Owners and management of the motel police called a haven for drugs and prostitution agreed not to reopen the Harding Inn until code and health violations are corrected — that is, if it reopens at all.
John Yoon, Susie Yoon, Gina Dozier and Keith Smith agreed to a permanent injunction in court Friday morning, saying they wouldn’t contest the allegations of criminal activity as well as public health and safety violations alleged by Metro and the District Attorney’s office.
Under the injunction, the owners and managers will only be allowed on the property for security, maintenance and improvement. The motel, located at 324 Harding Place near Interstate 24, can’t reopen until it passes follow-up inspections from the Metro fire marshal, Department of Public Health and Department of Codes and Building Safety.
The Yoons, Dozier and Smith declined comment through their attorney, John W. Roberts. But Roberts said he believes the motel might not reopen at all.
“I don’t think this motel will probably reopen," he said. "I think that the Yoons are going to close it and sell the property.”
On Wednesday, July 7, Metro police shut down and padlocked the motel, formerly known as the Knights Inn. Police said they had been called to the site 276 times from May 2009 to May 2010, more than three times as many as a nearby Harding Place motel.
About $2,000 seized by police that day has been forfeited and used to reimburse guests who paid for rooms but had to check out early.
“I think Mr. Yoon would make the point that he is not a resident manager — he lives in Manchester, Tenn. He is not involved in the running of the motel," Roberts said. "That applies to both Mr. Yoon and Mrs. Yoon.”