Hotel seeks $17K from former guest
An alleged fraudster from Quesnel is being sued by a downtown Kamloops hotel that claims he skipped out on a bill of more than $17,000.
The Thompson Hotel and Conference Centre has filed a notice of claim in Kamloops provincial court, seeking $17,332.01 from Austin Smith for room fees, food, in-room movies, phone charges and laundry services it claims to have provided earlier this year.
The documents claim Smith, 55, stayed at The Thompson for about three months, from Feb. 21 to May 30. Since then, the hotel claims, the former guest has offered a string of excuses when asked to pay.
According to court documents, Smith has told managers at The Thompson his credit card was stolen, has claimed personal medical issues and has said his cellphone wasn’t receiving calls at various times while being hounded for payment.
“Austin will text to say he’s going to be in town, and has been seen in town, but he never follows through and still there is no payment on this account,” the documents read.
At one point, the hotel claims, Smith handed over a $14,000 cheque, but the bank said there was no money available in the associated account.
When contacted by KTW, Smith claimed to be waiting for payment himself.
“I did stay — actually, other people had stayed there under my name,” he said. “The hotel is owed some money.”
But, he took issue with the dollar value in the court documents.
“That sounds pretty high,” he said.
“That amount, $17,000, that’s a lot of money at any hotel.”
In an unrelated matter, Smith is facing trial in B.C. Supreme Court in Quesnel later this month on three charges — fraud over $5,000, uttering a forged document and forgery.
The Crown alleges Smith defrauded the Quesnel Lacrosse Association during a 14-month period ending in March 2009.
Smith has not yet filed a response to The Thompson’s lawsuit, but he has spoken to his lawyer.
He said he hopes to meet with the hotel soon.