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Tobacco Road restaurant keeps license for now

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Augusta commissioners rejected the recommendation of their public services committee to revoke the business license for a Tobacco Road restaurant that was operating as an illegal dance hall.

Instead, they voted 6-3 Thursday to send the matter back to the public services committee for clarity because of legal concerns after the owner's attorney Jack Batson asked that his client be fined for not having a dance-hall license.

Commissioners Matt Aitken, Jerry Brigham and Jimmy Smith voted against the motion.

The committee voted unanimously 11 days ago to revoke the business license for Mamie Lee's Southern Cooking in the name of Teresa Cummings. The location was previously Super C's dance hall, frequented by teens until 18-year-old Stedmund Fryer was shot dead on the dance floor in 2007 and commissioners revoked the alcohol and business licenses.

At the time, Sheriff Ronnie Strength said it was a hangout for gang members and drug dealers.

Super C's owner, Charles Cummings, later persuaded commissioners to issue him a business license to operate a restaurant only. He would have to wait 10 years to apply for another alcohol license. In 2009, his wife, Teresa Cummings, applied for a beer and wine license, saying that she was now the owner and that her husband would have no part in operating the restaurant.

At the time, commissioners were divided over whether to issue the license. Teresa Cummings said Charles Cummings would not be involved, and she got the license.

Then, on Oct. 4, after receiving complaints about large crowds at the restaurant and in the parking lot, sheriff's Investigator Tony Hyatt went there around 1 a.m. and witnessed a dance hall with admission being charged.

The Cummingses have called for sheriff's deputies to help disperse large crowds in the parking lot three times, Hyatt told commissioners.

Mayor Pro Tem Alvin Mason said they had discussed the matter "ad nauseam" last week and that Teresa Cummings has pleaded ignorance about knowing she had to have a dance-hall license.

"If you don't know what kind of license you have to operate a business, then perhaps, just perhaps, you shouldn't be operating that business," Mason said. "There were a number of questions she could not answer on her own, so I'm wondering who is running the business if it's not Mrs. Cummings."

Batson said it was a family operation and that the Cummingses had told commissioners it would be a family operation.

"Wrong," Mason said. "The record does not reflect that. In fact, what it does reflect is Mrs. Cummings stated it was not a family operation. She is the owner, and she would be running it. And not only that, out of her own mouth, she said Mr. Cummings would not be a part of it. That's what she said. Not what we said."

"Well, he works there. No question about it," Batson said. "There have not been any calls or complaints about violence at that place. The three calls that have come from that place have been from Mr. Cummings to the sheriff's department because people from across the street have been coming into his parking lot, and he was trying to get them out."

Hyatt said Cummings had called for deputies twice in August and that there were fights and violence.

Mason said the safety of the community was above anything else and that their arrogance of running a dance hall when they knew what had happened there made him sick.

Commissioner Jerry Brigham made a motion to uphold the committee's decision to revoke the business license, but Commissioner Corey Johnson's substitute motion to refer the matter back to committee passed.

In other action

Commissioners also:

- Denied a protest from developers who bid to run the Municipal Golf Course. The developers from Scotland and Savannah did not submit a business license with their proposal and were disqualified. Thursday, Brigham moved that the bid be opened to see what was in it, but City Administrator Fred Russell recommended against that. Commissioner Bill Lockett said they had voted previously to give Augusta State University President Bill Bloodworth and other interested parties 60 days to develop a plan that would allow the school to expand and satisfy people who play golf at the course, and that they should follow through.

- Elected Joe Jackson to serve on the Regional Transportation Roundtable along with Mayor Deke Copenhaver.

- Approved a request from Augusta Entertainment Complex to temporarily rename a portion of the street around the complex for ceremonial purposes only Nov. 15 as Lady Antebellum Way.

Comments (22) Add comment
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curly123053
4570
Points
curly123053 11/05/10 - 07:11 am
0
0
The Commission swill just

The Commission swill just wait until there is another loss of life.How sad, and irresponsible too. They already know the history of these people running the place. A history of problems regardless which one of the Cummings is running it.

nofrills
0
Points
nofrills 11/05/10 - 07:19 am
0
0
These people have shown a

These people have shown a repeated disrespect for the law and for whats best for the neighborhood all in the name of making a profit. If they close them down they will just reopen with a cousin listed as owner. its another case of not what you know but who you know!

