HOLLAND, Mich. (WZZM) - A 13 On Your Side investigation has uncovered documents that show serious health and safety violations at a Holland landmark, The Wooden Shoe Motel. The violations include no running water, reports to police about no electricity, and multiple complaints of bed bugs.
WZZM 13 filed a Freedom of Information request with the city of Holland and found a laundry list of complaints and violations against the Wooden Shoe.
When WZZM 13 approached Wooden Shoe Motel Manager CJ Patel, he had one of his workers answer the complaints about unsanitary conditions and repeated city violations for no running water.
"I've always had water and electricity," says worker Mary Hunter.
However, WZZM 13 showed Patel a warning from the City in May about a water shut off. Patel then admitted a pipe needed to be fixed, but he says it only took a few hours. According to city officials, water has been shut off at the motel for as long as three days on at least one occasion.
Documents also show there have been many complaints about bed bugs. Outside one of the rooms, WZZM 13 found a customer who says his family has been battling roaches and bed bugs.
"To wake up and see bites and welts on my kids, it angers you," says D.J. Davis, motel customer.
According to city officials, the motel has had more than 70 violations in the past decade, including 12 this year. In May, a letter from the city was sent to the motel management, stating that another violation would lead the city to shutting the business down.
"This letter is intended to give due process to let them know that their use as a public lodging facility is in jeopardy," says Ryan Cotton, Holland City Manager.
Patel allowed WZZM 13 in a couple unoccupied rooms, where there were stains on the sheets and pillow. When asked why the stains were there Patel said, "No idea."
Former customer Catherine Leon wanted a refund after saying she saw blood on the walls in her room.
"They wouldn't give me money back, even though it was just thirty minutes later," says Leon.
Former employees like Cody Besherse say they never received money either.
"He wasn't paying us, just letting us stay there for free in the process of working for him," says Besherse.
"They say they'll come work for you and trade for room rent," says Patel.
The motel management continues to blame irresponsible customers for the room's poor condition.
"We've had people piss on the walls and break light bulbs," says Hunter.
"I'm not running a free place, they have other options they can go," says Patel.
City officials say while bed bugs and not washing sheets are considered unsanitary, neither one violates city code. City officials say they're most concerned about the Wooden Shoe failing to pay its electric and water bills to avoid shut-off.
The motel's license to operate with the city expires in April and that's when the next inspection will be done unless another complaint is filed before then.