12/20/12 — Nightclub now closed; application file for cafe

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Nightclub now closed; application file for cafe

By John Joyce
Published in News on December 20, 2012 1:46 PM

Teasers, a sometimes controversial nightclub on U.S. 117 South that featured topless dancers, has closed, and its owner is allegedly considering converting it into an Internet sweepstakes cafe.

The state Alcohol Beverage Control Commission issued a summary suspension of the ABC permits held by Teasers on U.S. 117 South following a fatal shooting inside the club in September. The suspension was the second in a 12-month period and apparently was enough for force the club's owner, Jack Thomas, to shut its doors for good.

According to the Notice of Alleged Violation issued by the ABC on Nov. 19, Teasers was considered "detrimental to the neighborhood due to continuing violence resulting in a murder."

ABC public affairs director Agnes Stevens said Teasers' permits remain under suspension. Thomas and his legal advisers have the option of signing a "proposed stipulation and offer in compromise," which Ms. Stevens said is essentially a settlement in which the permits would be forfeited voluntarily and no punitive damages would be assessed.

"They have until the first week of the new year to sign, otherwise it will go before a judge," Ms. Stevens said.

The judge would then decide whether to uphold the suspension permanently on the basis it was issued -- that Teasers is an unsuitable location for the sale of alcohol. Conversely, the judge could find in favor of the club and reinstate the permits.

To date, the offer of compromise has not been signed. Attorney Glenn Barfield, who said via an email after the last permit suspension story ran in The News-Argus that he represented the corporation that operates Teasers, did not return calls seeking comment.

An indication that Thomas might not fight the ABC's revocation of permits was an application filed with the city of Goldsboro for a permit that would allowed the business to become an Internet sweepstakes cafe.

The property where Teasers was located is zoned by the city for general business. That means that there exists the potential for various types of businesses to be run out of the establishment, just none that sell alcohol.

A public hearing was held Monday to discuss the application and to allow public comment. A representative of a neighboring business spoke against the permit.

The move might have been moot, however, as last week the N.C. State Supreme Court ruled to uphold a ban on such gaming facilities. The ruling is being appealed by the video gaming industry.