Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott hasbrought the hammer down
on two motels he says gouged Ike evacuees.
The Super 8 Brookshire Motel near Katy and the Hotel Nacogdoches were named as gougers. The Hotel Nacogdoches typically charges $49 for a room, the Ag's office said; two days before Ike that went up to $99 and after Ike it went to $109.
The Katy hotel charged $125 for a room that typically went for $99.
“Although Texas law clearly prohibits profiteering during declared disasters, these defendants are charged with increasing room rates for evacuees during Hurricane Ike,” Abbott said.
Abbott's office is seeking civil penalties of up to $20,000 per violation and up to $250,000 per violation for victims over 65.
The Hotel Nacogdoches is apparently as inviting as its name, if online reviews can be trusted.
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Headlined "The Hotel Nacogdoches -- YUCK!!" (which was right above a second review headed "Stay far, far Away"), one traveler offered this:
First of all these people wouldn't know customer service if it pulled out a chair for them. Next they refused to accept our booking from expedia, telling us, that there was something going on in town so they are raising the prices for the weekend...We were then given a room with a huge fresh mud pile in it. When asking for another one, the lady at the front desk swore she had just checked the room & suggested we go back and look again, as if our eyes were broken. Next there was no air in the hallways, there were no towels in the rooms, we had 2 rooms & only one of the telephones worked...the toilets oh God the toilets were disgusting to look at. The staff lived in the hotels which explained the bad attitudes, I guess I would have an attitude also if I lived & worked in the same place.
Still, it was probably better than spending the weekend in Crystal Beach.
-- Richard Connelly