ANCHORAGE (KTUU) It’s a hotel where no one is allowed to spend the night. A bar that can’t serve alcohol. All in a building that is about to become the property of the U.S. government.
The owner of the Paradise Inn in Spenard – just look for the neon palm trees – has agreed to forfeit the property as part of a plea deal on felony drug charges, court records show. Accused of selling 327 grams of methamphetamine to a federal informant at the hotel in 2014, Kyong Song agreed in 2016 to plead guilty.
In April, the Anchorage Fire Marshal found a series of safety violations at the business and closed the property to overnight guests.
“There are some fire alarm issues that I consider quite scary,” said Fire Marshal Cleo Hill. “Any time you can't hear the fire alarm, any time it's so low that it won't wake you up, I consider that a pretty major issue.”
Around the same time the state alcohol control board denied a request by Paradise Inn to renew its liquor license, in part because of the owner’s criminal history, said Alcohol & Marijuana Control Office Director Erika McConnell.
The business had been the subject of four notices of violation by the liquor board since 2013, and was once closed by the board for 45 days under Song's ownership in 2002.
The Paradise Inn held a so-called “tourism” license, a special liquor permit awarded to businesses that are believed to draw tourists to Alaska.
Song’s defense lawyer, Rex Butler, said it has been a struggle for his client to cover the costs of upgrades.
“These licenses, the taxes on them are astronomical. Really and truly, Song is a victim of hard times and recession,” Butler said.