An Augusta hotel is under investigation. Eight local agencies showed up to the Gordon Highway Inn on Monday morning due to of several health concerns and crime reports.
The hotel is located at 1520 Gordon Highway near Peach Orchard Road.
District Attorney Natalie Paine says law enforcement responds to the property regularly. She says the hotel poses a risk to the community as a whole since it is on the corner of two major roads. She also has concerns for the people who live there, some of whom are children.
“I would love to see this hotel shut down, bulldozed to be honest with you,” Paine told NewsChannel 6 on Monday.
Check out the full interview with District Attorney Natalie Paine below
DA investigators, the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, the Richmond County Marshals Office, Augusta Code Enforcement, the Department of Health, the probation Office, Augusta Fire Department and Department of Family and Children Services worked together on Monday.
Paine explains why so many agencies participated in the inspection.
“We get hundreds of calls a month to this location. This has been an ongoing issue with this particular hotel. I filed a lawsuit against them back in 2017 to address various safety concerns,” Paine says. “We continuously find stolen vehicles in here. We have lots of prostitution in here. We have had multiple instances recently involving gun violence. The biggest concern that we all collectively have is the fact that there were very small children walking around out here and any of them are in extreme danger in my opinion.”
Paine tells NewsChannel 6 there are about 60 rooms, roughly half of them are occupied and some people live at the Gordon Highway Inn full time.
Code enforcement condemned one of the buildings on Monday. Building B was shut down following the inspection.
“There is one room particularly upstairs that’s completely mold infested,” Paine explains. “There’s also a bug infestation in one of the rooms. We observed smoke coming out of one of the vacant bathrooms and there appears to be a pretty significant leak that’s posing a very significant electrical hazard so the water is going to have to be cut off to that building.”
Paine says there were no citations issued to the business owner on Monday. He will have 30 days to hire licences contractors to fix the issues.
The property owner was not on site today. NewsChannel 6 was told he was out of state. We were pointed in the direction of a man who we were told is the manager. We asked if he wanted to contribute to our coverage and he said, “no comment.”
Two people were arrested on Monday, not because of the condition of the hotel. They were arrested because investigators found children who were in school. We are told one of the kids was not enrolled at all, which is against the law. DFACS will decide what happens to those children.
Photojournalist Mark Gaskins