Hotel Next to VictoryLand Up For Auction; How Are Businesses Doing After the Raid?
A hotel next door to VictoryLand in Macon County is being auctioned off. The former manager says he lost business when part of the casino shut down earlier this year.
"It's just a ghost town," says former VictoryLand employee and Shorter resident Ulysses White. "VictoryLand was the pillar of the community."
Few businesses are left on the outskirts of VictoryLand, and some can no longer hang on.
The Shorter Inn, which is behind the Days Inn, is up for auction. The owner is out of town, but we were told the hotel shut down in 2011. It had hopes of reopening when its neighbor was back in business, and could once again employ the 15 people who worked there.
Macon County Commissioner Drew Thompson owns the Marathon Gas Station a few doors down. He too thought VictoryLand's reopening would turn things around.
"It was great. I mean business was starting to pick back up," says Thompson.
But in February, the state raided VictoryLand on claims that the casino was operating illegal bingo machines.
"Through all that we have had two employees who I can't employ anymore," says Thompson. He says he also had to cut back hours. His gas station is now open 16 hours a day instead of 24.
"It just really felt like something was wrong," says Clarence Johnson who is a life-long Shorter resident.
Johnson is worried other businesses will start closing their doors.
"It just seems like everything is pretty much in bad shape," Johnson says.
The future is uncertain for the town of Shorter.
"There's no jobs. There's nothing left without VictoryLand," says White.
A town where the slogan reads "On the Move."
"We are stuck in turmoil. We just can't seem to get things going," says Johnson.
Attorney General Luther Strange says he has done nothing but enforce the law and is sorry for the people who lost their jobs.
We are still waiting on the next move in the VictoryLand legal battle. Those representing the casino say they are considering their options and may take their case to federal court.