New life for Country Comfort Inn and Suites
Tue, 29 Mar 2011 15:11:13 GMT —
UPDATED: July 4 at 2:37 p.m.
It's official - a Quincy hotel that's been in the news for the past few months now has a new name. Owners of the former Country Comfort Inn and Suites in Quincy announced today that it now goes by Town and Country Inn and Suites.
The parent company, T&C Inn LLC, owned by Dean Phillips, decided to forego a franchise affiliation for the property. Operations Director Mariann Barnard said the hotel has been busy catering to group business including weddings and corporate travelers. An open house is planned for early fall.
UPDATED: May 12 at 12:10 p.m.
The T&C Inn LLC, formerly known as Quincy's Country Comfort Inn and Suites, is back open.
We've sent KHQA's Jim Whitfield out to see how things are going, so keep following this story.
UPDATED: May 6 at 1:45 p.m.
The old Country Comfort Inn and Suites in Quincy will be opening its doors next week after being closed down by the city.
Operations Manager Mariann Barnard told KHQA that the hotel now has its occupancy license and a health inspection has been completed.
Over the next week, staff will be trained and the doors will open Thursday May 12.
Barnard says the hotel will be called T&C Inn LLC. while in discussions with various hotel franchises. The hotel has hired Dax Fohey as its new General Manager. He was a former General Manager at Stoney Creek Inn in Quincy.
The hotel's new phone number is 217-214-0400.
Barnard says, We're delighted to host some of our former guests as well as new. An open house is coming soon.
UPDATED: April 12 at 10:00 a.m.
There is new management and new leadership at Quincy's Country Comfort Inn and Suites.
According to a press release from T&C Inn L.L.C., hotel operations will be lead by operations manager Mariann Tsilis Barnard. She has 11 years of extensive experience in hotel operations with the Stoney Creek Inn chain of hotels.
She is taking on calls from people with special events planned. Any couples with weddings or events should contact her at email@example.com.
Barnard says a thorough evaluation of the property is needed to make sure all city and state codes will be met before re-opening the hotel.
UPDATED: April 11 at 10:37 a.m.
Quincy's Country Comfort Inn and Suites was in court Monday Morning. The noteholder for the hotel had filed a motion to foreclose on the property and gain possession.
KHQA's Melissa Shriver was at the courthouse as Judge Thomas Ortbal ruled in favor of the motion.
The Attorney Dennis Woodworth, who was representing T&C Inn, LLC, said the hotel is working with a management company in order to re-open as soon as possible. There are hopes to re-open within the week.
You'll recall just last week the hotel was notified it was under foreclosure. Wednesday the electricity and water was turned off because of unpaid bills. T&C Inn L.L.C. got utilities turned back on and is working with a hotel management company in an effort to re-open the hotel as quickly as possible.
The new owner T and C Inn L.L.C. says former employees are welcome to reapply for their old jobs when the hotel reopens.
The hotel's owner Mike Hill wasn't in court today, but we did contact him. He says he signed the papers to turn over the hotel to the note holder last week. Hill says he did the best he could to keep the hotel, but now his main concern is keeping the hotel open for the city.
Employees of the Inn say the roller coaster of financial woes isn't any close to being over for them.
Melissa Shriver was able to speak to some of the workers who were let go last week when the hotel was forced to close due to non-payment of bills. They say that they have never been paid regularly and almost every paycheck due to them has been late. Pay due to them on Friday, April 8 has still not been paid. Meanwhile those same employees say they are facing financial problems because there are bills to pay at home and they have not had steady income. While they wait, the bills keep coming in.
"It's rough...we might not even get paid and when we did we couldn't cash our checks," said one employee.
"The gas bill have to be paid the light bill has to be paid and its not right for them to walk away and take our money. They say we'll contact you but they won't answer their phones. That's not right when we stuck it out to the bitter end. It's so unfair."
Another employee said, "I am the sole breadwinner in my home. What do I do about my bills, I can't even get my last paycheck."
Delayed paychecks aren't the only concern for folks who worked here. They say the financial ups and downs have ruined their credit.
Stores and pawn shops won't cash their paychecks because they've bounced so much in the past. These employees also claim they can't get unemployment in some cases because no money for it or social security was taken out of their checks.
Now they're in limbo wondering what to do.
Another employee said, "I don't know what my next move is. Your guess is as good as mine."
Another issue is that these employees have not been paid social security taxes or unemployment on their paychecks, so there has been difficulty for those who have sought unemployment. Some say this job has nearly ruined their credit because stores now won't cash their paychecks because they have a history of bouncing.
Former employees have been told to feel free to apply for their former positions in the case of a reopening.
We talked with owner Mike Hill about their complaints you heard. He told KHQA these disgruntled employees' credit problems were their own. Hill says employees have already been notified that their last checks will be distributed tomorrow or Wednesday.
We also spoke with Shawn Coyle who is getting married on May 14. He said no matter what happens with the hotel, he and his finacee Christi Gardner will not go back to the hotel for their reception. They've filed a complaint with the Attorney General to try and get a full refund on their planned wedding.
Christi tried to call the hotel today, but no one answered.
UPDATED: April 8 at 6:17 p.m.
Many girls dream of the day when they tie the knot to the man of their dreams.
But that dream has come crashing down for some area brides.
Many of them planned to have their wedding receptions at the Country Comfort Inn & Suites in Quincy, which closed its door this week.
KHQA's Rajah Maples spoke with a couple of them about the news; how it's affected their planning and their finances.
