Columbus city officials closed and boarded a local hotel as a public nuisance. The third within a quarter-mile area around I 71 and Dublin Granville Road.
“Hotel owners who take money from drug dealers and pimps and allow them to stay in their rooms and conduct criminal business within their walls, that is not acceptable,” said Bill Sperlazza, Assistant City Attorney.
Tuesday, the city attorney’s office got Franklin County Environmental Judge Dan Hawkins to sign a temporary restraining order that closes the Super 8 hotel down till at least July 2. Court documents show 720 times police and fire departments responded to the hotel at 1078 East Dublin Granville Road for drug and prostitution calls.
The husband of the manager said the hotel does not condone criminal activity.
“We do not encourage this type of thing, we do not allow this type of thing, also we have close contact with local police officers,” said Xia Zhang.
Court documents show since last Fall police conducted undercover investigations a dozen times and arrested people seven times for prostitution and several arrests for heroin, crack cocaine and oxycodone. On at least one occasion a uniformed officer spotted guests smoking marijuana after the manager knocked on the door. The officer arrested the guest after the manager shut the door and started to leave. Several certified letters were sent to the manager and owner of the business, Northland Hotel Inc. Indicating criminal activity at the hotel resulted in convictions.
“We have evidence of nuisance activity before and after those letters were sent,” said Sperlazza.
Several guests NBC4 spoke with booked their hotel rooms at Super 8 online.
“People came down Interstate 71 and stopped at this hotel, but they did not know they were sleeping a wall away from alledged drug transactions and prostitution,” said Sperlazza.
Tabitha Wilson along with her husband and two teenage daughters were making a tour of Ohio from their Northern Michigan home. They booked online too.
“Our first hotel was filthy, so we booked this one because of the star rating.
They said they ignored the comments written on the site.
“We were here for a couple of days, everything was was going well and yesterday we got back from the zoo and found a note on the door that said it is getting shut down for drugs and prostitution. Great one hotel to the next,” she said.
Super 8 had 114 emergency call just this year.
“That is insane for a six month period, we do not have that many calls for out whole town,” said Wilson.
The Columbus Inn and Suites, right next door to the Super 8 was closed in June 2013. The Red Carpet Inn, several blocks east was closed January 2014.
The Super 8 hotel owner and management will be in Environmental Court on July 2 at 1 p.m. in an effort to have the boards removed and open their business back up while the case goes through the court process.