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Nuisance judgment shuts down club

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The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The owners and operator of a troubled nightspot have received court judgments that will hamper their ability to operate similar businesses in the future, according to a news release from the State Bureau of Investigation.

Pitt County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Foster on Monday entered a summary judgment against John Acklin, operator of Club Flavuz, previously known as Club Vegas, located at 1421 Hillsdale St. near the Pitt Greenville Airport.

The judgment permanently prohibits Acklin “from operating or maintaining a public nuisance” anywhere within the jurisdiction of the State of North Carolina. Acklin also was ordered to pay $9,201.64, the costs associated with an investigation that spanned nearly six months.

“This location has been a problem for more than 30 years, constantly draining law enforcement resources and reducing the quality of life for members of this small community,” said Pitt County Sheriff Neil Elks. “This long-overdue solution is a result of an outstanding joint effort between Pitt County officials and members of the ALE Nuisance Abatement Team. It's been a trouble spot for many, many years. Different type crimes have happened there such as shootings and drugs. It being closed down is a good day's work. It's been an ongoing process. We had to have investigators look at it and it was a detriment to the neighborhood where it was. We actually went out and talked to neighbors and got their perspective,” said Elks.  

The case presented to Foster focused on five calls related to reported shootings and eight calls related to fights or disturbances in a period from 2010 to 2018 primarily focusing on incidents between 2016-18.

Under Chapter 19 of the N.C. General Statutes, public nuisances are considered buildings or places used for assignation, prostitution, gambling, illegal possession or sale of alcoholic beverages, illegal possession or sale of controlled substances and the illegal possession or sale of obscene or lewd matter.

The owners of the property, Albert Ray Atkinson and Annie Bell Atkinson, entered a consent judgment with the state and were not required to pay any fines.

Under the terms of the consent judgment, the property is effectually closed, and may never be used again as a club or similar gathering place, said the SBI news release. The owner of the property is prohibited from operating a nuisance at this location or anywhere in North Carolina.

In addition, the judgment prohibits the possession of alcoholic beverages on the property and limits the number of people allowed on the property for one year following the date of the judgment. After this time, no business may be operated at this location between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Pitt County Attorney Janis Gallagher, who handled the matter on behalf of the county, expressed gratitude for the effort and outcome.

“I sincerely appreciate the cooperation and reasonableness of the property owners, the Atkinsons, in allowing for a timely and successful resolution that mandated closure of the business,” Gallagher said. “The judgment against the final defendant will improve the quality of life for residents in Pitt County.”

The investigation and information gathered for this lawsuit was a joint effort between members of the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office and members of Alcohol Law Enforcement's Nuisance Abatement Team.

“We are extremely pleased to offer assistance to our law enforcement partners in these nuisance cases,” said Josh Batten, ALE’s assistant special agent in charge of the Nuisance Abatement Team. “This judgment brings much-needed change to a community negatively impacted for decades.”

 

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