Dave Brooksher

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June 3, 2014
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Motel manager denies wrongdoing

Dawn Olson, office manager at the Holiday Lodge, says she’s been receiving angry calls since police raided the Grass Valley motel Friday morning.

She fears she may lose her job as a result of last week’s 15 arrests — including her own.

“I feel like I’m being done an injustice here,” Olson said Monday. “So far I’ve had numerous calls about me being fired, and I didn’t do anything wrong.

“I feel that my life is absolutely ruined,” she added. “And all I’ve done is work hard here.”

Olson refutes the charges against her of criminal conspiracy and maintaining a place for the sale and use of narcotics.

“I don’t do drugs,” Olson said. “I don’t like the fact that we are (being) labeled that way. I am guilty of renting rooms to people, because that’s my job.

“Once we check somebody in, we don’t frisk them,” she added. “We don’t know what they have on their body or what they take into their room.”

Olson was cooperating with law enforcement officers when they raided the hotel early Friday morning, she said. She says she was surprised when they arrested her.

“I’ve asked them to drive through more often because I think having their presence known is a good thing,” Olson said.

Grass Valley Police Lt. Alex Gammelgard confirmed Olson’s cooperation with law enforcement in their investigation after overnight surveillance revealed that people were coming and going from a room that was supposed to be unrented.

“We made contact with management and the room, and the story was that no one was supposed to be there,” Gammelgard said. “So at the request of management, we made contact and ultimately entry into that motel room.”

After that, one thing led to another and 15 individuals were arrested.

With regard to the charges against Olson, Gammelgard said the sheer number of people arrested at the motel is an indicator that she was aware of criminal activity on the premises.

Gammelgard also stated that the police department has logged 45 calls for service at The Holiday Lodge since Jan. 1.

They weren’t serving a warrant to search the premises or arrest any particular individual, he said. Several of the people contacted turned out to be on probation or parole with a search clause.

That made it possible to conduct searches without needing a warrant.

“It basically unraveled that morning based on good police work and patrol tactics,” Gammelgard said. “This particular officer had been keeping an eye on that location from time to time.”

He also thanked the Nevada County Sheriff’s Narcotics Task Force for its assistance in the investigation.

In addition to any criminal charges that might be filed, building inspectors and personnel from the fire department also found violations of the building and fire codes.

“They called us out for building issues, just for health and safety items,” said Tom Last, Community Development Director for Grass Valley.

Once inside, city personnel found a lot of problems including roof damage, dry rot, water damage, holes in the dry wall and minor electrical issues. They also found problems that will require repair to a stairway and multiple air conditioning units.

The Grass Valley Fire Department also got involved. They have a mandate to check out multi-family properties like this one at least once a year, and this year’s inspection was two months overdue.

“There were fire code violations noted,” Fire Marshal Jeff Wagner said. “Quite a number of them.”

“They’re given 14 days to make the corrections,” he added. “I’ll be going back on Friday (June 13).”

Olson said she is confident that many of those problems can be dealt with in that time frame. Some of the problems are small, and can be fixed quickly.

The motel is listed as being owned by Holiday of Grass Valley, Inc., with a mailing address in Goodlettsville, Tenn. According to Olson, the owner is Dr. James T. Ralph; he could not be reached for comment as of press time.

To contact Staff Writer Dave Brooksher, email dbrooksher@theunion.com or call 530-477-4230.

“I feel like I’m being done an injustice here. So far I’ve had numerous calls about me being fired, and I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Holiday Lodge office manager Dawn Olson

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The Union Updated Jun 8, 2014 04:32PM Published Jun 17, 2014 03:45PM Copyright 2014 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.