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FBI, IRS execute search warrant at former city councilman's home
Agents remove boxes, documents from Will Britt's Statesboro house
Will Britt home 1
An FBI agent is seen walking into the Statesboro home of former City Councilman Will Britt Tuesday morning. - photo by JIM HEALY/staff

Federal agents seized documents Tuesday morning from former Statesboro City Councilman Will Britt’s home in Statesboro, as well as from a number of businesses across the state owned by him and his brother, Trey Britt.

Boxes of unidentified items were taken from Will Britt’s Park Avenue home around the same time agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service were raiding a number of bars to which he is connected in various other Georgia cities.

The FBI remained closed-mouthed Tuesday, declining to offer any details about the ongoing investigation.

“The FBI, along with our IRS partners, have executed several federal search warrants throughout the state in conjunction with an ongoing federal investigation, the details of which I cannot discuss at this time,” said FBI Special Agent Stephen Emmett, media spokesman for the agency. “In addition to Statesboro, search warrants were also executed in Valdosta, Tifton and Milledgeville, among other places.”

Britt owns or is connected to several businesses in these towns and others, including Dillinger’s bar in Americus.

The Americus Times-Recorder published an article Monday reporting that Britt traveled to Americus last week and spoke to City Council in support of renewing the alcohol license of Dillinger’s bar there. The story listed Britt as the bar owner and said that he was there to speak on behalf of the establishment’s alcohol license holder, Heath Cox.

Britt said he helped bring Dillinger’s to Americus five years ago, according to the article.

The newspaper reported FBI agents also served a search warrant at Dillinger’s on Tuesday morning. Britt is listed as owner of Town Nightlife LLC, doing business as Dillinger’s, and his Park Avenue address in Statesboro is listed on the corporation documents.

In Milledgeville, the Baldwin Bulletin reported FBI agents raided Capital City bar and the adjacent 119 Chops restaurant, using crowbars to gain entry. Yellow crime scene tape surrounded the businesses as agents carted out boxes of documents. The Bulletin reported that the businesses are owned by Trey Britt, Will Britt’s brother.

The Union-Recorder reported agents from the Ocmulgee Drug Task Force were also on scene at the Capital City bar.

Will Britt’s Facebook page shows several posts promoting music performances at various bars, including The Gin  in Tifton, the Bluewater Saloon in Valdosta, Dillinger’s in Americus and Flip Flops in Valdosta.


Britt’s history in Statesboro

Britt, who was a councilman in Statesboro for 12 years, was first elected in 2003 and served until he declined to run again in 2015. In his final four years on City Council, he served as mayor pro tem. Britt cited family demands in explaining his decision not to run again, as well as his desire to focus more time on his businesses.

Britt’s involvement in controversial issues regarding his bars began before he was elected to the council. He owned Legends Bar and Grill on Old Register Road in the late 1990s and was called before City Council then as a bar owner who did not comply with the city’s 50/50 rule, which mandated that all businesses with licenses to serve alcohol provide proof that at least half of their revenue came from food sales.

In 2005, Britt was still the owner of Legends, as well as the Woodin Nikel restaurant/bar, when the city revoked his alcohol licenses for repeated failure to provide reports that the establishments were in compliance with the 50/50 rule.

His establishments have often been the scene of violence or controversy as well.

In 2002, a man was shot and killed at Legends, and in 2005, a man shot two Georgia Southern University basketball players with an SKS rifle at the Statesboro club.

In October 2007, Britt was no longer the owner of the bar once known as Legends, then named Club Jackson by new owner Maurice Jackson, but was present when Julius Issac McReynolds, 19, of Hephzibah, was shot and killed.

In a 2010 article in the Pittsburgh Tribune, Britt was described as a manager of Capital City bar in Milledgeville and was quoted in a story about Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who had been accused of raping a woman at the bar.

Some of Britt’s establishments have drawn criticism from people who claim that the policy determining who is allowed to enter the bars is discriminatory. According to news reports two years ago, some in Milledgeville complained that management at Capital City was limiting the number of minorities allowed inside. Dozens of people protested outside the club and took their complaints to City Council, but the bar’s owners denied any wrongdoing.

FBI and IRS agents at the Statesboro scene Tuesday morning would not comment about the boxes of documents being removed from Britt’s home and did not say what they were seeking.

Emmett did not return calls made late Monday seeking further comment about the raids.


Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.

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