Update on “motel mystery”


Some motels in South Dakota are changing hands. Now we have an update on our KELOLAND News investigation from earlier this month into a “Motel Mystery.”

KELOLAND Investigates spoke with the California man who bought a string of motels across the state, starting in 2018, but often didn’t pay employees, property taxes or keep up the properties.

We spoke with Alan Gross of AG Dakota on the phone. At the time of our original investigation, he never returned our phone calls or requests for an interview.

While he did not agree to be recorded, Gross did say he has sold one of the South Dakota motels.

Alan Gross

KELOLAND Investigates checked and the U-Bar Inn and Suites in Canistota was sold on February 14 to Scenic Properties of Sioux Falls. Gross told us he paid $465,000 for the motel, but sold it for $150,000

U-Bar Motel in Canistota

Gross tells us a deal is in the works with the same buyers for the Home motel in Salem, which has been closed.

Gross said he’s also paid the past-due property taxes in two counties

KELOLAND Investigates checked with the treasurers office in McCook County and $16,000 was paid for the Canistota motel. AG Dakota still owes $9,000 for taxes on the Salem motel.

$12,000 in taxes were paid in Kingsbury County for the motel in Arlington.

Home Motel in Salem

AG Dakota still owns the Gettysburg Inn and Suites—however, this is odd–no one is around. The video from the Potter County News shows there’s a sign at the front desk that reads “Sorry guests, there is currently no staff, sorry for the inconvenience.” While the motel doors are unlocked and the parking lot is empty.

Photo Courtesy: Potter County News

AG Dakota is also looking for a buyer for the Gettysburg motel and the Bel Aire Motel in Chamberlain.

The company continues to run the Dakota Lodge in Sioux Falls, the Wagner Lakeside Motel and America’s Best Value in Clear Lake.

During our conversation with Gross, KELOLAND Investigates again asked why they purchased motels across the state and didn’t pay employees, taxes or vendors for long periods of time. He said it boiled down to “bad business decisions,” but kept pointing out that he’s not declaring bankruptcy and trying to pay as many people as possible now.

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