ST. PETERSBURG — After shutting down part of the Mosley Motel for a year, the city is coming down on another problem motel on 34th Street: the Economy Inn Stadium Motel right next door.
The owner, Shantia Singh, is scheduled to appear before the Nuisance Abatement Board on Nov. 1 at City Hall.
A complaint the board handed Singh paints a picture nearly identical to what police say was going on at the Mosley: open-air drug dealing and prostitution. According to the complaint, St. Petersburg police detectives either bought illegal drugs or solicited sex acts 25 times between March and August.
This isn't the first time the Economy Inn, at 451 34th St. N, has been under scrutiny. Since 1998, it has received the board's review four times, including in 2005 when it was ordered closed for six months and its owner fined.
In the past year, police have been called to the motel 487 times in response to a range of crimes, police spokesman Mike Puetz said.
Singh, who could not be reached for comment, has owned the motel since 2008 but has also been listed as an officer of corporations that owned the motel since 2000.
The latest cases against the Mosley and the Economy Inn were opened after officials received repeated complaints from residents, many of whom live in the Skyline Fifth apartments behind the two motels. They packed a recent hearing for the Mosley at City Hall.
"We are going to be at (the Economy Inn hearing) in full force like we were at the Mosley hearing," said Paul Dickens, crime watch coordinator for the Historic Kenwood neighborhood. "The police have done their jobs; now it's time for the public to do theirs."
As the result of the hearing, the Mosley was ordered to close a 40-room wing and a bikini bar alongside the business for one year. The owners were also ordered to hire private security, enforce curfews, add fencing and attend neighborhood meetings.
The owners, Julius Mosley and Michael Shimshoni, were also ordered to pay $27,000 in fines and attorney fees. They are appealing the board's ruling but vowed to cooperate with the city.
Luis Perez can be reached at (727) 892-2271 or firstname.lastname@example.org.