Mount Vernon News
 
 

By Mount Vernon News
February 15, 2013 4:07 pm EST

 

MOUNT VERNON — A failed inspection by three government agencies continues to keep the Curtis Inn closed.

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The Mount Vernon Fire Department, the State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Knox County Health Department inspected the hotel on Thursday morning and found over 100 fire code violations. According to Fire Chief Chris Menapace, some of the violations remained from an inspection in October, others were new and some appear to be a result of trying to fix violations found in 2012.

Examples of violations include locked deadbolts prohibiting a safe exit; an extraordinary amount of combustibles stored in areas not suitable for such materials; incorrectly wired electrical equipment; and fire extinguishers missing, discharged or out of date.

Menapace said he had not talked with the owner, Sucha Singh, Thursday afternoon but did speak with Jerry Baker, the mortgage holder of the property, who was present during the 3 1/2 hour inspection.

A message was left with Baker’s attorney seeking comment.

The hotel was closed on Feb. 7, as city officials learned the hotel was operating without a license. Subsequently, manager James Rhinebolt was arrested for operating a hotel without a license. He has been released from the Knox County Jail and is awaiting a pre-trial hearing on Feb. 20 and a trial date on March 6.

Law enforcement has been on the scene of the Curtis several times in the last week. The most recently during a Wednesday night security check by the Mount Vernon Police Department. According to the report, the officer was conducting a check just before 1 a.m. He noticed a room door was open a couple of inches and found the door frame was damaged. The officer noticed what appeared to be a person in the bed. Hubbard told the officer he was unaware the hotel was closed and said he did not break into the room.

James Hubbard, 35, Fredericktown, was arrested for criminal trespass, criminal damaging or endangering and resisting arrest.

A second room was reported broken into twice in the last week and one room was found to have a full wardrobe, a briefcase and food.

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