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The guest rooms and parking lot of Shelby County's largest hotel now share one thing in common — they are both empty after the former Holiday Inn Express was shut down last week.
Hotel employees told Charlie Kramer, executive director of the Shelbyville-Shelby County Tourism Commission, that the hotel was closed by the IRS late last week.
A hotel employee, who didn't want to be identified for fear of retribution, said employees haven't been told anything about the situation. But they hope to be told about the future of the hotel within the next few days.
The hotel was operating under the name Ritz Inn and Suites after it lost its Holiday Inn franchise in May.
Repeated calls from The Sentinel-News to DMC Hotels, who acquired the hotel about four months ago, were hung up without answering.
A call from a non-502 area code was answered, but when a reporter was asked to identify himself, the representative hung up the phone without comment.
Lori Monroe of Shelbyville said she worked at the hotel for a day on June 20 before she realized employees weren't getting paid. When she saw that some others were quitting, she quit, too.
Monroe, who also worked at the hotel from 2007 to 2008, said she was told she would get a check in the mail. But other employees told her it would likely bounce.
“So I'm just going to get it and put it up and not even touch it,” Monroe said.
Monroe said there ares some employees who worked longer than she had and didn't get any money.
“It's not a big deal for me, but it's a problem with other people,” Monroe said.
That other, unidentified employee did receive a paycheck and taken it to the bank. Whether the check had cleared was not yet known.
That check was from JMG, the former owner of the hotel.
Kramer said the hotel is behind in paying the tourism tax. The last check he received, in May, was also from JMG.
Kramer said he received a call from someone at the company headquarters on Friday.
“She was calling me to make sure she knew every government agency that might be owed money so that they could resolve it,” he said.
County Attorney Hart Megibben said someone from the company had called his office looking for the keys to the hotel, but they had been dropped off at the Shelby County Sheriff's office.
This isn't the first time the hotel has been shut down for owing money.
“This is the fourth or fifth time the doors have been closed in the last three months or so,” Kramer said.
The hotel was closed for a period in March because JMG, its former owner, owed the state $58,388.83 in unpaid taxes. It reopened after approximately a week.