published Sunday, February 6th, 2011, updated Feb. 6th, 2011 at 4:12 p.m.

When mercy turns messy

  • photo
    The Town & Country Inn in Chattanooga, as seen in this file photo.
    Photo by Jenna Walker /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The neighbors gathered in room 202.

They needed a place out of the cold to talk, a place to compare notes.

Since power to some of their rooms at the Town & Country Inn had been switched off by a hotel manager earlier that morning, the small group had become frantic about the falling temperatures, expected to dip into the teens that night.

Santos Ortiz, once a dishwasher at the hotel's restaurant, and Devin Johnson, a former hotel cook who shares two rooms with his mother, his girlfriend and his 2-year-old daughter, pace the floor.

The only woman in the group, Linda Stevens, who lives in room 206 and has paid rent with a portion of her disability check, sits on the bed and sobs.

None of them knows how long the power will be off or what else could go wrong at this extended-stay hotel.

"They don't treat animals this bad," Stevens says.

They need to call the police again, Ortiz responds.

"It will be all right," he tells her. "It's going to get better."

Everyone in room 202 thought when they came to Town & Country that the hotel and the ministry inside would be -- if not their salvation -- at least a chance to save some money, get a job and possibly start again.

But now they said it felt like inescapable hell.

The police often were called here, they said, to break up fights between tenants and take reports of quarreling between hotel managers and residents. Residents call to report being locked out of their rooms when they come back from a trip to the grocery store. Residents have called about a missing camera, a missing checkbook, a missing prescription for OxyContin, a missing computer.

For months, conflict at the hotel has been brewing. The hotel owners say they want to get rid of tenants who have fallen behind in rent.

Five people, including those in room 202, will be evicted this month, and the hotel is claiming they owe more than $900 each in unpaid rent and late fees since November.

The hotel and its ministry tried to help them, and now they are turning on the hotel, say brothers Steven and David Bernstein, Town & Country's absentee owners.

"These are hard-core people trying to get over on the system. These people refuse to work. They refuse to do anything," Steven Bernstein said. "They are just waiting. They are just laughing."

But more than a dozen residents tell a different story.

They say Town & Country has been cutting legal corners and disregarding wage and hour laws for years, making under-the-table deals with its residents and employees, unfairly trading housing for labor. And a series of tips about these deals has triggered investigations by the U.S. Department of Labor, the Tennessee Department of State and the Tennessee Human Rights Commission.

"They run this place like a prison camp," said James Breedwell, who lived at Town & Country and ran the hotel's bar and restaurant.

***

Off the interstate and tucked between a Waffle House and a pawnshop on the east end of 23rd Street, Town & Country Inn is the kind of place you could pass and never see. A low-hanging sign offers rooms by the week, and its two-story buildings, set off the main road, are away from public view.

It was the kind of place you came to when you were in trouble, cash poor or couldn't pass a credit check for an apartment or house. It was close to the bus stop and in walking distance of a Bi-Lo and Family Dollar.

The people who moved in and out of the rooms arrived with baggage: breakdowns, prison time, divorce, addictions, bankruptcy, job loss.

These were people like Michael Belt, who slept in the woods or on business loading docks downtown before moving into the extended-stay hotel two years ago. He had spent years in prison, once in Florida for stealing a car off a showroom floor, then again in Georgia for breaking into a post office. He also was recovering from a crack habit.

When Belt heard about the hotel, he said he was told there was a church, a charity, run from inside. The Grace in Action ministry preached Jesus and provided rooms and food.

"All I know is it was cold outside," said Belt, who lived at the hotel for 15 months and left last March. "I wanted to get in."

And it all seemed real when he met Tommy Peak, the charismatic, sharply dressed minister who runs Grace in Action with his wife, Penny. Peak told Belt he could help him if Belt found a church to pay for his room.

Sponsors paid $176 a week for a room, with $153 going to the hotel, even though the weekly rate advertised outside the hotel was $129. The check should be written out to Grace in Action, Peak said.

A week later, when the church's donation ran out and Belt could not pay the rate for his room, the hotel's manager, Paul Watson, told him not to worry. He didn't have to leave.

The hotel would put him to work.

***

Two years after David and Steven Bernstein bought the Town & Country property in 2005, Tommy and Penny Peak called the Bernsteins with a vision.

