• Commissioners' dispute leaves hotel owner in tears

    By: Craig Lucie


    FULTON COUNTY, Ga. - A local hotel owner is irate and in tears over a controversial exchange that occurred during a Fulton County Commissioners meeting.

    District 5 Commissioner Emma Darnell made a motion to approve a hotel permit for the renovated Red Roof Inn on Fulton Industrial Boulevard. The county shut it down in February because they received too many 911 calls originating from the property.

    During the meeting, Darnell's motion needed a second. A few seconds passed before or after he asked for a second? A few seconds passed when Chairman John Eaves asked would anyone else like to second. In the video it appears that Commissioner Joan Garner seconds it, but Eaves said it failed.

    Garner said, "I seconded it!

    "Fails for lack of a second, and no, I called there was not a second on this. Next item," exclaimed Eaves.

    Darnell said,"Mr. Chairman..."

    She was then cut off by Eaves, who said, "Next item. There was no second. There was no second."

    Channel 2's Craig Lucie spoke with Garner on the phone and she told him that she clearly made a motion to second it, and she was stunned by the way it was handled. Eaves' spokeswoman told Lucie that the chairman was following parliamentary procedure, and he did the right thing.

    Lucie asked Helen Zaver, the hotel's owner, if she thought what happened was fair.

    "Not at all. Not at all. I wasn't expecting that," Zaver told Lucie.

    Zaver has spent $500,000 of her own money for new beds, TVs and furniture. An officer told commissioners during the meeting that they've caught drug dealers in front of the property multiple times, but Zaver says that was before she bought the property.

    She started to cry during Lucie's interview.

    "You know, I'm a hotel owner, a small business person, a mother, a Fulton County resident for the last 12 years, and I have never seen something like this. I really haven't," Zaver told Lucie in tears.

    Some commissioners think if they grant the hotel a permit, the crime will be back.

    "I guarantee you…you give it (permit) back to them, we'll be back up here," said Commissioner William Edwards.

    But Ricky Brown, who hires veterans and ex-offenders, says the hotel would help the area.

    "Jobs are going to be lost! People are not going to be able to take care of their families and we will be able to hire at least 40 to 50 people for this hotel alone…There's a hidden agenda that is not being revealed as of yet," Brown told Lucie.

    Meanwhile, Zaver continues to fight the commission and has another chance for a vote on the hotel permit in two weeks or it may go to the courts.

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