Commissioners move to shut Club Platinum

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Augusta commissioners and Sheriff Ronnie Strength have had enough of Club Platinum.

After Saturday's double shooting in the parking lot off North Leg Road, and after hearing a harsh assessment from the sheriff, who called the club a "haven for violence," the commission's Public Safety Committee voted unanimously Wednesday to recommend pulling its business license.

Though that can't be done until Tuesday's full commission meeting, License and Inspection Director Rob Sherman said he can shut the club down in the meantime, meaning it won't be open this weekend.

"At this point, I have zero tolerance for what's been going on," Mayor Pro Tem Alvin Mason said.

Sheriff Strength said there have been five shootings and one homicide at the club since December 2006. If you go to Club Platinum, he said, you have a good chance of getting shot, stabbed or assaulted.

No one from the club was present at Wednesday's hearing, and efforts to reach its owner, Rakeim McMorris, for comment Wednesday were unsuccessful.

Club Platinum is a teen club that doesn't sell alcohol. A set of ordinances that would allow the city to regulate such businesses are stalled on the commission.

Among other things, the measures proposed by Commissioner Jerry Brigham would have teen club proprietors appearing before the commission before they can open and would set up a system for suspension, probation and license revocation if trouble erupts. The Public Services Committee split on the issue last month, and at last week's commission meeting the ordinances were sent back to committee.

Sheriff Strength said Saturday's shooting stemmed from a fight between rival gangs, Harrisburg Posse and Southside Boyz. After the groups were asked to leave the club, gunfire broke out in the parking lot.

A similar scenario led to a killing in July 2007. Two south Augusta gangs, O-Dub and Old Savannah Boys, got into a fight inside, and after the brawlers were forced out, some apparently retaliated with a drive-by shooting on the club's doorway. Nicholas Carpenter, 24, was fatally shot in the stomach, and Denzel Ward, 16 years old at the time, has been charged with murder.

Last year the commission twice put Club Platinum on probation for 90 days. It was allowed to stay in business with the stipulation that it have four off-duty deputies working security.

Sheriff Strength said there were only two on duty Saturday because the owner said he was holding a private party and didn't need as many. The sheriff said he now wishes his deputies hadn't gone along with that.

Mr. Mason asked him if the bad element at Club Platinum won't just take their fighting elsewhere when it's closed down.

"Let 'em go somewhere else, and we'll respond there," he said.

Reach Johnny Edwards at (706) 823-3225 or johnny.edwards@augustachronicle.com.

OTHER ACTION

- The Engineering Services Committee told City Administrator Fred Russell and interim Utilities Department Director Drew Goins to try one last time to reach an agreement with rental property owner Ming Lin, who says a backed up sewer line is causing human waste to spill out of tubs and toilets and across the yard at a house on Mistletoe Avenue. Mr. Lin has threatened to sue, saying the problem has caused him to lose tenants and a potential buyer. Mr. Goins said the city has been to the house 108 times and paid a plumber about $1,500 to fix Mr. Lin's problem, but his tenants keep putting foreign objects down pipes and driving over a wet well, crushing the line. Mr. Russell said he's not optimistic about reaching an agreement. Mr. Lin said he also wants $28,000 for damages.

- The Administrative Services Committee had ratifying a contract with Sentinel Offender Services on its agenda but instead directed Mr. Russell to meet with Richmond County State Court Chief Judge Gayle B. Hamrick about the company's performance. Sentinel is a private probation company that handles minor criminal offenders, collecting fines for the city and fees for itself, and it's the subject of a constitutional challenge being mounted by attorney Jack Long.

Comments (6) Add comment
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karmakills123
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karmakills123 02/12/09 - 04:54 am
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"Mr. Goins said the city has

"Mr. Goins said the city has been to the house 108 times and paid a plumber about $1,500 to fix Mr. Lin's problem, but his tenants keep putting foreign objects down pipes and driving over a wet well, crushing the line.".....how is this the citys fault?...perhaps Mr. lin should find a better class of tenants.

SandyK2005
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SandyK2005 02/12/09 - 06:15 am
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Some of these property owners

Some of these property owners need to be billed for the city time if they can't address their tenant issues, and making the city do the work for them. 108 times is beyond the call of duty for the city. Mr. Lin, either get rid of those tenants; or Augusta may have to bill you for the trouble. It's not right for the city to be babysitting your property.

longtraincoming
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longtraincoming 02/12/09 - 07:41 am
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You can take them out of the

You can take them out of the jungle--------

WW1949
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WW1949 02/12/09 - 09:50 am
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longtraincoming, It goes both

longtraincoming, It goes both ways. It is just the class of people and their attitude toward other peoples property. Ride by some of the houses in the lower cost sections of any city and you will see the same. Junk cars, tires, beer cans, tall grass, babies everywhere. Awful.

ListenAndLearn
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ListenAndLearn 02/12/09 - 05:42 pm
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What did I miss? This article

What did I miss? This article is about Club Platinum.

Former Augustan
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Former Augustan 02/13/09 - 01:33 am
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This is a "teen club?" What

This is a "teen club?" What kind of teens go there? I can only imagine and shudder at what goes on inside. Yuck!!

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