Hearing may decide fate of Lumberton’s Club ‘N Motion and Player’s Club
By Abbigail Overfelt
Club N’ Motion has been closed since Sept. 12, when North Carolina, on behalf of the City of Lumberton, filed a verified complaint and an issue of a civil summons against club owners.
This includes Johnlock Enterprises, the owner of the building that houses Club N’ Motion; Rainbow Enterprises, the company that owns the club; and Sherri Lyn Bridgeman, the operator of the club.
The motion also entered an “ex parte” temporary restraining order which prevents the club from serving alcohol.
Senior Rakesha Johnson said that the loss of the club’s liquor license would affect her desire to go out because the club has drink specials.
“I would still go out. It just wouldn’t be as exciting,” she said.
Sophomore Calvin King said that he feels the club would be safer if alcohol was banned.
The restraining order also prevents the club from operating in conditions that constitute a public nuisance.
A public nuisance
North Carolina General Statute 19-1 defines a public nuisance as any establishment that has repeated acts which create and constitute a breach of the peace. These acts can include homicide, assault, affray, communication of threats, unlawful possession of weapons and discharging firearms.
An affidavit signed by Lumberton Detective Burnis Wilkins lists 12 pages of calls, averaging nine calls per page, that police have responded to at Club N’ Motion since 1999.
These calls range from a double homicide on June 10, 2000, to assault and shoot to kill on April 14, 2007.
If the hearing finds the club to be a public nuisance, the court will issue a preliminary injunction which will enforce the abatement of the acts which have proven the establishment to be a public nuisance.
If the acts do not cease, it could result in fines, contempt of court charges or the closure of the club.
Closing the club would also prevent any other business of its nature from operating in the same location.
Some believe that Lumberton Police are just attempting to shut down all the nightlife spots in town.
“The people of Lumberton just want to see all the clubs shut down around here, and because they couldn’t find anything true to come at you with, they had to make up some bogus lies,” reads a comment on Club N’ Motions’ myspace page.
Another comment tells Bridgeman: “…keep your head up ‘cause I know the truth on why they closed the club and it didn’t have nothing to do with the club.”
The comment continues, saying “they” have been trying to close Club for a long time.
Club N’ Motion is not the only Lumberton club that is in danger of closing.
A suit has been filed against Player’s Club as well, making it the second time that the City of Lumberton has brought a civil complaint against a business.
The complaint is almost a carbon copy of that issued against Club N’ Motion, brought against Johnlock Enterprises and club operators Cynthia Jones Rodriquez and Verlyn Tyler Jones.
The affidavit, also signed by Wilkins, states that Player’s club’s alcohol license was revoked on March 7, 2007, after a security guard was shot and killed on the premises.
The club remained closed through Ryan Hunt’s attempt to reopen the club on August 20, 2007, using the same lawyer that Veryln Jones, the club’s owner, was using in the court case.
Wilkins’s affidavit also lists over 200 police calls that have been made to Player’s since the club opened and 31 people who have been arrested stemming from those calls.
Karen Lashaw, owner of Adam & Eve located next to Players, stated in the court document that “if I had known the reputation of Player’s Club, I would not have located [my] business there.”
If the clubs do close, what effect will it have on Pembroke students?
McDuffie Cummings, UNCP Director of Police and Public Safety, said that in the 15 years he has been with the department he has seen a decline in the number of students who visit the clubs.
“A majority of our students realized the possibility of incidents when they attended these locations,” he said.
“To my knowledge our students attempt to have student parties if possible in area[s] such as Pine Lake Park and Porter Plaza,” Cummings continued.
Cummings said these places provide students with a more controlled atmosphere.