By Dave Frank
Appeal Staff Writer
The Downtowner Motor Inn lost its business license Thursday at the city board of supervisors' meeting but will remain open as a new owner takes over the motel that was shut down in 2005 before reopening last year.
Ralph Ahmad, owner of the two-story, 34-room motel at the corner of North Carson and Washington streets, had not paid room taxes of more than $1,000 this year and had not responded to questions about the problem, city staff said.
"We haven't heard a single solitary word from him," said Molly Bundy-Toral of the Carson City Convention and Visitors Bureau, which collects the 7 percent room tax.
Ahmad offered at the meeting to pay the taxes he owed, but supervisors rejected the idea.
"Mr. Ahmad, you're too late and too little," Mayor Marv Teixeira said.
Ahmad, who drives a Cadillac Escalade, said he was not able to pay the taxes earlier because of financial problems.
The potential new owners, the Shearer family, are working with the city to take over the motel now. No one will be asked to move out during the transition, city staff said.
The family will pay the room taxes owed and do anything else it needs to get the hotel running again, David Shearer said.
The motel on Thursday morning had garbage cans overflowing with trash, table stands outside made of tires and a large cart of trash in front of its main office.
The Downtowner re-opened in September 2007 after being shut down by the city in April 2005 under Ahmad's ownership for problems including sewage in living rooms.
The owner said then he didn't get any notices from the city about the problems, according to Nevada Appeal records, but city staff disagreed.
Ahmad said in an interview after the meeting that he didn't know what he was going to do now that he had lost his businesses license.
Shearer said he is working with the city to find the best use for the hotel. He might keep it as the Downtowner, have a hotel chain take it over or give the land to the next door Children's Museum of Northern Nevada to use for expansion.
It is not clear what will happen to people living at the motel when the Shearer family takes over the motel, which does not have a permit that would allow it to let people stay longer than a month.
Shearer said he would enforce this restriction in the 14,450-square-foot motel, which was built in 1962.
• Contact reporter Dave Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1212.
What: The Downtowner Motor Inn lost its business license for failing to pay room taxes this year.
Background: The motel was shut down in April 2005 for public health violations including sewage in living rooms. It reopened in September 2007 under the same owner.
What's next: New owners are working with the city to take over the motel. No one will be evicted during the transition.