The Colonial Inn Will Close. Here's When and Why.
A long hearing detailing the allegations of drug dealing, prostitution, and other criminal activity at the Colonial Inn was avoided Thursday morning after the City of Covington and the troubled property's owner reached an agreement.
A special meeting of the Covington City Commission was called for the purpose of possibly revoking the Colonial Inn's business license. Instead, the mayor and city commissioners unanimously accepted a consent decree negotiated by the city's legal department and Colonial owner Jason Mardis's attorney Ed Lanter.
"Generally speaking, it is an agreement that Mr. Mardis concedes that criminal activity has occurred on the premises and it imposes other terms and conditions," Assistant City Manager Frank Warnock. Those conditions include the placement of the property at 1515 Madison Avenue for sale to the public at or below $350,000. If not sold by November 30, 2015, the Inn will release its business license voluntarily and close.
The City of Covington also negotiated a right of first refusal on any sale of the Colonial made with a good faith offer.
Assistant City Solicitor Bryce Rhoades said the settlement was positive for the city because Mardis would have been able to appeal the business license revocation to the circuit court level and possibly obtain an injunction allowing the business to operate during the appeal process.
Commissioner Chuck Eilerman expressed concern that the $350,000 price tag would be too high considering the property's deteriorated state. Lanter said that the $350,000 price is the maximum possible offer but that it would likely be listed for less than that. The attorney added that his client "is a good man" who has "invested heavily in the city" since purchasing the property in 2004.
"He had no idea of the (Colonial's) past," Lanter said. "He got rid of the nightlies and is trying to get rid of all the problems associated with the nightly rentals."