The Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office, police and animal control responded to the Brook Park Travelodge hotel Wednesday to assist in shutting it down after receiving hundreds of nuisance reports.
Dozens of officers and deputies raided the hotel at 16161 Brook Park Road as the city's mayor and Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty called it a crime magnet and a danger to the public. They said it has been a breeding ground for human and drug trafficking for years.
"The property is poorly maintained, infested with vermin and bed bugs, filthy, it’s an eye sore," said McGinty.
McGinty added that police received more than 650 service calls to the hotel from 2014-2015. About 23 calls were received just in the month of January. The calls ranged from complaints about drugs to sexual assault, shootings and prostitution. Authorities said at least one case of human trafficking was investigated at the hotel.
“They allow people to do drugs and all kinds of stuff, and they don’t care," said Milton Rios, Jr. who has lived at the Travelodge for the past four months with his 13-year-old son. "If you complain, they threaten to kick you out.”
Rios is one of about 30 tenants at the hotel, according to police.
"So we’re all supposed to be out in the cold tonight?" asked Cheryl Bradbury, another renter. "Where are we going to go? People don’t have a place to live right now.”
Rios, Bradbury and others sought help at the The Crossroads church next door to the hotel. The American Red Cross is assisting too.
Brook Park Mayor Tom Coyne said Travelodge's hotel parking lot is also being used as illegal parking for the airport.
"They're charging $3 a day," he added.
Coyne said he is unsure whether the city will tow the cars that are currently parked illegally.
He also said the hotel's ownership kept shifting between a husband and wife. The prosecutor's office said the couple, who live in Solon according to court documents, has not been charged.
Coyne said he hopes the hotel will be demolished, and the land will be redeveloped.