Monday, January 12, 2015

Where The Club Security Ordinance Fell Flat

Recently Greensboro Mayor Nancy Barakat Vaughan and Councilman Zack Matheny pushed through new club security ordinances for Greensboro nightclubs and bars. Then suddenly it was announced that enforcement would be delayed. The News & Record and other media outlets reported there were minor problems that needed to be corrected but was that really the problem?

Previously I'd written about the close ties between Mayor Vaughan, Councilman Matheny and Greensboro's favorite gangster and club owner Rocky Scarfone. On Wednesday, Janurary 7, 2014 City Council met in a special meeting to discuss the "minor problems" that needed to be worked out.

Chippendales will be appearing at Cone Denim Entertainment Center. Rocky Scarfone is a former Chippendales dancer, will he be on stage as well?

So what were these minor problems? Let's begin by taking a look at some of the documents that were given to City Council members that day. I got these documents from the Meeting Agenda. From City Attorney Tom Carruthers we have:

"This memorandum presents two (2) data sets prepared by the Greensboro Police Department.

The first chart is a three (3) year review of nightclubs in Greensboro and presents data concerning the number of calls, types of calls (whether initiated as a 911 call or by an officer) and the wages allocated to each call.

The second chart is a one (1) year review of all the establishments in Greensboro that are considered bars, restaurants, nightclubs and sexually oriented businesses. This chart presents data concerning the number of calls, the man-hours allocated for the calls, and the wages allocated to the calls."

You may also review those documents by clicking here. Note 2 things: Club Allure, now called the Cone Entertainment Center, while listed, was exempted from the new ordinance and 2) the Buckhead Saloon, also exempted, is not shown anywhere on the page. Both clubs are owned by Rocky Scarfone. The Buckhead's 24 page record of rapes and assaults can be found by clicking the link. Why was the Buckhead Saloon not included?

You'll note in this January 6 letter from Tom Carruthers he noted that Greenville, South Carolina requires criminal background checks for club owners but no such language made it into Greensboro's club ordinance despite Rocky Scarfone's extensive criminal record. Apparently Rocky and Zack really are business partners just as our former City Attorney alluded to in his e-mail.

GPD presented their recommendations but like everyone else, no one mentioned Rocky's Buckhead Saloon-- is Rocky blackmailing the police even?

Those of you with concerns about invasion of privacy will no doubt have concerns with this bit of language I pulled from a document knows as Greensboro Entertainment Uses Security Manual:

"The entertainment facility will maintain a daily roster of patrons who are allowed admission into the facility. This roster will be legible, or of clarity that permits the identification of the patron, and kept on file with the establishment for a period of 30 days. The roster will be accessible to any law enforcement personnel upon their request. OPTION: By January 2016, all entertainment facilities will be required to have means for creating electronic records of patron entry. This requirement can be fulfilled by video, camera or scanning systems, but at a minimum must identify the patron at the time of entry. Records will be retained for 30 days."

Just think, they've giving a guy like Rocky Scarfone the means to track you. Even Zack Matheny expressed concerns about it during the meeting-- is Zack afraid of being blackmailed? It says records will be retained for 30 days but what's to stop them from selling or trading in these records? Another law? Yeah, right!

No mention of and exemptions for the city's most notorious offender are sure to disable the club security ordinance altogether. As soon as they attempt to enforce it some club owner takes the city to court and the gears grind to a halt.

So what decision did the Greensboro City Council finally come to? They voted to meet again. As usual they're in over their heads and too dirty to come out of the water.