By Elise Franco
The Go Go Girls Cabaret is closed — for now.
The club was shut down Friday by the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Investigative Unit, assisted by Austintown police.
Julie Hinds, public information officer for the unit, said a search warrant was issued, and a team went in to shut down sales of alcohol.
“We received notice on Nov. 28 from the Division of Liquor Control that the liquor permit was defunct. ... They were not the holder of a valid liquor permit,” she said. “The investigative unit was told that the appeals process has been exhausted.”
Club owner Sebastian Rucci has been in and out of state and federal courts over the past three years appealing attempts to revoke the club’s permit.
Rucci was first granted an injunction against revocation in August 2009 by Judge Ann Aldrich of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio, allowing the club to remain open.
On Nov. 15, Judge John R. Adams, who took over the case after Judge Aldrich died, rejected a motion filed by the The Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Liquor Control, which had maintained the case was resolved in Franklin County Common Pleas Court, making Rucci’s appeal moot.
Judge Adams ruled that he lacked jurisdiction while the case was on appeal in Franklin County, and upheld the injunction, according to court records.
Rucci said it’s for that reason that he plans to file a motion to suppress and have the club reopened.
“We already have a federal injunction that stays” the Division of Liquor Control action, he said.
Rucci said for now the club is closed, but he expects to be operating again by Saturday.
“The unfortunate part is that it delays you, shuts you down, disrupts your business,” he said. “We’re closed down, but we have a band set up for Saturday. My goal is to get this done before then.”
Hinds said agents seized all alcohol found inside the club, including a keg, beer and various types of liquor.
She said agents also charged Rucci with three misdemeanors — illegal sale of beer, illegal sale of intoxicating liquor, and keeper of the place of business.
Agents also charged Tara Giancola, 24, of Masury with illegal sale of beer and illegal sale of intoxicating liquor.
They will appear at a later date for arraignment at Mahoning County Area Court in Austintown.
Matt Mullins, spokesman for the Division of Liquor Control, said despite Rucci’s comments, the club’s liquor permit is defunct.
Mullins said the Go Go can’t hold a liquor permit for one year.
“When there’s a revocation, it’s our administrative rule to prohibit issuing a permit to that holder for one year,” he said.
Mullins said after a year an application for a new permit can be submitted, though its approval is up to Division of Liquor Control’s discretion.
Rucci said he plans to continue his fight through the court system, regardless of what is thrown at him.
“I don’t just go away, so I will oppose this,” he said.
Rucci does, however, have plans to leave the Go Go business behind him.
He said he has a buyer interested in the club and is in the process of finalizing the sale.
“Me, myself, I’m trying to move on,” he said.