U.S. 192 hotel, motel owners beset by eviction fees, lost payment

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OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. —

Eyewitness News found out some motel owners have filed a lawsuit against the Osceola County Sheriff's Office.

The owners of 16 motels along U.S. 192 said the Sheriff's Office isn't doing its job to get problem guests off their properties.

Channel 9's Racquel Asa has their complaints and why the Sheriff's Office said they're wrong.

Rabbani Ghoholam said he's lost more than $10,000 in eviction fees and lost payment from people staying at his motel who don't want to leave.

It's a problem the U.S. 192 Hotel/Motel Association said is happening to others, too.

Association members said the Sheriff's Office isn't applying the right laws to get rid of the problem guests.

"It doesn't even matter that they didn't pay. It just matters that they have no place to go," Peggy Choudhry of the Hotel Motel Association said.

Choudhry said the Sheriff's Office is saying it is now their problem.

"We're forced to go into court, file a lawsuit, incur attorney's fees to remove guests that the Sheriff's Office should have helped us get out," said attorney Marc Jones.

The Osceola County Sheriff's Office hadn't even seen the lawsuit until WFTV showed it to officials there Tuesday.

The Sheriff's Office said numbers over the last six months don't support the association's claims.

Out of 51 calls to hotels and motels, 49 ended with some action taken, said the Sheriff's Office.

"I can tell you we have had several meetings with them. We are working with them and we will continue to work with them to address their concerns," said Twis Lizasuain with the Osceola County Sheriff's Office.

Motels and hotels said they've dealt with the problem for five years.

"We're small businesses, we're the ones that made a lot of 192 happen and grow," Choudhry said.