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Big Daddy's, Sandtrap hearings rescheduled

Photo by Carly Farrell

Photo by Carly Farrell

ALBANY, Ga. — Alcohol license non-renewal hearings for Big Daddy's Lounge and the Sandtrap Club and Lounge, two of five nightclubs targeted by city officials for the severity of illegal activities on or near their property, were postponed Wednesday morning because of the absence of two members of the Albany City Commission.

Ward IV Commissioner Roger Marietta and Ward III Commissioner Christopher Pike were unable to attend Wednesday's hearing, leading Mayor Dorothy Hubbard to recommend postponing the proceedings until Jan. 29

Pike did not attend hearings Monday for Charley B's Sports Bar and Grill and Club Xscape.

"I'm skeptical of going forward with two commissioners not here," Hubbard said after City Attorney Nathan Davis offered preliminary comments to start the hearing. "My feeling is that we need at least six (members of the commission) here to move forward."

Bo Dorough, who is representing Big Daddy's and Sandtrap owner Gilbert Udoto, asked Davis if the burden of proof at the hearings lay with the city or with the nightclubs. When Davis said the city, which may refuse to renew or suspend the establishments' alcohol licenses, must show sufficient reason to take such action, Dorough said he felt comfortable going ahead with the hearing with only five commission members present.

Dorough, who formerly served on the commission, did express concern, though, that Ward I Commissioner Jon Howard has always refused to vote in favor of alcohol licenses, even for one-day charity events. That sparked the ire of Ward VI Commissioner Tommie Postell.

"You don't know how Jon is going to vote," Postell said. "You're making an assumption, and you can't make these statements based on assumptions. This commission is here this morning to hear the evidence, and we will base our decision on that evidence."

Howard and Ward II Commissioner Ivey Hines, who has so far abstained from voting on any issue that involves alcohol, both said they feel comfortable making their decisions in these hearings based on the evidence presented.

"I think this is a case where we're going to have to listen to everything that's said and make a decision based on that," Howard said. "We're going to have to go through the process. I think it was good judgment not to continue with the hearing today with two commissioners not here.

"We'll all take this matter up on Jan. 29."

Hines, a minister, said the circumstances that led to the hearings make it a different matter for him.

"I must weigh all the factors in these cases," he said. "I don't want to deny anyone an opportunity to make a living without hearing their evidence, and that means we have to take a long look at these licenses. I have consciously abstained from voting on alcohol issues while on the commission, but I do not intend to make a decision (on the license renewals) without going through this process."

Dorough said Udoto had no problem rescheduling the hearings on the 29th so long as his establishments are allowed to operate as usual until that time.

Davis said the hearings would have to proceed on the 29th because the nightclubs' alcohol licenses will expire on Jan. 31.

"This is a unique proceeding, a different kind of process," the city attorney said. "We've prepared our case, so we'll just have to move forward with full-blown hearings on the 29th."

Davis said that if enough commissioners are not present to make up a quorum (four commission members) before the 31st, the nightclubs' licenses would automatically be renewed.

Comments

CaptMurdock 1 year, 11 months ago

Typically politics from Marietta. And Pike - well Pike is in a poke.

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FryarTuk 1 year, 11 months ago

They are trying to find out how much booty is available for consulting jobs perhaps.

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chinaberry25 1 year, 11 months ago

They already have their minds made up. I would also try to see how much revenue is being taken in the way of taxes. Closing them will not get your taxes rolling in. This is kind of like the gun issue, it is not the bars, it is the sorry thugs that go to them. Put them in jail and throw away the key. If they keep causing a stink and I can say with certainty, you go back to school and they are the same ones who caused trouble then. Keep them locked up a year for every repeat offence. Enough time in jail and they will see the light. You are punishing the wrong offender.

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Phinizy3 1 year, 11 months ago

Can the City of Albany do this? I had no idea that these non-renewals was based on, "illegal activities on or near their properties". If the owners of these businesses are not a direct party to these "illegal activities", then how can their livelyhoods be taken away by non-renewal. Does the City expect these business owners to perform police duty for the City? These busineses are bars! These businesses pay more taxes to our City than other busineses. Illegal activity has always been associated with drinking and bars. But, owning and operating a bar is not an illegal activity in itself. I believe The City of Albany is severly over-stepping their authority with these commission 'tribunals'. I hope it does not lead to the taxpayers having to pay excessive legal fees to defend the City's actions.

