Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Plan to Renovate Motel Surprises Officials

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Plan to Renovate Motel Surprises Officials

Article excerpt

Lake Saint Louis officials were surprised to find out recently that the owner of the vacant Cindy's Motel wants to renovate it and put it back into operation.

The dilapidated motel, along with an adjacent club featuring "exotic" dancers, has long been a sore spot for neighbors and city officials.

The 16-unit motel, on Highway 40-61, was condemned by the city Feb. 27. After police responded to a break-in at the building, Building Inspector Wayne Daugherty was called in. He declared the building a health and safety hazard, primarily because it no longer has running water.

The motel has long been plagued by sewage problems, too.

The city apparently had some trouble finding the owner of the motel, Gopal "Mike" Monwani. He was tracked down in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., but could not be reached for comment for this article.

Daugherty said of the condemnation: "We were thinking it was a golden chance to shut him down for good."

But Monwani told the city that he was willing to improve the building.

"I won't issue a rehab or building permit until he meets the basic criteria," Daugherty said. "He needs to get an engineering firm or certified sewage treatment person to open and bring the sewer system up to code before I will issue a permit."

The motel could hook up with a sewer main, if one is close enough, or would have to install a new septic system, the inspector said.

Daugherty said he had reason to believe the adjacent 40-61 Club was owned by someone else. If the properties are separately owned, separate sanitary systems would have to be put in, Daugherty said.

Dorris and Thomas Cohagan of Foristell carry the loan on the motel and the club. Dorris Cohagan said both businesses constituted one property, owned by Monwani.

Not so, says Irwin Gibson, who has been leasing and operating the 40-61 Club for eight years. "I have nothing to do with Monwani or that motel," he said. "My septic system and all my utilities are completely separate from the motel. All he has is the property over there. I don't want to be associated with it."

Gibson said the 40-61 Club property had recently changed hands. He said he did not know when it was sold, nor would he disclose who the new owner is. …

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