Townsend motel shut down for excessive mold, other violations

Townsend motel shut down for excessive mold, other violations

Posted:
Family Inns of America located on East Alexander Parkway was closed because of deplorable conditions. Family Inns of America located on East Alexander Parkway was closed because of deplorable conditions.
Pictures from inside rooms show mold on the walls. Pictures from inside rooms show mold on the walls.
"It was disgusting. The smell of the mold would take your breath away," said Townsend Police Officer Tony Rayburn. "It was disgusting. The smell of the mold would take your breath away," said Townsend Police Officer Tony Rayburn.
A large tarp hangs over the entrance to one of the rooms. A large tarp hangs over the entrance to one of the rooms.
The business has been cited and will not be able to reopen until the owner cleans it up. The business has been cited and will not be able to reopen until the owner cleans it up.

By MONA NAIR
6 News Reporter

TOWNSEND (WATE) - Townsend authorities have shut down a motel after receiving several complaints about the business over the last three years.

Family Inns of America located on East Alexander Parkway was closed last week because of deplorable conditions.

Pictures from inside rooms show mold on the walls. Townsend Police Officer Tony Rayburn says 80 percent of the rooms had evidence of mold.

"It was disgusting. The smell of the mold would take your breath away," said Officer Rayburn, describing what he found.

There were doors without knobs, and a large tarp hanging over the entrance to one of the rooms.

"Somewhere about a year or a year and a half ago, a gentleman drove his car into that room," said Officer Rayburn, showing some of the issues that had not been fixed.

The main door to the building had plywood over it. He says a week ago there was incident where someone took out the glass with a baseball bat.

The roof also badly needed replacing.

"There was water running from the top level to the bottom level in the rooms. There was standing water in the rooms," Officer Rayburn said.

The owner of the business, Ken Seaton, also owns Grand Resort Hotel in Pigeon Forge, which was named in 2011 as the "Dirtiest Hotel in America" by the website TripAdvisor.

Managers say they have been working to fix that image, but eight recent reviews on the same website rank the Pigeon Forge hotel as "terrible."

The Townsend motel didn't fare any better. It was ranked 10th out of 10 local motels. 

One description calls it the "worst motel ever." A more positive review on Yahoo Travel says the motel "is adequate for the money."

"It was in such poor repair the city had to take action for the health of the people staying here," Officer Rayburn said.

The business has been cited and will not be able to reopen until the owner cleans it up.

The owner did not return calls for a comment.

Police say the problems began when a new manager came on property, but both the owner and the manager are responsible for what was found there.

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