Taxpayers pay $200K in damages reportedly done by homeless in Mecklenburg County; bill could rise

Nation and World News

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTE) – Mecklenburg County already approved to shell out over $200,000 for repairs for hotel rooms allegedly damaged by the homeless, but now commissioners are saying it could cost the county even more.

This is due to homeless people still living in the hotel and more damages potentially being accrued. 

An entire hotel was rented out back in March of 2020 through November to house homeless for social distancing reasons. But homeless are still able to reside there, so county officials predict more damage could be done.

Last week, the Mecklenburg County approved $207,000 for alleged damages to be repaired in the hotel.

FOX 46 reached out to the entire Board of County Commissioners and not a single one has said they’ve seen the photos of the alleged damage. 

It was indicated at last week’s board meeting that someone in the County Manager’s Office has them; but after repeated attempts FOX 46 was not able to get a copy of them.

A public records request was submitted and has yet to be completed. 

Commissioner Susan Rodriguez McDowell responded to an email from FOX 46 and said though she never saw any of the damage herself, she trusts the county staff to vet the claims from the hotel.

“They are not just writing blank checks to unverified expenses!” McDowell wrote.

Some FOX 46 viewers are questioning if the hotels are taking advantage of the Mecklenburg County by asking for money to fix damage that was already there. Commissioners Leigh Altman and Vilma Leake seemed skeptical at last week’s board meeting. 

“I wasn’t aware of significant damage at the encampment hotel what was done that requires $207,000 to repair?” asked Altman. “Are there pictures of before and after?” asked Leake. 

But the county manager assured them the repairs are needed. 

“The itemized list that was provided to staff and includes damages to mattresses, drapes, some of the furnishing, the carpet as well, pretty much everything in the vicinity of a hotel room is listed on that. “

The Motel 6, located on Queen City Drive, received 1.5 stars online from previous guests. Guests cited urine smell in the rooms, cigarette burns in the blankets, and more.

Commissioner McDowell has now raised the question with the County Audit Committee to make sure every dime has been catalogued. 

FOX 46 also reached out to the hotel owners but have yet to received a response.  

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