Jordan Inn agrees to pay TBID fees, but fate still uncertain
By Jason Stuart
Ranger-Review Staff Writer
It’s been nearly six months since the Jordan Inn was shuttered by a court order, and so far, all indications are that it will remain that way for the foreseeable future.
One recent development may provide a glimmer of hope, however, that the owner of the hotel — Maryland resident Steve Marks —is working towards settling some of the property’s woes.
Dawson County Economic Development Council Director Amy Deines told the DCEDC board earlier this week that property manager Greg Lofthus had agreed to pay the back Tourism Business Improvement District Fees owed by the Jordan.
The property has not paid any of the TBID fees — a $1 a night hotel bed tax to support local tourism projects — it has collected since the second quarter of 2011.
Deines had calculated that the Jordan owed nearly $50,000 in TBID fees, but that amount included fines and penalties for missed payments.
She said she “agreed to what the state had agreed to” in terms of the payment amount, but added she had not seen an actual dollar figure yet. The Jordan also owed the state for unpaid state bed taxes collected.
No payment has been made to the county treasurer yet, but Lofthus, who is out of town on vacation, said both the TBID fees and state bed taxes the Jordan owes will “be turned back in” when he returns on March 31. He declined to state a dollar amount, saying that he was on the road and didn’t have the figures available.
As for actual repairs to the Jordan that could allow it to reopen, the story of the progress being made depends on whom you talk to.
In early December, Lofthus told the Ranger-Review that an agreement had been reached with a contractor to build a firewall around the bar and casino portion of the Jordan.
No work has been done so far, but Lofthus claims it’s not far away.
“We’ve turned in the preliminary plans for that,” he said. “They should be finalized within the next month or so and then we’ll start in on that.”
Glendive Fire Chief and Building Inspector George Lane said he’s unaware of any of that, however.
Lane said he had met with Lofthus on Thursday morning, and that no mention was made of any plans to start working on the Jordan.
“(Lofthus) didn’t indicate anything moving forward,” Lane said.
Lane also said that no construction plans have been submitted to him nor any permits requested, both of which are required before any work can begin.
“None of that has happened,” Lane said.
Also in the dark about any progress being made to fix the Jordan is Dawson County Attorney Olivia Norlin-Rieger. She filed the injunction against the Jordan that led to its closing.
“As far as I am aware, it’s in the same status as it was a month ago,” Norlin-Rieger said. “I don’t know that anything has changed. I don’t know that any movement has been made at all.”
District Judge Richard Simonton granted the temporary injunction filed by Norlin-Rieger forbidding further occupancy of the building on Oct. 4, 2013.
The injunction states that the building is in violation of state fire codes, making it unsafe for occupation.
Norlin-Rieger filed the injunction on behalf of the Montana Department of Justice Fire Prevention and Investigation, the Glendive Fire Department and the Dawson County Sanitarian.
For her part, with the issue of the unpaid TBID fees seemingly settled, Deines said she is willing to work with Lofthus and Marks to help them find funding sources like tax credits or historic preservation grants to fix up the building.
“If they come in and they want some help or whatever, we’ll see where we can help them,” she said. “Everybody has a memory of the Jordan who has been here any amount of time.”
Reach Jason Stuart at firstname.lastname@example.org.