The couple, who had started and folded several ministries, had an idea they guaranteed would work. They would build Town & County into a one-stop shop for the homeless, "a dream center," they said.

Chattanooga had more homeless people than the city knew what to do with, the Peaks told the Bernsteins. Shelters were full and underfunded, and families often were not allowed to stay together.

And the Peaks knew, better than most, how important it was to intervene in these desperate situations. Before the couple met at a Christian singles group in 2001, Penny had been homeless and lived in a battered-women's shelter with her daughter, Angel.

Tommy Peak had run away from home and battled cocaine addiction for a few years in the 1980s before being ordained as a minister at his church, Grace Christian Center, on Brainerd Road, and coming to believe that, in Jesus' name, God would provide whatever he needed.

Town & Country could teach people to reclaim their lives, as he had, as Penny had, by giving the couple office space and setting aside rooms for the homeless. Churches and nonprofits would foot the bill for the rooms and pay a 10 percent surcharge to Grace in Action, which would be used to cover the cost of toiletries, transportation and meals for the ministry.

"It's time. It's time. We have too many babies sleeping in cars, children sleeping in the streets," Tommy Peak said. "This is my heart. There is so many people out there that are suffering, and the Bible says if we do unto the least of these, we do it unto God."

But the deal was smart business, too, David Bernstein said. He called it a "quid pro quo." The Peaks promised to fill spots at the 164-room hotel, as many as 25 a month, more than 300 a year, and the hotel needed work done on the cheap.

The Bernsteins, natives of Louisiana and owners of two other hotels, had bought the dilapidated property in foreclosure and wanted to turn the place around.

Between $500,000 and $1 million in renovations were needed, the brothers said, and a little more than a third of the rooms were operational.

"I wouldn't put my dogs in one of [those] rooms," said Watson, the hotel's general manager who oversaw the hiring of homeless workers at Town & Country for the past three years. "They were that nasty. Things were broken. There were holes in the wall. There was no grass."

That's where Belt came into the picture. Like so many others, he had a past and nowhere to go.

But he could tear down drywall, paint and fix the aging air-conditioning units.

***

Last summer, Belt's would be one of the first in a string of calls to the Tennessee Department of Labor claiming that illegal deals were being made between the hotel's management and residents.

Ten callers said some employees weren't being paid minimum wage, and many weren't being paid at all.

During her first visit to Town & Country, Paula Horne, a state labor inspector who took most of the calls, said she saw a 13-year-old using a string trimmer on the hotel's lawn. Horne snapped some pictures. Managers and residents at the hotel seemed on edge, nervous. So she started asking questions.

She knew that extended stays often were places that succeeded at straddling the line between what was lawful and illicit. The owners of some hotels, especially those with the poorest residents, acted above the law and counted on the fact that no one would go through the effort or pay the money for an attorney, Horne said. Eviction by intimidation was standard fare. Trading work for lodging was just as common, she said.

"[The employer] thinks it's a washout. The law says different," she said.

In this case, Horne decided the violations being alleged were big enough for the U.S. Department of Labor to step in. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act allows employers to swap room and board for pay, but there are important caveats. A business can't just charge an employee what it would quote a person coming off the street. The employee is supposed to get the product -- in this case, a room -- at its true cost.

But work schedules at Town & Country showed many employees were working nine hours a day, six days a week for a room. The employees say they were on call many nights and were told they couldn't leave the property.

After a federal investigator started calling Town & Country during the summer, poking around the office, asking for paperwork, many employees started to get paychecks.

Then, in November, 15 employees were gathered in the hotel's dining room and told they were being laid off.

The hotel was going under and couldn't afford to pay them anymore, manager Watson said. If employees who lived at the hotel still wanted to work for their rooms, they could sign a paper -- the "Application for Residency in the Town & Country Foundation" -- that would turn their jobs into volunteer positions with the hotel's new nonprofit foundation.

"It was sign the paper or get out," said Damonn Dixon, a front desk worker who was among those told they were being laid off. "They know these people don't have anywhere else to go. In a way, it was like 'we got you right where we want you.'"

David Bernstein created the nonprofit by sending a one-page application with a name, address and signature to the Tennessee Department of State Business Services.

The Tennessee Office of Charitable Fundraising and Gaming is investigating whether the Town & Country Foundation should have been registered and policed as a charity because it may have received donations from Grace in Action. Grace in Action wasn't approved as a tax-exempt public charity until the end of October, after three years of operating at the hotel.

