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Clear Lake police raid troubled hotel; Outing Club installs video surveillance cam’s and burglar alarms

Silver Boot Hotel
Silver Boot Hotel – now closed

CLEAR LAKE – Clear Lake police raided a troubled Clear Lake hotel early Saturday morning.

At about 2:00 AM, Saturday, October 4th, officers were in the Silver Boot motel collecting items as part of what appears to be an investigation amid long-held suspicions and rumors of drug sales, manufacturing, and usage in and around the now-closed establishment.

According to NIT sources, upon completion of the room searches, police drove off the property with a pickup truck and a van, both loaded with confiscated items, all of which were boxed, bagged, and tagged, according to which motel rooms in the items were discovered.

Clear Lake police did not respond to a call for information about the incident, but a person who answered the phone at the Silver Boot said the motel is closed and that police were, indeed, there early Saturday and took items out of some of the rooms, apparently as a part of an investigation.

“They took what they could, ’cause they know they can’t get us on anything,” the woman told NIT.

In addition, Sheriff Kevin Pals produced a case number for the incident and advised that only Clear Lake police could describe why they were there.  NIT left another message with CLPD seeking information.

Sources also told NIT that the tires of a truck registered to the motel’s (current (and soon to be former)) owner, Ted Christensen, were slashed some time early Friday morning, October 3. The vehicle was parked in the driveway of Mr. Christensen’s home, which is located on Clear Lake’s North Shore Drive. The Silver Boot is located at 1214 South Shore Drive, and “the place has definitely seen better days,” said a patron of the popular bar and restaurant, RUMORZ, which is located across the parking lot from the motel.  NIT was informed that owners of RUMORZ bar are purchasing the hotel and are likely to change the name once it re-opens.

“People around here, including the cops,” a Clear Lake senior citizen said, “know that the ‘Boot’ is nothing but a drug den that’s infested with deadbeats, thieves, drug dealers, hookers, and junkies. Some of these creeps who claim squatter’s rights at that eyesore are so strung out that about 30 percent of ALL calls for law enforcement service in this town are about some crazy stuff going on there.”

Another homeowner whose house is just down the street from the motel said, “Folks around here would applaud if somebody would bar all the doors and windows to all them rooms, and just fire-bomb that hell-hole. The building can be saved, because it’s structurally in pretty decent shape. But as long them scummy leaches are livin’ there, we all keep a-prayin’ that somebody’ll put ’em all out. Why, they’re worse than cockroaches, rats, and even raccoons,” the irate homeowner told NIT. “That’s because it’s legal to get rid of rodents and insects.” In July, 2014, two then-tenants of the Silver Boot were arrested and jailed for burglarizing a cottage at the historic South Shore Outing Club. An expensive MacIntosh laptop computer was taken, as well as a small purse containing ladies jewelry. Kenneth Filbrandt of Mason City was charged in that crime, and is now waiting to be transported to prison.

Clear Lake Outing Club
Clear Lake Outing Club

A member of the Outing Club said that as a precautionary measure, state-of-the-art electronic video surveillance devices have been installed which cover the entire property. Most cottages and all garages now also are equipped with burglar detection equipment, as well as internal alarms. According to the CLPD and recently published accounts, Iowa Legal Aid lawyer Diane DPietro Wilson on Friday, Oct. 3, 2014, convinced District Judge DeDra Schroeder to issue a temporary injunction against Christensen, to restore utility services to Heather Copas, who claimed that while she was behind in her rent, she didn’t deserve to have her electricity and water turned off. A court hearing has been set for Oct. 20 to determine whether a permanent injunction will be ordered.

Despite the fact that none of the current residents of the motel have paid any rent in over a year, the injunction was issued, and electrical power, water, and other utilities – which had been turned off – were fully restored.

Sources close to Ted Christensen told NIT that the doors to each room at the motel were to have been removed on Saturday and Sunday, and that officers of the Clear Lake Police Department had offered to assist and supervise the job, on their own time, acting as volunteers. However, the same sources told NIT that Clear Lake City attorney John Sorensen warned CLPD officers that assisting in this could possibly result in their termination.

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