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Gold Rock motel owner appeals to county

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Gold Rock Inn owner Masood Khan asks Nash County commissioners to visit his motel, saying its not the crime-ridden establishment it's made out to be. The motel faces closure via a civil lawsuit.

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By LINDELL JOHN KAY
Staff Writer

Sunday, March 26, 2017

A motel owner in Gold Rock is pushing back against Nash County authorities trying to close him down, claiming officials are trying to pull a land grab.

Masood Khan, owner and manager of the Gold Rock Inn at 7688 N.C. 48, purchased the property eight years ago for $1 million and has struggled to pay the bills ever since.

“I fear influential people will take my property and fulfill their dream of building a truck stop at this location,” Khan said. “I will be bankrupt and my family will have nowhere to go.”

Khan said no one from the county has ever let him know what was expected of him, but officials were quick to threaten filing a nuisance abatement case.

Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone has been preparing cases against the Gold Rock Inn and the Ashburn Inn. Notices to property owners were mailed out over the last few weeks. Abatement lawsuits allow local governments to close businesses involved in or frequent location of criminal activity.

The motel has installed more security cameras, kicked out troublemakers, cleaned up the grounds and is trying to verify guests, Khan said, adding he's been unable to find a local lawyer willing to take his case.

Once a lavish tourist stop on Interstate 95 in northern Nash County, the Gold Rock area is now the location of numerous narcotics and prostitution investigations. Police answered hundreds of calls to motels in the area last year. Some of the motels owe property taxes and aren't collecting as much tourism tax as other area inns.

Khan said he doesn't dispute any of the facts presented. There are a lot of police calls at Gold Rock Inn because he's the one calling the cops. If he sees trouble, he calls 911. Now the number of calls at his property is being used to shut him down.

“It's true someone might sell drugs, but they aren't customers,” Khan said. “I've been robbed with a gun to my head. But they were not staying here. They are outsiders who come here. I am the victim. We are the affected people; we need help.”

As far as tourism dollars go, Khan said he can't keep up with the build up of hotels at the Winstead Avenue exit off U.S. 64.

“More hotels means more revenue,” Khan said, perplexed why the county would complain he isn't providing as much hotel taxes as newer hotels.

Khan also fended off unproven claims last week from a guest who said he was bitten by bedbugs.

Health official inspected the motel and found no sign of bedbugs, said Lori Boone, who heads the county’s Environmental Health Program.

Khan said the guest was likely trying to shake him down for money, much like the county commissioners are doing.

Khan said his entire family works 24 hours a day to keep Gold Rock Inn from going under and the county wants to shut him down.

“It's shameful what they are doing to me,” Khan said. “It is a shameful act. Go to downtown or any other hotel and you'll see these things. You don't get $120 customers with $30 rooms.”

Property taxes are another point Khan doesn't agree with the county about. Khan said he's paid taxes for seven years and is now behind for the last year, “and now they say 'kick these bastards from here!”

Khan said he's not a party to the crimes committed on his property so he doesn't understand why he's being punished.

“The police don't blame a bank when it's robbed, you see,” Khan said. “We don't have criminals here. The criminals come here.”

Khan invited the Nash County Board of Commissioners to stop by his motel when the board tours the area April 3.

“They come and talk and tell the people who live here why they must move so they can have the land,” Khan said. “Why pay me when they can get it for free? This is destroying our lives.”

Marquese Gibbs has lived at the motel for four years. He's one of 30 long-term residents, many of whom are disabled.

“It's scary,” Gibbs said. “We don't know where we're going to live. The Gold Rock helps us. We're friends and family. Where will we go? We're the victims of the crimes they're talking about.”

Another resident, Donny Greene, said Khan makes sure the residents are safe, often patrolling the motel parking lot late at night.

“There's no prostitutes here,” Greene said. “Kids stay here.”

Greene said Khan is a good man who helps a lot of people.

“This place is safe and clean,” Greene said. “Find something else to do, sheriff.”

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