The city board is threatening to shut down a Corinth hotel if the owners do not clean up and address concerns about unsavory activity.

The Corinth Inn and Suites on Highway 72 was on the receiving end of criticism from both the Board of Mayor and Aldermen and Police Chief Ralph Dance during the latest meeting of the board.

“If there was any way that we could shut it down tonight, I’d be making the motion to do it,” Ward 2 Alderman Ben Albarracin told the owners.

Representing the property were Dhiru Patel and Yogesh Jariwala, co-owners, and Harry Patel, accounts payable.

The city recently began the adjudication process on the property and, on Tuesday, gave a 30-day continuance. If improvement is not seen within that time frame, the board wants to explore how to have it shut down.

“I’m done with it,” said Albarracin. “It looks disastrous.”

Code Enforcement Officer Kim Ratliff said there are “a plethora of items” as far as the condition of the property, along with a number of vehicles on the lot.

Police Chief Ralph Dance said his officers have observed evidence of drug activity and prostitution taking place at the hotel, and officers are responding to situations there two or three times a week.

“It’s an ongoing problem, and it’s a problem that needs to be fixed,” he said.

In his opinion, he said, the property should be shut down. He said the owners have previously promised to improve without following through.

One warning sign of trouble, he said, is people staying there for weeks at a time and local residents renting rooms.

“When people are leaving their house to come and rent a room for the weekend, they’re doing something that they should not be doing,” said Mayor Tommy Irwin.

Dance said these problems are not happening at any other hotel in Corinth.

The representatives of the hotel said they have recently retained a landscaping business that is maintaining the grounds, and they are working on a remodel. Ratliff told them they need to submit a plan describing the scope of work and get a building permit.

The owners also talked about possibly hiring security to monitor activity at the hotel.

Dance said the investment in a remodel will be for naught if the owners do not clean up their business.

“Six months later, it’s going to be right back in the toilet,” he said. “Those drug dealers and those prostitutes and those people don’t take care of their own stuff, and they’re not going to take care of your stuff. You’ve got to figure out how to keep those type people out of there.”

Irwin said he is skeptical the changes will come, but “I hope you prove me wrong,” he told the owners.

“If it was my investment,” said Albarracin, “I would go out there and spend some time, because you’re losing your investment.”

Staff Writer

Jebb Johnston is a 1991 Alcorn Central High School graduate and a 1995 Ole Miss journalism graduate. His primary beats are city and county government.

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