GREENWOOD — The Johnson County Health Department, Greenwood Police Department, Greenwood Fire Department, and the Greenwood Mayor conducted a multi-agency inspection effort Wednesday morning at the Red Carpet Inn and Fanta Suites.
Health inspectors found concerns regarding roaches, mold and plumbing back-ups in some rooms, according to Betsy Swearingen, Public Health Preparedness Coordinator at the Johnson County Health Department.
The health department will issue a letter to the hotel’s owner noting the violations and how to correct the issues.
Greenwood Police Chief James Ison said they located drug paraphernalia in two of the rooms and a small amount of marijuana in a third room.
Police officers also served a search warrant due to inspectors observing narcotics and firearms in plain view while conducting an inspection of an occupied room.
The inspection lasted two hours.
As the inspection began, the hotel’s owner asked WRTV to leave the property.
The city and county’s enforcement effort comes as members of the community have raised concerns about health and safety issues at the hotel.
WRTV Investigates has uncovered police calls to the hotel are on the rise.
GREENWOOD POLICE RESPONSE TO RED CARPET INN
- 2019—75 calls, 20 criminal offenses
- 2020- 109 calls, 14 criminal offenses
- 2021- 165 calls, 35 criminal offenses
- 2022 (1/1 to 9/8)- 119 calls, 31 criminal offenses
The family of a New Palestine mother is asking the city to shut down the hotel after the mother was found dead at the hotel.
Dana Smith, 37, died at the Red Carpet Inn and Fanta Suites on August 24.
Smith was the operations manager at the Red Carpet Inn and Fanta Suites, 1117 E Main St, in Greenwood.
“She was very happy-go-lucky,” said Smith’s sister, Kristine Auclerc. “She was always happy, always smiling.”
Dana Smith, a mother of two, had only been working at the hotel a few months when she was found dead in a hotel room, according to Auclerc, who lives in Kentucky.
“She was just the sweetest person,” said Auclerc. “She was so kindhearted. She was loving to everybody, accepting to everybody for who they were.”
Smith died of an accidental overdose of amphetamine, methamphetamine and fentanyl, Johnson County Coroner Mike Pruitt said Wednesday.
PREVIOUS | Greenwood man avoid prosecution after ‘scary’ encounter at hotel
Just last year, records show overdose deaths on April 23, April 26 and September 9.
Dana Smith’s family is calling on the City of Greenwood to take action.
“It is awful,” said Auclerc. “It’s a black hole. Shut it down. Get rid of it.”
The city ordinance currently says a hotel’s license can be put on probationary status if the calls for service ratio is at or above two calls per room a year.
The Red Carpet Inn and Fanta Suites has yet to hit that mark.
“It just hasn’t hit that threshold on our ordinance where we can stop them from operating altogether,” said Fillenwarth.
WRTV Investigates asked the Greenwood Common Council what they’re doing about the issue, and President Mike Campbell agreed to speak with us.
WRTV: What do you say to people that say, just shut this place down?
Campbell: Legally, we can’t. it’s a private business.
WRTV: How long has the Red Carpet Inn been an issue?
Campbell: It seems like forever. It’s gotten worse over the past few years.
WRTV: Does the ordinance itself need to be changed
Campbell: I think so. The only part of the ordinance that could be changed is the ratio. We could lower the ratio but then we run into the possibility of lawsuits. It could appear to be targeting — like we are picking on one hotel, and we just have to be very careful about that.
Campbell points out that even if a business meets the threshold for police calls, the city has to take additional steps before a license can be revoked including allowing the business to receive training.
Campbell: If it doesn’t improve, the police chief could recommend that the license not be renewed and then that goes to the Board of Works who handles that process, and they have to hold a public hearing. It’s more difficult than just saying you can’t operate anymore.
WRTV: Do you agree that something needs to be done?
Campbell: Yes, yes. It is a continuous problem. We do know something needs to be done.
WRTV Investigates did some checking and found the hotel is registered with the state under the name “Lodging & Trade LLC” and the general manager is listed as Ahmed Mubarak.
We reached out via email to set up an interview, but the hotel has not yet agreed to meet with us.
Mubarak asked WRTV to leave the property during the September 14 inspection.
Dana Smith’s sister hopes her death prompts meaningful change that will keep the community safe.
“If we weren’t able to save her, maybe we can save someone else,” said Auclerc.