A New Jersey minister claims his 76-year-old mother was attacked by bed bugs at a local hotel while in town for a family reunion earlier this month.
But Sampson Health Department officials say there have been no confirmed bed bug cases at the hotel in question.
“It was just horrible,” the Rev. Anthony Faison claims of the experience he and his mother had while visiting Clinton for a family reunion the weekend of Sept. 8-9. “We came into town on Sept. 6 and we were planning on staying for four days, visiting friends and going to the family reunion on the weekend.”
Faison claims that trouble began during his first night at the Days Inn, located at 508 S.E. Blvd., Clinton, when he was having an issue with the air conditioning unit, which was at first blowing hot air, then went completely out.
“It was broken,” he explained. “I called down and they didn’t send anyone until the next morning at 9:30 a.m. When I explained that it was too hot for us in the room, the manager was very unaccommodating to us.”
Manager ZM Patael did not immediately return messages left for him Thursday.
Eventually, Faison says, he and his mother were moved to another room. By 2 a.m. Sunday, the two were sleeping in their vehicle because, they claim, bed bugs were in the room.
“I called down to the front desk and told them my mother had been bitten by bed bugs and I wanted to get the manager to come up,” Faison said. “He never came. I finally went down and told them what was going on (with the bed bugs) and they were just rude to me.”
Faison claims that the staff did not offer him another room. “They said they were booked full,” he said. “In all my life and all of my travels, I have never had any type of service like this; it was unbelievable.”
That night, Faison and his 76-year-old mother, Doren slept in the Days Inn parking lot.
Officer Roger Taylor with the Clinton Police Department took the report from Faison over the phone when he returned to his home in New Jersey the next day.
“He told me that his cousin, who was a nurse, looked at his mother’s bites while they were here in Clinton,” Taylor said. “Then he said that when he got back home, he took his mother to the emergency room there (in New Jersey).”
Faison said his mother was suffering from 18 bites and in addition to constant itching, she had a fever, burning pain and felt sick.
“This could have all been handled if this manager would have offered us our money back or shown us some kind of respect the first night,” Faison added. “He didn’t even treat us like people and offered us no kind of relief.”
In addition to filing the police report, Faison complained to the hotel, management itself, as well as corporate headquarters. Since it was an environmental complaint, Taylor said the report was turned over to the Sampson County Health Department’s environmental division.
Supervisor Teresa Underwood reiterated that there were no confirmed cases of bed bugs at the hotel.
“Our offices got called about the bed bugs case at Days Inn on Sept. 18,” she explained. “We went out of Sept. 19 and we found no confirmed bed bugs in the room.”
Faison said that is because the hotel had time to go in and clear the rooms after his complaint on Sept. 9.
“Look, I have it on video,” he said. “I have it showing the beds climbing on the bed, behind the bed, up and down the walls … everywhere; it was disgusting. My mother also has 18 bites to prove it.”
When contacted Thursday morning, officials at Orkin Pest Control, who have a cleaning contract with the Clinton hotel, could not confirm or deny that they had cleaned the hotel in the days between Sept. 9 and 18, claiming customer confidentiality.
“If it does go to court,” a supervisor with the company said, “we will provide all of the documents that are needed.” That supervisor declined to provide his name.
The Days Inn hotel in Clinton is independently owned and operated, but under the umbrella of the Wyndham Hotel Group. Joy L. Gulledge, public relations manager of the Wyndham Hotel Group, said Thursday that she was looking into the complaint regarding Faison’s incident.
“As you may know, bedbugs affect a variety of businesses, not just hotels,” she said. ” This can include restaurants, movie theaters and retail stores. Since we were just made aware of the situation at the independently owned and operated hotel, we are currently looking into the matter.”
However, Faison is fed up.
“I have made up my mind,” he said. “All the grace that I have left, I am done. To me, they way we were treated and how it all went down, I am going to definitely pursue legal action. When you have to put up with things like this and then have to sleep out in a car, it is just outrageous. I won’t be satisfied until it is shut down.”
To reach Doug Clark call 910-592-8137 ext. 123 or email to email@example.com.