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Flaggs proposes resolution that would shut down LD’s

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said he plans to recommend the Board of Mayor and Aldermen close the lounge business at LD’s Kitchen.

Flaggs will present a resolution to the board Monday that, if approved, would ask the Mississippi Department of Revenue to pull LD’s liquor license and for the city to revoke the business’ on-premises beer permit and business license.

Flaggs said his recommendation does not include permitting that would allow LD’s owner Larry Prentiss to keep the restaurant portion of the business open. The mayor said Prentiss and his attorney, Marshall Sanders, have been invited to appear at the meeting to discuss the situation involving the lounge.

The Post attempted multiple times to reach Prentiss for comment. Messages left for Prentiss were not returned.

According to a letter sent to Prentiss, Flaggs said the lounge is being declared a public nuisance “based on incidents that have occurred in and around your premises for a number of years.”

Although the resolution will be discussed during a meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, the issue will be discussed in executive session because it deals with potential litigation. That means no one other than Prentiss, his attorney, the board, the city attorney, the city clerk and Police Chief Milton Moore will be allowed to sit in on the meeting.

The city closed LD’s Bar and Lounge, 1111 Mulberry St., Tuesday after an altercation that left three people with gunshot wounds, with one in critical condition. But Tuesday’s incident was not the first incident reported at LD’s, but rather the latest.

Prentiss in December 2017 signed a memorandum of understanding with the city after a shooting forced the city to close the bar. According to Flaggs, Prentiss has failed to comply with the provisions outlined in that MOU.

During his press conference Thursday, Flaggs said he reviewed the city’s ordinances addressing closing businesses that are determined to be a nuisance.

“I was not satisfied with the ordinance as it was written because of the process,” he said, adding the present ordinance requires the city to file a lawsuit against the business and declare it a nuisance. “I don’t believe in filing lawsuits because they can be very costly. What my resolution does is put the burden of proof on the property owner.”

He said by taking on this problem in this way, it ensures due process for the business owner while saving the city in potential legal fees.

“I believe the recommendation I make today will be in the best interest of the public,” Flaggs said, pointing out LD’s is adjacent to Catfish Row, a playground and the city’s splash pad that are used by children.

“I don’t know why the city of Vicksburg would ever build a recreational facility as close to an establishment as this that sells alcohol and beer,” he said. “This is a playground where our future relies on for recreation.

Flaggs said making the decision to close LD’s Bar one of the hardest decisions he’s had to make because he knows Prentiss personally “all my life.”

“But after prayer and careful consideration, I have made the best decision I can make as a mayor and a good friend to this owner,” he said, adding that as mayor it is his duty to maintain law and order in the city. “Since Dec. 14, there have been 50 calls of disturbances and we have videos to prove it; 15 calls of assault, and that does not include reports made at the police department; nine calls of shots fired. 

“Altogether, there have been over 800 reports since December where police had to interact with people (at LD’s),” he said.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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