For­mer mo­tel ten­ants up­set over treat­ment

Claim man­age­ment did not give enough no­tice of evic­tion

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By MICHAEL SYKES II msykes@somd­

The Wal­dorf Mo­tel is now closed, but many peo­ple who were uti­liz­ing the space were not there be­cause they had a choice — they had to be.

Leroy Sandy, a for­mer mo­tel ten­ant, said be­cause the space is now closed to the pub­lic and due to be bull­dozed in the fu­ture, he and his loved ones are now home­less.

“We’re liv­ing in the woods now,” Sandy said.

Green­berg Gib­bons, the com­pany that pur­chased the Wal­dorf Sta­tion prop­erty at the tail end of 2016 from Chaney En­ter­prises, said they gave three months no­tice to the prop­erty own­ers that all ten­ants had to be out of the

build­ing by Feb. 1. Ulti- mately, it was up to the prop­erty own­ers to com- mu­ni­cate that to the mo­tel’s ten­ants.

Sandy said mo­tel man­age­ment did not.

“We only got seven days no­tice,” Sandy said. “We had a guy come to our door and give us seven days.”

There were no no­tices, Sandy said, un­til it was en- tirely too late. And for peo­ple who are strug­gling to make ends meet, that can be dev­as­tat­ing, he said. In his case, it ended up cost- ing him the roof over his head.

Sheree El­liot, who was also a mo­tel tenet, said she was in the same sit­u­a­tion as Sandy, but man­aged to quickly find a place to stay be­fore it was too late. She said she was not no­ti­fied of any move­ment or clo­sure un­til the Tues­day prior to the build­ing’s clos­ing.

“And that was af­ter the sher­iff came to the mo­tel and told them what they were try­ing to do to gather in­for­ma­tion on it, and they would need to give us the in­for­ma­tion to the new own- ers of the mo­tel,” she said.

At one point, El­liot said, they were at­tempt­ing to put ten­ants out so con- trac­tors could be­gin do­ing work.

Sandy Wash­ing­ton, the ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of Life­Styles of Mary­land, said ten­ants were put out be­fore an ini­tial Feb. 1 dead­line when the power was cut from the build­ing. Life­Styles did a sweep of the build­ing to en­sure no one re­mained that needed help, she said.

“There wasn’t any­one left,” Wash­ing­ton said.

Leroy Sandy said man- age­ment was never up- front and hon­est with ten­ants, and “only wanted to get the last few dol­lars they could” from ev­ery­one stay­ing there.

But Bobby Pa­tel, the for- mer man­ager of the mo­tel, said that was not the case. The mo­tel man­age­ment cared about the peo­ple they served, he said, so much so that they gave them a month’s no­tice that they had to move out and even pro­vided some resi- dents with trans­porta­tion and a new place to stay at dif­fer­ent mo­tels in the area.

“There’s not a story,” Pa­tel said. “We gave them no­tice of one month and put it on the front desk for them to see ev­ery day ... We pro­vided cus­tomers res­i­dency at dif­fer­ent mo­tels for weeks. All the cus- tomers from our prop­erty, they are happy now. We paid for a new mo­tel and trans­porta­tion, they are happy now.”

Pa­tel said he had not re­ceived any phone calls from res­i­dents they ser ved de­scrib­ing any hard­ship. The mo­tel helped at least 30 ten­ants re­lo­cate, he said, and did the best they could to help place those who needed as­sis­tance.

Ev­ery­one who was a pay­ing ten­ant should have seen the no­tice, he said, be­cause they must come into the mo­tel’s front of- fice where the no­ti­fi­ca­tion of the move was placed to pay for their stay. Whether it is a daily pay­ment or a weekly pay­ment, he said, any­one who paid should have seen it.

But Sandy, who said he worked at the mo­tel from time to time when he could not af­ford to pay for his stay, said he never saw any sign or in­di­ca­tion that ten­ants had to leave.

“There was just a lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion,” he said. “That’s why we have the ten­sions in the world that we do now, be­cause peo­ple can­not com­mu­ni­cate.”

No mat­ter what, Clar- ence Arnold, one of the founders of the Arnold House, a foun­da­tion that seeks to help out the needy, said the Wal­dorf Mo­tel clos­ing down will likely be a strike for many peo­ple who are in need.

Arnold said he and his wife have helped many ten­ants of the Wal­dorf Mo­tel and even help set up food kitchens in the area specif­i­cally for those ten­ants. Many of them can­not af­ford to pay for steady hous­ing, he said, which makes this a dif­fi­cult time for them.

“So many peo­ple are af­fected by this,” Arnold said. “It’s sad to see it hap­pen­ing.”

Sandy agreed, stat­ing many peo­ple are go­ing to feel the bur­den of hav­ing to find per­ma­nent hous­ing. Some, he said, are al­ready strug­gling like he is.

“Some mo­tels won’t even ac­cept cer­tain peo­ple from the Wal­dorf Mo­tel,” he said. “It’s just not right.”

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