This wasn't the first time one of the Bernsteins' business dealings has been investigated. In 2009, the Georgia Office of State Administrative Hearings upheld the revocation of Steven Bernstein's license as a mortgage broker. His license had been taken away after the state concluded he did not report a criminal conviction on his application.

Twenty years before, in Louisiana, he had been convicted of a felony for forging customs forms. A judge suspended a jail sentence, put him on probation for five years and fined him $2,000.

Georgia court records also concluded that he filed a "false document" claiming to have paid off a lien.

Steven Bernstein said these cases are being appealed, but he didn't provide documents to show an appeal had been filed.

"I am going to sue the crap out of you," he told a Chattanooga Times Free Press reporter Friday.

***

It's hard to know whom to believe about Town & Country, who is benefiting from what and who the victims are. The business of mercy ministry can be messy. Ask anyone who runs a shelter or volunteers at a soup kitchen.

People don't like being told they have to go to church. They don't like curfews and lights out. They get upset about the food. They get angry when they can't get a ride or a handout.

"Sometimes they bite the hand that feeds them," said Tommy Peak.

And sometimes the guidelines for how to help the helpless go out the window. When you find someone sleeping under a bridge or in the back of a car, it seems less important that the people willing to take him in are doing everything by the book, said Steve Dunn, a Grace in Action volunteer who attends First Presbyterian Church. "If the Chattanooga Rescue Mission is full, if the Union Gospel Mission is going to be full ... there aren't a lot of options," Dunn said.

Legal or illegal, everyone should be grateful for what they received, the Peaks said. It was better than nothing.

***

Fanny Pacheco was living in shelters with her three young children in Sequatchie County when a church in Dunlap told her about Grace in Action and paid two weeks' rent for her, her children and her partner, Phyllis Richey, to move into a small room.

The one meal a day provided by Grace in Action wasn't great -- usually outdated pastries, frozen vending machine sandwiches or rice and beans -- but at least they had food, she said. When her church sponsorship ran out, the hotel offered Pacheco a job as a front desk worker, and Richey began cleaning rooms.

For six months, she never received a paycheck and it didn't matter because it meant they could stay there, said Pacheco, who left Town & Country last June and now lives in Ohio.

Over the months she started to wonder about the arrangement. The Peaks started asking her to donate her food stamps, which was illegal under state law because Grace in Action wasn't approved by the state health department to serve food or function as a group home.

Some employees were forced to move to the back of the hotel, into the rooms with roaches coming through the shower drain and black mold spotting the walls, the ones unfit for paying guests.

At the same time, Pacheco said she and others started to pick up on inconsistencies with the hotel's bookkeeping. It seemed as if money was coming in. The hotel pulled in, on average, $30,000 to $35,000 a month on room rentals, said Jeff Weekley, a manager and bookkeeper at the hotel for nine months before leaving in December. Eighty percent of the rooms were occupied every night, he said.

But there wasn't any money, according to the managers and owners.

"Twenty-two hours of work cover room and board, but [the hotel] was making people work 40-hour weeks and sometimes more," said Dixon, the former front desk worker. "They just see [their employees] as drug addicts with bad attitudes and bad habits that can't find work anywhere else.

"It's not a charity up there."

And if you didn't like the way things were run, the managers said you could leave, residents said.

If you didn't leave, that's when things would get hairy. That's when your records would go missing and the amount you owed to the hotel would increase unexpectedly. That's when you would get locked out of your room or the heat would go out, they said.

***

The Bernsteins don't think anyone should listen to the complaints coming out of their hotel. The people stirring up investigations into their business are the real scam artists, they say.

Town & Country gave them work, a "home away from home," as one advertisement reads, and now former residents are painting the hotel's management and the Peaks as the villains because they can't pay their rent and don't want to leave, the Bernsteins said.

"It's all just a power struggle," said David Bernstein.

They never had these problems with the other hotels, the Hampton Inn and the Comfort Suites, they own in Rome, Ga.

"It's because of the caliber of people we're dealing with," said Steven Bernstein. "We run a clean ship. When you are dealing in low-end hotels, this is what happens."

The heat in those rooms should never have been turned off, Bernstein conceded, but he added that in Tennessee it takes so long to go through the legal steps of getting someone to leave.

