Panel pulls Super C's licenses

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Augusta commissioners yanked the alcohol and business licenses for Super C's nightclub on Tobacco Road, where a teen was shot to death on the dance floor last month.

On the recommendation of Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength, commissioners voted 6-2 with two abstentions Tuesday to revoke the licenses held by club owner Charles Cummings, a recommendation triggered by repeated reports of gunfire, fighting and gang activity and the death of 18-year-old Stedmund Fryer in July.

Voting in favor of Commissioner Andy Cheek's motion to close the club were Commissioners Jerry Brigham, Jimmy Smith, Joe Bowles, Bernard Harper, Don Grantham and Mr. Cheek. Voting no were Commissioners Marion Williams and Calvin Holland. Mayor Pro Tem Betty Beard and Commissioner J.R. Hatney abstained.

The vote followed a heated debate, with some commissioners questioning the sheriff's competence and suggesting a commission conspiracy to shut down black-owned nightclubs.

Mr. Cummings' attorney, Ben Allen, asked that Tuesday's hearing be continued for two weeks to allow Mr. Cummings to work with the community and the sheriff's department "to come to a workable solution."

A majority of commissioners rejected that request.

The board also rejected Mr. Allen's request that Mr. Cummings surrender his liquor license and be allowed to keep his beer, wine and business licenses. He said Mr. Cummings had taken steps to reform the club by changing the kind of music played and barring those younger than 21.

Sheriff Strength said commissioners were correct in saying that if Super C's were closed the teens would just go somewhere else.

"But if the right message is sent, these other bar owners in town will know the commission is not going to stand by and let this type of activity go on in their bar, and they will not let them patronize their establishment," he said.

He reminded commissioners that he told them last week that Super C's was a hangout for gang members and drug dealers.

"That's our job to know this," he said. "We have intelligence in these places. We have undercover in these places, and that's how we get our information firsthand."

Mr. Holland and Mr. Williams argued against revoking the licenses, and Mr. Williams wanted to know why the sheriff hadn't come to report the problems before.

Sheriff Strength said a check of the record would show that Super C's had been on probation one time and double probation another time.

"They have been up here," he said. "The commission makes those decisions. I don't."

Mr. Holland said if a fight starts at your house and ends up at Kroger's, you are not at fault.

"We've got to look at all of the different clubs that we have in this city," he said. "If we're going to revoke the license of Super C's club, we've got to be consistent about what we're doing in reference to the rest of the clubs, especially those clubs in the areas that are black-owned. And I'm looking at, and I see that, and to me I see somewhat of a conspiracy in terms of trying to close these different clubs down."

That brought a response from Mr. Cheek.

"The leadership of this city should be most concerned about the young men that get locked up at a young age that will never become anything but hardened criminals by continuing to find places where they can go and congregate, be involved in crime with drugs and gang activities and violence instead of saying, 'We will end this now,' " Mr. Cheek shouted.

"The bottom line is everybody in this city, no matter what they look like, they want their children to grow up and become something of themselves," Mr. Cheek said.

"That's right," said Sheila Fryer, the mother of Stedmund Fryer, who was at Tuesday's hearing.

"We are contributing to their downfall when we should turn that around and say, 'No, this is enough.' And any other place that's like this needs to be shut down," Mr. Cheek said to applause.

Reach Sylvia Cooper at (706) 823-3228 or sylvia.cooper@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (77) Add comment
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jackfruitpaper833
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jackfruitpaper833 08/08/07 - 08:49 am
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marden, Cheeks, Don and Jerry

marden, Cheeks, Don and Jerry need to be voted out as well, it's not just those 3 you mentioned.

Well I still say Strength for good measure should have had that list available of other clubs just to pass out to the commissioners. Sometimes going the extra step helps.

jackfruitpaper833
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jackfruitpaper833 08/08/07 - 08:52 am
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Next time they pray at the

Next time they pray at the Marble Palace they need to Pray away that RACE demon, bind him off the presence of the building, heck out of the city of Augusta. Only thing Augusta got going good is the cost of living, you can buy a nice house cheap there. Oh and Laney High School now that's a pillar in the community.

