WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Nearly 18 months after the district attorney and Wilmington’s police chief told six Market Street motels to clean up their act, the DA is taking steps to try and shut down one of them.
District Attorney Ben David said he filed a complaint today against the Carolinian Inn because of continued problems. David said it is one of two motels along Market Street that have been the seen of issues including drug and human trafficking that has not entered into a consent judgement.
“Criminal activity will not be tolerated,” David said, while also noting that he wants the businesses to succeed. But to do that, they must agree to have security and keep criminals away.
David said after Judge Phyllis Gorham signed the complaint, 15 officers from the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office and Wilmington Police Department executed a warrant today to inventory the property.
“It is our hope that we will eventually put measures in place to bring them up to the same standards that the other motels have had to comply with in order to stay in business,” David said.
Those standards include night security, video cameras, extra lighting, transparency with their books and provisions when it comes to renting to locals.
Both the Budgetel Inn and Red Roof Inn are motels that followed this procedure.
“It’s a lot better now. Business is up and it’s getting better everyday…We didn’t know before that people were doing these things but now we know and it’s gotten better,” Budgetel Inn manager Sanjeev Vadhiwala, said
“First thing we did, like, we put security cameras. We have lots. We have a security guard working on the weekend, like Friday and Saturday nights. And right now, we don’t rent any local people who live like 25 miles from here, so we don’t rent out to any locals,” Rocky Patel, Red Roof Inn General Manager, said.
Ed West, a partner with the law firm Brooks Pierce, who is representing the Carolinian, said “We are disappointed by the filing of today’s lawsuit. As with most things, there are many sides to this story. We have tried to explore a compromise and avoid litigation, and we still hope we can resolve this matter. That said, we do have concerns about the constitutionality of the statute under which the district attorney’s office has chosen to proceed and yesterday commenced a separate action in wake county challenging its validity.”
David says for now there is a temporary injunction against the hotel to have no criminal activity on the property. He said he will be back in court next Friday to try and make that a permanent injunction. He said if there are any problems in the meantime, the two sides could be back in court sooner than planned.
An employee at the Carolinian Inn Friday afternoon said he could not comment. WWAY asked to talk with the owner, but we have not received a call.