HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF)- A judge has ruled that Tiffany's Cabaret is a public nuisance during a civil court hearing. All together, seven clubs and businesses were part of the county'sinvestigation .Solicitorr Jimmy Richardson says they focused on real crime, not county ordinance violations. He says detectives found a combination of heavy prostitution and drug sales in the clubs. In court Wednesday, attorneys brought evidence against Tiffany's Cabaret, to prove they were a public nuisance. The judge, Judge Hyman, agreed.
"He ruled from the bench that an injunction would be forthcoming against Tiffany's," Richardson explained, adding that once the order is signed by the judge, it will be posted, and the club will officially close.
The other club present, the Gold Club, had already closed its doors voluntarily, so the judge ruled the nuisance case was moot.
However, the judge did rule an injunction against the landlord of that space for not showing up to the court date, meaning the space cannot currently operate as any other business.
Mike Rose, the Gold Club's former owner, says a federal court case is still pending which is seeking damages against Horry County over the unconstitutionality of the county's ordinances as they pertain to the now closed Gold Club and Gold Club North businesses. Rose finds all these closings unfair.
"While there may have been some incidents here and there, I don't think my business, the neighboring businesses or other businesses out here in the community, are immune to any type of occurrences at all," Rose said.
However, Richardson explains, this investigation took place over the course of a year, or more.
"None of it was: we would go in on one night, and say, 'Oh gosh, we caught them on a bad night.' It was an extensive investigation," Richardson explained. The investigation left them with two options. "We could go in and arrest three, four, five, ten dancers, or you can close the entire club down," he said.
Richardson feels closing the clubs would be more effective in the long run. If they were to make arrests, those people could easily be replaced by others.
In addition to Tiffany's Cabaret, the county shut down Airport Express because of nuisance violations. All together, the wave of businesses that have closed, some voluntarily after the county's investigations, are the Gold Club, Bottoms Up, Teezers Smokehouse, The Bunny Ranch, and the last club, which workers said will stay in open until they see their day in court, Fantails.
"I think the county was on a witch hunt, and they are on a witch hunt all the way to the end," Mike Rose said.
Solicitor Richardson says the last of the seven clubs in question, Fantails, will be in court by the end of this year, but a date has not been set yet.