WDRB takes you inside the troubled Economy Inn - WDRB 41 Louisville News

WDRB takes you inside the troubled Economy Inn

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- On Friday, WDRB got access it’s never been given before.

The new general manager of The Economy Inn took us on a tour of the entire property.

In the past, it’s been tough for reporters to track down the hotel owners for comment about their troubled hotel but Friday, they said they’ve decided to be more transparent with the media.

The family  behind The Economy Inn fired its general manager over the summer and hired Avis Zoma.

Zoma said so far, they've renovated 70-75 rooms at the hotel and plan to renovate all 187 rooms by March.

They're ripping up carpet and putting in new tile, granite countertops and getting new furniture.

"We're looking to spend, when everything is said and done, $750,000 so really a quarter of a million dollars,” Zoma told WDRB.

The Economy Inn has failed several heath inspections and has frequent visits by police.

Last month the Economy Inn was given 10 days to fix violations found during a surprise inspection on Aug. 26.

The motel scored 48 out of 100 during that inspection.

Violations included roaches, dirty sheets and gnats. 

The Economy Inn earned 100 percent on a health department inspection back in April. 

Councilman Steve Magre is trying to shut it down, saying neighbors complain about drug use, prostitution and human trafficking.

But the hotel owners say they're filtering out guests who cause and attract crime by  renovating, raising room rates, and keeping a “do not rent” list.

“Anytime there's an issue, we put it in here,” said Zoma as he showed WDRB the list.

He said employees are supposed to check the list every time someone tries to check in.

He says someone can get put on the list if they’re causing problems or if they break the law.

"Me, morally, when someone does something wrong in the hotel, or just wrong anywhere, I'm going to stand up for myself and I'm going to stand up for whoever it is they're doing injustice to,” he said.

The “do not rent” list isn’t new but Zoma says it wasn’t being used before he was hired.

There were 1,400 police runs to the hotel last year.

Zoma says nearly half of those are because of an invitation from hotel management.

Officers stop in the front office on a daily basis to inspect the check in list for anyone with outstanding warrants.

But things aren’t perfect yet.

In late June a shooting at the motel left a man in critical condition. Police arrested a suspect in that case. 

As WDRB was about to leave the property, hotel guest Carolyn Taylor wanted to show us her room.

She's been living at the hotel for a week and says she knows why the city wants it shut down.

“Since we've been here there's been nothing but heroin trafficking. There has been a death here. A young man was found dead back in the back last night,” said Taylor.

WDRB confirmed with LMPD's Homicide Unit there was a body found in one of the hotel rooms Thursday, investigated as a possible overdose.

Taylor says managers refuse to get rid of drug users and dealers.

“They need to shut it down,” she said.

When WDRB asked Taylor how the conditions of her room was she said, ”conditions of the room so far have been okay except they have a roach problem.”

Insects have been mentioned on past health inspections but Zoma says they're tackling every problem head on.

“Any issues that have gone on, we rectify them. If they aren't happy with their stay, we'll move them to another room. We've even been known to refund rooms,” said Zoma.

The hotel has a hearing on October 6th. The owners of the hotel say they'll be there.

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