Franklin County Environmental Court Judge Daniel R. Hawkins on Tuesday, May 27, formally declared the Red Carpet Inn at 1289 E. Dublin-Granville Road to be a public nuisance “which presents a danger of immediate and irreparable harm to the public.”
He ordered that it remain closed for a year. Further, Hawkins found the owners guilty of maintaining a public nuisance, permanently barred them from running such an establishment in Franklin County and declared that never again would the Northland property be maintained in such a fashion.
“This permanent injunction shall run with the land and will be binding upon the real estate itself, as well as respondents-defendants and any other successors and assigns in interest,” Hawkins wrote.
“Complete victory for the city,” declared William A. Sperlazza, the assistant city attorney for the zone that encompasses the Northland area.
City officials shut down the Red Carpet Inn, formerly a Motel 6, on Jan. 22. A judge granted a temporary restraining order sought by City Attorney Richard C. Pfeiffer’s office after the Division of Police recorded 358 calls to that address in 2013.
Red Carpet Inn, according to the court ruling, is owned by Sunstar Columbus Inc. The Ohio corporation was formed in May 2013 and its owners were identified as Punarvasu “Dipen” Patel, Harihar Patel, Dharmendra Patel and Minal Patel. Sunstar Columbus became the owner of 1289 E. Dublin-Granville Road on Aug. 15 and that same day, the name was changed from Motel 6, Judge Hawkins wrote.
“The four owners of Sunstar Columbus Inc. all play different roles for the company,” according to the ruling.
The judge noted that Minal Patel and her husband, Rakesh, both worked at the motel and lived there from Aug. 15, 2013, until it was shut down and all residents and guests forced to leave Jan. 22.
“The general reputation of 1289 E. Dublin-Granville Road is that it is a place where drug activity and prostitution occur regularly,” Hawkins found.
He cited nine occasions in which felony arrests were made between Sept. 19, 2013 and Jan. 15 this year. Heroin, cocaine, marijuana and syringes were seized when a search warrant for Room 142 was executed on Oct. 2, the judge indicated.
“Additionally, on Dec. 30, 2013, a methamphetamine lab was discovered in a room at the Red Carpet Inn,” Hawkins wrote. “This dangerous lab was discovered by police when called to the hotel on a domestic violation incident …
“Illegal prostitution activity is also widespread at the Red Carpet Inn.
“The Red Carpet Inn has also been the scene of violent crime, as well.”
The judge ordered all personal property owned by the four defendants to be removed from the motel “and sold, without appraisal, at a public auction for cash.”
He also fined each of the defendants $300 and ordered them to pay court costs.