City manager, club owner tell different tales - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

City manager, club owner tell different tales

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June 22, 2007

Albany --  City Manager Alfred Lott says the city is not responsible the loss of business at an Albany nightclub that shut down Thursday. Boxers closed and their lawyer is talking about suing the city for lost income.

But Lott says city police are doing their jobs by enforcing the law, and calls a clientele afraid of the police "suspect."

It was just about a year ago when Boxers opened it's doors, but pictures were striped from the walls and this club was unplugged on Friday.

"Come Monday there will be approximately 28 to 30 people probably, lined up down at the labor department, filing an application for unemployment benefits," said Boxer's Attorney Jerry Brimberry.

Brimberry says his client, Darlene Slaymaker, was forced to close down because her customers were intimidated by police and drug agents, and stopped coming to Boxers. "They've singled her out because of the residents at Lake Park," he said. "I guess they are the most influential and the most vociferous crowd and as a result, the city has put her out of business."

Those influential people are apparently white Christians, as a sign so implies on the door. Brimberry says because of that group Wednesday night earnings at Boxers, for example, went from $5,000 to $500, and that his client just wasn't able to make a living.

Now she may sue the city. "She has talked to me about filing civil action against the city and I'm taking that under advisement, looking at financial losses that she has incurred, as a result of the gestapo tactics that the Albany Police Department, and particularly the Albany Dougherty Drug Unit has been engaged in and she has asked me to look into filing a lawsuit against the city, and if I feel like it's justified, I'm going to file it."

City Manager Alfred Lott says the city didn't shut Boxers down, the clientele did. "One would argue that a clientele that's afraid of the police is certainly suspect."

Lott says he's shocked with the decision. "I expected them to stay in business as a bar, and be more cognizant of other ordinances, and so this is certainly a surprise to me."

But he says they still have the option to operate. "It should be noted that they still have their business license, and still have their alcohol license, so they are in the position to conduct business if they like to, but I'm not sure how the city can be responsible for their business decisions."

He says the only thing he's responsible for, is requiring them to follow the law. "It was my intent to make sure Boxers was not a hindrance to the neighborhood and in doing so was in compliance with all the city ordinances."

But Brimberry says it was the city's intent to see them pack up all along. "The city commission here for the most part, they are not business friendly."

Boxers owner Darlene Slaymaker says the club was unfairly targeted because of events that were out of her control. She says a shooting that occurred there earlier this year, didn't originate at her club, and that the people involved weren't even her customers, but had started a fight at another establishment and used her parking lot for a battle ground.

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