Treasure Island, Florida — A recent investigation into the Jefferson Motel in Treasure Island, Florida, following tips sent to Ocala Post, has guests scratching their heads.
The Ocala residents that recently stayed at the motel asked to remain unnamed.
The Jefferson Motel website promises a stay like no other and at reasonable rates. They even brag about receiving the “1998 City of Treasure Beautification Award.” The pictures make the rooms look fresh, inviting, and clean. However, they do not mention the photos were taken when the motel was under different ownership. The city indicated that the “1998 City of Treasure Beautification Award” was given to the motel under the previous owners as well.
The pictures are quite deceiving and even more disturbing, is the rave reviews on tripadvisor.com.
The motel is currently being advertised as “Motel Apartments.”
Guests told Ocala Post that the manager, of whom lives in the motel, allowed [her] family to “have the run” of the motel during their recent stay. The guest told Ocala Post that the manager’s family consisted of at least 30 people.
Ocala Post traveled to the area and found that the manager does in fact allow her family and friends to “have the run” of the motel. During Ocala Post’s visit, a fist fight nearly broke out after non-guests of the motel were taking over parking spaces belonging to the owners of surrounding vacation homes. Alcohol seemed to play a big role in the situation.
There was a complete lack of respect from the family of the manager toward paying motel guests.
While Ocala Post was at the establishment, two families actually left the premises after checking in and seeing the condition of their rooms.
Further investigation revealed that the reviews on tripadvisor.com are completely false. Not one aspect of the positive reviews match up with the motel. It would lead a reasonable person to conclude that the reviews were written by the family of the manager, or owner.
The motel is registered to Pankaj Patel, previous owner of ASAP Hospitality Inc. and current owner of K & P Hospitality Inc. , “AKA” Jefferson Motel Inc. Our investigation revealed that ASAP Hospitality Inc. was involved in the foreclosure of a six million dollar hotel in 2010. The lender for the hotel was writing high risk loans for business owners. Patel stopped paying the note on the hotel he owned at the time, even though he was still collecting money for nightly rates. The lender was eventually bought out by Stearns Bank, who then initiated foreclosure proceedings on multiple businesses totaling $21.2 million.
The Jefferson Motel has changed its fictitious name multiple times, as well as the registered owner address information.
The motel itself is visibly not being well maintained.
According to the guests, the smell of urine was so strong in the room, they had to buy of a can of Lysol and purchase candles to cover up the odor. Additionally, the guests stated that the presence of mildew and mold was so overpowering that they cut their stay short to avoid getting sick.
The guests stated that they made multiple attempts to have the room cleaned prior to leaving, but the housekeeper didn’t speak English and the manager would never answer the office door.
The motel only has one house keeper on staff.
“Some of the electrical work in the room also looked like it was done by an unlicensed handyman,” said the guest. “It actually seemed like a fire waiting to happen.”
The guest went on to say that the plumbing would also back-up when the toilet was flushed.
Since Ocala Post’s visit, the motel has been reported to the Florida Department of Health for the unsanitary conditions inside the rooms. A guest also indicated that they reported the motel to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for false and misleading advertisements, which is against the law in the state of Florida.
The front office of the motel is always locked. A sign hanging on the door reads, “Ring the bell and the manager will be with you in a moment.” Ocala Post rang the bell several times, but no one ever answered the door.
Ocala Post has sent numerous e-mails and left multiple voice-mail messages with no results.
The guest told Ocala Post that the manager of the motel refused to work out the situation, so their financial institution is working with them to have more than $300 in charges reversed.
The guest said, “I would not recommend this motel to anyone and from now on it will be hard to trust the reviews I read for any hotel I am unfamiliar with.”