Hourly rate motels under the gun in Memphis

Cheap motels line part of Elvis Presley Boulevard. And according to a woman with whom we spoke, they all have one thing in common. They charge the same rate.

"By the hour," she says.

She doesn't want us to tell you her name. You see, she's an admitted prostitute. These motels are where she works.

"Some of the rooms are nice," she says. "Some got roaches," she adds.

Nice or not, she says charging by-the-hour is how most of these motels make most of their money.

The clerk at the Southern Star Inn claims he only works there. But he admits to charging by-the-hour.

"Yea," he says.

In fact, they advertise it! A price list posted next to the clerk's window. A one-hour stay sets you back just 15 bucks.

"The city council has outlawed hourly-rate motels," says city councilman Myron Lowery.

Lowery chairs the city's planning and zoning committee. He says this report makes it's pretty clear. The laws need to be enforced.

"We do know that hourly-rate motels bring with them an element of crime and prostitution and we do not want them in our city," says Lowery.

But until hourly-rate motels are better regulated, the woman with whom we spoke says she'll keep using them to make her living.

Councilman Lowery says it's possible some motels were grand-fathered in when the ban on hourly rates was passed. He already has staff at City Hall working on finding the facts. Of course, Action News 5 is on the case too.


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