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Greenwood hotel owner appears in court as city pushes for demolition

The judge is expected to issue a ruling within 30 days.
Posted at 4:42 PM, Nov 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-15 18:26:23-05

GREENWOOD — A troubled Greenwood hotel is another step closer to possibly being demolished.

The City of Greenwood made its case before a Johnson County judge Wednesday afternoon to continue with tearing down the Red Carpet Inn and Fanta Suites.

“This place is a dangerous nuisance,” said William Barrett, attorney for the City of Greenwood. “Things will get worse than they are.”

City of Greenwood Building Commissioner Kenneth Seal shared pictures with the court taken Wednesday morning which showed broken windows, graffiti, fire damage and other vandalism at the hotel.

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The city says the photos are proof the hotel needs to be demolished for public safety reasons.

In April 2023, the City of Greenwood ordered the Red Carpet Inn to be demolished.

The hotel’s owners, Lodging & Trade LLC and Ahmed Mubarak, filed a petition to stop the demolition.

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Ahmed Mubarak

On April 24, a Johnson County judge approved the motion, effectively halting the demolition of the Red Carpet Inn.

Building Commissioner Kenneth Seal testified Wednesday that the city has spent more than 100 man hours at the hotel since the demolition order was issued in April 2023, including police, fire, building and code enforcement.

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The city maintains the hotel’s owners have not taken steps to fix the property or properly secure it.

The hotel’s owners did not have legal representation in court Wednesday and thus, were not allowed to make any legal arguments.

Mubarak says it’s the city’s fault.

“They kicked us out. They said you cannot stay in a building of this size when there is no security,” said Mubarak. “You expect this kind of thing to happen. They caused this because they say I cannot be there.”

Mubarak says he is trying to sell the property, but potential buyers are scared.

“The issue is anybody who comes forward gets scared of the city,” said Mubarak. “This slogan about it being unsafe is highly disputed because I hired an inspection company and they filed a report saying the building is safe and sound.”

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Mubarak said he is being treated unfairly.

“It’s appalling,” said Mubarak. “I’m stripped of my rights as a citizen. I’m stripped of my rights as a businessman. What kind of treatment is this?”

Judge Marla Clark is expected to make a decision on the city’s requests in the coming days or weeks.

WRTV Investigates raised questions last year regarding the health and safety of the hotel after the operations manager was found dead, and a mother found a man inside her room going through her credit cards.

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