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Arrests made at Surrey Center club

Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013 11:35 AM
Last updated 10:04 PM
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A Surrey Center club was shut down Friday and five arrests were made because the club was operating and selling alcohol without a state license, authorities said.

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Beck
Beck


According to Jud Seymour, of the Georgia Department of Revenue, a special agent for the department entered Surreal at Surrey, 469 Highland Ave., on Friday evening and made an undercover alcohol buy. Agents then met with the owners and told them to cease operating.

The club’s owners, identified as Matthew Gabriel Widener, 32; Clinton Sasser Martin, 31; and Jason Beck, 33, and two employees – Sara Jane Morris, 24, and Crystil Lynne Allen, 28 – were charged with selling alcohol without a license. They were released Tuesday on $1,300 bond each.

Seymour said the employees were charged for their role in the sales.

The law states no one may manufacture, distribute, sell, handle or possess for sale, or otherwise deal, in alcoholic beverages without obtaining a license. The license must be displayed prominently on the premises.

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Little Lamb
49039
Points
Little Lamb 01/31/13 - 11:39 am
0
0
Possibility

Okay, here is the rest of the story. One, it is not illegal to have a business with no alcohol license. It is instead illegal to sell alcohol without a license. Since the owners did not do the selling, the owners did nothing illegal. It was the employees who did the selling, hence they needed to be arrested.

Crazy, isn't it?

Gail Widener
4
Points
Gail Widener 01/31/13 - 02:02 pm
0
1
Matthew Widener... Reputation

Yes I am Matthews mother... He has been in the bar business for more than fourteen years and has successfully run and cleaned up Surrey Tavern for more than several years. Matthew has always run his business by the rules and has always had complete respect for the law. The only lesson he has learned from this is know who you are entering into business with. He is a hard working and responible human being and I could not be more proud of him. This was an unfortunate incident.. Liciense was applied for and all in order... He was misled by his partners in regards to this opening... Still responsible yes ... I only hope that all of you who know him agree with these truths and I pray this incident will not hinder all of his many years of success and back breaking work following every step of the law.

allhans
24885
Points
allhans 01/31/13 - 02:44 pm
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0
Well now..that is a

Well now..that is a shame.
How did the Dept of Revenue get called in..like, who did it?

Little Lamb
49039
Points
Little Lamb 01/31/13 - 04:38 pm
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Complaint

Yeah, Allhans, I was thinking that someone tipped the police and the Revenue Dept. to come and do the sting.

Dawgsgirl55
5
Points
Dawgsgirl55 01/31/13 - 11:59 pm
0
0
Get The Facts Before You Judge

I happen to know Jason and Clint very well! So to start, the 5 people, owners and employees were not arrested. They voluntarily turned themselves in. Come to find out, one of them turned themselves in and sat in the back of a cop car for over an hour because the warrants couldn't be found. Evidently ATF's intranet had been down from Friday through Tuesday. The local liquor license (Richmond County) went smooth as silk. For some reason the state drug their feet, but the owners were notified electronically that the state license had been processed. Heck, Jason even called the head of VICE to give him the "heads up" of them being open Friday night. Why would an owner do that if they were operating illegally?? I have been to Surreal several times and have never seen Matthew. I was told he was the majority owner. Where is his mug shot? Jason and Clint are upstanding citizens of Augusta. They have never even received one ticket in regards to their businesses. They own another business in Augusta that has never had issues with compliance. It is ridiculous to me that this has made such a big deal in this town. There is a club on Gordon Hwy that serves minors, has illegal strippers, and let's not forget the murder of a minor in the parking lot. Someone please tell me why it is ok for them to operate. Oh wait, it's in South Augusta where most of you don't even think about going, so I guess you don't care about that. Surreal has had a miscue with paperwork, but has paid all fees local and state in addition to supporting small business growth in Augusta. The amount of taxes paid to the city is unimaginable. It is so sad how fast people tend to pass judgement on two very hardworking men. I know that Jason is married and is raising 2 great children. He is NOT a sleazy club owner and neither is Clint for that matter. People need to lay off! If this city continues to beat each other up for trying to strive in this awful economy we will not go anywhere. Where is the support?? Too many prejudgments!

Dawgsgirl55
5
Points
Dawgsgirl55 02/01/13 - 01:16 am
0
0
Get the facts

So I have known Jason and Clint for a long time and the majority of these comments are painful to read. For starters, the owners and employees were not arrested. They voluntarily turned themselves in after a warrant was issued Monday afternoon. I have also learned that one of the owners sat in the back of a cop car outside the jail (part of the bond and release process) for over an hour before the officer told him that there was not even a warrant in the system. Come to find out the ATF's intranet was down from Friday through Tuesday morning. How does someone get taken into custody without a warrant? Fortunately they were all released, but only to the ridiculous firestorm of the social media. One of which this comment belongs. People have jumped so quick to judge the situation. Surreal at Surrey has been operating in compliance since opening night. New licenses were applied for the year of 2013. The local license which is extremely costly went smooth as silk. The state tends to take longer. The owners were notified electronically that their state license had been processed. Why else would they have called the head of VICE to let him know they would be open and in compliance. This is nothing but a complete miscue of state communication with the ATF. These guys are not criminals and have not operated illegally. It is amazing how much coverage this story has received when there is a club on Gordon Hwy that is known to serve minors, house illegal strippers, be a nuscence to the neighborhood, and let's not fail to mention the murder of a minor in their parking lot. Why are they still in business? Why haven't those owners been charged? There are far worse problems in this town to be concerned with. The owners of Surreal pay thousands in taxes in the city. Why would you people want to shut down another source of revenue to Richmond County. They are upstanding citizens of Augusta who have never had issues with the law. They all have other successful bars in Augusta that have never had any compliance issues. What baffles me is why only show Jason Beck's mug shot? I have been told that he isn't even a majority owner. If you are going to show 1, show them all. I don't feel that Sara should have been charged and really Crystil for that matter. What person is going to card a 40+ looking man. That aside, it upsetting to see people tear apart people they don't even know. I know that Jason is married and is raising 2 great children. He is not a sleaze just because he owns a bar or club. This town is way too judgmental and black or white. These guys are hardworking citizens of Augusta trying to make a living and do something with their lives. I wish the haters would just keep their uniformed opinions to themselves. The 5 accused have families and feelings that don't deserve the harsh scrutiny. The truth will be revealed soon enough!

soitgoes
900
Points
soitgoes 02/01/13 - 11:01 am
0
0
from the looks in the photos

seems like everyone arrested thought this was one big joke. Even poor Sara Jane...

Gail Widener
4
Points
Gail Widener 02/01/13 - 11:18 am
0
0
Thank you Dawgsgirl55...

Thank you Dawgsgirl55...

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