Club N Motion re-opens doors, renews license
By Abbigail Overfelt
Assistant Web Editor
|Photo by Abbigail Overfelt
Club N Motion, located on Lackey Street, reopened its doors Thanksgiving night. The club also reinstated their alcohol license.
Manager Sherri Bridgeman celebrated the “grand reopening” of Club N Motion on Thanksgiving night.
Defendants Bridgeman and Johnlock Enterprises won their case against the City of Lumberton’s motion for preliminary injunction on Oct. 29 and reinstated their alcohol license in early November.
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 for constituting a “public nuisance.”
Johnlock Enterprises is the company that leases the strip mall where Club N Motion is located on Lackey Street.
Their case, represented by attorney Kristin Atkins Momot, was largely based on affidavits signed by the attorney and by defendant Helen Locklear, who is part owner of Johnlock Enterprises.
Also included in the case were affidavits in the defense of Bridgeman, the owner of the club.
According to Mormot’s affidavit from 2002-2005, local businesses made calls to Lumberton police that far surpassed those of Club N Motion.
These calls included 2,935 from Wal-Mart, 274 of which were for violence, weapons and breaches of the peace; 365 calls from Adelios Sportsbar; 616 calls from the Holiday Inn Sportsbar; and 121 calls from El Tenapa Night Club.
Calling for help
Since 1999, Club N Motion has placed about 100 calls.
Locklear said she feels that Club N Motion was unjustly targeted.
“I believe that the [business has] been singled out by the members of the community council for political reasons that have little to do with the facts,” reads Locklear’s affidavit.
“When compared to many other businesses in Lumberton…there are actually fewer incidents involving Club N’ Motion than there are at many other locations throughout the city,” it continued.
To support Locklear’s claims, Momot used affidavits from community members.
“Locklear…has shown herself to be a very respectable business woman that genuinely cares about the tenants in her shopping centers...” reads an affidavit signed by Eula Locklear, owner of Lumberton Flea Market and Eula’s Dress Shop, located on the same property as the club.
Momot also used statements to attest to Bridgeman’s character.
New Century Bank Branch Manager Kate Willoughby’s affidavit reads that “Ms. Bridgeman has a reputation for being very strict about whom she employs at Club N Motion.”
Real Estate Agent Doris Taylor, who works in the ReMax office located near Club N Motion, stated that she had never felt unsafe or threatened on the premises.
Ted Parker, the chief executive officer of Taylor Enterprises, Inc., stated in his affidavit that he once thought of leasing a building he owned in the area to a nightlife establishment but was told by city councilmen that it would be a waste of his time.
“I was told that there was no way there would be any more clubs in the area of Lackey Street and I was told that people who work and reside in the area of Lumberton do not want clubs,” he said.
Grateful for support
To celebrate their victory, Club N Motion has posted bulletins on myspace advertising the “biggest party around.”
“…Thank you all who supported us and prayed for us during our long hard battle,” reads the bulletin.
Player’s Club on Lackey Street, which was brought to court on the same charges, won’t be celebrating anytime soon.
A motion of default was entered for the club when a plea was not filed in the allotted time period.
The ruling of default states that owners Cynthia Jones Rodriquez and Verlyn Tyler Jones cannot operate a club in the same space.
It also prohibits similar businesses from opening in the same location until it is proven that it will operate without a “breach of the peace.”