Three giant flower pots block the driveway to what was once downtown Macon’s Ramada Plaza, a high-rise hotel on First Street at Riverside Drive.
Boxes are stacked on the ground floor of the hotel’s First Street parking garage.
No trespassing signs are posted on some of the doors.
Behind the walls of hotel that’s been vacant since it closed in February 2011, Patricia Geiger and Michael Nipper contend they’ve been doing construction work for years.
They removed toilets, vanities, sinks, tubs, tile and sheet rock covered with mold from 298 bathrooms.
They’ve also moved all the furniture into one large ground-floor meeting room, removed carpeting and wallpaper and sprayed the walls with bleach and vinegar.
Before starting the demolition work, Geiger and Nipper already were providing 24-hour video surveillance in exchange for $600 — plus living rent-free in an apartment at the hotel with free water and free electricity.
Geiger and Nipper filed a federal lawsuit Monday against the latest owner of the property, alleging they haven’t been paid for overtime security work. They also argue they were fired Nov. 10, a couple weeks after they complained.
Details of Geiger and Nipper’s work, and the payments they allege they’re due for those jobs, also are detailed in the suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia.
Attempts to reach a lawyer representing the hotel’s owner, Toronto businessman Rupinder “Ruby” Sangha, were unsuccessful Tuesday and Wednesday.
According to the lawsuit, Geiger and Nipper had worked for two previous owners of the hotel that’s changed names multiple times since being built as a Hilton in 1970. Sangha, kept them on when he bought the hotel in 2014.
Geiger and Nipper contend they have been paid $9,470 for the construction work — not all they argue that they’re owed — and nothing for overtime worked, as much as 88 hours a week, dating back four years, according to the lawsuit.
Macon-based Kunj Construction received a building permit in May valued at $700,000, for work on the hotel.
It’s unclear what additional work has been performed at the hotel or when it might reopen.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report.