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Lawmaker held for hotel bills

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A boisterous Liberian Lawmaker is reported to have been barred from checking out of a local hotel in Central Liberia after he could not pay his bills for four days. It was embarrassments for Montserrado County District #8 Representative Acarous Gray, who was visiting Bong County to boost the campaign efforts of the Bong County candidate of the Congress for Democratic Change or CDC, Augustus Flomo, especially when hotel staff began describing him as a “good-for-nothing Lawmaker” upon noticing that he could not pay his hotel bills.

Representative Gray, who arrived in Gbarnga, Bong County on Thursday, November 20, 2014, reportedly booked a local hotel in the city and spent four days on assurance from by the party candidate Augustus Flomo that he (Flomo) would be responsible for accommodation at one of the county’s most luxurious hotels- Passion Hotel, owed by former Transport Minister Tornola Varpilah.

Our Bong County correspondent quotes a source at the CDC local office in Gbarnga as saying that Representative Gray, along with a ‘concubine’ got stranded when he could not see or hear from Mr. Flomo with regards to the bill payment on the day of his departure.

His bill amounted to Three Hundred United States Dollars (US$300.00). Because he reportedly had no money to pay at the moment, the Montserrado County Representative was prevented from checking out by the hotel management until a genuine commitment was made.

However, an intervention phone call to another lawmaker, Representative Edwin Snowe by Representative Acarous Gray, to prevail on the proprietor of the hotel, former Transport Minister Tornola Varpilah to ask his hotel staff to release him, with the assurance that the money would have been paid upon arrival in Monrovia, proved positive.

A source at Passion Hotel also confirmed that they were asked by their boss (Tornola Varpilah) to allow the Lawmaker to check out, and that he (Varpilar) would receive the payment from him (Rep. Gray) in Monrovia, especially after the intervention of Representative Snowe, who had also assured Mr. Varpilah that the money would be paid. The Lawmaker, who was traveling with two vehicles, was then allowed to leave the compound of the hotel.

Some partisans of the CDC in Bong County have started pointing accusing fingers at the party’s Bong County candidate for the humiliation suffered by the CDC Lawmaker while visiting their county to boost his (Flomo) election chances. However, others argued that it was unimaginable for a Lawmaker to allow himself to be humiliated by travelling without cash, only because he depended on the party’s candidate’s pockets.

Some added that Representative Gray, a member of the National Campaign team of the CDC for the 2014 Special Senatorial Election may have departed Gbarnga with negative impressions as a result of the humiliation.

When contacted in Monrovia on the apparent humiliation, Representative Gray responded in a SMS text message, “The news of me being held hostage is a big laugh and it is intended to undermine the business environment of the hotel. It’s cheap politics as the hotel owner and I have a cordial relationship and this will not prevent me from stopping over whenever I am in Gbarnga.”

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