And yes I still say Dr. Welcher needs to be fired at Laney, all the principals for that fact who's school has been on the AYP Failing list more than 3 years.

yoohoo
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yoohoo 08/08/07 - 08:54 am
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How can the commissioners

How can the commissioners know what is going on in this town when they sit on their thrones and yell it's all about race. Get off your butts and come to Dreams on Washington Road any Friday or Saturday night and observe for yourself what is going on. On any given weekend you can hear gunshots from the parking lot and there is more of a crowd on the outside of the club than on the inside. There is no control over tis club. Is is going to take another young black man losing his life before this club also is closed? Sheriff and commissioners come and see for yourselves.

jackfruitpaper833
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jackfruitpaper833 08/08/07 - 08:58 am
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yoohoo if he has undercovers

yoohoo if he has undercovers there getting intelligence, I wonder if he has enough evidence now to close it, or will it take a killing in that establishment before it get's to this point where we are now with Super C?

proudsoutherner
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proudsoutherner 08/08/07 - 08:59 am
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august8th, to put this mildly

august8th, to put this mildly -in keeping with my new outlook- you seriously need to rethink this.

king james,i would wonder if the owner has the financial ability to effect the changes you brought up in a timely fashion,not sure. i agree with your comments on the "no" votes and the abstaining. i guess i'm out of touch, but this is the kind of thing that sets me off. voting "no" and implying the reason is a conspiracy to close down black owned establishments should be an insult to any sane thinking,educated person of any race.also,these comms are elected to vote,to make things happen.abstaining should not be in the equation.
intheknow...good morning to ya !

pav2003
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pav2003 08/08/07 - 09:06 am
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King James: Your 8:58 a.m

King James: Your 8:58 a.m comment is right on the mark. Thank you.

edst4
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edst4 08/08/07 - 09:07 am
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Oh my god race brought up

Oh my god race brought up again. Gezzzz give it a flipping break people. I am so tired of hearing race this race that. We are picking on black people. No i am not a racist. i have several friends who are black and they feel like i do. No wonder nobody wants to come to augusta. You can read all you want on line and find out

LaTwon
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LaTwon 08/08/07 - 09:11 am
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i am sure the high sheriff

i am sure the high sheriff and whitey are conspiring to close down all black clubs so that these murderous thugs will invade all of the "honky tonks" , no pun intended, and murder their children. damn can they get any more stupid?

jackfruitpaper833
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jackfruitpaper833 08/08/07 - 09:12 am
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LOL then stay away, in time

LOL then stay away, in time these prayers being sent up will CHANGE the city of Augusta edst4. Some of that stuff in Cheeks, Williams, Beard, Brigham, Holland and Don is deep rooted. It's going to take continued prayer.

edst4
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edst4 08/08/07 - 09:16 am
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I live here. Just in Columbia

I live here. Just in Columbia County which is a good thing.

karmakills123
8
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karmakills123 08/08/07 - 09:26 am
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jackfruit....it seems it DOES

jackfruit....it seems it DOES take a killing to close a bad club down.....and even then some commissioners still support it................yes SUPPORT if you......... ABSTAINED you were supporting the club.

jackfruitpaper833
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jackfruitpaper833 08/08/07 - 09:32 am
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Well Clubs like Super C it

Well Clubs like Super C it only took ONE incident to keep me from EVER going back there, if a fight, shooting, stabbing, etc took place while I was there, I wouldn't go back. My first time ever at 2160 a fight broke out (LOL yes that's a long time ago), I never went back there, plus I didn't like the surroundings/people etc. Same thing for Top of the latter, The Blue Room, the Red Door, VFW, the Skating Rink LOL, Simons, 2001, New York New York when it was open, Damons (last known as Harpos) when I use to club, thank God for Change, grace and mercy.

pav2003
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pav2003 08/08/07 - 09:40 am
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I think that most of us

I think that most of us (especially residents of that area), will admit that a positive step has been taken with the closure of that "evil magnet," Super C's. All of this other rhetoric is just that, "rhetoric." Yes, it's entertaining, but a larger issue was at hand, and has been handled for the good of everyone. Residents of that area should not have to dodge bullets on their way home from the grocery store. Sheriff Strength has his sources of "Intelligence" that guide him. He is not expected to share his Intelligence with the public. If he did, it would no longer be "Intelligence." Let the Sheriff and his deputies do their jobs; they are the experts.

jackfruitpaper833
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jackfruitpaper833 08/08/07 - 09:52 am
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reallynow I'm glad it's

reallynow I'm glad it's closed as well, however, Strength needs to use that intelligence NOW, this just may prevent another killing.

