Randy Anderson of San Antonio, who had no electricity or heat in his home during last month’s winter storm and outside temperatures well below freezing, took his family to a La Quinta Inn on the southeast side to escape the cold.

Anderson, his wife, three daughters, and the 101-year-old grandmother sat in the hotel for five days.

It turned out to be an expensive stay.

La Quinta raised prices on the family’s two hotel rooms to $ 199 a night for the last three nights of their stay, from $ 74 a night for the first two nights, an affidavit from Anderson said.

The Anderson family are now part of a civil lawsuit filed by the Texas Attorney General this week alleging the hotel owner undermined customers with two or three times typical room rates during the storm.

“This gross exploitation of Texans in dire need of protection in historically low temperatures will not be tolerated,” Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement earlier this week. “Companies seeking to capitalize on this tragic event that left millions of Texans without electricity and water are being aggressively investigated and prosecuted.”

Claudia Young, general manager of Wyndham San Antonio Brooks City Base’s La Quinta Inn, operated by Everyoung Hospitality, defended his actions during the storm. The price hike is simply a matter of supply and demand, she said.

Occupancy at the La Quinta rose during the storm as more customers – including those whose homes were without heat and water – checked in.

“We didn’t do anything wrong,” said Young on Friday, adding that the prices charged by the hotel were not excessively high given the high demand for its rooms. “We didn’t charge $ 900 a night.”

Young said the hotel always charges higher when it’s full, just as it charges lower when occupancy is low. Its practices are no different from other San Antonio hotels.

She accused Paxton’s office of targeting her and the owners for racial reasons.

“The state is bringing charges against us because we are Chinese,” said Young from a small room in the hotel lobby. “They want to set an example for someone and they set us apart.”

Paxton’s office did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.

The lawsuit says the hotel never saw 90 percent occupancy on its busiest night in the past month.

It “used this misrepresentation” that the hotel was full “to get customers to pay the higher price,” the complaint adds.

La Quinta at 3180 Goliad is a Wyndham Hotels & Resorts franchise business.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against the owner of the La Quinta Inn at 3018 Goliad Road in Brooks City Base, accusing him of cutting prices during last month’s winter storm.


“We require hotels to comply with all local, state and federal laws, including those related to pricing,” said Rob Myers, Wyndham spokesman, in an email on Friday. “While this hotel is independently owned and operated, please know that we take these allegations seriously.”

According to affidavits from Anderson and others, hotel staff told customers that room rates had increased due to increased demand.

Anderson and his family checked in, unsure how long they would be staying. The duration depended on when the electricity and heat returned to their home.

On the second morning of the Andersons at the hotel, he asked to extend their stay and was told that the price of each room had risen to $ 199 a night.

“We asked why, and the manager told us … there was a lot of demand and supply of rooms and if we didn’t want our rooms someone else would take them for $ 199 a night,” he said in his affidavit filed with the lawsuit.

A Texas couple who stayed at the hotel regularly while visiting family had booked eight nights as of Feb.11 at a daily rate of $ 65.34 that included a military discount. When they asked to extend their stay for another four nights on Feb. 18, the front desk manager said the price would be $ 189 per night.

“When I asked why the rate had gone up so much, they told me they were almost full because everyone was trying to get out of the cold and had no heat or water in their homes,” said Sharon Oldfield on an affidavit.

These customers’ experiences were not the norm for most who sought refuge in nearby hotels during the storm, said Richard Oliver, director of partner and community relations for Visit San Antonio.

“At a very difficult time, almost every San Antonio hotel did its best to expand beyond a brand promise to the need to meet consumer needs,” said Oliver. “They did the best they could, often with skeletal staff and their own adverse situations to provide hospitality when it was badly needed. Anything that deviated from this obligation was a deviation. “

Paxton sued the owner of the La Quinta Inn for allegedly violating the state’s Fraudulent Commercial Practices Act, which the complaint said prohibits “exploiting a disaster by offering, soliciting, selling and / or selling fuel, groceries, medicines or other necessities at an exorbitant price. or be leased at an inflated price. “

Paxton is seeking civil penalties of up to $ 10,000 for each violation and up to $ 250,000 for any violation involving consumers 65 and over.

His office filed the lawsuit in the San Antonio District Court on Thursday.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Paxton filed at least two award complaints against companies he accused of unfairly exploiting Texas residents.

Paxton claims that Houston-based Auctions Unlimited sold face masks, hand sanitizers and cleansers to consumers at prices well above their normal costs.

Auctions Unlimited filed a brief rejection in May. Not much has happened in the case since then, although court records indicate it will be on trial in January.

Paxton’s office filed another lawsuit against Mississippi-based Cal-Maine Foods Inc., said to be the dominant egg supplier in Texas. The attorney general accused the company of raising egg prices from around $ 1 per dozen to more than $ 3 per dozen.

A Harris County District Court judge granted Cal-Maine’s motion to dismiss the case. Paxton has appealed to the 1st appeals court.