"It takes forever and a day to evict someone in Tennessee," he said. "Then it takes forever for the court to hear it."

In the end, the federal labor investigation, which has spanned nearly six months and is ongoing, won't amount to much more than a slap on the wrist, the Bernsteins say.

Steven Bernstein said their lawyers and investigators have reached an agreement about unpaid wages. The U.S. Department of Labor, however, said nothing has been settled.

The brothers are looking to sell the property as soon as they can and believe a deal is imminent.

***

Nearly 30 people still are working for their rooms at Town & Country, knowing it likely will be sold. They are the ones, like Treck Payne, who are angry that people like Michael Belt and Fanny Pacheco told on the owners and have ruined a place that kept some people alive.

Payne served time for burglary before moving into Town & Country with his wife, Sharon, almost two years ago. He has supervised renovations and made sure those working for their rooms hung new Sheetrock, put in a new electric system and installed a new boiler. He and his wife helped clean up the place for the sale.

"If a man gets out of prison, it's hard to start again," he said. "We are doing what we can do just to exist."

And Tommy and Penny Peak -- still driving a van to bring homeless to Town & Country -- are scared. A few potential buyers visited recently and told the Peaks that if the hotel changed hands, they will want the ministry gone in 30 days.

All these years, the Peaks had been praying and believing that God would provide the money for them to buy Town & Country. Now, they likely will be forced to pack up the ministry and look for some place new.

For better or worse, changes are coming to the hotel, Tommy Peak said.

"It hurts," he said. "They said [they] don't want the atmosphere of helping the homeless people, the poor people. [They] are trying to turn the hotel into a five-star hotel. Having people there with dirty clothes on, walking around in a soup line trying to get food, you're not going to have somebody who's successful, who's rich, coming in to stay.

"But being a Hilton or something like the Chattanooga Choo Choo, in that neighborhood, I just don't think that's going to happen."



About this story: This story is based on in-depth reporting in December, January and February. The details and quotes are based on first-hand accounts of the reporter, police records, court records and 36 interviews with former and current residents, police, the hotel's owners, managers, officials with the Tennessee Department of State, officials with the U.S. Department of Labor, an investigator with the Tennessee Department of Human Services, an investigator with the Tennessee Department of Labor, and local volunteers who work with the homeless and local churches.

about Joan Garrett McClane...

Joan Garrett McClane has been a staff writer for the Times Free Press since August 2007. Before becoming a general assignment writer for the paper, she wrote about business, higher education and the court systems. She grew up the oldest of five sisters near Birmingham, Ala., and graduated with a master's and bachelor's degrees in journalism from the University of Alabama. Before landing her first full-time job as a reporter at the Times Free Press, ...

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jpo3136 said...

I'm not an attorney, but this sounds like indentured servitude; it also sounds as though these people are being treated as separate but equal, when they are citizens. It may be a violation of a lot of people's 13th and 14th Amendment rights.

On the other side of it, this whole concept about taking people in and then trying to evict them later; evictions always seem like hairy problems. This one appears to be worse for lack of a lease.

We have got to do better.

February 6, 2011 at 12:31 a.m.
fltn941 said...

I think the motel and the ministry is doing a great job helping the homeless, getting them off the street, feeding them. If it take them working for a roof over there head, and a warm bed, then good for them and if the motel get some work out them by painting or cleaning up the place, then good for them too. Its great that their are people out there that are still willing to help, It gets them off the street. The lady that has the 3 kids! If that was me and I had 3 kids I would work 80 hours a week for a place for the kids to sleep, sounds like see need to get out and find her a job for the kids.

February 6, 2011 at 2:26 a.m.
TigerOne said...

fltn941,

Are you for-real?!?! At what cost would you subject your children to such a place, just for a roof over your head. That story is true and exact, and those people are evil.The Hotel and Grace in Action! REREAD THE STORY!!!

February 6, 2011 at 2:58 a.m.
dendod said...

There wouldn't be this "in depth" reporting if a Lookout Mt. businessman had been violating laws. It's obvious that the mayor of Chattanooga wants to close another place that the homeless can have at least for an option. Chattanooga doesn't want homeless people here. Chattanooga wants them all to move. I've never read a story that long in the Chattanooga paper. Shame on Chattanooga for the way it ignores the homeless. If I gambled and won the lottery, I'd spend money every day to feed the homeless in Chattanooga's best restaurants, house them in the best hotels, parade their smelly rear ends in front of Ron Littlefield and his elite cronies until something was done.

