Sides in Plush Club legal battle appear in environmental court

By Nick Kenney - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The fate of Beale Street's Plush Club lies in the hands of a judge, after representatives of the club found themselves in court Tuesday.

The club remains shuddered by temporary court injunction, and government hopes to close it down for good, based on a nuisance action that claims it is dangerous.

"I don't think it will solve the problems on Beale Street, but it certainly seems to be their opinion it will," attorney Edward Bearman said after Tuesday's hearing.

Bearman represents the club, which is only a tenant renting the building.  The government's action also targets the landlord, George Miller, who is locked in a long-term lease for the physical building.

But Miller at least partially sides with the government.

"One way or the other, we're just going to try to utilize every legal effort we can to accomplish our goal," said Miller's attorney, Handel Durham.

That goal is to evict the Plush Club from the building, but to keep the power to find another tenant.

Bearman suggests the Plush Club isn't the real problem on Beale Street.

"I think if you pull the crime stats from Beale Street, you'll see that the Plush Club has no more activity in front of it that any other corner on Beale Street," he said.

Instead, Bearman added, his client is merely a scapegoat.

Both landlord and tenant must appear in chancery court on Thursday, and will then return to environmental court on June 30.  On that day they could find out when, or if, the club will re-open.

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