|By Jessica Deleon, Fort Worth
Star-Telegram, TexasMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Nov. 8, 2007 - --BEDFORD -- The city has asked the courts to shut down a local hotel after it failed to pay its hotel-motel taxes, although the hotel has already been closed for two weeks for remodeling.
The city wants a temporary restraining order for the Bedford
Plaza Hotel, formerly known as the Holiday Inn DFW West, at Airport
Freeway and Murphy Drive, 3005 West Airport Freeway
The city said the hotel owes $67,646 in taxes that were due from May through September, according to the petition filed last week in the 67th District Court in Fort Worth.
The city asks that the hotel's owner, Bedford Hospitality Investments based in San Francisco, to cease operations until it pays the taxes, a 15 percent penalty and attorneys fees.
The city also asks for an audit to determine the amount of hotel taxes due.
The hearing has not been scheduled.
Suresh Patel, manager of Bedford Hospitality Investments, said he wasn't aware of the petition. He said the hotel shut down so the roof, damaged by hail in April, could be repaired.
The hotel, which laid off 35 people, expects to reopen in three to five months.
Patel said the hotel fell behind on the taxes because it has not received payment for a large number of guest receipts.
City Attorney Stan Lowry said that the hotel may be ceasing business of its own will but that the city still needed a judicial order.
"We're saying we don't want the property owner to be able to conduct business until they pay all past-due hotel occupancy taxes," he said.
Lowry said the city is taking the hotel to court because it has failed to pay taxes and water bills before. "There's a sense of urgency to resolve this matter quickly," he said.
The hotel's owner owed $233,722 in taxes in 2006.
The city and hotel officials agreed to a payment plan, but the owner defaulted on the first payment.
The city asked for a temporary restraining order in December, and an injunction prohibiting new customers was granted in February.
A week later, the hotel paid $266,267 in hotel occupancy taxes and fees.
Guests pay the hotel occupancy tax. The money goes into the city's hotel-motel fund, which can be used for anything that can generate tourism, such as festivals.
JESSICA DELEoN, 817-685-3932 firstname.lastname@example.org
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