SHAME CHATTANOOGA!!!!!

February 6, 2011 at 8:17 a.m.
cannonball said...

A great job of reporting. This story has needed to be told for a long time. I am sure there are many more stories like this one that need to be told. Working for room and board ain't such a bad idea. It's basically what we all do that have jobs.

February 6, 2011 at 10:28 a.m.
belizianese said...

Now if those other criminals could be exposed for exploiting and abusing the poor. Such as those poor living in public housing who are being routinely kicked out by manangement as an intimidation technique for complaining about abuses. Those extended stay hotels would be needed so much or not in business at all if the poor weren't being routinely having their leases terminated and being kicked out of their public housing apartments.

February 6, 2011 at 12:58 p.m.
hmgreen said...

There is so much wrong with this case. A ministry preying on churches... A business enjoying the desperation of the homeless... It is heartbreaking. I think the number one issue is that there are those who think they are entitled to use the desperation of a homeless person who has a family to get them to do whatever they want. Who wouldn't think it is a blessing to get this kind of deal when it is so cold outside... until they get overworked and realize they have been conned. No matter what happens (the sleazy are so slimy they may slither out of this but they will get a taste of their own medicine), I will be praying for everyone in this situation. Chattanooga needs LEGITIMATE help for the homeless. If it is working for a safe place to stay so be it, thats great... But overworking someone and not paying them is not okay. (sorry if some of this does not make sense... Baby just got out of hospital last night and am still tired).

February 6, 2011 at 1:12 p.m.
bret said...

Nice caption on the photo.

February 6, 2011 at 1:25 p.m.
Elliott904 said...

This is exactly why we have a government, and why we pay taxes. So these folks can be helped whatever, they need whether it's mental health treatment, job training, food or a roof over their heads. That is the responsibility of all civilized people. The Church is only interested in money, conversion and judgement. They are useless when it comes to compassion and unconditional love.

February 6, 2011 at 1:55 p.m.
TigerOne said...

The beauty of life is that for those of us who embrace "Free-Will" ... We express it! Everyone needs to step up and speak out against crooks! Express yourselves! Don't allow anyone to make you go against your will, especially if its for the good! Grace in Action / Town and Country Inn takes advantage of everyone who refuses to fight back! Good Churches here in Chattanooga, TN has supported these crooks, thinking that these people were just, but hopefully they will hear the cries of the ones who asked for someone to look into the evil acts of Grace in Action / Town and Country Inn! Please help people to get the truth out. There were calls and donations made to those guest who power got illegally cut off, but no one can find out who sent it, and or where the funds went. These crooks are always up to no good!!!!

February 6, 2011 at 1:58 p.m.
jwalton said...

Folks, please be careful about name-calling in your comments. Nobody's been accused or convicted of any crimes in relation to the hotel and ministry. The weekend editor

February 6, 2011 at 3:08 p.m.
dave said...

The truth is Chattanooga is following a pattern that is being run in other cities. Make life for the homeless so difficult that they will move on to other places and leave Chattanooga. What ever became of the homeless center the mayor proposed? He certainly made it illegal to pan-handle in the city. He closed down the Union Gospel mission, which is still boarded up. What did he replace it with? I thing the Shame lies with the politicians who claim Christian compassion but display none.

February 6, 2011 at 4:40 p.m.
B_Truthful said...

dave it wasn't the mayor. It was the elite of the city who fought him tooth and nail over building a one stop homeless center on 11TH Street. They didn't want to have been encouraged to move into the inner city only to have to live in such close proximity to poor people. The same goes for people who once lived in the suburbs now migrating back to the inner city. They've formed powerful neighborhood associations in conjunction with utilizing the powers of the police to run poor homeowners out. OH! They put on a good show with doing charitable works for the poor and proclaiming to be good christians and all. But that's all it is, just a show. Behind all that lies a darkness, a cover, a veil to hide their true agenda. They were once open about their intent, but then they realized just how terrible and "unchristian" it made them look. So they changed their strategy, but their underlying intent remains intact.

February 6, 2011 at 6:04 p.m.
Baby_Boo_Boo said...

I F*ckin Live Here And It Sucks, My Dad Got Fired Because He Was Accused For Stealing And He DIDNT.!!!! They Need To Shut THIS Place DOWN.!!!!!

