Villa Town manager says most problems not caused by tenants - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Villa Town manager says most problems not caused by tenants

Front doors of Villa Town Motel (Source: KCBD Video) Front doors of Villa Town Motel (Source: KCBD Video)
Shaley Sanders sat down with Matt Powell on Tuesday (Source: KCBD Video) Shaley Sanders sat down with Matt Powell on Tuesday (Source: KCBD Video)
Lubbock County District Attorney Matt Powell (Source: KCBD Video) Lubbock County District Attorney Matt Powell (Source: KCBD Video)

Residents of the Villa Town Motel were forced to move out on Monday, as a Lubbock County court order shut the place down.

Our KCBD Investigates team spoke with Lubbock County District Attorney Matt Powell and Villa Town Manager Paul Hewitt on Tuesday.

Powell described the Villa as "a deplorable place."

He said his office has been considered filing a lawsuit for a while.

When his office heard about the recent shooting at the property that left seven people injured, Powell said, "That just kind of put it on front and center."

Powell cited a long list of crimes reported at the motel:

"Prostitution, to drug trafficking, aggravated assaults, homicides, domestic violence, there are all kinds of things that have taken place at that hotel," Powell said.

Court documents cited more than 1,500 hundred calls for service and 165 arrests between January of 2015 through April 9 of 2017.

The property's manager, Paul Hewitt, is listed in the court documents as a suspect or involved party in at least seven police reports dating back to January of 2015.

When asked about the possibility of Hewitt facing criminal charges, Powell said, "I think those are always possibilities."

When we asked Hewitt about the allegations, he said, "I haven't even seen anything like that. If we're supposed to be promoting prostitution and all of those things that order said, why am I not full? I am running 25, 30 rooms from being full."

The Villa Motel has 119 rooms, Hewitt said.

Hewitt said the majority of the crimes listed in the court documents are not committed by their tenants.

"Ninety percent of the problems that are here come from people who do not live here," Hewitt said.

When asked if the owners, Amanda and Ravindra Kushwaha of California were aware of the situation, Hewitt said Mr. Kushwaha had just been released from a four month stay at the hospital.

He said Mr. Kushwaha is unable to travel at this time, but is aware of the situation.

The KCBD Investigative Team has learned this is not the first time the Kushwahas have been forced to close their doors.

The City of Eureka, California shut down their Budget Inn last year.

We spoke with Brian Issa, the city's deputy works director, who says Lubbock's situation sounds all too familiar.

"Sounds like the same things that were going on in Texas. 200-plus calls for service, a combination of behavioral and structural issues. On the behavioral side, people selling drugs, prostitution, just complete chaos basically. We had a hatchet attack," Issa said.

"Most of the rooms didn't have any toilets or sinks, bed bugs, two showers between 40-something rooms. Feces on the floor, just pretty bad conditions," Issa said.

Issa said the city had looked into the property for years before eventually forcing them to close their doors.

"We had an existing lien for $30,000 then we had $48,000 in relocation expenses, $43,000 in board up expenses and another $30,000 in violations on top of that," Issa said.

Issa said the city's plane was to close the Budget Inn down and take it into receivership, but a bank that had a significant loan on the property stepped in took the receivership itself.

The bank paid the city the roughly $150,000 it had spent on the property.

Isaa said he knows the couple owns other motels across the country.

Hewitt said he did not want to speak on behalf of the owners when it comes to these other properties.

Powell said the Lubbock property is unsafe.

"It's just a danger. It's a danger to the folks that are living there, the folks that surround that community, the businesses that are in that area, and it's an extreme danger to the law enforcement that has to respond there all the time," Powell said.

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