Wait does he have it on the owners are the patrons?

september 5th
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september 5th 08/08/07 - 09:53 am
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reallynow, kindly take your

reallynow, kindly take your head out of the sand...listen to the news reports...the club is closed but you are not safer...now the gangs/drug dealers will be hanging out at the mall, in your neighborhood, etc...the police need to hang up the cell phones and start patrolling looking for the scrum! closing the club is a drop in the bucket against the crime of augusta...it does however look good on a campaign flyer!

KingJames
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KingJames 08/08/07 - 09:58 am
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PS and Reallynow, something

PS and Reallynow, something similar happened at a very large club in Norfolk, VA near where I live. I've never been there, but saw it on the news. A murder didn't happen, but somewhat of a brawl followed by a stampede for the exits. The owner said it was due to the crowd that came out to hear a gangster rapper perform. The city closed him down. He was recently allowed to reopen because he cleaned up the club with regards to safety and security along city standards and codes, and has said he will no longer permit ganster rap at his establishment. He made a committment to himself, employees, patrons, and the city. The city was so impressed with him that they allowed news cameras into his hearing to get his new license (free publicity for the city and for the owner). I think Cummings should be allowed to reopen at a later date when he fully complies with safety and security standards, but under tight scrutiny from the city, sherrif, and fire marshall. IT SHOULD TAKE HIM MORE THAN A MONTH to restructure Super C's (maybe a year) and make it a classy establishment. If he doesn't have the financial backing to stay afloat until then, then he should be in another line of business.

jackfruitpaper833
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jackfruitpaper833 08/08/07 - 10:03 am
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But KingJames, if that

But KingJames, if that happens and it's happening now at other clubs, the Male security guards are letting the under age girls in, a simple good flirt, or promise (hint, hint) and the females have no problem getting in. Now when it comes to the young men the security guards stand steadfast on not allowing them entrance. This has been going on for years.

pav2003
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pav2003 08/08/07 - 10:23 am
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Thank you jackfruitpaper833

Thank you jackfruitpaper833 and also to August 8th: Yes, I fully understand that the closure of this club is not a "cure-all." I equally, do not have a false sense of security now that this club is closed. Evil is everywhere you turn and the closure of this club will not convince me to leave my doors unlocked at night, (or day). The point that I was attempting to make was the closure was one "STEP" in a positive direction. With that having been stated, there are many more steps to climb. I remain convinced that we should support our law enforcement staff. We also should insist that they be accountable, as well.

KingJames
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KingJames 08/08/07 - 10:57 am
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Jackfruit, you are talking

Jackfruit, you are talking about a corrupt society. I suppose some of my thoughts are really for a perfect world with perfect people, which we know doesn't exist. If male security guards are letting under age girls into clubs, and the owner is made aware, then they should be fired. An increased law enforcement presence at these clubs could possibly solve that one. Also, bartenders should card anyone that appears to be underage prior to serving them drinks. How do you change something that's been going on for years? When the owner tells his security guards that he isn't going to close down just because they let in a little girl, and that they will be fired if they do, the secuirty guards will get the message...maybe. Change is always hard, but when you come between a man and his money, he will make things happen, even if he doesn't want to.

ebs421
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ebs421 08/08/07 - 11:01 am
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Here we go again blaming

Here we go again blaming other people like club owners for what the parents should be blamed for.My question is why was this young man in the club?This question is for the mother,because the club owner pay his dues for his mistakes the mother mistakes,and the sheriff office.Mainly the mother ,because she should have had more control,and the sheriif office ,because they knew what was going on way before the killing.For one man to take the hit on this one is wrong.Pass that love around.

juicycherry1978
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juicycherry1978 08/08/07 - 11:14 am
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This decision is real messed

This decision is real messed up. Mr. Cummins tried to changebut you all did not even give him a chance to do day. you will regret closing the club. he had good food why he couldn't stay open to as a restaurant. mr c if you read this we are on your side. the picture people

butterflygina
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butterflygina 08/08/07 - 11:18 am
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First we need to understand

First we need to understand that it is the people who make the place bad. This was this man's job and now he is unemployed, so to say. Although this issue was only abut Super C's, I would have liked to see data on the number of crimes committed at the other clubs with the number of days/nights open and number of average patrons to get a clearer picture if other clubs need to be put on probation or closed. I'm sure Super C's is not the only place violence happens, it is alarming because it happened inside the club. Good luck to the victim's family and the business owner.

donttreadonme
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donttreadonme 08/08/07 - 11:21 am
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Setting examples always seem

Setting examples always seem to lead to more and more examples. If you shut one down for this then they have the power to start shutting others down. It is the old cliche one thing leads to another that has taken the freedom out of our lives and businesses. Mr Cheeks was driving drunk he could have killed someone but he didn't let's burn all drunks at the stake. Smokers and fat people are destroying the health industry let's burn all them too. Then we can find something else that scares the hell out of us to burn also. Examples are for Socialists. Individuals should be held responsible for their actions not everyone who is around them or practices the same lifestyle.

