Metroplex Owner Sues Girard, Liberty for $12.5M
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The company that operated the Metroplex Hotel and Conference Center in Liberty Township is seeking $12.5 million from township and Girard city officials in a civil rights lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court.
In the lawsuit, Aswin Ganapathy Hospitality Associates Inc. of Hubbard and Indira Periysamy of Lancaster, Pa., Aswin’s managing member, charge that the defendants “imputed an Indian racial and ethnic identity” to their company and “acting individually and in concert with one another, engaged in a series of actions which were designed to prevent Aswin from making a profit” as they operated the hotel.
The actions included insisting that no “after hours parties be held at the hotel without contacting members of the township fire and police departments to provide security; demanding a rate for security through those departments at “a rate of double the cost of other providers”; interfering with the operations of a “legal and legitimate private poker club” that rented space from the hotel for its operations; and shutting down a Dec. 31, 2012, party “which was primarily a minority affair” on the grounds that there was no valid liquor license, a charge the plaintiffs dispute.
Other complaints against Liberty and Girard officials in the filing include falsely accusing Aswin of “stealing” water to operate the hotel and instituting criminal proceedings against the company in August 2013; making “disparaging comments” to Periysamy based on her “national origin, race and ethnicity” in referring to the water-related issues and improperly shutting off water service to the hotel; and failing to respond to “legitimate calls for police assistance” to address situations at the hotel.
Aswin also accused the officials of making false public statements about alleged criminal activities, disparaging Periysamy’s national origin, race and ethnicity around March 2, 2014, when she requested help to remove a vendor she said tresspassed on the property, and accused the company of renting rooms following a fire at the hotel March 4, 2014.
Those named in the suit are Girard Mayor James Melfi, Liberty Township Administrator Patrick Ungaro and 21 other city and township officials and employees.
Aswan purchased the Metroplex in November 2009 for $900,000 and operated it until March 4, 2014, when it was shut down following the fire. According to the suit, Aswin spent $1.825 million on improvements to the property.
The plaintiffs requested a jury trial.
Aswin still owns the 375,000-square-foot property, which has 153 rooms. It is being listed by Kutlick Realty LLC for sale for $990,000.
Copyright 2015 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.
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