Troy Hebert, commissioner of the state Alcohol & Tobacco Control agency, presided over a three-plus hour hearing Monday morning in the City-Parish Council auditorium at City Hall concerning downtown nightclub Karma, the subject of numerous complaints and much attention from law enforcement over the last few years. The club was the center point of a shooting investigation this past July.
Lafayette Consolidated Government revoked the mega club’s liquor permit in 2010, and while the revocation was upheld by the City-Parish Council, the club obtained an injunction from a federal judge at the same time it, along with a handful of other downtown clubs, filed a federal lawsuit against LCG challenging local government’s levying of a fee against downtown bars to help defray the cost of paying police overtime for security details downtown on weekends. The council suspended the bar levy in response to the lawsuit, and Karma has managed to stay in business with its liquor license in limbo.
Several police officers and Chief Jim Craft testified against the club. LCG’s Tim Melancon, manager of Alcohol and Noise Control, also testified against Karma.
While Hebert characterized Monday’s hearing as “more of an open forum” and a “fact-finding mission,” the mood in the hearing was clearly one of divorcing Karma from its permit to sell booze, which would effectively put the club out of business.
“Any clubs that are a hip hop venue we generally have more problems with than other clubs that don’t have that type of venue,” Craft said. “Some of the problems we’ve had are fights, batteries, we had a shooting, we had some stabbings ... They’ve openly smoked marijuana in there.”
Downtown business owners and residents also spoke against the club, arguing it has negatively impacted their business since the club moved to a hip hop format around 2010. One resident said she doesn’t feel safe walking near the club late on weekend nights.
ATC is conducting an independent investigation into allegations against Karma. Hebert said it will be roughly 30 days before that probe is complete, at which time both sides in the dispute will be summoned to Baton Rouge for a hearing during which a prosecutor for the state and a defense attorney hired by Karma will present their cases. Hebert will serve as judge and could rule to temporarily suspend Karma’s liquor license and/or fine the club’s owners or revoke the permit entirely.
Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers opens on Johnston.
Acadiana's Top 50 Private Companies
It would be an understatement to say Schumacher Group had a challenging year in 2013.
Hampton Toyota has been serving Acadiana as the premier Toyota dealership for more than 10 years. And now, the glossy Johnston Street dealership is looking forward to a makeover.
Even when Floyd Degueyter is on “vacation” he’s hard at work.
As the second largest metal heat treating company in the country, Analytic Stress Relieving Inc. has grown by leaps and bounds since its inception in 1979.
When the Prohibition era came to an end in 1933, Joseph R. Streva saw an opportunity to make a little extra money to supplement his day job.
When a hurricane hits, Brent Mouton doesn’t run. The convenience store chain owner is proof that the challenges of mother nature can almost break a business, but Mouton learned to grow out of temporary closure from near devastation in 2002 and of lost potential revenue.
By launching a Super PAC to end all Super PACs, our Top 50 keynote speaker hopes to change the game in Washington.
Oil Center-based private facility extends its offerings with special events venue in failed women’s store.
One year later, is his expansion plan paying off?
Newspaper industry insiders question John Georges’ expansion plan.
How the U.S. has gotten itself into another fine mess
The Heymann Center was transformed into a culinary adventure in mid-June for the EatLafayette kick-off event, A Taste of Lafayette, and for the third consecutive year, a sellout crowd filled the Cajundome Convention Center June 19 to hear LEDA chief Gregg Gothreaux’s State of the Economy report.
A look at recent hirings, promotions and other announcements from Acadiana's business community.
Anne Pyle puts a bow on a stellar, expectations-defying career with her latest venture.
The company currently has 10 branches throughout Louisiana, including an Ambassador Caffery location which opened last year.
Lawmakers have added $15 million to the attorney general's budget to pay for Louisiana's ongoing legal case against BP for damages caused by the 2010 Gulf oil spill.
The state's jobless rate rose to 5 percent in June from 4.9 percent in May. Louisiana's unemployment rate was 6.4 percent in June 2013.
Long-established private club opening special events venue in failed women’s store at Kaliste Saloom Road and Camellia Boulevard.
High-dollar legal teams are preparing to spar in federal court over the regional levee authority’s historic lawsuit against oil and gas companies, but a panel of volunteers could preempt those efforts when they meet in August.
May sales, the highest on record for the month at $534 million, increased 6.1 percent over May 2013.
Trendy Shi Shi is heading to the Ranch, longtime retail institution Partners’ Ltd. is relocating to Parc Lafayette, and ariel artist haven Vertical Barre is moving downtown.
There’s another debit/credit card scam making the rounds — the second this year — this time via a robo call purportedly from MidSouth Bank.
The 2014 Louisiana Annual Sales Tax Holiday exempts the first $2,500 of the purchase price of each eligible item for non-business use when the customer buys and accepts delivery of eligible property or places property on layaway.