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Problems at The Zodiac are cause for concern to commissioners

After several recent disturbances at The Zodiac, a local night club, Grady County Sheriff Harry Young and County Commission Vice Chairman Charles Renaud want to discuss the situation and consequences that could lead to the revocation of the establishment’s county alcoholic beverage license.
“It’s a beast from the past,” said Vice Chairman Renaud. According to the Dist. 2 county commissioner a recent incident very easily could have resulted in a shooting when a .45 caliber pistol was pointed at a lawman. Renaud also said that an underaged patron at the club was found to be intoxicated at a level 20 times more than the legal limit for an underaged person.
“It is going right back to where it was before. I just pray no one, much less an officer, gets hurt. They are having to call in Cairo police and the State Patrol for fights and guns. It is time for it to come to an end. We made a decision; if it reared its head again we would deal with it,” Renaud said.
County Administrator Rusty Moye, who was aware of the problems at the night club, told commissioners that Sheriff Young had requested to be placed on the agenda of the next regular meeting to discuss The Zodiac issue with the board.
Commissioner Charles Norton asked what the county can do about it and Moye said it was possible to revoke the establishment’s alcoholic beverage license.
Chairman Ball said until the board heard the facts from the sheriff there is nothing to act on, but he did state, “we certainly should be concerned and have a discussion about these issues with the sheriff.”
County Attorney Kevin S. Cauley said it was permissible to have the discussion with the sheriff but noted there would be a legal process the county must follow in order to revoke the alcoholic beverage permit.
The last time the commission dealt with an issue involving The Zodiac and its owner, Albert Smith Jr., was in January 2008 when then-Chairman Elwyn Childs cast the tie-breaking vote to grant Smith a beer and wine license for the 2008 calendar year.
Commissioners Al Ball and Bobby Burns voted along with Childs to issue the license over the objections of Grady County Sheriff Harry Young, who asked for the establishment to be closed immediately.
Commissioners Renaud and Norton at that time voted against issuing the license. At that 2008 meeting, Commissioner Norton asked, “Do we take the advise of the sheriff, who is the chief law enforcement officer in the county, or do we turn closed ears to him?”
Ever since the club opened there have been incidents of violence and even a fatality.

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