The club was shut down last Thursday as a "public nuisance" by District Attorney General Amy Weirich and West Tennessee Drug Task Force agents.
Les Smith of Fox13 News and I ran into attorney Ted Hansom in the lobby of 201 Poplar and talked to him briefly. Hansom said he is representing club owners Charlie Ryan, Kevin Kane, and Bud Chittom. Based on an undercover investigation, the complaint makes allegations of drug use and sales by at least four unnamed employees, and cites a long record of "violence and crime at and around the location on Beale Street."
Hansom said that as of Monday morning there had been no arrests.
"This is like closing Macy's two weeks before Christmas," said Hansom. "Memphis In May and the barbecue contest weekend are big times for all the employees who work there."
Hansom said the owners "tried to be proactive" and contacted former district attorney Bill Gibbons three years ago to do something about drugs on Beale Street. Kane said in an interview last week that the effort went nowhere. He questioned the timing of the club closing during the barbecue contest and a week before the Memphis Grizzlies next home game in the Playoffs.
"The club has been under investigation since last November," Hansom said. "What occurred in the last two weeks that didn't occur two months ago, or what was happening that they couldn't have waited until June 1st?"
The complaint says the club "constitutes a nuisance as well as a clear and present danger to the patrons of the club, the patrons of Beale Street, and this community at large."
It was closed Thursday in a dramatic show of force, with media notified in advance and club patrons ushered out of the club and on to the street. Hansom said the owners face a hard choice.
"If they call the police then the DA says look how many police reports there are. And if they don't call the police . . ." His thought trailed off and he shrugged and turned up his hands.