Controversial nightclub gets liquor license reinstated

By Jason Miles - bio | email

WEST MEMPHIS, AR (WMC-TV) - Club Unity is closed on Wednesdays.  But the disco ball could spin again as soon as this weekend.  It will be to the chagrin of many nearby neighbors.

"It's going to be nothing but trouble," said neighbor Norma Edwards.

West Memphis Police Captain Donald Oakes agreed.

"The neighborhood is scared to death," he said.

Oakes was outraged by a decision Wednesday by the Alcohol Beverage Control Division, or ABC, in Little Rock.  It temporarily reinstated Club Unity's liquor license.

"It's an absolute bureaucratic nightmare," said Oakes.

The license was yanked just last week after a series of complaints and at the urging of West Memphis Police.

"ABC absolutely does not have any concern for our citizens," said Oakes.

Police said they have responded to dozens of crimes at Club Unity over the last year.  They include assaults, thefts, and even an incident where a patron was shot and killed by security.

"We want to work with police," said club management spokesperson Tiffany Lemmons.  "Want it to be safe," she added.
The club allowed us in to look around as they attempt to "remix" its reputation.
"Clean up the place," said Lemmons.  "Give it a better image," she added.

She believes mismanagement and a few rowdy patrons are to blame for the past problems..

"You know, people don't realize that management has changed and I think they'll start seeing that," said Lemmons.  "But they have to give us a chance and have us prove ourselves to them," she added.

Neighbors like Norma Edwards are not optimistic.

"The club is bad news," she said.

Police said the state is to blame if anything bad happens. 

"Because they let them open back up," said Capt. Oakes.

Phone calls to ABC officials have gone unreturned.  A final decision on Club Unity's liquor license is expected in two weeks.

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