February 6, 2011 at 6:21 p.m.
B_Truthful said...

With so many empty and boarded up public housing units in Chattanooga, the homeless situation should be at a minimum to non-existing. Yet, I've come across entire families who are homeless in the city of Chattanooga. When asked, many will say they once lived in public housing but their lease was terminated and they were forced to move most often because they'd rubbed management and public housing police the wrong way who retaliated against them.

February 6, 2011 at 6:23 p.m.
TigerOne said...

Baby_Boo_Boo,

What Town and Country Inn / Grace in Action does is misuse people, and when they feel that they're done with those people, they make up lies on them or just flat-out kick them out. The Pastor is a known womanizing, drug abuser, but he is protected by a crook Hotel owner and Hotel manager who cares about no one but himself. Your father was most likely fired for being a good man.

February 6, 2011 at 9:47 p.m.
Baby_Boo_Boo said...

Yea He Is And Iv Lived Here For 6 Years And Not One Day Have I Been Here Has It Been Good And It Sucks......... If So Many Problems Are Happening Here Then Shut It Down...Is All Im Saying Tommy Was Caught By His Wife Cheating On He With Another Woman, And His Wife Was Yelling At Her For Sleeping With Her Husband..........

February 7, 2011 at 2:54 p.m.
im_a_whosoever said...

Wow! It's hard to believe Chattanooga has got to this bad. Mercy is Godly, not messy. The Hotel business can be messy when you are dealing with people with messed up lives. Then the press writes 3 page front page story on gossip, slander, and malishish lies and that can destroy everything the Peaks have worked for, for the past 8 years. They are people who are trying to do something in Chattanooga to help the homeless not close down another place for them to get help..This story is so one sided.They never mention the hundreds of success stories that have come and gone from Grace In Action. You make Grace in action out to be the fall guy for the problems and choices that the hotel is having with their staff and guest. Grace In Action and the hotel are two different entities with two different agendas.If any of you really care about the homeless, you try bringing home a homeless family to your home and assist them until they get back on their feet. The Peaks have done that dozens of times with much success.Plus they work jobs to take care of their own family plus run GIA to feed and assist the homeless.We've known them for about 2 years when my church started bringing food & ministering and feeding the families at the Town & Country. Many times I've just dropped by and the Peaks were grilling out burgers and dogs and ribs. The homeless at the Town & Country ate better than my own family. Then those who worked had a free furnished room, cable tv, wifi, phone, electric, water, food, clothing, toiletries, shoes, diapers, formula, school supplies, and even Christmas for their kids. Plus they would run the Peaks ragged every day running them to the doctors or to job & house hunting, or picking up supplies.The people who complained about the electric being turned off were not even in Grace In Action. They were guest and staff of the hotel that were evicted not GIA. The Peaks only have a hand full of supporters and churches who believed in what they were trying to do. They don't have Federal Funding or grants to help them do what they do. Many times they take funds from their own pockets to helps someone in need.None of us have any right to judge them unless we spend a day in their shoes.I know the Peaks are not perfect but who is now days. But they are at least trying to do something instead of pretending it doesn't exsist" Ye that is without sin shall cast the first stone."

February 8, 2011 at 10:15 a.m.
tldunn said...

I am the father of baby_boo_boo,and i would like to start this comment,by giving an apology to the Grace in Action ministry,and to Tommy and Penny Peak,for the inexcusable comments,made by my daughter,her actions were unknown to me,about this,and i will see to it personally,that it NEVER happens again. That said,I have been at the Town and Country Inn,for over 6 years,now,and i want everyone to know,my family came here,6years ago,at the time,we were out on the street,with no-where to go.i was referred to Mr. Paul Watson,to see about working here,for a place to live.had it not been for the kindness,shown to me,by Tommy and Penny Peak,and Mr.Watson,my kids would be in Foster care,and god only knows where my wife and I would be!!! I have,and was totally satisfied with the arrangement of working for the rooms,and the knowledge that,at the end of the day,i could look back on the work i had done,and could be proud of it,my thanks,goes out to Grace in Action ministry,and,to Mr.Paul Watson. thanks, Terry Dunn.

February 8, 2011 at 10:57 a.m.
im_a_whosoever said...

