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District attorney, Dixie Plaza reach agreement

The Office of the District Attorney for the 8th Judicial District and the Dixie Plaza Hotel have reached an agreement that will allow the hotel to re-open provisionally, so long as the hotel follows specific guidelines set out by the court.

On Dec. 10, 2017, District Attorney General Jared Effler filed a lawsuit against the Dixie Plaza and its owners and obtained an injunction declaring the hotel to be a public nuisance and prohibiting the hotel from operating pending the outcome of the suit.

Law Enforcement had received several complaints about the establishment and had made numerous drug busts on the property leading up to the lawsuit. After Criminal Court Judge E. Shayne Sexton issued the injunction, officers from the Tazewell Police Department, New Tazewell Police Department, Claiborne County Sheriff’s Office and Tennessee Highway Patrol shut down the business, padlocked the doors and boarded the windows.

Signs were placed on the property that prohibited anyone from entering the hotel until the lawsuit had been litigated in the 8th Judicial District Criminal Court.

The hotel remained closed until May 25 when Judge Sexton signed an order allowing the hotel to re-open so long as certain conditions had been met and with the agreement that the hotel would operate under new guidelines negotiated by the District Attorney.

Prior to re-opening, the hotel underwent electrical, codes and pest inspections and must now submit annual reports of those inspections to the court. Going forward, the Dixie Plaza must now maintain surveillance video of all public spaces and provide recordings to law enforcement on request, create a no trespass list and allow law enforcement to add people to that list that cause problems, cooperate with all prosecutions, and require identification from all patrons.

The hotel can no longer rent rooms to local residents of Claiborne County and must provide the occupancy list to law enforcement upon request. Finally, the Dixie Plaza was ordered to reimburse the city of Tazewell for the cost of the nuisance.