Paducah, KY – The arduous saga of Paducah's Executive Inn has been a headache for the city for quite some time now. Its tale brims with financial woes and broken promises. All the while, officials keep their fingers crossed year to year to land the annual American Quilter's Society Show and Contest. It has been a staple of tourism in Paducah for 25 years now and brings in some $20 million to the area each show. Chris Taylor has updates on new developments regarding the Big E.
With the Executive Inn remaining closed for most of this year, Paducah has lost out on hundreds of thousands of dollars. That's a rough estimate from Paducah Downtown Development Director Steve Doolittle. His office is working on a study to fine-tune the numbers.
Doolittle - There's, of course, lost tax revenue and some of that is pretty easy and pretty quick to point at directly The lost convention business, that's been the greater suffering.
The hotel is closed and in foreclosure proceedings, caught in the middle of a three-way legal battle between the owner, the mortgage holder, and the city, which owns the land and holds the lease to the hotel. The three parties have filed claims and counterclaims in the case. The most recent update came last week. Special-appointed Judge Jeff Hines ruled owner Bhupinder Singh and mortgage-holder Logan Backed Assets must negotiate an agreement by October 27th, or the Inn will be sold at public auction. Some may see this as a light at the end of the tunnel, but it still looks to be a long journey in the dark for the Paducah hotel.
Doolittle - Maybe it goes from three to two, but it doesn't really resolve anything favorably for what the city wants to see as a positive outcome. We want a hotel; we want an open, thriving hotel.
That agreement would involve transferring Singh's lease to Logan, but at the discretion of the city's convention board. No one intimately involved with the case can comment while the litigation is pending. It's anyone's guess as to what will happen. In the past, Singh backed out of a deal between the two, which would have cleared him from liability for the some four million dollars of accrued debt. If the two parties can't agree, Paralegal Joyce Lebesque the public auction path.
Lebesque - We have our sales always the last Monday of the month. It's advertised for three consecutive weeks before the sale.
Lebesque is the administrative assistant to Master Commissioner Bill Flynn, whose office generally handles facilitating public auctions. She says the bidding starts at two-thirds of a "drive-by" appraisal.
Lebesque - Unless the mortgager faxes in a bid or has somebody there to bid for them then that's where the bidding will start and it goes to the highest bidder.
According to Labesque, their office uses local realtors to assess property values from the outside. Steve Doolittle says the last appraisal he saw over a year ago valued the Executive Inn at $9 million.
Doolittle - It was based on kind of pre-recessionary market forces and presented an occupancy scenario that was not being achieved.
Singh bought the hotel for almost $6 million two years ago and has since defaulted on the mortgage. The attorneys representing both parties recently told the Paducah Sun they expect to reach an agreement. The city has no comment on whether or not it will approve a lease transfer.
For WKMS News, I'm Chris Taylor.