Dorchester County Council revokes business license of nightclub after code violations and unlawful activity

Dorchester County News

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCBD) – Dorchester County Council members unanimously decided to revoke the business license of a nightclub, that has had code violations and numerous calls to the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office, after a license revocation hearing on Monday afternoon.

During the hearing, county officials described, what they called, a pattern of nuisances and unlawful activity at the Twenty Grand Bar and Lounge, located near the intersection of Dorchester and Old Trolley roads. Officials said those issues led to the club’s business license being suspended in February. Some of the problems described included the club being over crowded at times, noise complaints and illegal activity.

“We had reports from the sheriff’s office of everything ranging from theft, we had gun activities, we had violence out there,” said Daniel Prentice, the Dorchester County Deputy Administrator and Chief Financial Officer.

During the hearing, Major Tony Phinney said that the sheriff’s office had about 200 calls for service at the club between July 1, 2018 and June 24, 2019 and had written 50 to 53 incident reports.

“Issues where people showed up to the hospital who were previously at that establishment, were injured. The sheriff’s office found evidence on the scene that alluded to them having been at that establishment previously,” said Prentice.

According to a letter that was sent by the county to the business, the illegal activities at the club included, but were not limited to, theft, disorderly conduct, simple assault, liquor law violations and after hour consumption at the club.

Undercover State Law Enforcement Division officers went to investigate at the club as well and recorded “lewd illegal acts.”

“They went to being a sexually-oriented business because of those lewd acts and so that’s significant as well for that reason because the county only allows that type of business to exsist in an industrially zoned area,” said Prentice.

SLED agents also purchased a bottle of liquor from the club’s bar, which is illegal – the bar was supposed to only serve alcohol by the drink.

Joenathan Chaplin, the attorney for Twenty Grand Bar and Lounge, said that he felt like the business was being targeted and it seemed like other clubs were not being investigated. Prentice said that it was not targeted and the county and law enforcement had enough reason to investigate.

“We spent most of our time out there from a law enforcement perspective,” he said. “They’ve taxed our resources significantly and that gives us reason to investigate that business.

Chaplin requested that the hearing be held at a later date because his clients were not present during the hearing and they needed more time to prepare. The motion was denied by county council members because a continuance had already been issued.

Prentice said, to his knowledge (during the three years he has worked for the county), that Monday’s action by council was the first business license revocation that has recently occurred.

Chaplin turned down a request to be interviewed for this story.

The business now has the right to appeal the decision made by council to a higher court.

The property owner has also issued an eviction notice to the Twenty Grand Bar and Lounge and it went through an eviction hearing at the Dorchester County Magistrate Court. The county’s public information officer, Tiffany Norton said that, to her knowledge, the business is appealing the ruling of the hearing.

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