Evidence submitted during a court hearing regarding closure of a nightclub due to its being a public nuisance has led to another hearing scheduled to determine whether the club’s alcohol license should be revoked.
The evidence includes the discovery of an allegedly forged lease agreement used to obtain an alcohol license, Ogeechee Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Daphne Jarriel.
This led to Bulloch County Superior Court Judge John R. Turner issuing a consent order Friday for a hearing to determine whether Primetime Lounge should have the license revoked. The hearing is slated for 9 a.m. Jan. 7.
During a hearing Dec. 12, Primetime Lounge owners Karen Brown and Eurl Kittles each took the stand, along with witnesses including Mark Anderson, a partner with Bulloch Properties LLC, from which Kittles leases the building that houses the lounge on Northside Drive West.
Both Kittles and Brown testified that they submitted a lease agreement to the Georgia Department of Revenue, signed by Brown and listing her as the owner, in order to obtain a license to sell alcohol. Kittles cited a record of multiple driving offenses as reason for Brown being on the lease, as he feared his record would prevent his getting the license.
However, Anderson testified he had never met Brown and said the signature on the lease agreement bearing her name was not his.
A consent order signed Friday by Turner calls for the Jan. 7 hearing before the Statesboro mayor and City
Council to determine whether the club’s alcohol license will be revoked or suspended “for material misrepresentation or omission in the application for the license.”
Jarriel said the Georgia Department of Revenue is conducting its own investigation into the matter.
The consent order continues a temporary restraining order issued in November ordering the closure of Primetime Lounge and of Platinum Lounge, located on Proctor Street in downtown Statesboro. Both locations have records of violence, crime and shooting incidents and each is the site of an unsolved shooting murder.
On Nov. 10, Johnnie L. Benton, 25, of Rincon, was killed and Jamal Heard, 21, also of Rincon, was seriously injured when an unknown gunman opened fire at Primetime Lounge.
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 Platinum Lounge.
During the Dec. 12 hearing, two similar lease agreements for the Primetime Lounge surfaced – on one, only Kittles was listed as the club owner. On another, Brown was listed as the owner.
When Jarriel asked Anderson about his agreement with Primetime Lounge, he testified he leased the property to Kittles and had not dealt with Brown. When shown a lease agreement containing Brown’s name as owner, Anderson said he had never before seen the document and the signature on it was not his.
During previous testimony, both Kittles and Brown said Kittles was the owner, but Brown had an interest in the business and they wanted her name on the lease.
They each testified that Brown obtained the alcohol license in her name because Kittles has a record of multiple suspended license offenses and he feared he would not be granted a license to serve alcohol.
They each said that Brown received 10 percent of the club’s profits while Kittles retained 90 percent.
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.
During hearings regarding both clubs being padlocked by police due to complaints of violence and nuisance, witnesses testified about loud music, littering on adjacent property, shots fired and large, late-night crowds.
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.