“I usually stay in and watch TV.”
Bob Johnson took time away from his Thursday night routine to comment on the situation between Sunset Hills officials and the owner of the EconoLodge, a hotel city officials are trying to close.
Johnson said he`s lived at the EconoLodge... this time... for about 8 months. He was here for 18 months 4 years ago.
“I'm a veteran on disability,” he said. “And I pay my bill with my disability check.”
Johnson lives in a room on the second floor with his cat, May, who stayed out of site due to an unfamiliar visitor.
“She's probably under the chair,” said Johnson.
Sunset Hills officials are taking steps to try to close the hotel. Our partners at the Post-Dispatch say police report as many as 349 police calls for drugs, fights, and prostitution over the course of recent 12-month period.
Johnson said, “There are, like in any motel in this area, the trouble-makers and prostitution. But as soon as it's found we or management report it and they're removed immediately.”
Johnson said there are about 20 people who, like him, call the hotel their home. And he wonders what will happen to them if it closes.
“A lot of the people here have nowhere else to go,” said Johnson. “They'll have to go to the street or the shelter if they can find one. And when that happens you can't take your belongings or your pets so they'll have to abandon them or leave them behind.
The owner of the hotel is Shaiq Amir, who so far has declined comment to the media. A hearing on the hotel’s future is scheduled for next week.