Northland News

Tentative March date set for Red Carpet trial


A tentative March trial date has been set in the case for closing the Red Carpet Inn for a long, long time, Assistant City Attorney William A. Sperlazza told Northland Community Council members last week.

A judge granted a request Jan. 22 to move out the motel's guests and board up the place without the owners being present, Sperlazza said during his report to civic association representatives.

The temporary restraining order was issued after the Columbus Division of Police recorded 358 calls last year alone for service to the motel, 1289 E. Dublin-Granville Road, he has stated.

The order came only one day after a different judge issued a ruling on the city's nuisance complaints against the Columbus Inn and Suites, 6121 Zumstein Drive, and its owners, Mohammad and Umtal Ashraf.

Judge Teresa L. Liston ordered that the motel just off Interstate 71 should remain boarded up for a year, that its owner is permanently enjoined from maintaining it as a public nuisance and that the Ashrafs are permanently enjoined from maintaining any kind of public nuisance in Franklin County, Sperlazza said last week.

"We could not have gotten a better ruling," he said.

It's the same kind of ruling that is being sought, Sperlazza added, in the case of the Red Carpet Inn, which has been owned since Aug. 20, 2013 by Sunstar Columbus Inc. of Addison, Ill., according to the Franklin County Auditor's Office.

"We'll see how the judge rules, but we are confident of our case," Sperlazza said.

Shutting down Columbus Inn and Suites in June and the more recent closing of the Red Carpet Inn are the result of coordinated efforts on behalf of various city departments, police officer Scott Clinger said during his report. Clinger is the neighborhood liaison to one of the precincts that covers part of the Northland area.

Clinger, just returned to duty after recovering from a severely broken leg, cited the division's Strategic Response Bureau as well as the City Attorney's Office for coordinating efforts to rid the community of places that attract drugs and prostitution, among other crimes.

"We're not looking for empty buildings, but by the same token, we're not going to have a lot of crime spilling into the neighborhood," Clinger said.

Some motel operators in the area, instead of taking note of the closing of their competitors and changing the way they operate, maintain they have to rent rooms to people who cause trouble in order to remain in business, he said.

"We're trying to change that attitude," Clinger added.