DA Wamp Pushes for Injunction that Kicks Occupants out of East Ridge Motel

EAST RIDGE, Tenn. (WDEF)- Occupants at the Budgetel Inn and Suites Motel in East Ridge were formally evicted this morning.The decision was made by Hamilton County District Attorney Coty Wamp who has sought an injunction against the motel. Residents said this is an infringement on their rights as tenets while Wamp is saying that this is in the best interest of public safety.

Terrie, a contractor who works at the motel, said that, “They’ve gotten less than 24 hours to evict. They’ve already got the Pound down there taking people’s dogs, it’s not right what they’re doing to the animals. It’s horrible the situation everybody is in, right before Thanksgiving.”

One resident who wanted to remain off-camera told me that they had gotten less than 4 hours notice when police knocked on their door. Wamp held a press conference where she explained the injunction she has elected to pursue to close down the motel, and that it had been in the works for weeks.

She said that, “The main reason we have filed to close down the Budgetel is because of the constant crime, constant crime, constant calls that the Police Department, EMS, and Fire have to respond to on a daily basis. This hotel takes up 35 percent of the city’s resources.”

This action is allowed underneath Tennessee State Code 29-3-101. This statute allows for establishments that are considered a nuisance to have their property taken. A nuisance according to the state code is a combination of numerous offenses constantly occurring at the same location.

According to the petition filed by Wamp, East Ridge Police and Fire along with Hamilton County E-M-S responded to the Budgetel Motel a combined 2, 139 times over a period of three years.

Wamp added that, “The resources that it’s taking just to monitor just because of the criminal activity is unsustainable.”  Many of these calls have included assaults, juvenile delinquency, and illicit drug activity. They say overdose calls are common, with there being at least 8 overdoses with 2 fatalities occurring this year at the property. The petition also details criminal activity by staff including over-billing, narcotic transactions, and theft of property from rooms.

She also argued that she has the safety of the 36 children who live on property in mind as several registered sex offenders live on site. Wamp argued that, “And we understand that it may not be popular that we are trying to relocate these children, but we believe that they are better off anywhere in the county, than here.”

The petition sums up its argument by stating that all of these factors combined in the opinion of Wamp cause the motel to be a nuisance for East Ridge and Hamilton County. Wamp adds that, “This hotel is the exact reason why that statue exists. If we are going to protect this community, and we are going to be proactive about crime and law and order, it starts with crime hubs like the Budgetel.”

She said that she no longer wants these children to live in squalor, something those affected, disagree with. Terrie disagreed with Wamp’s assessment by saying, “And the facility was not ran down and is not in that kind of condition that they’re claiming. It’s ridiculous, just because of 911 calls? Police calls? And yet you’ve got all these police out here for what? These people ain’t doing nothing but trying to make a living and have something.”

This case will be heard in criminal court, whose first hearing is scheduled for Monday. If the order of abatement is upheld by the Court, the motel would be permanently shut down. If you want to take a look at the petition for abatement yourself, click this link to view the entire document: Petition for Abatement- PDF.

Additionally during the chaos of the morning, The Union Gospel Mission gave out breakfast, lunch, and toiletry bags to those who needed them. They will need to replace the blessing bags filled with toiletries for next week’s Thanksgiving dinner feeding. Additionally, Duoloyi Servants Ministries have been paying for people to stay at other accommodations and helped people move out. Donation links/addresses for both organizations are below.

Union Gospel Mission: http://theuniongospelmission.org

Duoloyi Servants Ministries: 6605 Shallowford Road, Chattanooga, TN, 37421

Categories: East Ridge, Featured, Hamilton County, Local News