Natalia's Bar and Grill pleads case to keep business license

Natalia's Bar and Grill pleads case to keep business license

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Natalia's Bar and Grill's business license has been suspended since November and the owner has two more weeks to wait before a final determination is made.

A four-page letter had detailed the nuisance activity police said happened at Natalia's Bar and Grill in the Five Points area when the business was told to shut down in November.

Natalie Litsey, the owner, had her opportunity to appeal the letter today in front of Myrtle Beach City Council, which will make the final decision January 24 at 2 p.m.

"Let's be fair to the business people that are trying to do the right thing," Litsey told council during her hearing.

Litsey's appeal hearing came after Pure Ultra Club waived theirs and withdrew their appeal for their business license suspension because of the owner's health.

Several people were injured during a shooting outside Pure Ultra Club in November.

Shots were reportedly fired inside Natalia's, injuring one person just after 4 a.m. on July 21 and the staff didn't report it to police, according to the Myrtle Beach Police Department.

Litsey said she wasn't in the state that night.

"I was actually helping my kids get ready for school, so I was not able to be at my bar at the time when the incident happened. The unfortunate incident," she said.

She said that shooting shouldn't define her business' entire future.

"That one incident does not lay what my business practices are," she said.

However, the business' required safety plan had to be revoked because of the shooting and then, police say the bar kept running without one.

Police also found out more from a former security guard, who said there was illegal gambling and drug usage going on. He told police unopened bottles of liquor were being sold and the bar was serving alcohol after 2 a.m.

Litsey said she revised the safety plan and enacted it at the bar when she was told it had been revoked in August. She said she tried to get the safety plan approved right away, but nobody at the department was available to meet with her that day.

When an officer around the area later that day asked if she had turned it in, she said yes and she said she was told to carry on.

However, the next day the business was ticketed for not having an approved safety plan.

"He said technically we can only ticket you one time within 24 hours so as a business woman I decided to just stay open, make the money," she said.

She said the next day when she was told she could have her business license revoked, she closed until it was approved. But then three months later, she was served with a suspension.

"Working together, this is how we're going to accomplish getting the crime out of Myrtle Beach," she said.

Police also testified about an employee working at the bar who had a history with drugs while working at another area bar. When an officer approached Litsey about this, she said she told him she wouldn't tolerate that, he had assured her it wouldn't happen and she wanted to give him a second chance.

However, he was arrested behind Natalia's for marijuana possession in January 2016 and again in March 2016 for selling drugs to customers.

Litsey said when she found out about that employee's illegal activities, she fired him and wouldn't let him inside the business anymore.

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