By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The doors at the Microtel Inn and Suites were chained shut Wednesday afternoon, but it was unclear whether the hotel on McCullough Boulevard is closed temporarily or permanently.
A notice wasn’t posted on the doors, and the phone rang Wednesday with no answer or message.
David Graham of the Graham Organization, the owner of the hotel, was out of his South Dakota office Wednesday.
He also owns the former Quality Inn, a hotel that closed suddenly last year. Its doors also were chained from the inside when it closed.
A woman who identified herself as a Microtel employee said Wednesday the hotel was closed temporarily for remodeling.
However, the same employee told a guest the hotel closed for a gas leak.
Atmos Energy said a gas leak hadn’t been reported as of 5 p.m.
Heath Hunt was caught in the middle of the confusion Wednesday. He checked into the hotel Tuesday and went to work Wednesday at the Toyota plant in Blue Springs.
When he returned to the hotel Wednesday around 3:45 p.m., his key card didn’t work. Chains were wrapped around both sets of doors to the lobby. No signs were posted and no employees were on site.
“This is unreal,” said Hunt, of Wayne County in Tennessee. “I want my stuff out of there. All my clothes, all my belongings, everything. What are we supposed to do?”
An employee drove up about 15 minutes later and told him there was a gas leak and she would give him a refund and book a room for him at the nearby Motel 6.
He followed her to the Motel 6. It’s unknown whether he gained access to his stuff inside the Microtel.
Tupelo Hotel Investments, Graham’s LLC for the property, also owes more than $106,800 in back taxes for the Microtel and the Quality Inn, according to MS1Stop.com.
Both the Quality Inn and the Microtel were listed Wednesday as current properties on Graham’s website Wednesday. They were described as “professionally owned and managed by Graham Organization.”