Northland News

Appeal filed in closing of Columbus Inn and Suites

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A lawyer representing the Columbus Inn and Suites has filed an appeal to a judge's Jan. 21 ruling that boarded up the troubled Zumstein Drive motel for a year.

An almost duplicate ruling by a different judge regarding the Red Carpet Inn may also face the same thing, but that hadn't happened as of last week, Assistant City Attorney William Sperlazza said at Northland Community Council's June 3 meeting.

During his report to representatives of civic associations and other member organizations, Sperlazza touted the May 14 decision rendered by Franklin County Environmental Court Judge Daniel R. Hawkins in the case of the Red Carpet Inn, 1289 E. Dublin-Granville Road. The owners of the former Motel 6, which city officials shut down Jan. 21, were all found guilty by the judge of maintaining a public nuisance, Sperlazza said. They were enjoined from running a public nuisance in Franklin County ever again.

Further, the property itself was declared to be a public nuisance, and even potential future owners of the motel face contempt of court charges if it once again is found to be in that state, he noted.

"It's a pretty strong ruling in that regard," Sperlazza said.

Hawkins' ruling should mean the property will remain shut down until March 2015, he added.

The decision can be appealed, Sperlazza warned, although he didn't know if that will happen.

As for the appeal of the Columbus Inn and Suites ruling, which was filed just one day before officials moved to shut down the Red Carpet Inn, Sperlazza said he's not particularly worried that the decision by visiting Judge Teresa L. Liston will be overturned.

"We are confident in our interpretation of the law," he said.

On another front, Sperlazza told NCC members he had participated recently in a Department of Liquor Control administrative hearing regarding the Schrock Road Drive-Thru, 1457 Schrock Road. The hearing involved an objection filed by city council members to renewing the store's liquor permit.

During the hearing, Sperlazza said the city's representatives brought up no less than 10 instances in which the permit-holders were found to have sold or been in possession of illegal "bath salts" and synthetic marijuana.

One of the NCC representatives was baffled at the concept of bath salts somehow being against the law.

"We're not talking about Calgon here," NCC President Emmanuel V. Remy said.

According to the website inhalants.org., " 'Bath Salts' is also the informal, slang term for a new group of designer drugs sold as tablets, capsules or powder and purchased in places such as tobacco and convenience stores, gas stations, head shops and the Internet."

The website also states these drugs "are stimulants that mimic cocaine, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), methamphetamine, or methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy)."

Sperlazza said he had no idea when Liquor Control officials will rule on the Schrock Road Drive-Thru, and he is uncertain of the outcome.

"We've been disappointed in the past," he said.

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