UPDATE, 3 p.m.: From the Eureka Police Department:
On behalf of Captain Stephens, the Eureka Police Department did not authorize the release of the arson investigation police report to the public. Any questions related to the report should be referred to the City Manager’s office.
We noted this morning that the city seems to be playing a new level of hardball with Eureka slumlord Floyd Squires. But we were not quite anticipating this level of hardball.
This afternoon, the city issued a press release that vows to continue to fight Squires’ “egregious violations” of the law. In the middle of the call-to-arms, which is signed by city manager Greg Sparks, the city lets drop that last week’s arson fire at the Blue Heron Motel was “allegedly over lack of payment for sexual services by Mr. Squires.”
This allegation appears to come third-hand from a witness to the Blue Heron arson, and not from either of the principals in the purported transaction — Squires and Kattie Yocum, who was arrested in the wake of the Blue Heron fire.
A police report, which the city attaches, quotes a witness who said Yocum had told her she had provided oral sex for Squires in exchange for an apartment, which never materialized. This, said the witness, prompted Yocum to set the Blue Heron on fire.
The Outpost reached out to Floyd Squires this morning and hasn’t heard back yet. We’ll update when we do.
Press release from the City of Eureka:
The Blue Heron Motel was closed in February 2015 by the City of Eureka for failure to comply with the city’s motel ordinance, which requires motels to have a permit to operate. The owner, Floyd Squires refused to fill out the application, maintaining that it was not a “motel”.
While in operation in 2014, the motel had the highest calls for police services of any motel in the city. When the city shut down the facility, those living there were re-located due to the efforts of Humboldt County DHHS, and by the city providing short term housing vouchers.
The property was immediately boarded up to prevent people from re-entering the building. Since February 2015, neither Mr. Squires, nor the court appointed receiver Jeff Smith, have done anything to repair or rehabilitate the property.
Recently, the city conducted an inspection warrant of the Blue Heron and other properties owned by Floyd and Betty Squires. That inspection revealed numerous and significant violations of health, safety and building codes. The back side of the Blue Heron had been breached and was in a semi-occupied state primarily for the purpose of illegal drug use. On August 21, the vacated office of the Blue Heron Motel was set on fire as a result of a disagreement by the perpetrator and Mr. Squires. The disagreement was allegedly over lack of payment for sexual services by Mr. Squires.
The long history of Mr. Squires’ property management has been one of intimidation and flaunting of the law. The City of Eureka believes the community deserves better and will continue to pursue egregious violations of our municipal code and state laws.