Motorama owner sues city for denying operating license

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published April 13, 2016

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FERNDALE — The owner of the Motorama Motel, located at 100 Eight Mile Road, is suing the city of Ferndale for denying the motel a license to operate in the town.

The lawsuit was filed March 16 by Dilip Patel, president of Krishna Krupa Inc., which operates the motel.

Back in February, the Ferndale City Council denied the renewal of an operating license for the motel after a recommendation of denial from Police Chief Timothy Collins.

In the suit, KKI requests that the court allow the motel to continue operating in the city, have Ferndale pay its attorney fees and court costs to the extent allowed by law, and award a monetary judgement to the motel in excess of $25,000.

According to the lawsuit, KKI has owned Motorama since 2003, and up until December 2015, it had a “warm business relationship” with the city. In November 2015, KKI received a letter from the city about its annual inspection, with a list of items it needs to address, which it said it did. KKI said it then underwent a second inspection in mid-January where the city found further violations, and KKI later received notice that its operating license would not be renewed.

The lawsuit alludes to allegations that the city was acting on recommendations from the Eight Mile Boulevard Association, which mentioned several times in a report how the motel, along with the neighboring Eight Wood Motel, should be redeveloped, as it has “fallen into disrepair” and “attracts crime and drug activity in the area.”

“(Ferndale’s) behavior towards the Plaintiff KKI and the neighboring motel, 8 Wood Motel, is nothing more than a ruse!” KKI writes in its lawsuit.

City Attorney Daniel Christ said the Eight Mile Boulevard Association is not related to or part of the city of Ferndale.

“Whether the knowledge of that plan, whether the city of Ferndale knew about the plan or some people in the city of Ferndale knew about that plan, I frankly don’t know,” he said. “But it’s a separate entity. It’s not part of the city of Ferndale municipal government.”

Since the initial lawsuit was filed by KKI, the city of Ferndale itself filed documents on March 29 answering the complaint filed. The city denies the majority of the allegations made by KKI or neither admits nor denies them.

In the city’s counter-complaint document, it wrote that it denied the motel’s license based on a statute in Michigan Compiled Laws allowing an abatement of a public nuisance. The statute states that a building is a nuisance if it is used for the unlawful manufacture, transportation, sale, keeping for sale, bartering or furnishing of a controlled substance.

Listed in the document are numerous incidents dating back to 2013 that have occurred at the motel — incidents that the city mentioned during the February meeting when the City Council denied the license — including drug-related arrests, overdoses and deaths; prostitution; and larceny.

“(The Ferndale city attorney) may maintain an action for equitable relief to abate nuisances set forth … and to seek to perpetually enjoin any person, his servant, agent or employee, who owns, leases, conducts or maintains the building from permitting or suffering the building … or place to be used for any of the purposes or acts or by any other persons described in MCL,” the city wrote in its counter-complaint.

Christ said the issue with Motorama’s license was dealt with now instead of a couple years ago because the matter had not previously been brought before the council.

“It was brought to the attention of council by the chief of police, and the items that are set forth in the counter-complaint are items that were also addressed during the context of the hearing regarding the license and whether or not it should be issued or not,” he said. “So the totality of those incidents are what led council to take the action that it did.”

A hearing on the case currently is set for 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 5, before Judge Denise Langford Morris in the Oakland County Circuit Court.

The attorney for KKI, Brian Herschfus, could not be reached for comment by press time.

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