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KaosinAlbany 1 year, 11 months ago

Uhhh... Mr. Postell... Look at Jon's voting record history. It is there in black and white on the City's website. Bo is right!!!!

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ustaknow 1 year, 11 months ago

the event center at 924 West broad is where the shootings are at - that place needs to be shut down.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 11 months ago

Mr. Pike: if you had no intention of attending the meetings where important decisions were to be made........WHY IN THE HELL DID YOU RUN FOR THE OFFICE??

We can only hope that you are out there working two or three jobs so as to pay back your promises and debts to your creditors. Hopefully.

On the other hand, I do sense a pattern of this type behavior on various committees from elected officials of a certain demographic when votes affecting said demographic are going to be held......they ain't nowhere to be found. DO YOUR DUTY! TAKE A STAND ONE WAY OR ANOTHER!!

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LoneCycler 1 year, 11 months ago

It is much more likely that commissioner Pike is out trying to find a way to use his influence over businesses in Albany to increase his personal income. How much do you think he would accept for not showing up the 29th and allowing the alcohol licenses to roll over for all these clubs, Sister? I'd guess he would ask for around $10,000 in cash from each of them. A cool 50 grand on the down-low would get him out of debt and back in business.

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FryarTuk 1 year, 11 months ago

Nah, I don't believe what you are saying about the Piker one bit. $10,000? I'll bet you the Piker is running a special today. He needs to take care of the bad check he wrote to the city. I'll bet you could get him for 2 grand plus $35 for the NSF fee.

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Moe 1 year, 11 months ago

Wouldn't Pike writing a bad check be an illegal activity? This is a charade to punish business owners and taxpayers.

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LoneCycler 1 year, 11 months ago

More likely Commissioner Pike needs more time to work the club owners for sponsorship of his Albany Shockwave round ball team before deciding which way to vote. It is really unconscionable for a bankrupt official as far in debt as he is to be sitting in on decisions that affect other people’s commercial businesses. When you add in the fact that those businesses primary source of income is delivered in cash, the potential for corruption here is off the charts. If the commissioners do not pull the alcohol licenses it should be them, in person, responding to the next gunfight between gang members in the parking lots of these bars, and not the APD. I also find it curious that the Commission only has do nothing for these alcohol licenses to be approved. All Commissioner Pike has to do is call in sick the 29th and the pay rolls in. That's a nice job if you can get it, I guess.

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wino3800 1 year, 11 months ago

It is absurd to have Pike involved in city business. Why is this tolerated? Does his electorate approve of a bankrupt criminal running their business? I'm guessing the bagman was late while making his rounds...

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agirl_25 1 year, 11 months ago

Do these moronic commissioners still get paid for NOT showing up at meetings? Seems they only show up when it is convenient for them, huh? Can't they have their pay docked for missed meetings?

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FryarTuk 1 year, 11 months ago

Whatever happened about the bad checks and the judge signing the papers to throw this guy behind the pipes?

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FryarTuk 1 year, 11 months ago

I do not understand the charges against these businesses? Is gambling, prostitution, numbers, racketeering, murder, burglar, mayham, espionage or carnal knowledge taking place at these classy clubs? Hell, if it's illegal activity around the places, they could revoke our business license, we've had criminals committ illegal acts by attempted burglary, vehicle theft, homicide (across the street), robbed at gun point and 4 air conditioning units stolen. We were cited by the alarm tsar on the attempted burglary when the drunks sleeping in the alley complained about the loud alarm noise. The citation was revoked when we told his worship the tsar about the burglary and apologized to the mendicants.

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chinaberry25 1 year, 11 months ago

Fryar tuck, I am all for the businesses staying open just for the much needed revenue. This also keeps Cops doing cop work and not hanging around convenient stores talking to the clerks on city or county time. Why do you not put the recycling places out of businesses when they buy stolen items or pawn shops or antique stores. They all break the law and nothing ever happens. Not one has ever been fined or license suspended. Not to mention convenient stores that sell to underage minors. Some folks have a one time party and rake in monies and sell to minors and have problems and why are they not brought before the courts. Watch out for a big lawsuit over this.

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