Knights Inn attorneys file counterclaims against city of Vandalia

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The city of Vandalia has sued the Knights Inn hotel for being a public nuisance.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Attorneys for a Vandalia hotel at risk of being shutdown have filed a response to the city’s lawsuit against the hotel, denying many of the claims made by the city and filing counterclaims against the city of Vandalia.

On Aug. 4, the city of Vandalia filed a motion to close the Knights Inn, saying it was a public nuisance and asking that it be shutdown. On Sept. 18, Judge Gregory Singer ruled in favor of the city, granting a temporary injunction, but not shutting the business down.

Attorneys for the hotel claim that prior to the city’s public nuisance lawsuit, the city had not given the Knights Inn written notice or verbal notice that it was considering a lawsuit.

The counterclaims state the owners of the Knights Inn are innocent because they never condoned or participated in the nuisance behavior at the hotel.

Hery Patel manages the Knights Inn and said the hotel is a family-run business. Patel testified at an Aug. 17 preliminary hearing that he raised rates after the city filed the complaint in an effort to change the clientele. He raised the rates from $45 to $50 a night to $55 to $60 a night.

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Patel also testified since his family bought the hotel in 2017, they have put about $200,000 into remodeling or improving the rooms.

Patel said he instituted a “do not rent” list for unruly guests after hearing about the city’s complaint.

The counterclaim also states that hotel ownership has enacted a no visitors policy, improved the hotel’s surveillance system and secured entry points in the hotel in order to deter criminal activity at the hotel. The Knights Inn, within the last month, additionally hired a security guard from National Alliance Security Agency and installed security cameras, according to court documents.

Vandalia Interim City Manager and Police Chief Kurt Althouse said the city has noticed a considerable decrease of calls for service to the hotel in last several weeks, including fewer drug overdoses. Police officers in the field have also reported the business is being more cognizant of who they are renting a room to, Althouse said.

The defense team states that if Vandalia’s suit is successful, it will diminish the value of the Knights Inn and prevent the Patel family from using the property for anything “economically beneficial.”

If the court rules in favor of the city and the Knights Inn is shut down for a period of time, the counterclaim states that the Knights Inn would be entitled to compensation for the property.

The court set a pretrial scheduling conference for Oct. 23.

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