No doubt you recall the show Mayor Dwaine Caraway put on April 1 in front of the Luxury Inn on S. Buckner, where he was joined by the Dallas City Hall All-Stars to proclaim the motel closed due to its myriad "unpleasantries," with rampant prostitution and drug-related crimes high on the city's dirty laundry list. But, if you'll recall, not all in attendance welcomed the shut-down: The motel's attorney, Frank Hernandez, got into it with Dallas Police Chief David Brown and accused the mayor of being a "racist" and "hypocrite" who only "goes after ... the Indian motel owners." (The Luxury is owned by Pravin and Rita Patel.)
Well. Seems it takes more than a press conference to shutter a motel: Tomorrow in Judge Martin "Marty" Lowy's courtroom at the George Allen, Hernandez and the city will face off over the city's demand for a temporary restraining order, which was filed in Dallas County District Court late last week.
In the TRO request, which follows, the city says the motel was perfectly legal till January 13, 2010, at which time the city council retooled the Buckner Boulevard Special Purpose District and non-conforming-use-d the motel out of existence. The PD do-over, which was approved by the City Plan Commission at the end of November 2009, called for "prohibiting lodging and residential hotel uses." The city said it gave owners the a year to "wind down non-conforming uses" or apply for more time, and that the Patels did not ask for an extension.
Hernandez says the Patels have closed the Luxury and that the suit "is not necessary." He says he was told by Assistant City Attorney Melissa Miles that, nope, it's still operating. "I told her, 'That's not what my people say,' but they can testify and we can testify and show we're not renting to anyone," Hernandez tells Unfair Park. He expects to file his response to the city's suit today.
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"Melissa told me last week she was going to file the TRO, and I said, 'We're already closed. It's not necessary," Hernandez says. "I think she's doing it because of Dwaine Caraway."