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Club owners' case heard in federal court
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BoMazMessage

Listen to the entire message left on the Bo'Maz answering machine.
A preliminary court hearing between the city of Walthourville and Bo’Maz nightclub owners Bobby and Mazie Fabian was held in federal court in Savannah this past Wednesday, Walthourville city councilwoman Patricia Green confirmed Tuesday.
The judge’s decision is pending.
According to Green, the hearing was in reference to a decision by the council to modify the city’s ordinance regarding selling and serving alcohol in establishments, such as Bo’Maz, during a June 12 council meeting.
The ordinance change came in the wake of a recommendation by Liberty County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Elpidio Fratichelli to suspend the club's license for 30-days, following months of incidents at the club. The problems, the deputy said, reached a crescendo on a Sunday morning in May when 10 to 15 gunshots were fired in the nightspot's parking lot.
After a two-hour show-cause hearing between the Fabians and the city council, however, council members elected to allow Bo’Maz to remain open, but unanimously approved an amendment to the city's Alcoholic Beverage Ordinance that altered the hours the club could sell and serve alcohol.
Under the new regulations, businesses “other than grocery and convenience type stores” cannot sell or serve alcohol in Walthourville after 2:55 a.m. Monday through Friday or after midnight on Saturday. No alcohol sales are permitted before 8 a.m. on any day of the week and on Sunday.
The Fabians’ lawyer, Kimberly Copeland, who tried to address the council prior to the vote, said business owners were not notified an ordinance change would be discussed at the council meeting.
Additionally, the decision was a blow to her clients' wallets, she said.
“You all didn’t give the businesses and the nightclubs notice of this hearing and this is going to negatively affect their business,” she told the council. “Bo’Maz operates on two days of the week, Saturday and Sunday. By changing these hours, you’re going to affect their economic ability by 50 percent of their proceeds.”
Without going into details about the preliminary hearing, councilwoman Green said it is now up to a judge to decide whether the amended ordinance will stand.
She also reiterated the council’s decision was not made in malice toward the Fabians, despite the constant rumors among residents.
“We’re not trying to close them down and we're not trying to take their license. We know, just like everybody else, they have to make a living,” she said. “But I understand where they're coming from and I know right now they don't know where (the city’s) coming from. But we’re trying to help protect our citizens, that's all we're trying to do.”
Although Copeland and the Fabians refused to comment on the hearing, the message left on the Bo'Maz answering machine gives a small piece of insight into the club owners' attitude about the situation.
“Hello. You have reached Bo’Maz,” it says. “Due to haters in Walthourville, we were forced to change the club’s days and hours of operation.”
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