Paxton filed a lawsuit Thursday against Everyoung Hospitality, which operates a LaQuinta hotel in southeast San Antonio, alleging that the hotel exploited people needing shelter during last month's historic low temperatures. In a release, Paxton claims the LaQuinta hotel charged "exorbitant prices for rooms, including nearly three times its normal rates."
"This gross exploitation of Texans in dire need of shelter during historic low temperatures will not be tolerated," Paxton said. "Companies looking to profit from this tragic event that left millions of Texans without power or water will be aggressively investigated and prosecuted."
One example Paxton provided involved a man, his three daughters, and 101-year-old grandmother who booked two rooms for one night at the hotel. Upon arrival, the family told hotel staff that they did not know when their power would be restored, and made plans to possibly extend their stay. On the third day, they were reportedly told that the room rates had nearly tripled, jumping from $74 a night to $199 a night.
Paxton alleges that when asked why, the hotel said there was a huge demand for rooms, and if the family did not want the rooms, someone else would pay the exorbitant rate.
According to the Associated Press, a man answering a phone number listed for the hotel owner says the La Quinta raised prices as the number of available rooms declined, which he said is standard in the hotel business.
Paxton's office says that Texans who believe they’ve encountered a scam or price gouging should call the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Hotline toll-free at 800-621-0508 or file a complaint online.
This is not the first legal action Paxton has taken in connection with the storm last month that knocked out power to millions of Texans and killed dozens. Paxton has issued civil investigative demands (CIDs) to ERCOT and eleven other power companies in Texas.
The Associated Press has contributed to this report.