Former employee pulls back the curtain at the Economy Inn
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- When police were called to the Economy Inn on Bardstown Road at around 8 p.m. on a Saturday night, a man was found shot inside one of the rooms. He was rushed to the hospital fighting for his life.
Former employee Angel Bennet was not there when the shooting happened, but she's not surprised it did.
"This is a time bomb waiting to go off," Bennett said.
After working as a desk clerk at the motel for about two years, Bennett quit in early June.
She said she could deal with dirty rooms, which she said were riddled with beg bugs and cockroaches. She said sometimes they went untouched in between guests.
"I had a customer who literally threw blood soaked sheets at me," Bennett said.
She said she could tolerate the 'criminal element' when it was among adults.
Her breaking point came in late May though, just over a month after the motel passed that critical health inspection that could have shut it down.
Bennett says two teenage girls were seen working as prostitutes out of a room rented by an older woman.
"You just can't turn a blind eye to that kind of activity going on," Bennett said. "It's bad enough if enough if adults are prostituting but there were underage girls."
Bennett claims other employees and the owner did turn a blind eye.
She showed us notes about what the 16 and 17-year-old girls were seen doing from another desk clerk.
Bennett says while it was widely known what they were doing, no one kicked them out so she did when she came in for the overnight shift.
"She just stood there very calmly and she said, 'But Tony, the owner, said that we could stay,'" she said about her conversation with one of the teens.
Economy Inn owner Tony Yaldo says he did see the girls, but he claims he took action right away. He says a different employee, Patty Greene, told them to leave earlier in the day. Yaldo asked her to join our interview and confirm his story.
"I said the two of you need to get all of your belongings and you need to leave the premises immediately," Greene said.
Yaldo says Bennett was a good employee. He called her honest and a great worker.
WDRB asked Yaldo why Bennett's story doesn't match up with his.
"Honestly, that's what I'm shocked about," Yaldo said. "I don't know... I have no idea."
Bennett tells us she felt morally obligated to come forward.
She's been in touch with Councilman Steve Magre (D-District 10), who's been calling on other city leaders shut the place down.
Bennett claims the clientele keeps getting worse at the Economy Inn, pointing to other incidents like sex on a balcony, a 17-year-old found passed out in a room and a man selling guns in the parking lot.
She says she felt like the situation had turned to "complicity."
"I just had the gut feeling that they didn't care," Bennett said.
Yaldo maintains the motel does not tolerate criminal activity. He tells WDRB not only are owners following through on a $700,000 remodel, they've also added security officers and cameras.
"They want to point the finger at me or at the hotel saying it's a bad hotel," Yaldo said. "It's not a bad hotel. It's the clientele come over here from this district."
Bennett says some people who stay there mixed with how the Economy Inn operates is a dangerous combination.
"This is a breeding ground," she said.
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