Why Lavish Lounge wasn't shut down after it's registration expired with Greenville County

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  • July 14, 2020
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According to a cease-and-desist order from Greenville County, Lavish Lounge was operating illegally after its registration with the county’s business ordinance expired in 2019. The ordinance outlines guidelines Greenville County businesses must follow to operate within the county. Registration for the ordinance is free and is required annually, according to Greenville County. If a business does not register, Greenville County has the legal authority to shut it down. Greenville County Council Chairman Butch Kirven said that’s happening without appeal in the case of Lavish Lounge.”When the evidence was overwhelming that criminal activity occurred at that premises, it needed to be shut down,” Kirven said. But some people are asking why action wasn’t taken on the club when its registration expired — one year before the shooting at Lavish Lounge.WYFF News 4 took that question to Kirven. “It’s not a business license, it’s not a revenue-producing fee,” Kirven said. So, consequently, there was no county bureaucracy set up to administer and monitor this program.”Kirven said the ordinance wasn’t intended for the county to enforce unless there were complaints about specific businesses. “It was more designed as a law enforcement tool, which has now come into play, which is complaint-driven,” he said. “The county doesn’t have any criminal codes. Our authority goes up to misdemeanor level.”Greenville County Councilman Ennis Fant, who represents the area around Lavish Lounge said anyone who wants to know why there aren’t enough funds to allow for everyday county enforcement. “We have not raised taxes in Greenville county in 26 years. We barely have enough money to keep the roads paved,” he said. “We don’t have the resources to send inspectors around to inspect every single business to make sure their registration is up to date. If we had more money, we could do it.”According to the ordinance, there is up to a $200 misdemeanor fee for businesses that violate the ordinance and/or operate illegally. “Any further violation of the Ordinance likewise constitutes a misdemeanor but is punishable up to ‘the jurisdictional limits of magistrate’s court,” a section reads. In this case, failure to comply allowed for Greenville County Sheriff Hobart Lewis to recommend the county shut down Lavish Lounge. Since it wasn’t registered, the doors are now closed indefinitely.

According to a cease-and-desist order from Greenville County, Lavish Lounge was operating illegally after its registration with the county’s business ordinance expired in 2019.

The ordinance outlines guidelines Greenville County businesses must follow to operate within the county.

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Registration for the ordinance is free and is required annually, according to Greenville County.

If a business does not register, Greenville County has the legal authority to shut it down. Greenville County Council Chairman Butch Kirven said that’s happening without appeal in the case of Lavish Lounge.

“When the evidence was overwhelming that criminal activity occurred at that premises, it needed to be shut down,” Kirven said.

But some people are asking why action wasn’t taken on the club when its registration expired — one year before the shooting at Lavish Lounge.

WYFF News 4 took that question to Kirven.

“It’s not a business license, it’s not a revenue-producing fee,” Kirven said. So, consequently, there was no county bureaucracy set up to administer and monitor this program.”

Kirven said the ordinance wasn’t intended for the county to enforce unless there were complaints about specific businesses.

“It was more designed as a law enforcement tool, which has now come into play, which is complaint-driven,” he said. “The county doesn’t have any criminal codes. Our authority goes up to misdemeanor level.”

Greenville County Councilman Ennis Fant, who represents the area around Lavish Lounge said anyone who wants to know why there aren’t enough funds to allow for everyday county enforcement.

“We have not raised taxes in Greenville county in 26 years. We barely have enough money to keep the roads paved,” he said. “We don’t have the resources to send inspectors around to inspect every single business to make sure their registration is up to date. If we had more money, we could do it.”

According to the ordinance, there is up to a $200 misdemeanor fee for businesses that violate the ordinance and/or operate illegally. “Any further violation of the Ordinance likewise constitutes a misdemeanor but is punishable up to ‘the jurisdictional limits of [the] magistrate’s court,” a section reads.

In this case, failure to comply allowed for Greenville County Sheriff Hobart Lewis to recommend the county shut down Lavish Lounge.

Since it wasn’t registered, the doors are now closed indefinitely.

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