Police urge council to shut down Best Inn
EVERETT - The City Council upheld the city’s decision to deny Best Inn’s overnight lodging license after an appeal hearing held at last week’s council meeting.
The city denied Best Inn’s overnight lodging license for failing to address prolific criminal activity happening on its property and for being a chronic nuisance business.
The motel is described by police as a business that allows rampant illegal drug use and drug dealing on its property and rents rooms to known problem people.
Police also accuse motel owner Mi Young Ahn and employees of making no effort to deter the illegal activity. This past March, police notified the motel that it was being investigated as a nuisance business. For years, police say, Best Inn has been a place for people to engage in illegal activity.
In one incident this May, police discovered four people in a room, none of which were registered guests, and found guns, knives, methampthemine and other drug paraphernalia in the room.
Police have been keeping an eye on the motel and recently visited the motel over a four-month period more than 55 times, mostly for illegal drug activity.
The motel is located at 1122 N. Broadway and owned by the Nomiju Corp.
Everett Sgt. Bruce Bosman used to conduct undercover operations there in the early 2000s and is familiar with the motel.
Bosman testified last week that Ahn has failed to make a good-faith effort to correct how she operates the motel to stop the criminal activity and recommended the City Council uphold the city’s decision to deny Best Inn its overnight lodging license. The motel needs that license in addition to a general business license.
Bosman said the motel at times locks the lobby doors, which is illegal, has failed to obtain a required state Department of Health permit, allows illegal drug activity on its property and generally fails to make the motel a safe environment for law abiding guests.
The motel also doesn’t keep clean rooms nor has a working electrical system.
Before shutting down a business, police try to work with the business owner to correct the problems through an abatement plan process. Bosman wrote he suggested Ahn install lighting in the parking lot and video security cameras outside to deter drug activity and to be more vigilant about allowing problem people rent rooms. Bosman also suggested motel employees call 911 if they suspect criminal activity. He testified last week that employees rarely call 911, indicating a lack of wanting to cooperate with police to stop the criminal activity.
Bosman testified Ahn failed to follow through on many of the basic corrective actions spelled out in the abatement plan. He noted Ahn produced a “Do Not Rent” list, but it only contained one of the 12 known problem renters who have been arrested at the motel. Bosman said Ahn is aware of these people because she was present during most of the arrests. He also testified that he helped Ahn on how to produce an accurate “Do Not Rent” list.
Bosman noted in his written testimony that Ahn installed video cameras in the office area but not outside where a lot of the illegal activity is happening. Bosman also suggested Ahn fence off the westside exterior breezeway because it provides a prime location for illegal activity because it can’t be seen from the office and the public. Police have found used needles and other drug paraphernalia there. Bosman wrote that Ahn didn’t fence off this area until after the overnight lodging license was denied.
Ahn testified that she tries her best to only rent rooms to good guests, but that she can’t be responsible for guests who lie to her or do illegal stuff inside their rooms.
“I’m so shocked to hear all these problems because I’m trying my best to address these problems,” Ahn said