Mesa police harass motel owners

  Hmmm.... Do you need a government issued photo ID to rent a room in Mesa like you do in Tucson????

Hmmm... Do you need a government issued photo ID along with a criminal background check to work at a motel in Mesa???

If you do it sounds like a civil right violation per the Arizona Constitution's equal protection clause and I should file a lawsuit.


Motel owners claim harassment in Mesa

By Katie McDevitt, Tribune
August 8, 2006

The attorney for two Mesa motels that officials say have failed to thwart crime on their properties has filed a formal complaint against Mesa police.

The 98-page complaint filed July 27 accuses police of intimidating, harassing and threatening Mike and Mary Djordjevich, owners of the Miles Motel and Apartments and the Colonade Motel Suites.

Attorney Peter Strojnik said he filed the complaint after police made several random inspections on the motels’ property as part of the East Valley Motel Crime and Blight Elimination Agreement.

Since January, police have randomly inspected the motels for meeting requirements such as written guest application documentation, adequate lighting, deadbolts and employee criminal background checks. The inspections were requested by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, which has been monitoring the motels because of their number of police calls for service.

Strojnik said he agreed to the inspections to “cooperate” with authorities and improve the safety and appearance of his clients’ motels. But he said authorities failed to cooperate and eventually started “harassing and threatening” the owners. His complaint cites that police tried to force their way onto the property, attempted a “tug of war” over tenant records and pulled over people coming out of the motel.

Mesa police spokesman Sgt. Chuck Trapani said the complaint has been forwarded to the Internal Affairs division and is being investigated.

Barnett Lotstein, special assistant attorney for the county, said, “We think the police have acted professionally.”

Strojnik said police asked the motel owners to submit to inspections at inconvenient times, when they were busy helping customers or sleeping. Authorities say police made random inspections to gain a more accurate assessment.

Police records show the Miles Motel was not in compliance with background checks and guest documentation in January. But the motel had a perfect inspection March 23.

“I am trying to come up with a true cooperative spirit with the city of Mesa,” Strojnik said. “I want to make sure my clients do everything they can to keep crime out, but it takes two to cooperate.”

He said he will no longer agree to random police inspections, but will continue to have his own private inspector check the properties. But Lotstein said the complaint will not force officials to back down.

“They agreed to all these things,” Lotstein said. “It will continue so long as we are convinced agreements are complied with.”

Contact Katie McDevitt by email, or phone (480) 898-6344