By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — The City Council revoked the hotel and manager licenses of America’s Best Value Inn, 13181 Michigan Ave. hotel after owners failed to renew them.
After a two-hour public meeting on June 18 at the Dearborn Administrative Center, Councilman David Bazzy made the offer to revoke the licenses and Councilman Robert Abraham supported the motion.
According to City of Dearborn Attorney Bill DeBiasi, although the hotel license and manager license have been expired since 2007 and 2009, respectively, the council was able to make the decision to revoke them.
As a result of the revoking, the hotel’s owner may not operate the business as a hotel and cannot apply for the manager and hotel licenses from the city for the next two years.
During the hearing DeBiasi, said the Police Department made 265 calls for service at the hotel from January 2017 to February 2018. Included in the calls were park and walk checks by police who check the list of hotel guests for warrants.
Of those 265 calls there was 22 misdemeanor calls, 17 misdemeanor arrests and five assault incidents or arrests, 30 felony arrests and eight drug overdoes. From the eight drug overdoses there was four deaths and four times when police or first responders had to administrator Narcan to reverse an opioid overdose.
The hotel also had blight and ordinance violations regarding a garbage bin removal and clearing of the alley. Attorney Douglas Swatosh represented the hotel during the hearing and presented a corrective measures plan.
In the plan, the hotel will requires a credit card on file during a guest’s stay and increasing daily room rates to $79 and $89. Last year rates were increased from $39 and $49 to $59 and $69.
Hotel shareholder Ray Kuza said those two changes had already dropped the hotel’s occupancy in half.
Other changes that have been made or were planned for the hotel were light installations, 30 new cameras, security guard during nighttime hours, repainting the hotel, retiling the bathrooms and upgrading the air conditioning.
Kuza told the council he takes full responsibility for not renewing the licenses and vowed to continue to make improvements.
Council President Susan Dabaja said Kuza owns 10 hotels in Michigan and another 10 throughout the country, so the condition of the Dearborn hotel was inexcusable.
Police Lt. Richard Conrad gave his input during the hearing, saying he was alarmed by the number of runs and violent felonies, plus a door in the alley that gives people access to the building.
Kuza and Swatosh said they were open to making the door an emergency exit so it could not be accessed without the fire alarm going off.
Another concern Conrad raised was the hotel’s location within 100 yards of Miller Elementary School and a neighborhood. In 2017, the FBI investigated the hotel for human trafficking where teenagers were rescued from the hotel as part of a prostitution case.
Police Capt. Christopher Kneeshaw also told of a 2017 overdose by a man who was inside a hotel room with his two-month-old daughter. The father and mother were separated and when the father found out a friend was watching the baby until the mother came home, he took her to the hotel instead.
As for the future of the hotel, Kuza declined to comment further following the meeting.
Following the first hearing, a two-hour hearing took place to decide if the license of Victory Inn, 23730 Michigan Ave., also would be revoked.
That hearing was adjourned when council members decided they wanted to wait for a walk through by Conrad at Victory Inn, 23730 Michigan Ave. The purpose of the walk through was to allow the Victory Inn owner, Jim (who declined to provide the council with a last name) to add corrective measures suggest by Conrad to his hotel’s plan.
Licenses for the owner and hotel are current, but the owner was in front of the council due to the 248 police calls for service from January 2017 to February 2018.
When asked for his full name or hotel manger’s name, the owner and his Attorney Amir Makled declined to provide the information or comment further on the hearing.
The public hearing for the Victory Inn is scheduled to continue at 6 p.m. June 25 at the Dearborn Administrative Center, 16901 Michigan Ave.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])