Hospitality Industry Property Risks: Wyoming Motel Fire Causes $14 Million In Damage; Man Indicted For Role In Starting Fire

“…The fire at the historic motel, located at 1700 W. Lincolnway, destroyed guest rooms, a restaurant, the lobby and the bar. It caused about $14 million in property damage. Lodging buildings didn’t burn. It was determined that the fire was set intentionally…”

A New Mexico man has been indicted for his alleged involvement with the Sept. 15, 2010, fire at the Hitching Post Inn here. Robert Rodriguez, 44, was indicted by a Wyoming federal grand jury Friday, according to a release from the Wyoming district of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The two-count indictment says Rodriguez maliciously damaged and destroyed the Hitching Post by means of  fire. It also says he used fire to aid and abet mail and wire fraud. It is  unclear from the release whether charges have been filed. Rodriguez is being  detained without bail.

The investigation into the fire is ongoing, the release says. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is leading
the investigation with help from the Cheyenne Police Department and Cheyenne Fire and Rescue.

City officials closed the motel in September 2009, citing safety concerns and code violations.

CJM Hospitality bought the property from New Jersey-based Matiff Cheyenne Hospitality in the wake of Matiff filing for Chapter 11
bankruptcy protection.

The 10.82-acre property was appraised for more than $6 million. At the time of the fire, CJM was putting in $500,000
worth of renovations. Representatives said they planned to reopen the west side of the structure and two unattached buildings.

For more: http://www.wyomingnews.com/articles/2012/09/29/news/01top_09-29-12.txt

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