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Wilton motel condemned; Owned by family connected to limo company involved Schoharie crash

Wilton motel condemned; Owned by family connected to limo company involved Schoharie crash

Business owners also own limo company involved in fatal Schoharie crash
Wilton motel condemned; Owned by family connected to limo company involved Schoharie crash
Crest Inn Suites and Cottages in Wilton, owned by the Hussain family, was ordered closed because of sanitation concerns.
Photographer: Erica Miller

WILTON -- The roadside motel owned by family connected to the deadly Schoharie limousine crash, the Crest Inn Suites and Cottages, has been condemned.

The town of Wilton, acting with the state Health Department, on Friday condemned the property at 776 Route 9 due to numerous health and safety violations. Yellow and orange signs were attached to the buildings, saying they are no longer inhabitable.

All the lettering on the monument sign near the road was gone, though the sign structure remained, as the remaining tenants on the property were helped to move out.

"Based upon the presence of a number of structural and fire hazards, evidence of sewage failure and water quality concerns resulting in a 'Do Not Drink' Order, a decision was made to post placards at the facility and have [Saratoga County Department of Social Services] provide the current guests with assistance relocating," the Health Department said in a new release Friday afternoon.

The property is listed in Saratoga County tax records as owned by Malik Riaz Hussain, but was operated by Shahed Hussain, who identified Malik as his brother. Both men are from Pakistan, and are currently believed to be living there.

Shahed Hussain is also the owner of Prestige Limousine, which had the same address as the motel. It was a stretch limousine owned by Prestige that crashed in Schoharie on Oct. 6, 2018, killing 20 people -- the driver, 17 passengers, and two pedestrians.

Shahed's son, Nauman, was the day-to-day operator of the limousine company at the time of the crash, and faces criminal charges of second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide for allegedly keeping the stretched 2001 Ford Excursion on the road despite allegedly knowing that the vehicle was unsafe due to faulty brakes and other issues.

Shahed Hussain bought the motel in 2006 for $650,000, soon after he was paid for serving as an FBI informant in at least two terrorism-related cases. It is unclear when the title was transferred into Malik Hussain's name.

The Health Department said it was dealing with a Shahyer Hussain, who after a hearing in September at the state Health Department's Glens Falls office was told he was no longer eligible for a permit to operate the Crest Inn.

On Friday, the Health Department, town of Wilton code enforcement and county DSS did an on-site inspection and determined the motel was still being operated and occupied by guests, "while living conditions were reportedly deteriorating," the Health Department said.

Lee Kindlon, the Albany attorney who has represented Nauman Hussain in the criminal case, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Wilton Town Supervisor Art Johnson said the motel has been a problem for the town for years.

"Over the years we've had code violations, it will be closed for a while and they fix it, and then it reopens," Johnson said. "This has been going on for years."

Johnson said five of six cabins on the property were condemned, and most of the 25 to 28 motel rooms were deemed inhabitable for issues that also include electrical problems and lack of smoke detectors.

"The bottom line is they can't operate," Johnson said.

The Times Union reported earlier this week that the Hussain family was seeking to sell the property to an unknown buyer for $1 million. The real estate company said to be handling the transation did not respond to a request for comment from The Gazette.

Town assessment records put the full market value of the property at $953,200. The motel comes with 4.64 acres.

"I can't imagine anyone wanting to buy that place," Johnson said. "It would certainly be tear-down if someone bought it."

Most of the tenants of the motel are low-income or transient. The average rating for the property on the tripadvisor.com website is "terrible," and in October 2018, the day after the Schoharie crash, one resident killed another when a gun fired in one room went through the wall and into the room next door.

Daniel A. Salas Miranda in February pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide and illegal possession of a weapon for causing the death of Michael Kornacki of Schenectady. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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