Louisville Fire Dept. takes Fern Valley Hotel owner to court over violations

With fire violations pending, various safety hazards, expired permits, debris, and unsanitary conditions throughout the property, not to mention the tremendous risk exposure and lack of guest experience, the hotel remains open. A true nightmare for most hotel owners and managers! WHAS11, Melissa Swan, out of Louisville, Kentucky reports the story.

Fire Department Image


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – WHAS11 News has learned that the Louisville Fire Department is taking the owner of the Fern Valley Hotel to court because of repeated violations.

In a special WHAS11 On Your Side report, we’ve also learned that another local agency has taken steps to close the hotel.

All these concerns came to our attention after some Derby guests moved in and quickly became outraged.

When Arizona horse owner Randy Exelby, his wife Kathy and their family planned their first-time trip to the Kentucky Derby they expected to see all the tradition and excitement of the famous horse race.

When they checked into the Fern Valley Hotel at 2715 Fern Valley Road they didn’t expect to see construction zones, dark hallways and questionable conditions.

“Just the safety of the hotel. I was concerned,” Exelby said.


ON YOUR SIDE: Violations & Complaints lead to court date

Exelby sent WHAS11 News photos that show areas under construction and an empty swimming pool but other photos show Exelby’s primary concern.

“The elevator inspection had expired a year and half ago. The elevator got stuck while we were there. The exit emergency light thing was hanging down. The fire extinguisher on my floor was 2 years expired. The fire hose on the main floor was 3 years expired. There was construction and debris throughout the entire hotel,” he said.

WHAS11 News took Exelby’s concerns and the photos to the Fern Valley Hotel twice. No owner or manager was available to talk to us in person or on the phone.

We also took those photos to Maj. Brian Meurer, the assistant fire marshal for Louisville Fire who says some repairs have been made.

According to a Criminal Complaint obtained by WHAS11 News through an open records request other fire violations still exist.

“At this point we have filed a warrant for the owner and manager to appear in court for the open fire violations on the property,” Muerer said. “Their major systems are all operational but by the time we get to court it’s all up to a judge and they will make sure everything gets resolved.”

WHAS11 News has made attempts to reach the out-of-state owners or the managers of the Fern Valley Hotel. One defendants is listed as Soleyman Ghalchi of Glen Cove, New York.

Our repeated attempts have been unanswered.

We did talk to the Randy Exelby who says he’s very happy action is being taken.

“I just don’t want anyone to stay there and have the experience I did,” he said

The Exelby’s did get a price cut for their Fern Valley Hotel Room from $850 to $300 dollars.

WHAS11 has learned that the office of licenses, permits and inspections has also cited the Fern Valley Hotel for making major renovations without the appropriate permits.

The Louisville Health Department’s latest inspection gives the Fern Valley Hotel a failing grade of 68 percent.

The Health Department found lack of cleanliness, debris and disrepair in many rooms and areas of the hotel.

The Health Department has issued a notice of intent to suspend the hotel’s permit. A hearing was held May 26.

A decision is pending and WHAS11 will let you know as soon as it’s made.


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