City shuts down bar for creating a nuisance

The City of Bennettsville has suspended the business license of Rodney Dease doing business as Legends Sports Bar on Marlboro Street saying the bar was creating a nuisance.

Bennettsville City Council unamiously voted to revoke the license following a meeting last Tuesday evening in which several residents spoke out about the bar saying they've complained about it for years.

Marlboro County Museum Director Susan Cloer said she's called police numerous times about loud music, littering and disorderly conduct coming from the bar.

She said she and other business owners on Marlboro Street are fed up.

"This is very frustrating. We come in on Monday mornings and after a party at the Legends Sports Bar at 112 and a half here on South Marlboro Street we have to pick up liquor bottles, sometimes 30 to 40 bottles. Drug paraphernalia. Blunt papers. And we have Pre-K kids through 12th grade that come through. Visitors that come from out of town. It's not the thing you want in the historical district. We've had problems for over two years now going on three," said Cloer.

Cloer said a double stabbing earlier this month in a city parking lot across the street from the bar has caused even more concern about what's happening in the bar. Some people who live in the area say it's affecting their family's quality of life.

"My two little girls are afraid while they're asleep at night. I spoke with him and I've told him that I've got two kids that live with me full time," said Jamie Sellers.

Cloer added, "It's cost me my historical society members do not want to come to any meetings after 6 o'clock. Because of the attention all is getting in the news papers, especially with a stabbing. This should not be taking place in downtown historical Bennettsville and we do not want this here."

Rodney Dease said his bar had nothing to do with the double stabbing. He said he can't control what people do in a public parking lot.

"The fight didn't happen here. I never had a fight inside my bar. I never had the police to come in here and take anyone out in handcuffs. I just ran a good bar. At night, I have officers that come through and patrol my area. And when I turns out at night, they clear the parking lot," explained Dease.

He said city officials didn't even contact him to let him know they were considering revoking his business licence. Dease added he didn't find out until he saw the notice on the front door of his bar.

He questioned if city officials followed proper procedure in shutting down his business without a hearing with him first on the matter.

"I was coming back from Raleigh and I had no idea that my bar was gone, my license was going be suspended from my bar. I just arrived at my bar on Wednesday and I find notice of business suspension on my doors. I have always done the right thing toward my business in Bennettsville. I just can't see why I'm going through this in Bennettsville."

We called the Bennettsville City Attorney to ask him questions about the city closing the bar, but our calls have not been returned.

In the meantime, Dease said he's filed for an appeals hearing and is just waiting to learn when he can state his case.

"I'm gone fight it. I am seeking my attorney to come here and see what the problem is. And hopefully have my business back up and running," said Dease.