Hotel Vue, other properties involved in indictments, still open

Published 12:40 pm Thursday, October 22, 2020

NATCHEZ — The Hotel Vue and other properties involved in the recent indictment of two businessmen who own them will remain open for the foreseeable future, officials said.

“We have not undertaken any actions to limit or thwart business operations,” said Shane Jones public relations officer with the U.S. Attorney’s office of the Eastern District of Louisiana. “However, because of our commitment to make crime victims whole, we have undertaken the necessary steps to secure these assets so that, should the defendants be found guilty, the assets will be available to compensate the victims of the charged schemes to defraud.”

Ryan P. Mullen, 39, a resident of Jayess (Mississippi), and Duane A. Dufrene, 53, a resident of Destrehan, Louisiana, were indicted on Oct. 16, by a federal grand jury for conspiracy to commit bank fraud and money laundering, in addition to multiple counts of substantive bank fraud and money laundering, according to U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser of the Eastern District of Louisiana.

At least three of the properties involved in those indictments are located in Natchez, including The Briars Bed and Breakfast, the Hotel Vue and the Super 8 Motel. Also included in the indictment is Mullen’s residence in Jayess.

Hotel Vue General Manager Tiffany Bresher said Thursday that the hotel that employs approximately 80 people remains open.

“As far as we are aware, we are just going with business as normal,” Bresher said. “We are staying open. It is not really affecting the business as of now and we don’t think it will. Other than that we don’t really know what is going on yet.”

Bresher said investigators never came to the Hotel Vue property before the indictment and that Mullen is still working on location at the Hotel Vue.

“He (Mullen) was only detained for 15 hours,” Bresher said. “Now he is on the property. He is in meetings constantly but it seems like everything is going to be fine.”

Mullen did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.

Jones said Mullen’s status was not known as of Wednesday night.

“Pacer (an online court database) does not indicate Mr. Mullen’s status,” Jones said. “When the information becomes public, I will be glad to notify you. Per Pacer, Mr. Dufrene is free on a $20,000 unsecured bond here in the (Eastern District of Louisiana).”

Jones said Dufrene is scheduled for a pre-trial conference at 3 p.m. Dec. 2.