Greensboro files lawsuit to shut down strip club

GREENSBORO, North Carolina – from www.news-record.com – City attorneys filed a lawsuit and obtained a temporary restraining order this afternoon as the first step to shut down a Greensboro night/strip club complex where a man was carjacked and fatally shot last April.

Attorneys filed paperwork in Guilford County Superior Court at 1 p.m. in High Point against Sugar Bare Entertainment Inc. which owns both the Lost Dimensions strip club and the Bares Den nightclub, both housed at 510 Farragut St.

Signs at the businesses indicate the clubs have changed their names to Bare Villa and Nakitas Play Room. The city records show the businesses operating under numerous names.

Assistant City Manager Denise Turner said that the city is acting on allegations that gambling, prostitution and numerous alcohol violations are occurring at the businesses.

“This temporary restraining order is the first step in the nuisance abatement process,” Turner said in a phone interview.

While the temporary restraining order doesn’t immediately shut the business down, it’s the first step in the process of the city doing so through civil litigation.

“This prohibits them from continuing to engage in illegal activity,” Turner said. “Typically the experience is that the business will cease operation.”

Turner said the alleged ABC violations at the business regard customers of Bare’s Den being solicited to come into Lost Dimensions. Today’s legal action does not immediately suspend Bare’s Den from selling alcohol. She said it is illegal for the establishments to mix the adult entertainment with the nightclub.

In 10 days, the city will be in court to invoke a preliminary injunction against the business, which if approved by a judge, would shut the clubs down until the matter can be resolved in court.

The city’s concerns about the clubs were renewed on April 12, 2009 with 30-year-old Carlton Smith was fatally shot in their parking lot while he attempted to stop a carjacking.

The vehicle taken in the robbery, a Dodge Charger, was later recovered burned in Darlington, S.C. The killing remains unsolved.

Smith’s mother, Mary Smith, made a plea to City Council in May to prevent another killing at the clubs.

“I pray another mother never has to what I’m going through,” Mary Smith told the council.

The homicide was the second at that location in the past four years, prompting the city to take a closer look at the club’s crime statistics and see if it qualified for civil closure under the state’s nuisance abatement laws.

Club owner Darryl McCarroll told City Council in late April that he felt his club was being unfairly targeted for issues beyond its control – putting much of the blame on the Budget Inn next door at 512 Farragut St.

A fence has since been built between the two businesses to prevent customers from easily moving back and forth. McCarroll was not immediately available for comment this afternoon.

From April 2007 to April 2009, the police department reported officers were called to the nightclub 115 times. Updated statistics were not immediately available from Greensboro police.

The city had previously looked at closing the club in 2007, but efforts slowed after the Guilford County District Attorney’s Office declined to pursue the case, saying such action is the responsibility of the city’s legal department.

If the case is successful, it will be the first time the city has shut down a business through nuisance abatement in the past 12 years.

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