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Probe to decide motel's future


Published: Sat, September 24, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.


A representative of the motel owner says the problems are a thing of the past.
By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
LIBERTY -- Police are calling one township motel a community nuisance and want to shut it down.
Police Chief Anthony Slifka said the police department has filed more than 100 reports concerning the American Inn on Motor Drive in the past 18 months. Charges have ranged from drug abuse to prostitution, he said.
Jay Batel, an officer with Ohio Realty, said the motel was recently purchased by Ohio Realty and has been renovated. He said any problems police have experienced in the past will not be an issue.
"The motel has improved a lot," he said. "There is no problem at the property at all."
Batel said the business name has been changed to Knights Inn and has all new management. He said the clientele is different.
What happened
In July, officers responded to a call for help at the motel. They found a local dentist passed out in one of the rooms from what police said was an apparent overdose.
John C. Bland, 56, of Montrose Street, was arrested Thursday after an investigation and is charged with felony drug abuse and abusing intoxicants, a misdemeanor. Liberty police Capt. Rich Tisone said Bland was using crack cocaine and other drugs.
Tisone said the situation is indicative of what has occurred at the motel.
"This incident is only one of numerous, but we know that there is a lot of drug activity going on there," he said.
According to Slifka, out-of-town guests who have stayed at the motel have written police and complained of the conditions. The police chief said one woman complained of individuals trying to sell her drugs and of prostitutes hanging around the property.
The chief said such conditions give the community a poor image.
Slifka said the police department has contacted the Ohio attorney general's office to inquire about having the property deemed a nuisance. He said that office will dispatch an attorney to determine if the business is enough of a problem to make such a declaration. If so, Slifka said police would take proper steps to close the motel and seize the property.
"You like to see business operate, but the business they are bringing is just not good for this community," he said.
jgoodwin@vindy.com


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