Mayor Nickels on Aurora motel crackdown: ‘We’re on it…We’re using every tool we have’
In the wake of the city’s crackdown on five Aurora motels that have sparked hundreds of police calls for apparent drug-dealing, prostitution and suspicious activity, Mayor Greg Nickels on Wednesday fielded some questions from weary motel neighbors and assured them: “We’re on it… We want to remove that [crime] from those neighborhoods.”
“It’s a terrible thing for the neighbors to have to live with, and we’re using every tool that we have available to us,” said Nickels, speaking on the monthly televised “Ask the Mayor” show on Seattle Channel and posted online here.
Motel owners Dean and Jill Inman of Bothell recently were charged with 152 criminal charges for various tax violations allegedly connected with Seattle Motor Inn, 12245 Aurora Avenue North, and four Fremont motels — the Fremont Inn (former Thunderbird Motel), Wallingford Inn, Italia Motel and adjoining Isabella Motels, all located between the 4200 and 4500 blocks of Aurora. They admit no wrongdoing. “My response to the charges is that of bewilderment, confusion, and disbelief that the city intends to use such force and scare tactics to close my legally operating businesses,” Dean Inman told the Seattle Weekly.
Neighbors and the moderator of the wide-ranging “Ask The Mayor” show, C.R. Douglas, asked Nickels a handful of questions about the five motels, including, what took so long to crack down on the motels? A parent of a nine-year-old said it feels like his family lives in the line of fire.
“I don’t think it was a matter of waiting to crack down on them,” Nickels responded. “I think that due process, which is a part of our legal system, requires us to go through a significant amount of work in order to make the case. We’ve done that.
“These are particularly difficult businesses — there’s prostitution, there’s drug dealing, and just literally HUNDREDS of police calls to these FIVE motels. So we’re on it. We want to remove that from those neighborhoods.
“It’s a terrible thing for the neighbors to have to live with, and we’re using every tool that we have available to us to do that.”
The five motels have attracted much press attention, most fully at Seattlepi.com and in Seattle Weekly’s current cover story by reporter Vernal Coleman (which also includes a lengthy response from motel co-owner Dean Inman).
An excerpt from the Weekly article:
“You are at the center of the world, bruh.” Charles, a recently hired Italia employee, says as he leans against the door of his green sedan parked in front of the motel’s office. “They got crack bitches, dope-fiend bitches, pimps, pussy, crank, coke, weed; whatever you want, you can get it right here.”