MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Clayton Smith says he bought the property at 415 Yaupon Drive because he wanted to help turn the area around, but three days after opening his license was revoked.
According to Myrtle Beach law, a business license can be revoked if the prior business owner has engaged in unlawful activity. Smith's business, Club Heat, was formerly called Heat Ultra Lounge and was owned by Vladimir Handl, who is currently in jail for racketeering and conspiracy to sell controlled substances.
Smith says that the prior incidents have nothing to do with him, and all he wants is a fair shot.
"And all I want to do is like The Constitution says I just want my opportunity, I just want my opportunity, and if I mess up my opportunity then hey...thumbs up. But if I'm not given an opportunity then that’s not fair to me," Smith stated.
"The business hasn’t done anything wrong as a whole. I haven't done anything wrong,” Smith said.
However, even as he prepares to appeal the city's decision tomorrow, Clayton Smith says he doesn’t want to see Myrtle Beach divided, and that being a Navy Veteran has taught him a valuable lesson.
"I don't want that separation thing. I don’t like that. Me being prior military, one of the things you want to do to defeat....if you want to defeat the city of Myrtle Beach, the best thing to do is separate them. Have venues fighting the city, have the city fighting venues. People will hear about that, and that's when chaos starts. All this chaos starts and I don't want that here. I love this city."
A special city council meeting was held Friday, November 20, 2015, at 9 a.m. to determine whether or not Smith’s business would be allowed to stay open. Witnesses were called to testify and Smith had a chance to cross examine them since he was representing himself.
On Tuesday, December 8, 2015, the business license for Club Heat was denied to Smith after lots of discussion at the city council meeting. Smith spoke and said he did not want to fight with the city and supports the business license being denied. He wants to work to gear a business towards something other than a nightclub, like serving children and families.