Gibb said that he had reached out to Lotus Lounge owner, Paul Talley, but that his messages had not been returned. Talley did not return multiple phone calls to YES! Weekly seeking comment on steps he had taken to improve safety for his club patrons and the neighboring community.
Gibb, who is a member of Downtown Greensboro Inc.’s board of directors, said he had spoken to DGI president Zack Matheny about the situation. Matheny indicated that he had spoken to Talley and that Talley was considering closing the club.
A wise person with PR experience told me recently,
that you really need to get out in front of a story or situation
with at least a statement, but, we haven't heard anything from DGI.
Zack Matheny to former DGI CEO Jason Cannon,
who Zack got fired to take his job.
“At this point I am not sure if it fits into any neighborhood,” Gibb said. “Back in November we were questioning if it fit with this neighborhood.
When two people get killed in the span of nine months, it’s not a question of what neighborhood it fits into.”
Matheny, who took over as head of DGI this summer, spearheaded the drive to create an enhanced club security ordinance last fall after the November shooting involving Lotus Lounge patrons. His primary concern remains public safety.
“It’s a tragedy. A young man lost his life and a family lost a member,” Matheny said.
When asked what steps could be taken to lessen the environment for possible violence, Matheny was blunt.
“I’m not sure if you can technically lessen the environment,” Matheny said, adding that Talley had taken extra steps to improve safety since last year’s shooting.
Talley also serves on the DGI board and is a “good guy”, Matheny said. The two had talked on Thursday prior to the shooting. Matheny credited Talley for hiring off-duty police to enhance safety around Lotus Lounge.
Based on every communication I have with you,
it feels that our interactions are adversarial.
I very sincerely wish
that we could work together collaboratively
to move downtown forward.
Jason Cannon, before Zack had him taken out
so Zack, as a sitting councilman
could take Jason's taxpayer funded job
which Zack and the rest of council voted to fund
“He had been doing a lot. He put into play a lot of what we had discussed previously,” Matheny said. “Within 100 feet there were officers at the time of this occurrence. The question that keeps going in my mind is why? Why do people resort to such violence over really nothing? If it’s something like that, I don’t see how you stop poor decisions and hatred, no matter where officers are.”
Matheny stressed that Downtown Greensboro is a safe place and that both shootings involving Lotus Lounge patrons happened deep into the night.
“By and large we have a tremendously safe downtown,” he said. “This is an incident that occurred at 2:30 in the morning by getting ammunition out of a car. I just don’t get it. I don’t know how you manage that from any standpoint.”
Matheny said he had spoken to Talley, who expressed remorse at Simmons’ death.
“I don’t think that is anything that anybody would want to have on their shoulders,” Matheny said. “I think it will be interesting to see ultimately what the decision is on the future of Lotus.”
Talley has been a “valuable part of the investment in downtown,” Matheny said “I respect that. In this case, at least geographically close to Lotus, there have been some very tragic issues and those are conversations we have to have,” he said. “A lot of people would like to see Lotus gone, and some city officials would like to see that. Having an open communication with (Talley) and just talking through it will be re- ally important.”
Questions About Safety In Downtown Greensboro
WFMY; Community leaders respond to shooting death outside Lotus Lounge
"I walk these streets every day, all day, and at night, as well," said a Zack Matheny, president and CEO of Downtown Greensboro, Inc. "And, I know I feel safe. But, a young man lost his life, and that's very tough for anybody to stomach."