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Perth homeless ‘political footballs’ in row over $40k hotel bill

Liam Bartlett
Article image for Perth homeless ‘political footballs’ in row over $40k hotel bill

The owner of a Perth CBD hotel which was housing homeless people displaced by the dismantling of Fremantle’s “tent city”, insists the state government owes him $40,000.

Perth City Apartment Hotel owner, Eddie Kamil, claims he received 32 different phone calls from various government departments saying the rooms would be paid for, but nothing was formally verified.

“My staff took the booking on good faith, and so I was advised they were going to pay,” he told 6PR’s Liam Bartlett.

“There is a total of about 40 people, we’ve got little kids, we’ve got a pregnant lady, we’ve got a lady in a wheelchair, so it’s quite tough for these people.

“They are treating these homeless people like political footballs.”

Mr Kamil now wants the state government to foot the $40,000 bill, but he can’t recall who made the booking in the first place.

“We can’t narrow it down because this is the type of accommodation that we always deal via telephone call, and we take it in good faith that the government will honor the bookings.”

But Community Services Minister, Simone McGurk, told Liam Bartlett the government won’t be paying for it.

“We didn’t book people into that hotel, the Department of Communities haven’t been using that hotel for accommodation for over a year,” she said.

“It’s important that any business would verify who makes bookings and who’s going to pay, before it takes in vulnerable clients.”

She believes notorious activist Jesse Noakes is involved and is trying to create “chaos”.

“Jesse took a number of those people to this hotel, and I have seen him say publicly on the record, that he paid for some nights accommodation.”

The Community Services Minister said the homeless people will be relocated to other accommodation.

“We have been trying to work with them for over a week, to say we will move you to accommodation that we will pay for,” she said.

“It hasn’t been easy because there is a lot of distrust here, partly stirred up by Jesse.”

Last night Nine News and 6PR reporter Gary Adshead exposed the hotels accountant as a convicted con artist.

And today Liam Bartlett revealed Mr Kamil also has a history with the law.

“You were disqualified from holding a license as a real estate agent for 10 years back in 2008,” Bartlett said.

“You obtained a first home buyers grant by deceptive, dishonest and misleading conduct and went to jail for that.”

Mr Kamil admitted to the claims but said it shouldn’t have any relevance to the current situation.

“The past of somebody is the past, if they have done the crime they have done the time, why bring it up.”

Click play to hear more on 6PR Mornings. 

Nine News reporter Jacqueline Robson was at the hotel this morning, and spoke with the homeless people being displaced from the hotel.

“When we asked them, who asked them to come here? they didn’t say it was the Department of Communities,” Robson said.

“There is a bunch of people that are homeless and they are looking at going back on the street, and they feel like the are caught in the middle.”

Click play to hear more. 

Liam Bartlett