WF couple says they were turned away from area hotel because they were 'locals'

WEST FARGO, N.D. (KVLY) When the power was still out for Jody and her husband Tuesday night, they decided it would be best to stay at a hotel—Calling Expressway Suites on 17th Ave. S. She didn't want to use her last name for safety reasons.

However, Jody says their plan quickly went south when she called the front desk.

"'She said, 'Oh, you're a local? Well, we don't usually sell rooms to local people,'" Jody explained.

When she asked why, Jody says the staff member told her it was because of the drug problem in the metro.

"We're not drug dealers! We're 61 and 65-years-old! We're senior citizens! We need a room for the night because we don't have any power in our house!" Jody said.

But the hotel didn't budge, forcing the couple to find refuge at another hotel down the street.

"They welcomed us with open arms. We told them our story and they said they've never heard of that before," Jody said.

We talked with Expressway Suites' manager today and while he didn't want to go on camera, he says local people are in fact allowed to stay at his hotel. He says the policy only comes into play for last minute reservations, as that's usually when the riff-raff tries to get in. He added the policy is in place for the hotel guests and employees' safety.

"Maybe they're gonna start doing background checks I don't know," Jody said.

The manager also says the policy is on a case by case basis, and his staff tries to verify the reason local guests are making those late reservations.

"I don't think I should have even had to explain to her why I'm getting a room!" Jody said.

The manager added by the time he saw that Jody's power outage story was true, it was too late.

"I shouldn't have to tell somebody checking into a hotel that I'm not dealing drugs. I just want a room to sleep," Jody said.

We talked with eight other hotels in the area today, who say while they understand where the policy is coming from, none of them have anything like it. Many hotels tell us they have the right to refuse service at any time and do deal with a lot of drug-related situations.

However, those hotels also say they don't turn away locals because they never know what that person could be going through. One worker tells Valley News Live she's had local people check in late at night after a fight with their significant others, basement flooding, fires or just to have a night alone.

Fargo Police looked at their records and say there are only two incidents related to drugs at the Expressway Suites. They also say the last time they were at the hotel for drug activity was February 2018.
However, police say that doesn't mean drug activity hasn't happened there since then.