FORMER PAWNSHOP Owner withdraws request for liquor license transfer
The police chief and building official opposed the plan.
By PETER H. MILLIKEN
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- LaShawn Ziegler has withdrawn his request to transfer the liquor license from his former 77 Soul nightclub to a former pawnshop at 222 E. Market St.
The withdrawal came as city council was to vote in a special meeting Tuesday on a resolution to oppose the transfer.
Ziegler said he withdrew the license transfer request because if he were to pursue the transfer unsuccessfully with the Ohio Department of Liquor Control, he'd be barred from selling the license to anyone else for use on the Market Street premises for a year.
"It wasn't worth my having to wait a whole year to actually be able to sell my business or my liquor license and my building," Ziegler explained.
Meanwhile, Ziegler said he'd work to bring the former downtown pawnshop, which he owns, up to building and fire codes for a restaurant or nightclub. Ziegler said he wouldn't need a liquor license to operate a dance hall at the Market Street location.
Whether he opens a restaurant or nightclub there or not, Ziegler said the Market Street location will be available for someone else to operate such a business there.
The special meeting was called by City Councilman Robert Holmes III, D-4th, who objected to the transfer because of the history of fights and shootings at or near 77 Soul.
Holmes, whose ward includes the Market Street site, said he believes the ordinance objecting to the transfer would have passed council overwhelmingly had it been voted on.
"We want to make the downtown area a family-friendly area," Holmes said. "I wish him all the luck in the world, but show me that you're going in the right direction," Holmes said of Ziegler.
If Ziegler could demonstrate that he could open a family-friendly business, Holmes said he'd work with Ziegler. "I have yet to see that," Holmes added.
Ziegler said he would never condone violence at any establishment he would operate.
The transfer was opposed by Christopher A. Taneyhill, the city's chief building official, and by Police Chief John Mandopoulos, Holmes said.
In his report, Taneyhill strongly objected to the license transfer, saying the objection "is strongly recommended to protect life, health and property."
77 Soul, which was located at 4256 Youngstown Road, S.E., closed in February 2004 after Taneyhill cited it for not having sprinklers or fire walls and ordered it shut down.
The only other item before council was a routine appropriations ordinance, which council passed. In that ordinance, council appropriated $4,400,095 for an ongoing downtown storm and sanitary sewer separation project, for which the city has just been approved for an Ohio Water Development Authority loan.
Mayor Michael O'Brien said the city is running $75,000 over projections this year for housing prisoners in the Trumbull County Jail.
That's because the city is paying the county to house about 42 prisoners in that jail, compared to the average of 30 that had been projected.
"People are being arrested and being put in jail. They're breaking the law, and they're put in jail, where they belong," the mayor said.