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Reimbursement possible for damage to Hancock motel

August 27, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

HANCOCK -- A co-owner of the motel where a guest kept authorities at bay for 45 hours last week is exploring whether the state might pay for damages to the building.

According to Dave Desai, who owns Americas Best Value Inn in Hancock with his wife, six of the motel's 25 rooms were damaged during the standoff, which ended Friday.

One room was occupied by James A. Prevatt III and his pregnant girlfriend, Rene Reynolds.

Prevatt allegedly threatened to kill Reynolds during the standoff. Afterward, though, police said they determined that Reynolds was "complicit" and not a hostage. Prevatt and Reynolds are facing criminal charges.

Some police officers involved in the case those two days used several rooms at the motel after other guests were evacuated, Desai said.

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Desai said Prevatt's and Reynolds' room and the rooms in which police stayed were damaged.

Desai said he initially was told the state wouldn't pay for repairs, but he found out Monday that he could put in a claim through the Maryland treasurer's office.

Under the Maryland Tort Claims Act, the state waives its immunity for negligence in certain situations and can compensate up to $200,000 for claims.

Laura McWeeney, the director of insurance in the treasurer's office, said the state investigates to see if state employees caused the damage.

If not, an applicant can seek compensation from the level of government whose employees were responsible, she said.

McWeeney said Desai will have up to one year to file a claim.

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