Pub owner pleads with Columbus City Council

By Laura Ann Sills - email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A local pub owner pleaded with the Columbus City Council Tuesday evening to lower a penalty imposed on three of her workers for not following the city's alcohol ordinance.

The Columbus Vice Squad raided and closed down the Golden Cue on March 5th.

They found three workers who didn't have valid ABC cards--a must in order to work in a pub that serves alcohol.

Golden Cue owner Joyce Wages said, "My manager had let his expire, my cook did not realize he had to have one and we had a young girl that goes to Columbus College and has a little baby and works on Friday and Saturday, and she did not have one."

As a result, the three workers were taken to jail.

Wages said, "They took everybody to jail and told them they could not get out till they saw the judge the next day at 2:00. But, who wants to spend the night in our local jail? No one."

The three posted bail and were released. The problem -- they didn't show up for their court appearance.

The city attorney said, "If you do not show up for your court hearing you do in fact forfeit bond and that is a guilty plea."

As a result, the three workers cannot work in a place that serves alcohol for two years.

Wages went in front of council members to ask that they amend the ordinance to reduce the penalty for first time offenders.  This is a suggestion city council members are reluctant to make.

One council member said, "We spent a lot of time, the city attorney's office and our public safety people on coming up with an ordinance that this council adopted, we are very reluctant to make changes to it."

The mayor said that he, the city's attorney, and the police chief will meet to come up with a recommendation for the council.  Police Chief Ricky Boren was in attendance, but would only say that they have to enforce the law.

For now, the city attorney advised the owner to pursue post-bond remedies with a lawyer.

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