The Statesboro City Council once again had two alcohol license applications before them Tuesday morning at their regularly scheduled meeting.
Mayor Jan Moore opened the public hearing for “The Library,” an establishment on Gata Drive, petitioned by Martin Medrano.
Medrano was present as Mayor Jan Moore asked city departments if they had any concerns over the application. Planning & Zoning and Fire Inspection both declined to voice any concerns, however, Captain Winskey from the Statesboro Police Department was present with pertinent information to be distributed to the Council.
Winskey offered information on a criminal history record of Medrano. “I would like to make Council aware of the fact that this is the second application with a similar name at this location. You heard previously an application by Justin Clements…to open The Library,” he said. Winksey also told Council that following the denial of the first application by the state, Maderno filed an LLC changing the name of The Library to “The Library Entertainment” in December of 2016. The information on the two applications was identical with the exception of the names.
Mayor Moore asked Medrano if he was interested in explaining the information provided in the packet by Winskey. “It is my belief that anyone applying to do business in the City should have the opportunity to address what they would like to do and why,” she said, but stressed the impact of the Sheriff of Putnam County sending information on the criminal incident to the Council out of concern.
The City of Statesboro, when considering an alcohol licenses, considers both financial stability of a businesses and the criminal history of persons associated with the establishment.
Medrano skimmed over the DUI conviction on his record saying it was a mistake from which he learned a lesson. Of biggest concern to the Council was the 2014 incident reflecting an aggravated assault charge from a bar fight where Medrano was part owner. The charge was listed as “settled.”
Medrano explained the “settlement” was a result of his payment of restitution, totaling $3,700, for medical expenses of the victim. Medrano contends, though, that the victim initiated the confrontation and he merely defended himself. The restitution was sufficient for the prosecutor and not prosecuted any further. The record was restricted so the nolle prosse charge would not appear on a general background check, though any law enforcement agency would always be able to access the incident.
Moore asked if anyone else was present to speak in favor or against the application, but no one was present.
Following the closure of the public hearing for The Library, Councilman John Riggs said, “It’s the aggravated assault that scares me about this one,” to which Moore replied, “I think we would remiss if we were not a bit skittish about fights in bars that lead to restitution or injuries.”
Mayor Moore asked if there was a motion to approve the alcohol license, to which no one responded. She then asked if there was a motion to deny the alcohol license, which was immediately made and seconded. The denial passed unanimously 4-0. Mr. Medrano left visibly upset.
Council moved on to the application for Little Italy’s alcohol license by way of Frank Cortese. The public hearing was opened, though no one, including Mr. Cortese, was present to speak in favor or against the application and no city departments took issue with any portion of the application or person associated with the application. The public hearing was closed and a motion was made to approve the license for the South Main Street business 4-0.