Value Motel owner appeals license revocation

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian health reporter

Published:

Updated: August 29, 2011, 5:52 PM

 
Value Motel

Value Motel owner Milton O. Brown has appealed the state’s decision to revoke his operating license, buying the infamous Hazel Dell motel more time to operate.

The Washington State Department of Health revoked the Value Motel’s operating license Aug. 1 after an inspection revealed several public health and safety violations had not been corrected as Brown claimed.

Brown had 28 days to file a request for an adjudicative proceeding to contest the revocation. He filed the paperwork Friday.

The health department’s legal team is reviewing the request and will schedule a hearing before a health law judge. The burden of proof in the appeal falls to Brown, health department spokeswoman Julie Graham said.

“At that hearing, it would be determined whether they had sufficiently taken care of the problems we identified,” she said.

The health law judge will also determine whether the problems put public health at risk and warrant a license revocation, Graham said.

In the meantime, the motel is allowed to continue operations, she said.

Brown did not respond to The Columbian’s request for comment.

The appeal is the latest action in the Value Motel saga that began this spring.

State health officials conducted a safety survey of the motel on March 30 and later produced a 17-page report outlining dozens of deficiencies. On June 27, Brown submitted a signed report to the state indicating that after 60 days of work, the motel’s deficiencies had been corrected.

On June 29, state health officials conducted a follow-up inspection, which revealed many of the deficiencies had not been corrected.

During the follow-up visit, inspectors found carpets in rooms, hallways, stairwells and alcoves were stained and unsanitary, giving common areas an unpleasant odor. They found trash, food debris and a used hypodermic needle in stairwells and entries.

Guest rooms had stained mattresses, dirty shower stalls, a cracked headboard, a missing towel bar, a broken window and broken wall heater louvers. Water in the guest rooms was measured at 125 degrees; it should be between 100 and 120 degrees.

The number of uncorrected deficiencies prompted health officials to revoke the motel’s operating license.

This isn’t the first time Brown has appealed a state agency’s action against the motel.

The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries levied $7,500 in fines against the motel last month after health and safety inspectors visited the motel June 1 and issued numerous findings.

Brown appealed the violations and asked for a reduction in the fine amount. The appeal hearing took place Aug. 17.

The hearings officer has until Oct. 7 to issue a written decision in that case.

Marissa Harshman: http://twitter.com/col_health; http://facebook.com/reporterharshman; marissa.harshman@columbian.com; 360-735-4546.