Plush Club shut down in nuisance action

By Nick Kenney - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The doors to the Plush Club on Beale Street were closed Wednesday, possibly for the last time, the District Attorney declared the club a public nuisance.

"This place is becoming very dangerous," Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin said at a press conference in front of the club.

Godwin said officers answered 93 calls for service at the club over the past two years.

"Fights, vandalisms, armed parties, robberies, unresponsive intoxicated parties, burglary alarms, disturbances, illegal drug use, auto thefts, and shootings," he listed.

Prosecutors contend that's a pattern of illegal activity, and filed a nuisance action against the Plush Club in environmental court.  A judge temporarily closed the club, until hearing can be held to decide on more permanent measures.

It's, very important that we do everything we can to shut down this public nuisance," said Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons.

The Plush Club occupies its space through a series of leases and sub-leases. The Beale Street Development Corporation owns the building, and is listed as a co-defendant in the nuisance action. But that organization's executive director, Randle Catron, agrees with prosecutors.

"A lot of things that's been going on over there, we don't approve of it either," he said. "And we're glad to see it shut down."

Catron said the problems at the Plush Club affect public perception of Beale Street.

Wharton wanted to leave the public with a specific message.

"Listen, this is going to be a safe wholesome place," he said. "Come and enjoy yourself. That's the signal we want to send."

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