AugustaVoter
2
Points
AugustaVoter 11/05/10 - 07:54 am
0
0
The city should sue the

The city should sue the Cummings family. I wish they had sworn them in so they could be charged with lying in a government matter... That place is a club. No question. I live nearby and see it every weekend.

AugustaVoter
2
Points
AugustaVoter 11/05/10 - 07:56 am
0
0
Also let me point out that

Also let me point out that the Pawn shop that was broken into, and several guns stolen, about a month ago sits about 10 feet West of this establishment. Could this be related to the type of patrons they accept?

lifelongresident
1323
Points
lifelongresident 11/05/10 - 08:00 am
0
0
this is the mindset of the
Unpublished

this is the mindset of the commission what you have are political neophytes making decisions not in the best intrest of the public orn on the intrest of public safety and well-being but based on race pure and simple. no way should that club be allowed to stay open and when you have the so-called "owner" claiming ignorance and out-right telling falsehood regarding the dayt-to-day operations/employee involvement that tells you right then and there it was only a ruse and that the prior owner is actually running the business and she is just there in name only in order to obtain the operating license. instead doing what is right, just and in the good of the neighborhood you have a commissioner skirting the issue and making a cowardly decision to file s substitute motion to have the matter reviewed for clarity.....to all who voted for the substitute motion what clarity do you need, 1) the owner is prohibited from having a license for a dance hall, 2) police observed dancing and entry fees being charged...so i guess another useless life will be lost because of your idiotic decision, it is a shame that such unqualified individuals are in positions to make decisions that either costs the taxpayers 10's-100's of millions of dollars and/or the needless loss of lives all in the sake of making sure you are not "called out for not looking out for your race". BTW commissioner mason if running an illegal dance hall made you sick that why didn't you vote with commissioners brigham, smith and aiken to have the business license pulled??? i guess since you got re-elected you can go back to making asinine votes

Indigo
4
Points
Indigo 11/05/10 - 08:07 am
0
0
Ok, lets see if we all

Ok, lets see if we all understand.....

Dance Hall gets licensed....
Shooting at Dance Hall...
License Revoked....
Wife of owner applies for RESTAURANT license...
Wife opens DANCE HALL
Deputies investigate.......
Case goes to County Commission
County Commission sets a bad example, not to mention a tragic legal precedent and doesn't outright revoke the business license.

Im glad these guys arent raising my kids!

PR
0
Points
PR 11/05/10 - 08:19 am
0
0
Typical BS from the
Unpublished

Typical BS from the commission. Close the place down It's a gang hang out. The commisioners need to go out there and work it some night, maybe one of them will get shot and the'll wake up. Dis-Gusta is lead by morons and idiots. Maybe someone will sue the city for the negligence and then they'll wake up. Oh wait...this is Dis-Gusta....business as usual.

justus4
99
Points
justus4 11/05/10 - 08:29 am
0
0
Where is the "small
Unpublished

Where is the "small government" bunch? Always yapping 'bout "getting government outta our way" but here U got just THAT! The government trying to shut down a small business. Why? Well, it's simple. It depends on certain factors if the ideology applies - for example this is based on a historical pattern that clearly identifies whom the "government" goes after. And here's what the pretext will always include "We are doing this to help save your people's lives", Ha! Yep, this is government out of control and being used to prevent a small business operator from earning dollars, so it demonstrates that this "small government" chant and this "government intrusion" chant repeated all day & all night on the non-minority air waves and minority-free TV is a complete hoax. And government can't save people from themselves, only they can.

Little Lamb
45321
Points
Little Lamb 11/05/10 - 08:40 am
0
0
Those six commissioners who

Those six commissioners who voted to send the matter back to commission allowed the attorney to mesmerize them.

NoCatchyName
30
Points
NoCatchyName 11/05/10 - 08:41 am
0
0
Wow.

Wow.

usafvet
3
Points
usafvet 11/05/10 - 09:17 am
0
0
Not to difficult if the

Not to difficult if the commissioner is assisting. Too many accusations against law enforcement but when they try to do their job, our dysfunctional commission blocks it, and you always have those like justus4 that scream racism. The entitlement crowd wants law enforcement to stop the murders, but if they patrol those neighborhoods you get the response as stated above, "for example this is based on a historical pattern that clearly identifies whom the "government" goes after." As long as we remain so politically correct that we can't openly state the PROBLEM, there will forever be a problem. Sever the roots, the tree will not flourish. Keep the sprouts from coming up, and pretty soon you will have an acceptable landscape. If a thorn emerges, get rid of it before it multiplies. We do now have reason to hope and be encouraged. The recent election shows that there is sanity returning to government.