Mr. Willie Allen's name was not mentioned that stayed in room #202 in the article.He's the one who is behind this smear campain against the Peak Family and the Burnstiens. It's all over a woman that stayed with GIA he was seeing and Ms Peak gave her a choice. Willie or Jesus. She chose Jesus. Now he's mad and out to get Ms Penny Peak. Plus the Peaks would not support him trying to close down the hotel.He's made many threats against the Peaks and even hurrasising them daily.Where else can you stay for 3 months for free. I stopped by last week, before he moved. Willie Allen and Ms Linda Stephens and a few others were hanging out drinking, drunk and parting outside their rooms. They can't pay their rent but they can drink every day.Satan is the accuser of the breathern.

February 8, 2011 at 11:05 a.m.
im_a_whosoever said...

Mr.Willie Allen and his buddys wants to close down the Town & Country Inn, but where will over 100 homeless familes go to when they are out of work, and can't get a job due to a bad past record and Grace In Action is no more thanks to this negitive article. The goverernment? The City? Yea right. They are the reason for all the homelessness to start with.If anyone has any better solutions please let us know.

February 8, 2011 at 11:21 a.m.
TigerOne said...

im_a_whosoever,

Grace In Action knew exactly what Town and Country Inn was, because they helped them, and as a matter of fact ... Grace In Action are far more worst then the hotel, because they profess to be "church folk". I know that no one is perfect, but these people are flat-out crooks, and the Reporter presented facts ... Not lies or slander. They're smarter than Grace In Action, and their attorneys are bigger, so let Grace in Action and Town and Country Inn attempt to sue them lol!!! There's still untold stories about how the Peaks ran insurance scams and etc,. etc.. How the Peaks still abuse drugs and people. If this is slander or lies, then prove the public wrong "Pennie" lol.

February 8, 2011 at 3:51 p.m.
TigerOne said...

im_a_whosoever,

You should prove those statements you written about Mr. Willie La'Nell Allen and his buddies. I'm a friend of Santos and Willie. And Your comments are untrue. I've read the text messages that Mr. Peak sent to Willies friend, linda. It was Mr. Peak who was mad at Willie and his friends, because the young lady wanted a relationship with Willie and not some broke scam-artist. Why don't the Peaks and Willie go to the press and bring facts? Anyone can tell lies, but the truth is in the evidence. And I'm sure that Mr. Allen's friend Linda will set the story about this unmatched "woman battle" between the Peak gentleman and Willie. im_a_whosoever, Sounds like you're upset at this youngman for bringing those crooks to light. Your comments sounds like a angry broken person wrote it.

February 8, 2011 at 4:04 p.m.
TigerOne said...

im_a_whosoever,

Pennie, Pennie, Pennie, this is the wrong place to spread lies on anyone, especially on, Mr. Allen or his buddies. What if Mr. Allen or his buddies prove you to be the liar that you are? You all should settle these lies in front of the law with facts, and see who will be in trouble, oh yeah ... Grace in Action is already in trouble. SHAME ON THEM FOR THEIR EVIL ACTS!!! TAKING FOOD STAMPS, USING ... MISUSING GOOD CHURCHES, AND PEOPLE. WHEN THE Peaks WENT TO Steven Berntien WITH THEIR "VISION" I MEAN SCAM, THEY DIDN'T REALIZE THAT ONE DAY THE Media and the LAW WOULD CATCH ON. I GUESS Mr. Allen, his buddies, 37 people against Peaks/Town and Country, and the Media who investigate, before publishing are all wrong, and Peaks and Berntien are right. Please lay off of that Juice that you drink every night. Yes. Allen and his buddies knows about the drinking and drugs. Prove everyone wrong. Why don't you all and Mr. Allen get checked for drugs and alcohol abuse? Show the readers where Mr. Allen harassed you all ... Hmmm? Show the readers Where Mr. Allen and his friends did anything wrong? We think that you're just all talk lol!

February 8, 2011 at 4:24 p.m.
tennroger said...

What about the hookers working out of that place? Bersteins liked the working girls keeping close so they could take advantage of them, too. The whole place is full of sin. Grace in Action, too. They force you to pray with them for food and board and don't live by God's word themselves. Nobody there is clean.

February 9, 2011 at 1:27 p.m.
fltn941 said...