Cristi Gardner and her fiance started planning for their big day more than a year ago. They were ahead of the game in terms of planning and watched every penny and dime since they were paying for everything themselves. Now they're out almost $3,000 just 36 days before their wedding day and are scrambling to find a place to hold their reception.
Gardner said, "I was devastated. What do you do? I called the hotel with no answer."
Shaun Coyle said, "I was upset because she was upset. We shouldn't have to deal with this, but we have to. We have no choice."
The couple had purchased a bundle from Country Comfort Inn & Suites, which included the ballroom, catering, service, decorations, DJ and limo. Gardner and Coyle aren't alone. Lindsey Rogers is out more than a thousand dollars and must find a new location for her June wedding.
She said, "I was shocked and also very frustrated. I really never thought that they would actually close. Now we're starting from square one."
Rogers' fiance is from Ohio, so most of his guests were planning to stay at the Country Comfort Inn & Suites.
Both Gardner and Rogers have printed their invitations. Here's a stack of Rogers' invitations, which already have been stuffed into envelopes and addressed.
Gardner said, "For the city, $5000 for its water bill, I understand it wants its money, but eventually they'll either regroup that or cut their losses. For us, we have 30 days, and you can't get $3000 back that quickly."
Coyle said, "How do you recover from something like this? You don't forsee it coming. When you don't pay your taxes or water bill, you're going to see yourself foreclosed. It makes you wonder the integrity of this place."
Rogers said, "I never thought it could happen to us. This is going to be the best day of my life, and I will make it the best day of my life. I guess we'll just have to overcome this."
Cristi Gardner told KHQA an employee with Country Comfort Inn & Suites told her that the hotel had no plans of closing just last week.
Both brides found out about the closing through the media.
They say they're not sure how they're going to get their money back, but they say they have to move forward and quickly.
---------------UPDATED: April 7 at 5:45 p.m.
The closing of a Quincy hotel could cost the city a lot of money.
This is not the first time the owners of the Country Comfort Inn and Suites in Quincy have been in financial trouble with the city.
Quincy's mayor says the owners haven't paid their water bill, which now totals more than $5,000
"It's a newer hotel, and that's always a great bonus for us in the convention business. We love showcasing our best properties and brand new and full-service hotel - they can have their convention there," said Quincy Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Holly Cain.
But the hotel won't be showcased anytime soon. The doors are closed and won't be open until the owners pay up.
"Until they are paying their bills on time and pay the penalties and fines that will be there now, I don't know what to say. It's certainly up into the hands of the owners of the hotel," said Quincy Mayor John Spring.
The Country Comfort Inn and Suites brings in a lot of money to the city through its hotel motel tax.
Cain says, "It's over 800,000 each year. Typically right around that 800,000 mark, so it's substantial dollars that are brought into the city of Quincy."
The city had to close the doors because of the hotel's sprinkler system.
"When you have life safety issues like that, you got food preparation as well as residents staying there in the evenings. If something were to happen, we sure didn't want a tragedy on our hands," said Mayor Spring.
Mayor John Spring would like to see the hotel reopen, but he wants to see the business follow the rules.
"They're still going to have to make sure that they're continuing to operate according to the hotel motel tax ordinance. It's a shame - it's a beautiful piece of property and I hope that they can get things squared away," said Spring.
Blessing Hospital was supposed to host an event there Thursday night, but that volunteer dinner had to be moved.
UPDATED: April 6 at 3:25 p.m.
The sign on the door says closed, and it doesn't look good for Quincy's Country Comfort Inn and Suites Wednesday.
Currently the power and the water is off.
Mayor John Spring says that the hotel had not paid the water bill and was significantly past-due, so the city turned the water off. We were also able to confirm with Quincy Fire Chief Joe Henning that the water is off. No lights are on at the facility.
In an official statement emailed to KHQA, Blessing Hospital said, "Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Blessing Hospital Volunteer Reception scheduled for 3 to 6 p.m. Thursday, April 7, is being moved from the Country Comfort Inn and Suites to the Holiday Inn, 4821 Oak Street, Quincy, Ill. We apologize for any inconvenience."
The manager on duty at Country Comfort Inn and Suites declined to comment.
KHQA will continue to follow this story, so check this story later and watch KHQA's Evening News at 6 p.m. and KHQA's Late News at 10 p.m.
UPDATED: March 29 at 1:14 p.m.
T&C Inn is owned by Dean Phillips, president of Town and Country Bank in Quincy.
The hotel's owner has two weeks to retain legal counsel.
The next hearing for the case is April 11th.
The Country Comfort Inn and Suites in Quincy has fallen behind on their taxes before.
You'll remember back in January, the hotel owner, Mike Hill, told KHQA that he hadn't paid his hotel-motel tax to the city because he was owed $12,000 from the state of Illinois.
Well, now the situation is more dire for the hotel.
The Adams County Circuit Court shows that the mortgage holder T&C Inn, LLC is wanting to foreclose and take possesion of the property.
In the February 24th filing, the lien against six mortgages totals $15.16 million.
As stated in court documents, "Defendant has failed to pay the required payments under said note. The Defendant has failed to pay the real estate taxes; that the Defendant has failed to pay the hotel motel taxes and other taxes owed to the State of Illinois; that the Defendant has failed to maintain insurance on said real estate. By reason of said defaults, Plaintiff has declared the full balance immediately due and payable. The current unpaid principal balance as of February 23, 2011 is $5,360,000.00. Current unpaid interest as of February 23, 2011 is $482,549.38. Current late charges as of February 23, 2011 is $8,269.38. Current loan fees as of February 23, 2011 is $20.00. The daily per diem interest accruing is $807.6712."