Fanta Suites.

The parking lot is littered with trash and pockmarked with potholes.

What’s inside is even more disturbing to Johnson County and Greenwood officials.

With more and more police calls to the hotel and news that the hotel manager died of an accidental overdose on the property last month, concerns are growing.

Those concerns led to a multi-agency inspection on Wednesday. Johnson County Health Department, Greenwood Police Department, Greenwood Fire Department and Greenwood Code Enforcement, along with Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers, took part in the inspection .

Mixed hotel reviews

The hotel, 1117 E. Main St., has been in the city for several decades. A description of the hotel says it’s famous for its oversized tiled hot tubs and offers unique themed rooms ranging from “Cupid’s Corner” to “The Cave,” according to Tripadvisor.

Reviews of the hotel are mixed, with Google listing 2.8 stars out of five, while Tripadvisor gives it 3.0 stars. A January five-star review on Tripadvisor said a guest loved the experience and in particular the themed suites.

A July 2021 four-star review said a guest thought her ‘Pharaoh’s Chambers’ suite was very nice. Although there were some issues.

“The TV in the bedroom didn’t work, nor did a few lights, but otherwise it was a very nice suite except the timer for the hot tub was extremely short,” the reviewer said.

Other reviews weren’t as positive. A one-star review from last October titled “Don’t Do It” alleged that a guest’s hotel room had not been cleaned, including the linens.

Another one-star review from the same month began with “If I could give negative stars, I would.” The guest alleged that the lobby was not clean and said that when they entered their room it looked like someone else had slept in their bed. The guest was assigned another room that was in better shape, but still had a “funky smell,” according to the review.

Several reviews also included photos of customer concerns. One review had pictures of stained sheets while another had pictures of cockroaches in a bedroom. However, it is not clear that the photos were actually taken inside the rooms.

The Daily Journal contacted the owners of the hotel to ask if they would be willing to comment on the condition of the hotel for this story, but did not hear back by Friday’s deadline.

Inspection reveals several issues

During a nearly two-hour inspection, health department officials discovered issues throughout the hotel. Among the issues noted were sewage backups in some rooms and cockroaches observed in the hotel buildings. Rooms that had sewage backups have since been made unavailable, Johnson County Health Department Director Betsy Swearingen told The Daily Journal on Thursday.

Health department officials also expressed concerns about a few rooms already closed due to the need for repairs. Some of those rooms had mold, and the longer the rooms remain in poor condition, the more likely the problem is to spread, she said.

Other rooms needed repairs ranging from a leaking toilet to a hole in the wall, Swearingen said.

Greenwood police found drug paraphernalia in a few unoccupied rooms at the hotel and a small amount of marijuana in another unoccupied room, Police Chief Jim Ison told the Daily Journal on Friday.

Officers also served a search warrant after health inspectors observed narcotics, including fentanyl and other controlled substances, in plain sight while inspecting an occupied room. The occupants of that room were not there at the time of the search and criminal charges are pending, Ison said.

Greenwood police were not at the hotel for criminal investigation purposes, but were there to protect health department inspectors, Ison said. It’s a move that sometimes happens when the health department goes to certain places where they may not be welcome, Swearingen said.

With the inspection now complete, the health department will present the hotel owners with a spreadsheet detailing the work to be done and the work to be prioritized for public health.

“We’ll want them to upgrade rooms that are under service status and have them go through the list,” Swearingen said.

The health department will give owners two weeks for substantial progress to be made on the list. If progress is made, the health department will give them more time to continue correcting the issues, she said.

“When they show us no more progress, other avenues of execution will be pursued,” Swearingen said.

“Clear indicators” of drug use present

Swearingen said during the inspection there were “clear indicators” of drug use by hotel guests, and that is something that needs to be brought under control and stopped.

The Johnson County Health Department had already contacted the homeowner earlier this year to ask if they could install a NaloxBox on site. Naloxboxes are community help boxes containing the drug naloxone, which can reverse an opioid overdose, along with instructions and information on recovery resources. At least 14 of the boxes have been installed in Johnson County by various groups this year.

The owner declined the offer.

“He said it’s not necessary, but after yesterday’s visit there is clearly a need,” she said.

County health officials plan to reconnect with the owner and ask if they can install one, Swearingen said.

Myers was “very disappointed” with what he saw there, including the living conditions. He takes public safety very seriously and considers it his No. 1 priority, he told the Daily Journal on Thursday.

“This hotel is proving to be a very difficult location for our police and fire departments,” Myers said.

Order in place for license revocation

The city has a hotel ordinance that sets criteria for determining when a hotel can be forced to close, however, the hotel has not yet met the criteria, officials said.

The city’s hotel ordinance, which passed in 2019, was the result of concerns over the number of calls that police and firefighters responded to at hotels near the Interstate 65 and Main Street interchange. . From January 2018 to mid-August 2019, police responded to over 500 incidents at a cluster of hotels and motels near the interchange. The ordinance required all accommodations to have a municipal license and outlined procedures for probation and license revocation for those with a high number of calls for police, fire, code and community violations. health services.

Under the order, if at any time a hotel receives twice as many service calls as guest rooms over a one-year period, it will be placed on probation. Calls for service is the total number of calls to law enforcement or fire in a one-year period where the calls allege evidence of criminal activity, result in an arrest, charge, or citation , or find an imminent threat to the “security of persons and property”. It also includes calls made to code enforcement or the city’s Department of Community Development Services that result in a citation, according to city documents.

During the trial period, business owners should take steps to mitigate issues and meet regularly with city officials to discuss issues. City officials would not tell them how to run their business, but would tell them where changes are needed, according to city documents.

If, after six months of probation, the service call ratio has not decreased to less than 1.5 times the number of rooms, the city could revoke a hotel or motel’s license and force it to close. The license could also be revoked if the call-for-service ratio is 2.0 or more over a one-year period after the hotel entered the probationary period, according to city documents.

The hotel does not meet the criteria

If only police and fire department calls were heeded, the hotel could be found in breach of the order. However, the calls must relate to a criminal offense to be considered a violation of the order, Ison said.

The hotel has 83 rooms declared in service, which means that if it receives at least 166 calls for service related to a criminal offense in a one-year period, it will be placed on probation. So far this year, Greenwood police have responded to 67 criminal offenses, mostly narcotics-related, at the hotel, Ison said.

“Sixty-seven is a lot, but the threshold for this hotel would be 166,” he said.

In the past three years, there have also been four reported overdose deaths at the hotel, he said.

Changing the ordinance is something the city, including the police department, city council and the mayor’s office, is working on. The 2.0 call-to-service ratio prevents the hotel from being considered in violation, Ison said.

“The ratio, in my opinion, is too high,” he said. “…When this order was made, this threshold was too high for us to have any room to be able to enforce it.”

Myers says the city will move forward with some kind of action to fix the issues, but he’s not sure what that action may entail.

“I’m not ready to make that decision until we have a meeting about it,” Myers said.

A first meeting between the city and the health department took place on Friday, and it is only after all the information is gathered that a decision will be made by the city. This decision is expected in the coming days, he said.