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City revokes Primetime alcohol license
W primetime lounge
Primetime Lounge - photo by FILE

Statesboro City Council members voted unanimously Tuesday to revoke the alcohol license of a woman who admitted in court to being untruthful on a license application.

The evidence was revealed through testimony in a Dec. 12 hearing before Bulloch County Superior Court Judge John R. Turner to determine whether Primetime Lounge, closed by his order three days after a fatal shooting outside the club in November, should be allowed to reopen after a rash of violent incidents, including several reports of shots fired and the fatal shooting over the past year.

Owner Karen Pittman Brown stated in a lease agreement with property owner Mark Anderson that she was the sole owner of the club.

However, Eurl Kittles admitted in court that the two provided state officials with the lease agreement because he feared applying for a license in his name would result in denial due to multiple suspended license charges.

Anderson testified that he never met Brown and believed Kittles to have been the sole owner of Primetime Lounge.
Both Brown and Kittles testified in court that they were partners in the club's ownership with Brown receiving 10 percent of profits.

After the testimonial evidence of misdeeds regarding the license application, Marty Puetz, an attorney for Brown and Kittles, asked for time to review the case.

Turner issued a consent order Dec. 20 calling for the hearing before City Council.

During the hearing, which took place Tuesday during council's first meeting of the year, city attorney J. Alvin Leaphart IV told council members that attorneys for Kittles and Brown "are not contesting any of these facts," specifically that the alcohol license application did not disclose the business partnership between Kittles and Brown on Primetime Lounge.

Leaphart recommended that council revoke the license, and council members quickly — and enthusiastically — agreed.
After a motion by Councilman Gary Lewis to revoke the Primetime Lounge's alcohol license "forever," the council unanimously approved the revocation.

It was unclear Tuesday how the council's decision will affect the Superior Court case prosecuted by Ogeechee Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Daphne Jarriel, along with Leaphart.

Jarriel and District Attorney Richard Mallard could not be reached for comment Tuesday regarding the continued superior court case.

Both Primetime Lounge, at 608C Northside Drive W., and Platinum Lounge, located at 2 Proctor St., were padlocked by police Nov. 13 following a weekend of shots fired at both clubs.

Two men were shot Nov. 10 at Primetime Lounge. Johnnie L. Benton, 25, of Rincon, was killed, and Jamal Heard, 21, also of Rincon, was seriously injured when an unknown gunman opened fire.

A homicide at Platinum Lounge remains unsolved. On Aug. 19, 2012, Akeila Roschell Martin, 32, of Statesboro, was fatally shot and another woman injured as an unknown man fired shots into a huge crowd outside the club.

During testimony Dec. 13, Jarriel and Leaphart and Puetz questioned several witnesses, including some who were at the Primetime Lounge when that shooting took place.

Matt Ogburn, with the Georgia Department of Revenue's Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms division, testified as well, stating that Brown had told him via written statements and documents, including the allegedly forged lease agreement, that she was the "100 percent" sole owner of the club.

Other witnesses told the court they live near the club and were awakened and disturbed by the noisy crowd, littering and loud music. More witnesses are expected to testify when the hearing resumes, unless the case is dismissed after the city's license revocation.

Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.


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