PlayaFace
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PlayaFace 08/08/07 - 11:39 am
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ebs421... the boy was 18

ebs421... the boy was 18 years old... he is legally an adult... the mother is not fully responsible for what he is doing and where he is at anymore.... you cant blame her for the death of her son... i personally am glad this place is shut down...... something needed to be done... and as far as dreams.. come on.. why is that place still standing with all the violence and drama that goes on there... not to mention the illegal prostitution in the parking lot from the girls walking over from the scottish inn....

KingJames
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KingJames 08/08/07 - 11:40 am
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At the age of 18, Mr. Fryer

At the age of 18, Mr. Fryer was an adult. As any wise parent will tell you, you can do your best to raise a child, but they will still make mistakes. After those mistakes have been made, parents should expect that some of their hard work will pay off when their adult children begin to make better decisions. This is taught in the Bible as the story of the Prodigal Son. Mr. Fryer made a decision to enter the club that night. His parents had nothing to do with it. Hopefully, they had already raised him to think for himself and be responsible for his own actions. The mother couldn't have had more control over his actions because he was an adult. He was too young to legally buy and consume alcohol, which is why Cummings should have never had a mixed crowd of people both over and under the age of 21. Cummings was, however, responsible for everyone of his patrons' safety and security. He failed to provide either to Mr. Fryer. Once again, Mr. Fryer's parents had nothing to do with his presence at the club. Had none of this happened, they probably would have talked to him about being out so late, but besides that, there is nothing his parents could be blamed for.

jackfruitpaper833
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jackfruitpaper833 08/08/07 - 12:05 pm
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Shoot even when I was 18 I

Shoot even when I was 18 I had to tell my mom EVERYWHERE I went LOL, I did use to however, tell her I was going to be here and knowing all along I was going to a place like Super C. I use to get so mad back then at her and wish I was GROWN, but to this day, I thank her for being strict, and telling me not to go to places like Super C.

He will probably never get another license for liquor/beer or to open up another club. If he was on the Up and Up from the beginning (even with the teens there) this would not have happen.

KingJames
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KingJames 08/08/07 - 12:50 pm
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I left home and joined the

I left home and joined the Navy when I was 18. I didn't have to worry about telling my parents anything since I was grown enough to be in the military. The company commanders in boot camp literally told us what to do, where to go, and how to get there all the time. After that, we could go and come as we pleased. So long as we didn't go to the establishments that were on the Off Limits list and we weren't late for work, it was all good. I remember 2160. It was around the corner from my grandmother's house. Even as a kid, I thought that placed seemed like there was never anything inside but trouble.

RichmondCountyResident1
30
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RichmondCountyResident1 08/08/07 - 12:54 pm
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Commissioners Beard,

Commissioners Beard, Williams, Holland and Hatney what are you thinking. Closing this club is a no brainer.Sure others need to be reviewed and you should ask the sheriff to provide the details.This clearly is not a race issue, it is a public safety issue.Your ignorance lends credence to the argument that blacks always play the race card.I think many know, I would never pander to the whites and yes a lot of it is bigotry. But that aside, this is not one of those occassions. Our community (the Blacks and Augusta) deserves better than what you guys have to offer. We the black community need people who make rational decisions and think progressively.Don't worry so much about the white commissoners.Let's just stop shooting ourselves in the foot. If you can't do what is right for all, then step aside.

PlayaFace
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PlayaFace 08/08/07 - 01:09 pm
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i had a 62 hour a week job

i had a 62 hour a week job and living on my own at 18. my mother had no more control over my life and i made my own decisions.... granted they weren't always the best but i made it through... placing blame on the boys mother is just stupid... we dont know their family situation.... i completely agree with you on this one kingjames....

marien
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marien 08/08/07 - 01:14 pm
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Ok now the commissoners have

Ok now the commissoners have closed super C maybe they will now get a grip on the mall and all the people that hang out and cause trouble, because mall security is not enough.

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