posttrib
FLAWLESS 
Weather Updates

Closed Portage motel had been sold at tax sale

The Travel Inn 6101 US Highway 20 Portage. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media

The Travel Inn at 6101 US Highway 20 in Portage. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media

storyidforme: 43492310
tmspicid: 16104317
fileheaderid: 7235842

Updated: February 25, 2013 12:44PM



No one answered the Portage Travel Inn phone Wednesday morning, the day after Portage Building Commissioner Doug Sweeney ordered the building closed.

Sweeney accompanied Fire Department Chief of Inspections Chris Kender on a fact-finding trip Tuesday morning, his first, to determine if the motel fire safety systems were out of compliance with city ordinances despite repeated attempts to have them fixed. Within an hour Sweeney issued the order to vacate.

Sweeney said the motel fire doors, exits, alarms and extinguishers were not in compliance with city ordinances.

“The fire inspector had tried to work with them over the past year to try to bring them into compliance. At some point you have to draw the line,” said Sweeney.

Kender cited a number of seemingly minor violations such as not maintaining equipment records and out-of-date fire extinguisher inspections in addition to what he referred to as “life safety issues,” — improperly operating fire doors — that compromised building safety.

Kender started the process of getting a court order to force compliance with safety violations last summer but delayed that option. A troubling pattern of inattention to details, code violations and safety issues finally convinced Kender that enough was enough.

“At some point it becomes a life safety issue. You don’t want someone dying in a fire,” Kender said.

Kender called in Sweeney to force quick action. “I felt that if we had to wait for a court date we would be jeopardizing safety,” he said.

The order to vacate was issued to Sand Pointe Hospitality Inc., presumed owner of the building. According to Indiana Secretary of State records, Sand Pointe Hospitality was administratively dissolved in April 2009. Surinder S. Dhesi is listed as agent for Sand Pointe Hospitality.

The building was sold Jan. 16 at a sheriff’s sale to plaintiff Business Loan Center LLC, holder of the mortgage on the property, for $1.1 million. A judgment on the property totaled slightly over $2 million according to the Porter County Sheriff’s Department.

Business Loan Center, of Greenville, S.C., apparently also does business as Ciena Capital, sharing phone numbers and an office address.

According to Kender, a representative of the building owner has arranged with a property management firm to secure the building.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.