The owner of Club Empire agrees to permanently close the nightclub

Stacey Daniels, owner of Club Empire on Timothy Lane in Hattiesburg, has agreed to permanently close this facility after Hattiesburg officials declared it a nuisance due to several incidents over the past few months and years.

Randy Pope, who is a Hattiesburg city attorney, said Daniels met with Chancellor Rhea Sheldon late last week to sign an agreed order to finalize the case. Additionally, Daniels and his business partners and associates — some of whom are also charged in the case — will not be allowed to open another nightclub within the Hattiesburg city limits.

“(Daniels) can sell it to whoever he wants; that’s what he said he intended to do,” Pope said. “If they want to do something, they’ll have to go through all the steps you take to open a business.

“This order allows him to enter the building, as long as it is not operated as a nightclub.”

On October 14, Sheldon agreed to the shutdown, but did not immediately sign the order because Daniels and his attorney James Dukes failed to show up for a scheduled hearing.

At that point, Sheldon ordered Daniels to meet with her to make sure he fully understood the terms of the order.

“(Daniels) didn’t sign (the order) last time, but he did this time,” Pope said.

Hattiesburg City Council members voted to declare Club Empire a nuisance during a Sept. 21 executive session, after hearing from members of the Hattiesburg Police Department. With this vote, Pope was allowed to file and seek an injunction against the club.

As the board does not have the power to shut down the club, the matter had to be decided by a judge.

“The number of incidents that Club Empire has had over the past few years – it’s a huge number,” board chairman Carter Carroll said in a previous post. “There have been recent shootings there, and the council just felt like if the owners and managers weren’t going to provide a safe environment for their customers, the city had to pick up the slack.”

Council members voted 4 to 1 on the issue. Ward 2 Councilwoman Deborah Delgado provided the only vote against the measure, saying she did not have enough information to make a decision.

More recently, Daniels – who was also a candidate for mayor of Hattiesburg in the recent municipal elections – was arrested and charged in September with three offenses after officials from the Mississippi Alcoholic Beverage Control Bureau of Enforcement executed a warrant in his box. night regarding the illegal sale of alcohol.

Pat Daily, the ABC’s chief enforcement officer, said that on September 11, undercover ABC agents purchased alcoholic beverages inside Club Empire, which has a license to sell beer but does not have an ABC license to sell alcoholic beverages. Daniels was arrested and charged with felony possession of a firearm, possession of a stolen firearm, and possession of illegal gambling receipts and currency.

Additionally, Corey Austin was charged with possession of liquor with intent to sell without a license and possession of liquor in a premises where beer is permitted. Nakyla Payton has been charged with disorderly conduct-failure to comply.

The arrests were made after ABC officers, with the assistance of the Hattiesburg Police Department, served club officials with an arrest warrant signed by Forrest County Court Judge Zachary Vaughn.

Jerry C. Greiner