Brown bag business owners upset over ordinance - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Brown bag business owners upset over ordinance

January 28, 2004

Albany- The owners of Insomnia and Club 229 didn't get a vote Tuesday night on banning the practice of brown bagging in the city.

The new ordinance means people can't bring their own alcohol to these bars. It also means clubs owners could be out of business.

"We're brown bagging clubs, so if you take away the brown bagging then we're just an open building with a DJ," said owner Kimberly Hadley.

Albany Police claim some clubs are the root of late night problems. But the owners hire off-duty officers and have bouncers.

"When you get rid of our clubs, people aren't going to stop drinking," Hadley said.

Hadley, who also owns Club Extreme, and Tim Shelton, who owns Club 229, both say they were misled by city commissioners.

"They told us they were not going to take the brown bagging ordinance and put it into effect," Shelton said. "They said all they were going to do is give us guidelines and regulations to go by."

These owners also say they weren't told the vote was coming up.

"How can we get behind somebody we can't even trust, when we sit down and talk to them and agree upon something and they don't stick by what they say," Shelton said.

"To take our livelihoods from us," Hadley said. "Just like you said, we woke us one morning and were out of business. Now I'm sitting here thinking how am I going to pay my bills. And I employee probably 15 to 20 people at my club. How are these people going to pay their bills."

The owners are checking the law and talking to attorneys. But they also know some commissioners are up for re-election.

"So everybody's that's watching, election day's coming up in two weeks," said Demetrius Richardson, also with Club Extreme.

And that's a vote where they will have a chance to cast a ballot and it will count.

posted at 10:20 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com