Liberty hotel owners forced to open books over unpaid bed taxes

LIBERTY, Ohio (WKBN) — There are new details on possible legal problems for the owners of a now closed Liberty Township hotel where not one, but two, fires broke out in less than a week.

WKBN First News has uncovered that the owners are behind on paying the Trumbull County bed tax.

Sharon Ritter, the former front desk manager of the Rodeway Inn in Liberty told WKBN First News after the owners closed the hotel Friday that people stayed at the former Metroplex all the time and were not even registered.

“Completely illegal.  He was not on the books or in the computer at all,” said Sharon Ritter, former front desk manager at the Rodeway Inn.

Rodeway Inn owner closes hotel

That revelation may hurt the county’s bottom line as prosecutors may take owner Indira Periyasamy to court over an unpaid bed tax in 2013.  According to new documents we obtained from the county treasurer’s office, Periysamy received a letter on Jan. 15 stating she did not pay bed tax from February through June and August through December. The Trumbull County prosecutor said they  never received a response back.

It’s not known how much bed tax is owed, but the suit will force Periyasamy to open her books.

“My budget is dependent on the bed tax,” said Stephanie Sferra, executive director of the Trumbull County Tourism Bureau.

Sferra said the bed tax is important to promoting the area and bringing in events like the air show.

“It hurts our promotional efforts where we can’t put ads in Midwest Living or we can’t put ads in Ohio magazine or we can’t put radio ads on the radio, it’s a repercussion, it’s a domino effect,” said Sferra.

Sferra said the Rodeway Inn is not the only hotel that either is late on paying their bed tax or hasn’t paid the bed tax.  Last year almost $302,000 was collected in bed tax money.

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