By Liz Shepherd
WARSAW — Per a court order, a 60-day stay has been placed on a demolition order for Warsaw’s Economy Inn.
During a Warsaw Code Enforcement meeting on June 22, Hearing Officer Thomas Earhart ordered the inn, located at 3521 Lake City Highway, be demolished. The building was damaged in a May 2019 windstorm, requiring numerous and extensive repairs since then.
Economy Inn’s owner, Jay Patel, who operates the inn through the entity Hari Om Inc., filed a civil suit on July 2 regarding the demolition. Listed defendants are the City of Warsaw; Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer; and Warsaw Building Commissioner Ray Behling.
Patel is being represented in this civil case by Lisa Gilkey-Schoetzow, Alex Bowling and James Byron, Elkhart. In his suit, Patel requested Kosciusko Circuit Court Judge Michael Reed review the defendants’ determinations and find the demolition order invalid while requesting injunctions forbidding the defendants from demolishing Economy Inn.
Scott Reust, the City of Warsaw’s attorney, answered Patel’s verified complaint through court documents on July 15. Documents state the city knows a new roof was installed on the building in March 2020. However, the city denies that Patel continued to update the defendants on his progress in building repairs.
The City also denies that an engineering firm provided plans for the new building to the defendants and submitted them to the state for approval. It agrees that Patel attended 18 review hearings concerning the property but also argues that Code Enforcement’s demolition order does meet statutory requirements for entry and that Earhart did make required findings to support it.
Court documents state the City of Warsaw denies statements made by Patel about not receiving notice of the demolition order’s issuance. It argues that Patel, along with his engineer and claim adjuster, have not been in constant communication with Code Enforcement Inspector Dana Hewitt.
The City requested the court affirm the demolition order and deny Patel’s request for preliminary and permanent injunctions.
On July 21, Patel and all defendants, through counsel, agreed to a 60-day stay on the final demolition order.
A status conference will be held at 10:30 a.m. Sept. 10 in order to give all respective parties further time to attempt a resolution.