LIMA — The City of Lima is pursuing litigation against the owner of the Royal Inn, Rashmikant B. Patel, after an inspection of the premises revealed a bevy of fire code and property maintenance violations.
The lawsuit alleges that the Royal Inn constitutes a public nuisance under both Ohio law and city ordinances and asks that Patel bring the building up to code. The civil suit also makes the stipulation that if Patel decides to fix the building a third-party will determine whether renovations are even possible considering the extent of the building’s violations.
The suit follows an incident in April when a section of steel roofing on the building was ripped off due to high winds and crashed into the alleyway east of the building. No one was hurt at that time, but the city followed up with a joint-inspection of the premises with the state fire marshal to better determine code violations throughout.
The city logged 11 fire code and nine property maintenance violations during the walk-through, declared the building unsafe afterward and ordered an evacuation of the building within three days. City officials also learned that many residents of the hotel had been using the building as a primary residence, some as long as seven years when Ohio code limits temporary residency to less than 30 days.
Other problems noted by the city’s lawsuit include bug infestations, broken windows, holes in doors, unapproved cooking devices, faulty sinks and outlets and leaking roofs within some of the rooms.
The lawsuit also alleges the Royal Inn is a hub for criminal activities. The Lima Police Department has logged 452 calls for service at the premises since January 2016. The Lima Fire Department responded to 60 emergency calls in the same time frame. Thirteen of those calls involved suspected drug overdoses.
The majority of the 490-page lawsuit filed by the city lists the police reports created due to those calls, including lengthy documents on incidents of rape, robbery, fugitives, lewdness and multiple drug deals.
The lawsuit alleges that the Royal Inn is a “habitual resort for thieves, burglars, robbers or persons who are conspiring to commit felonious conduct.”
It follows that the “premise is a source of criminal activity in or around its areas and the respondents have failed to take any remedial measures to correct these issues.”
According information provided by the Allen County Auditor,\ the Royal Inn was originally built in 1964, and the property was appraised to be worth $370,300 in 2015.
“We fully intend to pursue this with the full force of the city’s law department,” Deputy Law Director John Payne said.”At some point, the owner will have to make the decision to fix or demolish it.”
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.