bettyboop
7
Points
bettyboop 11/05/10 - 09:51 am
0
0
Augusta voted....and got the

Augusta voted....and got the same racist and ignorant people running their dying city.....let the games begin!.....

dani
12
Points
dani 11/05/10 - 09:52 am
0
0
justus..Law

justus..Law enforcement..okay?

dani
12
Points
dani 11/05/10 - 09:54 am
0
0
I like this." ....And not

I like this."
....And not only that, out of her own mouth, she said Mr. Cummings would not be a part of it. That's what she said...."

walrus4ever
354
Points
walrus4ever 11/05/10 - 10:17 am
0
0
So justus ,you support

So justus ,you support businesses that make money off the blood of young African Americans?

Quack Quack Quack
0
Points
Quack Quack Quack 11/05/10 - 10:55 am
0
0
So, is this the same attorney

So, is this the same attorney that XMart used?? Maybe they're thinking about that...How many years, and how many $$$$ ??

Westside Liberal
12
Points
Westside Liberal 11/05/10 - 11:38 am
0
0
"The Cummingses have called

"The Cummingses have called for sheriff's deputies to help disperse large crowds in the parking lot three times, Hyatt told commissioners."

What type of establishment/restaurant attracts crowds to their parking lot. The only other time I've seen a scene like that is when two or more tour busses stopped at the Cracker Barrel at the same time. Let's quit kidding ourselves; the place is a nuisance establishment and is not wanted in Augusta. Let’s get this thing right; we (Augusta, GA) do NOT owe the Cummingses the RIGHT to run a business that is a detriment to the community.

irishfarmer
24
Points
irishfarmer 11/05/10 - 12:45 pm
0
0
I am amazed at why this is

I am amazed at why this is even being given a second thought. The place should be shut down. SHUTDOWN! If a white person was doing this type of buissness they would be shutdown and also given a fine and probably put in jail. This is why Augusta is a laugh across this state.

Sweet son
10091
Points
Sweet son 11/05/10 - 01:26 pm
0
0
They must have some of the

They must have some of the commissioners in their pocket.

MysteryWriter
0
Points
MysteryWriter 11/05/10 - 02:03 pm
0
0
The problem with this

The problem with this situation started when the lawyer for the Cummings made veiled threats at a lawsuit. After all the other debacles, the commissioners jumped to "lets get a legal opinion before we move forward" rather than risk doing something wrong (no matter how justified it might be). Listen for yourself when it gets up http://www.augustaga.gov/index.aspx?nid=1392 The Commissioners want to shut it down but don't want to risk the taxpayers $$ defending a frivolous lawsuit.

MysteryWriter
0
Points
MysteryWriter 11/05/10 - 02:04 pm
0
0
dani wrote: I like

dani wrote: I like this."
....And not only that, out of her own mouth, she said Mr. Cummings would not be a part of it. That's what she said...."

You should have heard it LIVE. Priceless!!!!!

J.W.
2
Points
J.W. 11/05/10 - 03:36 pm
0
0
The commission is doing its

The commission is doing its due dilligence prior to making a final decision. It is imperative that the city's lawyer get involved to protect us taxpayers from a law suit. My crystal ball says that at the next commission meeting they pull the license.

jack2006
89
Points
jack2006 11/05/10 - 05:20 pm
0
0
Are we going to pay another

Are we going to pay another business owner $600,000 of tax payer's money, Mr. Mason?

corgimom
31440
Points
corgimom 11/05/10 - 07:25 pm
0
0
"Let's quit kidding

"Let's quit kidding ourselves; the place is a nuisance establishment and is not wanted in Augusta."

Augusta has always been a huge drinking town, if you know where to look. They are wanted, all right; one shuts down, two opens. On the surface, it's a conservative religious town; but it has its share of vice, believe me.

bclicious
676
Points
bclicious 11/05/10 - 09:25 pm
0
0
Looks like the commissioners

Looks like the commissioners just got a little intimidated by dealing with a lawyer. Is it a matter of money? Is it a matter of favoritism? Is it a matter of racism? I don't know, but what in he*l do these guys at Mamie Lee's Southern Cooking have to do next before the commission will take real action?

Big RAVE for Commissioner Jerry Brigham for attempting to do the right thing, but a big rant for the commissioners who choose to do the wrong thing as people continue to DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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