Last call for MLK Discount

By Lee Peck - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - In the past year Lake Charles Police have received more than 226 complaint calls about MLK Discount. And after nearly a dozen drug arrests on the property, including the sale of alcohol to a minor the city says they have more than enough evidence to revoke their liquor license.

"We only have to show that there were five drug related arrest made a that location there were 11 made in 2008," said Lake Charles Assistant Attorney Delonshia Thomas.

Lake Charles Police Cpl. Wright patrols the area and has seen the problem first hand. "Three nights when I was there one weekend the same gentleman drove up all three nights to purchase narcotics all three nights," said Cpl. Wright.

Councilman Rodney Geyen says he's heard several concerns from his constituents. "This touched my heart closer than anything else - I had an older brother to come to me and report to me that his little brother who went in that store witnessed narcotics being sold across the counter and he was afraid his little brother would get tied up in this type of situation," said Geyen.

Attorney David Dwight represents MLK Discount owner Noor Petroleum, LLC and says his clients own four stores and this is the only one they have problems with.

"It's the area that creates the problem, not my client," said Dwight.

But this isn't the first time MLK Discount has had to fight this battle. Back in January 2007 the Alcohol Review Board and city council revoked their license. A court order allowed them to sell alcohol without a permit for nearly two years until December 1, 2008 when both parties reached an agreement. Four months later, they're back before the board with the same problems.

"In our meeting, there was no plan presented to us at all on correcting because as you can see there are problems. And tonight, again I still don't hear any kind of plan," said Reggie Landry with the Lake Charles Alcohol Review Board.

"It's very well spelled out to me that there could have been some changes made that were not, they have no security. Nothing has been done," said Councilwoman Luvertha August.

Dwight argued the arrests were made during the time they didn't have a city-issued permit and said any action made would not stand in court. "In your ordinance it says that no person holding a retail dealers permit to sell alcohol... We didn't have one it was seized. If you are going to be fair and look at the instances where we had problems start in December 1, 2008 because that's when our permit was reinstated," said Dwight.

But the city didn't see it that way, unanimously revoking MLK Discount's liquor license for a second time.

Also at Tuesday night's meeting the council unanimously decided to hire a part time grant writer to help the city with applications for the stimulus money. One of the main reasons is because the program deals with 15 to 20 different federal agencies - and the city only has a small window of opportunity.

"But we need that kind of expertise to really help us navigate this in a very official way also not to miss an opportunity that we might otherwise miss because we simply are not aware of it," said City Administrative Manager Adrian Wallace.

The grant writer will be contracted out. No word yet on how much they'll be paid.