You know something, you damn people need to grow up. you stop sound like little kids fighting. Stop all your crying. Take it to the courts and let them take care of your cry baby's. Get a life.........damn

February 9, 2011 at 2:30 p.m.
TigerOne said...

fltn941, I agree with you one hundred percent! It's like a bunch of "kids fighting" lol. I think that they should settle that "beef" in the Court of LAW. There's a lot of "talk". They should let the LAW/COURTS settle their issue.

February 9, 2011 at 3:48 p.m.
flaca said...

I can not believe what i am reading from the bad feed back of those people from that crappy hotel. everyone in this city nos how bad town and country with the church grace and action are. i am a single mother of two children. i moved here from Sacramento Cali. the first day i come to that ugli place. the preacher mr. Peek look at me like i was peice of meat. later to the nite. a big male open my door with he key. tell me he want to fix my sink. he no nock at my door. the onliest person for to help me was the guy in rooms 202. i never new he name but he tells too me to goes to a better place to stay. now i read of this story and want to have thank him and he friends too. i stay safe in place and working good. i hopes to see mr. Willie for to thank him

February 9, 2011 at 9:54 p.m.
TigerOne said...

Flaca,

Eso fue bien de que habla en Willie y su nombre un amiga! Sí ese hotel y la Gracia en Acción son muy mal personas, sino el Senor y la ley se ocupara de ellos. Es bueno sabe que tu y sus hijos estan en un lugar mejor, oyites? lo que quiero decir? Estoy seguro de que Willie y sus amigos le agradece su tipo habla.Este tiempos libres prensa hizo un gran trabajo poniendo la verdad por ahí. Tal vez ahora la jente va a ver cómo torcida Gracia en Acción es, ¿no? Por favor, esta salvo y saber que sus palabras se hacen sentir!

February 10, 2011 at 3:34 p.m.
Dawg1977 said...

My wife and I have been at this motel for almost 4 years now and if it wasn't for Grace In action or The General Manager we dont know where we would be right now. They have done so much for us They do for us more than what our own family does for us.. If we ever need anything they would help us out, I have raised my son in this place and i dont regret it.... The only reason this got started was these people wasn't doing their job so they was asked to leave. Who cares if you dont get paid or not You have a Roof over your head dont You. I agree with Mr. Watson quit whining......

February 10, 2011 at 7:50 p.m.
TigerOne said...

Dawg1977,

Richard ... I mean "Dawg1977". I'm sure that there's a few of us who will agree with you and your feelings about Paul Watson. It's not even a BIG DEAL with Paul Watson and those who were asked to leave. It's the other people there at that Hotel who insist on putting their two cents in something that is no doubt bigger than them and beyond their intelligence. The most sad of this situation is (and I'm sure that most people will agree) that we actually feel sorry for those who fight against "us". "We're" not even unset with the Grace in Actions, and Town and Country Inn Staff (the ones who are fighting a losing battle). It would be dumb to be upset with foxes being foxes lol! It's their nature to be who they are. Foxes prey on who/what they prey on, that's life.

When you place a bunch of foxes in a place where they can do what's in their nature, that's what they'll do ... FEED. When a "Tigers" comes along, the order foxes is disrupted. Foxes are sly, but Tigers are "POWER", Richard "Dawg1977". Well now, you have eyes of the Media in the equation and the rules of the Law/Judge are in play of this "just fight". NOTHING PERSONAL, and was never personal. WHEN WE BREAK THE LAW OR GO AGAINST THE RULES, WE GET DISCIPLINED. I GUESS THE LAW (Through research and Media) IS BRINGING ORDER TO THAT DISORDER.

February 11, 2011 at 2:48 p.m.
flaca said...

to why people of the hotel speak good of the bad place. i can not belief the things i read.

February 11, 2011 at 3:08 p.m.
fancylady said...

Town And County, & Grace In Action is getting what they deserve! Love this front page article! We were warned at my Church about these fakes! Now its out in the open.Great job Times Free Press!

February 12, 2011 at 3:30 a.m.
dave said...

I also wonder what became of the "homeless center" the Mayor tooted about for several years.. I now hear they are planning something else for that property. They shut down the Union Gospel mission because it didn't fit in with their plans for "revitalizing " main st. So where is it's replacement? I say that the evidence is in, The Mayor doesn't care about the plight of the poor and homeless but he may have to worry not about answering to the press but to our coming Lord. What will he say to HIM?

May 20, 2011 at 4:35 p.m.
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